July 17, 2019

Fool’s gold – Pakistan could have made big money from gold mines, now it’s paying penalties


Fool’s gold – Pakistan could have made big money from gold mines, now it’s paying penalties

The $5.8 billion penalty in the Reko Diq case should make Pakistanis reconsider the military’s overwhelming presence in their lives.

HUSAIN HAQQANI

16 July, 2019 10:52 am

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan | Facebook

At a time when Pakistan’s debt-ridden economy cannot afford further bleeding, a World Bank arbitration court has ordered Imran Khan’s government to pay $5.8 billion in damages to a multinational mining giant, which discovered gold and copper deposits in Balochistan only to have its mining lease arbitrarily cancelled.

Pakistan also lost another arbitration case against the asset recovery firm Broadsheet LLC, and has been ordered to pay $33 million in damages and costs. The company had been hired by Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to search for the hidden assets of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family. Broadsheet LLC’s contract was also terminated without regard to international contract law.

Both cases demonstrate how Pakistan’s economy suffers when the hyper-nationalist sentiment of an intrusive and politicised military interferes with economic decision-making. Within Pakistan, the military establishment manages to get its capricious decisions endorsed by a subservient judiciary. But Pakistan has faced a long streak of negative judgments in international arbitration tribunals and courts because of overly simplistic choices made by its generals.

Without the military’s interference, the large gold and copper deposits found at Reko Diq, Balochistan, would have brought in revenues for Pakistan instead of a $5.8 billion penalty. The deposits would have been exploited by Tethyan Copper, a joint venture between Chile’s Antofagasta and Canada’s Barrick Gold, and Pakistan would have shared the profits with the multinational corporation with mining experience.

Also read: Modi isn’t about to change India into national security state like Pakistan & bankrupt it

With the military’s backing, nuclear scientist Samar Mubarakmand demanded ejection of foreign companies from Reko Diq in 2011, and subsequently started mining and smelting operations with his own team.

The Supreme Court, then headed by activist Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, ordered the cancellation of the Tethyan Copper contract in 2013.

In January 2015, the Pakistan military’s magazine Hilal published an article by Samar Mubarakmand, described as ‘an eminent scientist who led the team of scientists and engineers to conduct Pakistan’s Nuclear Tests at Chagai in May 1998’. The article titled ‘Destined Towards a Rich Pakistan: Reko Diq Mineral Resources’ suggested that Pakistan did not need to pay a foreign company to extract its minerals. It claimed that scientists who succeeded in making nuclear weapons for Pakistan could also make it rich by developing its natural resources.

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Mubarakmand’s pitch was received well by the military as well as xenophobic civilians. Balochistan has long been a troubled province and, in the official Pakistani view, easy prey to the usual foreign suspects.

Also read: The China-Pakistan ‘nexus’ to exploit tons of gold from the mines of Balochistan

The hyper-nationalists thought the judgment of the country’s highest court was enough to turn a multinational company away without sufficient compensation. Some of the Reko Diq mines were turned over to the Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC). The Chinese are, in Pakistani folklore, more mindful of Pakistan’s interests and security needs than Westerners and can be trusted to never have any truck with the Indians who allegedly encourage Baloch separatism.

But the Chinese could not extract even an ounce of Reko Diq’s copper or gold, nor could Mubarakmand’s team of patriotic scientists. Although the Chinese are still said to be involved in the mining project as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

More recently, the Pakistan army’s Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) – a road and buildings constructor – has been involved in the Reko Diq project, even though it has no experience whatsoever of complex copper mining.

The World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)’s award in favour of Tethyan Copper should serve as a reminder that military officers and nuclear scientists with a greater claim to patriotism are not the best persons to make decisions about commercial mining or understanding the inviolability of international contracts. But it is unlikely that the lesson will be learnt any time soon.

Pakistan’s generals and officers of the ubiquitous Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) continue to believe that they are better positioned to define and defend Pakistan’s national interest. This belief persists in the area of economic decision-making even though economics and contract law are not taught at Pakistan Military Academy or the Army Staff College.

Corruption charges against civilian politicians have been used to wriggle out of international contracts. During the late 1990s, contracts of several Independent Power Producers (IPPs) funded by the World Bank were terminated. In 2011, several Rental Power Projects (RPPs) were cancelled amidst allegations that the civilian officials at the time received kickbacks from companies from the United States, Turkey and UAE.

The militarised anti-corruption drive is costing Pakistan more than the recoveries in unlawful assets of corrupt politicians or officials. The Broadsheet case, for example, shows how the generals hired an international firm to help them find hidden overseas assets but then lost the opportunity of recovering these assets by cancelling the asset recovery firm’s contract.

Also read: What Pakistani generals want from PM Imran Khan – career advancement

Now, not only won’t Pakistan fail to recover the assets identified by Broadsheet, it would have to pay the firm compensation for its work. Huge arbitration awards are hurting Pakistan’s already thin pocketbook. In 2017, Turkish company Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim AS won a $780 million award from ICSID over the unlawful termination of its rental power project.

There are other examples of militarised decision-making affecting Pakistan’s economy. Privatisation of large loss-making state enterprises, such as Pakistan Steel, and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), has often been contemplated but shelved due to ‘national security concerns’. Xenophobic nationalism interferes with travel facilities for foreign businessmen and corporate executives as well as with large investment projects like the Reko Diq copper and gold mines.

Pakistan’s military and intelligence services have often looked upon managing the economy as integral to their remit of ensuring Pakistan’s security. One of the arguments for each of Pakistan’s four direct military coups d’état and for other military interventions in politics was the need to maintain equilibrium in the government’s finances.

