Friday, August 15, 2008

Solid as a BRIC

The current round in the latest surge in historical globalization, affecting the BRIC countries, seems to be hitting political , social , and even economic walls:

Brazil - Social-- Tremendous inequality and poverty with entrenched gang culture has lead to periods of open warfare in it's major cities. The middle-class live in armed enclaves and fear of kidnapping is high. Bulletproof cars are a booming business
Economic -- Lack of skilled workers is leading to higher wages.

Russia - Political -- after their invasion of Georgia they are becoming persona non grata in the world community. Their usage of their oil/gas monopoly with Europe and their readiness to turn off the spigot for political reasons is not winning any friends.
Social -- they have incredibly low birth rate and Muslim insurrections throughout their borders. The State controls most major industries. Gang activity is endemic and is reflected in the State model of governing.
Economic -- A culture lacking in intellectual property rights. The home of much of computer/internet illegal activities and hacking.

India - Political -- problems with their Muslim minority leading to bombings and with their Muslim neighbor Pakistan and the Kashmir question.
Social -- inequalities increasing. A strong intractable caste system. Terrorism.
Economic -- Rising wages. High tariffs for imports. Laws against open foreign investment. Subsidized goods/products such as oil and food.

China- Political -- problems with their Muslim minority . Lack of freedom leading to protests. Policy problems with Tibet, Taiwan and other neighbors including Japan.
Social -- inequalities increasing. Terrorism. Pollution of air and water.
Economic -- Rising wages. High tariffs for imports. Laws against open foreign investment. Subsidized goods/products such as oil and food.

It looks like we are entering the BBRIC age (Beyond BRIC, pronounced like a Scotsman would).
These 'new' developing countries - Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philipines, etc. in the East, along with Africa now being targeted, with South Africa and Egypt the first of the African wave.

All the BBRIC nations have the same underlying problems that the BRIC nations have.

If this new globalization wave leaves BRIC behind, then those BRIC nations will have only partially risen politically/socially/economically, leaving them in a precarious social state and they will suffer tremendously by this incomplete metamorphosis.

Look for an acceleration of negative political and social forces in these societies.

Unintended consequences of this latest globalization phase -
- The prospect of War , not peace and greater prosperity, may be the outgrowth of unchecked globalization.
- Economic protectionism and global depression may be another result.
- The rise of religious fundamentalism in the face of serious social instability.

The issue is not whether globalization per se is needed or whether it is a good or bad thing. This process has been going on for millenium. The question is whether the rate of change now going on will stress existing political, social and economic systems, and the ability of humans to adapt quickly, so as to cause massive instability and unrest in the world.

August 15, 2008

India says peace talks with Pakistan under threat

Filed at 7:30 a.m. ET

NEW DELHI (AP) -- India's prime minister said Friday that the peace process with Pakistan was in danger of failing because of attacks like last month's bombing of New Delhi's mission in Afghanistan.

India and Afghanistan say Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency orchestrated the attack, which killed 58 people. Islamabad denies playing any role but has promised to investigate the allegation.

''If this issue of terrorism is not addressed, all the good intentions that we have for our two peoples to live in peace and harmony will be negated,'' Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in an Independence Day speech. ''We will not be able to pursue the peace initiatives we want to take.''

Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan were born during the bloody partition of the subcontinent at independence from Britain in 1947. The split sparked one of the most violent upheavals of the 20th century and created a rivalry that has led to three wars.

But relations between the nuclear-armed rivals have improved considerably since the start of a peace process in 2004, and India's leader has pledged to continue the talks despite the allegations of a Pakistani role in the embassy attack.

''I have personally conveyed my concern and disappointment to the government of Pakistan,'' said Singh, speaking from behind a bulletproof screen atop the ramparts of the historic Red Fort, the massive 17th-century sandstone palace built by the Muslim Mogul emperors who ruled much of India before the British arrived.

India also accuses Pakistan of playing a role in more than a dozen bombings that have hit India in the past three years, and the two sides have blamed each other for a surge in shootings across their heavily fortified de facto border in Kashmir, the divided Himalayan region at the center of their rivalry.

The latest reported shooting -- the 20th so far this year -- came Friday when India said its forces along the frontier, called the Line of Control, were fired on by Pakistani forces armed with rocket-propelled grenades.

No casualties were reported by the Indian side, and Pakistani officials were not immediately available for comment.

Kashmir, an overwhelmingly Muslim region, is claimed by both India and Pakistan and has been the focus of two of their three wars.

There were regular exchanges of gunfire along the Line of Control before the two sides signed a cease-fire in late 2003.

But the recent shootings have led to a familiar round of accusations, with Pakistan blaming India for violating the cease-fire and New Delhi accusing Islamabad of helping Islamic rebels sneak into its part of Kashmir.

Nearly a dozen Islamic rebel groups have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan. More than 68,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the conflict since 1989, and India routinely accuses Pakistan of assisting the insurgents, a charge Islamabad denies.

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