The military has often spearheaded anti-corruption drives, although evidence suggests that public sector corruption in Pakistan has increased, not diminished, over the years, including during military regimes. It is not unusual for Pakistan’s national security apparatus to intervene directly or behind-the-scenes for the purpose of denying a local business or foreign investor their legitimate dues from the federal or provincial governments.

Also read: IMF finds very little right with Pakistani economy, prescribes very ambitious remedies

The permanent state apparatus wants to be able to sidestep constitutional and legal restrictions, including the opportunity to get out of inconvenient contractual obligations, by any means necessary. But that is not how the real world works. Cancelling contracts and juggling aid packages are not a substitute for land reform and sustained modernisation of agriculture, training of a skilled workforce, and nurturing of innovation or entrepreneurship.

The $5.8 billion penalty in the Reko Diq case should make Pakistanis reconsider the military’s overwhelming presence in their lives. Pakistan’s recurrent economic crises are partly the product of general disdain towards pursuit of economic activity in a culture that extols the virtues of the warrior more than that of the trader.

Husain Haqqani, director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C., was Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States from 2008-11. His books include ‘Pakistan Between Mosque and Military,’ ‘India v Pakistan: Why Can’t we be Friends’ and ‘Reimagining Pakistan.’ Views are personal.


https://theprint.in/opinion/fools-gold-pakistan-could-have-made-big-money-from-gold-mines-now-its-paying-penalties/263312/

How Much Is Your Data Worth to Tech Companies? Lawmakers Want to Tell You, but They Have No Idea

If lawmakers want to tackle data privacy, they need to more widely address the value and cost of data in people’s lives.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

 

Samuel Lengen

Politics Data Technology LawmakersPrivacy Big Data

New proposed legislation by U.S. senators Mark R. Warner and Josh Hawley seeks to protect privacy by forcing tech companies to disclose the “true value” of their data to users.

Specifically, companies with more than 100 million users would have to provide each user with an assessment of the financial value of their data, as well as reveal revenue generated by “obtaining, collecting, processing, selling, using or sharing user data.”Estimating the value of user data isn’t simple and won’t, I believe, solve privacy issues.

 In addition, the DASHBOARD Act would give users the right to delete their data from companies’ databases.

As a researcher exploring the ethical and political implications of digital platforms and big data, I’m sympathetic to the bill’s ambition of increasing transparency and empowering users. However, estimating the value of user data isn’t simple and won’t, I believe, solve privacy issues.

Data Collectors

The data collected by tech companies consists not just of traditional identifying information such as name, age, and gender. Rather, as Harvard historian Rebecca Lemov has noted, it includes "Tweets, Facebook likes, Twitches, Google searches, online comments, one-click purchases, even viewing-but-skipping-over a photograph in your feed."

In other words, big data contains the mundane yet intimate moments of people’s lives. And, if Facebook captures your interactions with friends and family, Google your late-night searches, and Alexa your living room commands, wouldn’t you want to know, as the bill suggests, what your “data is worth and to whom it is sold”?  

The commission, I believe, will quickly realize that estimating the value of user data is a challenging undertaking.         

However, calculating the value of user data isn’t that simple. Estimates on what user data is worth vary widely. They include evaluations of less than a dollar for an average person’s data to a slightly more generous US$100 for a Facebook user. One user sold his data for $2,733 on Kickstarter. To achieve this number, he had to share data including keystrokes, mouse movements, and frequent screenshots.

Sadly, the DASHBOARD Act doesn’t specify how it would estimate the value of user data. Instead, it explains that the Securities and Exchange Commission, an independent federal government agency, “shall develop a method or methods for calculating the value of user data.” The commission, I believe, will quickly realize that estimating the value of user data is a challenging undertaking.         

More Than Personal

The proposed legislation aims to provide users with more transparency. However, privacy is no longer solely a matter of personal data. Data shared by a few can provide insights into the lives of many.

Facebook likes, for example, can help predict a user’s sexual orientation with a high degree of accuracy. Target has used its purchase data to predict which customers are pregnant. The case garnered widespread attention after the retailer figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did.

Having been let loose, predictive technologies will continue to work even if users delete their part of the data that helped create them.

Such predictive ability means that private information isn’t just contained in user data. Companies can also infer your private information, based on statistical correlations in the data of a number of users. How can the value of such data be reduced to an individual dollar value? It is more than the sum of its parts.

What’s more, this ability to use statistical analysis to identify people as belonging to a group category can have far-reaching privacy implications. If service providers can use predictive analytics to guess a user’s sexual orientation, race, gender, and religious belief, what is to stop them from discriminating on that basis?

Having been let loose, predictive technologies will continue to work even if users delete their part of the data that helped create them.

Control Through Data

The sensitivity of data depends not just on what it contains, but on how governments and companies can use it to exert influence.

This is evident in my current research on China’s planned social credit system. The Chinese government plans to use national databases and “trustworthiness ratings” to regulate the behavior of Chinese citizens.

Data privacy is as much about big tech’s ability to shape your personal life as about what it knows about you.

Google’s, Amazon’s, and Facebook’s “surveillance capitalism,” as author Shoshana Zuboff has argued, also uses predictive data to “tune and herd our behaviour towards the most profitable outcomes.”

In 2014, revelations about how Facebook experimented with its feed to influence the emotional state of users ended in a public outcry. However, this instance just made visible how digital platforms, in general, can use data to keep users engaged and, in the process, generate more data.

Data privacy is as much about big tech’s ability to shape your personal life as about what it knows about you.

Who Is Harmed

The truth is that datafication, with all its privacy implications, does not affect everyone equally.

Big data’s hidden biases and networked discrimination continue to reproduce inequalities around gender, race, and class. Women, minorities, and the financially poor are most strongly affected. UCLA professor Safiya Umoja Noble, for example, has shown how Google search rankings reinforce negative stereotypes about women of color.

In light of such inequality, how could a numerical value ever capture the “true” value of user data?

If lawmakers want to tackle data privacy, they need to more widely address the value and cost of data in people’s lives.

The proposed legislation’s lack of specificity is disconcerting. However, even more troubling might be its insistence that data transparency will be achieved by revealing monetary value alone. Numeric assessments of financial worth don’t reflect data’s power to predict our actions or guide our decisions.

The DASHBOARD Act aims to make the business of data more transparent and empower users. However, I believe that it will fail to fulfill this promise. If lawmakers want to tackle data privacy, they need to regulate not just data monetization, but more widely address the value and cost of data in people’s lives.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

July 16, 2019

Xi tells Party elite to stick together

TRIVIUM CHINA

 On Monday, the Party’s top journal Qiushi, published a speech by Xi Jinping on “political construction.”

Some context: Xi gave the speech at a June 29, 2018 Politburo study session.

For those that don’t feel like reading the whole thing, Xinhua has summarized the main points (CPC):

“The article emphasizes that Marxist political parties have lofty political ideals, lofty political pursuits, pure political quality, and strict political discipline.”“If a Marxist political party loses its advanced political nature, then it is impossible to talk about the party’s purity.”“This is why the Party’s political construction is…fundamental.”Got that? Good.

So how do you advance political construction? Easy:“To preserve the Party’s political leadership, most important is preserving the authority and unified, collective leadership of the Party center.”“This must be the primary task of the Party’s political construction.”

Get smart: This speech’s intended audience was the Party leadership. It was a reminder – and a warning – that the fractious elite politics that characterized the Hu Jintao era have no place in Xi’s China.
 

READ MORE
Xinhua: 习近平:增强推进党的政治建设的自觉性和坚定性
People.cn: 《求是》杂志发表习近平总书记重要文章《增强推进党的政治建设的自觉性和坚定性》

Gandhi's and Nehru's contribution to the freedom struggle

*More on Gandhi's and Nehru's contribution to the freedom struggle.

"He is a mad man" - said *Gandhi !*

"His act was a senseless deed" - said *Nehru !*

"We condemn his act of terror and apologise and hope we are not punished for it" - - resolution passed by *Congress !*

Who was this man and what did he do to attract such huge condemnation from Bapu (kahe ka) and Chachaji (kis ka) ?

He was *Shaheed Udham Singh* and the senseless deed he did was that he killed *Michael Dwyer.*

Michael was the *monster* who massacred 1526 innocent unarmed peaceful Indians in *Jalian wala Bagh in 1919.*

Udham singh was 19 year old volunteer who was serving water to the 20,000 people gathered in the garden on festival of Baisakhi.

They were brutally massacred by Gen Dwyer and Udham singh was live witness to it.

He wanted to avenge the brutality and get some sense of justice to these martyrs.
British GOVT didn’t take any action.

*Congress couldn't get british to act on Dwyer.*

So Dwyer happily retired to England and lead a peaceful rich life.

*Meanwhile, Udham singh joined Gadhar Party and fought for freedom.*
He was jailed for 5 years and there he was inspired by death and martyrdom of *Bhagat Singh* who wanted to take action on Dwyer.

After release, he escaped from India through  Kashmir. He went to Germany and then to London.

He joined as engineer and pursued Dwyer for 6 years. He procured a gun, learnt shooting and then found that on 13, March, 1940 Dwyer was speaking in Caxton hall, London.

He hid a gun in a book in which he had carved a place for gun. Sat in front row and shot two bullets into heart and lung of Dwyer.

He died instantly.

He didn’t escape. He bravely courted arrest.

He told these words to the judge:

*"I did it because I had a grudge against him. He deserved it. He was the real culprit. He wanted to crush the spirit of my people, so I have crushed him. For full 21 years, I have been trying to seek vengeance. I am happy that I have done the job. I am not scared of death. I am dying for my country. I have seen my people starving in India under the British rule. I have protested against this, it was my duty. What greater honour could be bestowed on me than death for the sake of my motherland?”*

He was sentenced to death in the court.
He fasted for 42 days in the jail and was brutally tortured and hanged on July 31, 1940

*Meanwhile in India congress condemned his act. Gandhi and Nehru abused him for making british angry and they forced congress to pass a resolution against killing of Dwyer.*

They were very busy those days helping british recruit Indian soldiers for World War  - II and they didn’t want Punjab to get upset wirh british.

This is our great freedom fighting party which condemned killing of a monster like Dwyer who massacred 1526 people in Punjab.

*Udham Singh was buried in London and like other freedom fighter's,  he is forgotten in India.*

*No textbooks talk about him.*

Few people know about him.

*I am happy that they are making a movie on this patriot and coincidently it will be released on Gandhi birthdays on Oct 2. His story is a great and inspiring one.*

Mayawati named a District in Uttarakhand after him in 1995, perhaps the only good deed she has done in her life and in 1974 his remains were exhumed and brought to Bharat and he was cremated here.

His ashes are in urn in *Jalian Wala Bagh.*

🙏.my salute to this great soul, who are inspiration to our soldiers, where is Congress in this scheme, they have suppressed the genuine history

BUILDING BRIDGES BETWEEN POLAND AND ISRAEL: TOWARD COLLABORATIVE PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

UscPublicDiplomacy.org

BUILDING BRIDGES BETWEEN POLAND AND ISRAEL: TOWARD COLLABORATIVE PUBLIC DIPLOMACY

Jul 11, 2019

by

Mieczyslaw Boduszynski

Katarzyna Pisarska

COMMENT

PRINT AS PDF

How can the principles and tools of public diplomacy be applied to bridge contested historical memories and narratives? Israeli-Polish relations offer a compelling case study.

Rarely are two peoples living on different continents as intertwined by history as Poles and Israelis. For nine centuries Poland remained the home, and at times a safe harbor, for the largest Jewish community in the world. The culture and intellectual output of Poland’s Jewish community had an important impact on Polish society, just as Polish culture had a profound impact on Judaism. Polish Jews played a central role in the formation of the Israeli state. Relations between Poland’s Christian majority and its Jewish minority were complicated. But the two peoples lived side by side until the outbreak of World War II. Between 1939-1945, under the brutal occupation of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, Poland lost over 5 million of its citizens—including nearly the entire population of 3 million Polish Jews.

Rather than being united by a shared history of oppression, violence and killing during World War II, contested historical memories and politics have often divided Poles and Israelis (as well as the Jewish diaspora). Despite strengthening relations between Israel and Poland, in recent years historical controversies have risen to the top of the political agenda, casting a dark shadow on other areas of bilateral cooperation. The most fraught discussion revolves around the conduct of Poles toward Jews under German Nazi Occupation. In contrast to some neighboring countries, there was no Polish collaborationist government during the war. However, despite countless Poles risking their lives in order to shelter Jews during the Holocaust, many others assisted the Nazi killers or, in a few cases, organized their own pogroms during and after the war. While the Polish narrative emphasizes the heroic actions of Poles who helped Jews, Israelis and the Jewish diaspora recall Polish anti-Semitism during the interwar years, which bolstered the German Nazi effort.

The communist regime that ruled Poland from 1945-1989 did little to educate Poles about their wartime past, preferring to gloss over difficult issues like Polish anti-Semitism and complicity in Nazi crimes. In 1968 the Polish Communist party declared thousands in a small community of remaining Polish Jews enemies of the state and forced them to leave Poland. Over this incident, too, there is contention over whether it was driven entirely by mobilization from the top or whether popular anti-Semitism played a role.

After the fall of communism, many Poles began to take an interest in the rich history of Jewish life in Poland, and some began to discover their previously unknown Jewish roots. Meanwhile, the work of historians, notable among them the Princeton scholar Jan Gross, forced Polish society to come to terms with its complicity in the Holocaust, as did works of popular culture such as Polish director Paweł Pawlikowski’s Oscar-winning film, Ida

Public diplomacy based on a collaborative, grassroots approach emphasizing people-to-people ties might be the best way forward to reconcile the diverging historical narratives and grievances of the past. 

Despite the gains of the 2000s in reconciling competing narratives of World War II, the idea that Poles were only victims, and never victimizers, during World War II has been difficult to overcome. More recently, growing nationalist sentiments, and the rise to power of populist political forces, set the process of confronting the past back further. In 2018, a crisis in Israeli-Polish relations erupted over a so-called “Holocaust Law,” which aimed to criminalize attempts to assign any blame to Poland and Poles for the killings in World War II (itself a reaction to frequent misleading statements by foreign officials and media implying that the concentration camps established and operated by Nazi Germany were “Polish death camps”). Tensions were defused only after the Polish Parliament, under intense external pressure, agreed to amend the bill by decriminalizing the offense.  

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has attempted to cultivate good relations with the populist government which currently rules Poland as a way to increase his leverage in a European Union that is often critical of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians. Despite his efforts, acrimony between leaders of the two countries escalated earlier this year when Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki cancelled a planned visit to Israel in response to remarks by top Israeli officials suggesting that Poles are irredeemable anti-Semites.

Can public diplomacy aid in bridging the gulf in historical memories? Public diplomacy underscores the centrality of people-to-people exchange. Regrettably, one of the major challenges in trying to bridge the gulf between Poles and Israelis today is the relatively small number of people-to-people interactions between both groups, leaving ample space for misinterpretations and manipulation. In 2017, a record number of 250,000 Israeli citizens visitedPoland, though many of them to see the memorial sights associated with the Holocaust. Polish tourism to Israel has also skyrocketed (85,000 Poles visited Israel in 2017), with dozens of direct, weekly flights from Polish cities to Tel Aviv. While increasing tourism is a positive development, it does not necessarily generate the dialogue that public diplomacy facilitates. The Israeli Youth Delegations program, funded by the Israeli state since the early 1990s, brings over 25,000 high school pupils to visit Jewish historical sites in Poland annually. The program has been criticized for the rather limited interaction it affords Israelis with their Polish peers. As an alternative, in 2009 the Polish Ministry of Education instituted a separate grant program for Polish and Israeli high schools, which promotes one- to two-week student exchanges to Poland for Israeli students. As state-sponsored initiatives, however, these programs remain highly susceptible to influence from politics.  

Israeli-Polish relations and, by extension, the goal of facing the past, would benefit from a collaborative public diplomacy approach. Traditional, state-driven public diplomacy programs such as cultural and educational exchanges offer an important contribution to conflict resolution by facilitating dialogue, confronting misperceptions and bridging narratives. However, a collaborative PD approach—understood here as a “process of building mutual understanding through a multi-stakeholder effort (citizens and NGOs working side-by-side with governments) to undertake projects contributing to a common good—goes further by complementing and enhancing government-led programs. It adds a vital grassroots component which can contribute to the betterment of bilateral relations in the long term, but in the short and medium term, allows for dialogue to continue regardless of political tensions between states.

Today, there is already promising ground for the development of collaborative public diplomacy in Israeli-Polish relations. Politics, the state of bilateral relations, and state-driven public diplomacy efforts notwithstanding, Polish civil society has been making remarkable efforts in areas such as exchange, dialogue, and cultural preservation and documentation. A number of Polish non-governmental organizations have helped revive Jewish cultural, social and religious life in cities such as Kraków. Poland now hosts a number of major Jewish cultural festivals and other events. Polish universities offer Yiddish and Hebrew language classes, and Jewish studies programs saw the enrollment of a record 2,500 students in Warsaw and Kraków last year. At the local level, Polish civil society is collaborating with municipalities to help the remaining Jewish community preserve its cemeteries and restore its synagogues.

Museums and other sites of memory based on private efforts can also play a critical role, filling in voids left by the official education system. Here we must mention the remarkable POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, which the New York Times called “the most ambitious cultural institution to rise in Poland since the fall of Communism.” POLIN opened its doors in 2015, with the Israeli president in attendance at the inauguration. The museum cost over $100 million and represents an extraordinary collaboration between Polish and foreign donors, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. It contains eight galleries, full of multimedia exhibits, artifacts, documents and other objects. Importantly, while one gallery memorializes Jewish death in the Holocaust, the remaining galleries honor over six centuries of Jewish life in Poland in all its complexity and diversity. Among other topics, the museum deals with the thorny issue of Polish-Jewish relations in an impressively balanced way. And the museum has also instituted its own exchange programs focused on dialogue among youth.

Israeli-Polish relations have many reasons to thrive. Poland remains one of the staunchest supporters of Israel within the European Union. In comparison to some Western European countries, in Poland there a very low number of anti-Semitic incidents, and there is no organized effort to boycott and divest from Israel. When you add to this the strong economic growth of both countries, a well-organized tourism industry and common history on which to build, it becomes clear that there is ample space for excellent relations. The major hurdle remains a lack of dialogue and mutual understanding of the long history of Polish-Jewish relations within Poland, including the fraught history of relations under German occupation in World War II. Public diplomacy based on a collaborative, grassroots approach emphasizing people-to-people ties might be the best way forward to reconcile the diverging historical narratives and grievances of the past. Such an approach will also provide the necessary tools in order to build strong and sustainable relations for the future.    

Photo (by Fred Romero via Flickr | CC BY 2.0) shows the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Concentration camps or a model counterterrorism program?


Photo credit: A visual representation of countries that signed letters to the UN Human Rights Council against and in defense of China’s ethnic policies in the Xinjiang region. Map made by Reddit user Hamena95

An extraordinary event in human rights diplomacy happened in the last week: Two unprecedented letters to the president of the UN Human Rights Council were signed by dozens of countries expressing either support for or condemnation of China’s treatment of Turkic Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

The condemnation came first,from the ambassadors of 22 countries, including Australia, Canada, Japan, and many Western European countries, but not the United States, which quit its position on the council a year ago.China responded with a letter of its own: Russia and Saudi Arabia were among the 37 states that expressed support for China’s ethnic policies in Xinjiang as a successful “counter-terrorism and deradicalization” program, Reuters reports.

WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON IN XINJIANG?

As we wrote in the SupChina Weekly Briefing last week, scholars estimate that there are as many as 1.5 million Turkic Muslims in “re-education camps” — i.e., concentration camps — in China’s western Xinjiang region. The goal of the mass internment campaign, which began in the spring of 2017, has been reported to be forced assimilation of ethnic minorities — i.e., cultural genocide — that Beijing considers to be a threat to stability.

The Australian ABC has multiple new resources to learn more:

Tell the world — a 45-minute documentary on the crisisThe missing: Meet the families torn apart by China's crackdown on UyghursCotton On and Target investigate suppliers after forced labor of Uyghurs exposed in China's Xinjiang

Severity of Economic Impact of the Maoist Movement

Vivekananda International Foundation

Giridhari NaikJuly 3 , 2019  View: 475  Comments:0

It is now well recognised that the Maoist movement in India is deeply rooted in socio-economic conditions in parts of India with large tribal populations. However, misunderstanding and misperceptions about this problem persists due to lack of economic information. A deeper research on the economic dimension of the Maoist conflict can generate perspectives beneficial to policy makers and better explain the conflict in the framework of cost and constraints. The cost-benefit analysis in turn can help policy interventions and convince people of the ineffectiveness of such violent extremist movements.

The Maoist conflict has extensively affected forest produce market and mining in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, and agriculture in parts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Economic, social, developmental and strategic costs of Maoist conflict is too substantial to be ignored. There are direct indirect costs, and losses to both the public and private sectors. While a comprehensive research with the use of econometrics is necessary to assess the volume of losses caused by Maoist violence, this essay tries to capture the many dimensions of its economic impact.

A Legacy of Economic Depredations

Ever since the movement first emerged in the Naxalbari area of West Bengal in 1967 following a split in the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Maoists have pursued their radical and revolutionary goals by violent, disruptive and destructive means. Naxalism, as Maoism in India is often called, rides on the slogans of economic exploitation and underdevelopment1. However, the Indian Maoist literature does not lay out any well-articulated economic programme; it speaks more about ideological and organisational issues, against capitalism, imperialism, globalisation, Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and industrialisation. They vaguely mentioned about people’s democratic economy in the following words: “All the industries, banks and other industries of the Imperialist and the comprador big bourgeoisie will be expropriated, turned over to the new democratic state, all lands will be expropriated and distributed to the landless. State will exercise control over the life of the country’s economy. People’s democratic state will play the principal role in industry and commerce and will control the economic life lines of the Country”2. They have asked the people to stop paying taxes, cess and levy to Government. They have also formulated an all India perspective plan to infiltrate into different industries.

The economics of Naxalism is an economics of extortion, loot, levy and destruction. The movement, like any other, needs funds to sustain itself. It needs large financial flows to continue the armed hostilities against the state. It spends large sums on arms and ammunitions, on funding mass organisations and on propaganda. The Maoists run protection rackets for Ganja/cannabis cultivation. They extort money from contractors engaged in road building and irrigation projects, from businessmen and mine owners, and loot banks and local moneyed people in districts where they are active. They collect money from various government schemes such as the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) 2005, and the public distribution system, and levy from villagers, traders, small merchants and transporters. In some forested areas under their control, where they have distributed land (pattas) title/ownership to the villagers, a tax is collected in return. They also collect membership fee from villagers and supporters. During elections, they gather funds from a few local politicians. It is estimated that every year the Naxals collect several hundred million rupees as levy and extortion. Naxals collect levy of 7% to 10% of cost from road work, 2% to 3% from construction of schools and colleges, about Rs 5 million from each factory and mine in areas they dominate. They collect huge protection money from industries, such as the paper industry in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Maharastra. In order to force the industries to pay, they use threats and often burn vehicles and equipment.

Table 1

Number of hits by Maoists(From Jan 2006-June 2009)3Railways122Mines, Steel Plants59Transmission lines42Telecom83Total316

Between January 2006 to June 2009 the Naxals had hit the Railways, transmission lines, steel plants and mines total 316 times.

Human and Infrastructure Costs

The human and material costs of the Maoist conflict have been high. Currently, it is almost impossible to estimate the exact figure of the value of destruction caused by them and the intangible losses. That the conflict has taken a heavy toll on human lives is clear from the limited data available. The fatalities due to the conflict during last thirteen and half year is 7857 human lives, according to the South Asia portal. It includes 3110 civilians, 1986 members of security forces and 2781 Maoist activists. The number of injured may be at least three times the fatalities. The full extent of the human miseries caused cannot be appreciated unless one visits these areas.

The Maoists have systematically destroyed infrastructure and other public property, damaging the local economies. Their armed attacks have caused loss of human resources, affected trade and business, tourism, mining activities, and led to escalating cost of various projects in the affected areas. They sustain a picture of underdevelopment by destruction of infrastructure in regions that already suffer from a developmental lag. The cost of damage to the infrastructure due to the destruction perpetrated by the Maoists is a substantial one. Infrastructural development has suffered the greatest setback in areas where they are active. They have destroyed hundreds of mobile towers, high tension towers, roads, bridges, culverts schools, hostels and guest houses in the affected areas. Hundreds of mobile towers of BSNL, Airtel, Reliance and other companies were blown off in Daltonganj, Aurangabad, Gaya, Palamu, Dantewada, Sukma, Bijapur, Garhchiroli and Raigada districts of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha during the last ten years. Naxals on many occasions have destroyed high tension electric transmission towers, poles and 11 kv and 33 kv electric lines in Andhra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Besides monetary loss, the disruption of electric transmission has caused black outs and inconvenienced millions of people for a few weeks 4. The intangible cost of disruption of electricity to public utilities, hospitals, students, critical patients, and to society as a whole cannot be computed. The entire loss due to damage of roads, bridges, mobile towers, electric transmission, according to a rough estimate, is about rupees 20 billion per annum.

Maoist have also looted dozens of banks and ATMs. For example, on 22nd May 2008 Maoist activists looted a cash delivery van of the ICICI Bank on the National Highway under Tamar police station of district Khunti, around 50 km away from Ranchi. They took away Rs 51.1 million and 1.30 kg of gold5. They have torched several bank branches in Bastar and Jharkhand. Currency remittances to banks in Naxal dominated areas have become very cumbersome and costly. In few places the Reserve Bank of India had to hire helicopters to remit currency. Dozens of branches were at different times closed in remote areas as a result of Maoist activities. This has hit the business and livelihood of local people and the local economy.

The education system in the area has similarly been disrupted. Maoists have damaged dozens of school buildings and hundreds of hostels. In many areas they blasted the buildings by using mines or explosives. In some areas they abducted school children to use them for party work. The educational system in remote forested areas has been disrupted either due to schools and hostels being destroyed or the taking away of some students by the Maoists. The fear psychosis created by blasted school and hostel buildings, and the kidnapping of students has also led to an increase in drop outs from the schools. The reason they gave for attacking the schools was to force out the security forces that at times take shelter in the school buildings. However, through the 1990s and 2000-2001 also Naxals attacked school buildings and hostels, when there were no central forces present in Odisha, Chhattisgah and Jharkhand.

Roads and infrastructure in general have had a huge setback. This has in turn hampered economic activity. Moreover, road construction and repair is difficult in forested and hilly terrains and a costly affair. The agencies are finding it difficult to construct roadsM6. The construction of about 500 km of Nation Highways and six bridges in Naxal areas of Chhattisgarh, Andhra, Odisha could not take off. In Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, to construct a 22 km stretch of road from Bijapur to Ganglur, the Police department had to sacrifice of 56 lives of security men in various offensives by Naxals. Road transportation similarly has been seriously affected in Naxal areas. The Maoists mine and regularly damage roads. They have damaged some National Highways as well. Every year during shut downs declared by the Maoist outfit, transportation activities in few state highways and National Highways come to a standstill. The list of vulnerable National Highways can be seen in Table 2.

Table 2: National Highways hit by Maoist Violence

NH 20Biharsharif- Hazaribagh- Ranchi-KhuntiNH 22Patna- Punpun-GayaNH 26Keshkal- Koraput-Salur-Vijay NagramNH 326Rayagada- Koraput-Malkangiri-MotoNH 27NaxalbariNH 221Jagdapur-Konta-BhadrachalamNH 353CGadchiroli-SironchaNH 57Phulbani-Kalinga GhatiNH 202Bhopal Patnam-VenkatpuramNH 163Geedam-DantewadaNH 765Shri Sailam

Naxals have continuously targeted the Railways, including both goods and passenger trains. They caused the derailment of Gyaneshwari Express on 28th May 2010 at Midnapore in West Bengal and set fire to Vishakha Express. They have also hijacked a train for a few hours. During every call of closure of rail movements by Naxalites, they damage the railway line and cause accidents in Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand. In the last five years they have damaged railway tracks in the districts of Gaya, Bokaro, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Giridih and Dantewada. They have also damaged many railway stations such as Chiyanki, Dumri and Jageshwar of Bihar, and as recently as in March 2017 they ransacked the Doikallu railway station in Odisha to protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the State. The Hazaribagh-Ranchi railway project suffered losses because of Naxal activities in 2008. The loss suffered by due to Naxals in 2016-17 was approximately Rs. 400 million; the cost of repairing damaged Railway lines exceeds few billion rupees every year. They also disrupted rail transport in some areas of West Bengal and Bihar for a considerable time at night in the past leading to the loss of several billion rupees to the railway department every year.

The conflict in the area has given rise to an environment of fear among potential tourists, massively affecting the tourism industry. The area in which the Maoists are active in Central India has been blessed with scenic spots such as Chitrakote and Tirathgarh water fall, Indrawati tiger reserve, Kanger valley, Koundiniya, Papikonda and Udayanti national park, Shrisailam, Simlipal, Kawal, Palamu tiger reserves, but because of the looming fear of violence, they do not attract many tourists.

Attacks on Industry and Mining

Captured top Naxal leaders during interrogations had revealed that they had identified several SEZs for attracting foreign direct investments, and chalked out plans to disturb ongoing projects. Naxals have targeted Latehar aluminium factory, Tata steel plant Jamsedpur, Ghatshila satellite towns, Chandil steel plant and Dumca power plant, among the many other industrial units targeted. Naxals have also tried to infiltrate and influence trade unions in order to sabotage industrial units. A senior Maoist central committee member said they would target Multinational firms whose investments have displaced tribal settlements7.

Naxal areas also find it hard to set up new industrial projects. Lalgarh, Singur, Nandigram, Kalinga Nagar and Lohandiguda are a few examples of major projects that failed to take off. Several billion of rupees had been invested to procure land and on initial construction of these incomplete projects. Global brokerage firm CLSA in its report of 2009 mentioned: “The Maoist threat could derail the plans to develop the mineral wealth of the country. In Kalinga Nagar of Odisha and Lohandi Guda in Chhattisgarh, Tata Steel was unable to complete its projects. Maoist shut downs in Jharkhand state with rich deposits of iron ore and dolomite have cost local steel makers 60 days of lost work per year. Texas Powergen, Posco, Vedanta, Mittal are also being deterred from investing about $ 85 billion in this mineral rich belt. Private sector investment vital to overall developments of any region maynot take place if the Government cannot find a sustainable solution to Maoist problem”8.

Naxal activities caused permanent closure of some mines such as Charagaon, Pallemadi and Godavari iron ore mines and also temporary closure of some mines in Bailadilla. National Mineral Development Corporation’s (NMDC) project at Bailadila suffered a minimum loss of Rs. 20 million per day when Naxals called for closure of transportation of minerals. The destructions of conveyor belts of NMDC, underground lines of Essar and other units cause huge losses to the mining sector.

Loss to forest and forest produce

Availability of natural resources has important consequences for conflict dynamics. Naxals distribute land ‘pattas’ to villagers by clearing forest lands. Hundreds of square km of forest land have been destroyed by them. They also destroy considerable stretches of forests in order to set up their temporary camps. Economic loss due to this deforestation runs into many billions of rupees. Naxals in the past have destroyed forest and bamboo depots, forest guest houses and forest range offices in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Telengana. Tendu leaves collection in many areas was also hit by the conflict.

Thousands of people have been displaced due to the violence in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and in other states. The cost due to displacement runs to a few billion rupees. Violence, loss of livelihood and poor economic conditions escalate the cost of rehabilitation as well. It creates a vicious poverty-conflict trap.

Additional Economic Costs

The Government needs fund for counter-measures. The cost of maintaining security forces in the field is large. Deployment cost of Central Police Forces and State Police Forces becomes a burden on the national economy. About 110 battalions of Central police forces are deployed in Naxal affected states. The state governments of affected States have also developed and deployed similar numbers of police forces to counter Naxal offensives. Besides, fortified police stations and police posts in affected areas have cost about Rs. 10 billion .

In conflict zones, value of life reduces and the cost of everything else increases. Construction costs of many projects, including road and bridge construction, multiplies in Naxal hit areas. In few areas food and construction materials are sent along with security convoys. Conflict also doubles the time required for completing any project. In many places Naxals are known to destroy the equipment and vehicles used for construction work. It is worthwhile to put the words of the then Malkangiri District Collector about escalation of costs: ‘‘We refloated the tender 11 times for construction of Moto Bridge on river Sabri but still there is no response. In 1999 the cost of the bridge was 7 crores, in 2009 it escalated to 27 crores, even then none of the contractors came forward”9.

Conclusion

The broader evaluation of cost of losses caused by Maoist depredations to railway, roads, electricity, government buildings, forest, educations, vehicles, mining, industries, agricultures, commerce and trade is conservatively estimated at about Rs. 200 billion per annum. Lack of development punishes the local population and disruptions escalate the cost of projects, affecting the national economy.

The business community and foreign investors have expressed low confidence in investing in the conflict zones. The shadow of conflict eclipses economic activities and shatters local economy. Conflict related damages to domestic trade, industry, tourism and agriculture pushes Maoist threatened areas into chronic economic decline. Substantial business opportunities have been lost. Infrastructure and environment has suffered tremendous losses. Essential services like health and education have suffered setbacks. The long term economic consequences of the Naxal problem are most worrisome and are worth deeper studies by conflict analysts. Coupled with the loss of lives, the detrimental long term effects on the economy makes it even more important to work collectively towards an early resolution of the conflict.

(One of the foremost experts on Naxal Movement, Shri Giridhari Naik is a former Director General of Police, Chattisgarh, and perhaps the most on-the-ground experienced officer in fighting it.)

References:

After the merger of the People’s War Group (PWG) and the Maoist Coordination Centre (MCC) the various factions of the movement was brought together and renamed as Communist Party of India (Maoist).Please see pages 34, 67, 136 and 137 of the Strategy and Tactics of the Indian Revolution, the Central Committee, Communist Party of India (Maoist).Times Nation, August 2009.Times of India, 14 October 2009, Indian Express, 10 June 2008.Pioneer, 22 May 2008.Indian Express, 10 June 2008.The Hindu, 17 December 2009.Hindustan Times, 15 December 2005.Times of India, 22 July 2008.

(The paper does not necessarily represent the organisational stance... More >>

Image Source: https://static.asianetnews.com/images/01crz9cpk83gjghyvzkjfhwk5m/naxalism--2-_710x400xt.jpg

July 15, 2019

Emperors of Extraction: The Mughals did not make India rich. Claims of their welfarism only buttress a political agenda

Emperors of Extraction: The Mughals did not make India rich. Claims of their welfarism only buttress a political agenda

A riposte to Rana Safvi's argument on how the Mughals apparently strengthened India, while, in fact, Europe grew by paces just then and India's poverty shocked visitors.

POLITICS

 |  6-minute read |   14-07-2019

ABHIJIT IYER-MITRA

 @iyervval

In a DailyO article I came across recently, historian Rana Safvi has repeated a set of claims that form the foundational bedrock of the Republic of India. The point of these myths appears mainly to buttress the centrality of the Congress party’s role in the “Idea of India” (whatever that means). The story, as it goes, was that India was a rich wonderful Disney land, till the wicked witch of the west — Britannia, comes along and destroys everything.And what are the main claims made herein by Ms Safvi?

First, that the Mughals thought of themselves as Indian or, at the very least, Indianised. Second, that they made India “rich”. Third, that they wisely invested in “infrastructure”. Fourth, that unlike the British who extracted wealth, the Mughals ploughed it right back in.

And her proof?The moaning of travellers like Thomas Roe and Francois Bernier with a selectively chosen chart of historical world GDP share by Angus Maddison, showing India’s share go up from 22% of world GDP to 24%.

Despite the courtliness, did India really prosper under them? The evidence says no. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Let us dissect these claims.

The first claim of the Mughals indigenising is unexceptionable though it will require another piece to take down. This piece will focus on why I think her remaining three claims are laughable at best.

“Rich” and per cent share of world GDP don’t exactly go hand in hand. Let's take the three richest countries in the world; this usually rotates between Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Qatar, Norway, Macau, Switzerland and Monaco — all extremely wealthy with a very high standard of living. Yet, their share of world GDP is negligible.

India and China, on the other hand, are two of the three biggest economies — and yet, China has vast pockets of acute poverty with extreme wealth concentration in the eastern seaboard, and India is dirt-poor, save for monstrosities like Antilla.

What one needs to look at then is the GINI Coefficients and per capita incomes of the period, best explained in Ian Morris’ The Measure of Civilisation: How Social Development Decides the Fate of Nations.

Let's take Angus Madison’s statistics for the same period, showing a complete stagnation in per capita income at 550 USD (in 1990 USD) for 300 years running from the 1500s to the 1700s. Clearly then, the temporary blip in GDP in the 1600s did not result in higher per capita incomes - in fact, India’s GDP went down from approximately 25% to 15% from the beginning of the Mughal empire to its end, with the collapse starting during Aurangzeb’s reign itself.

What then of inequality? One good measure is looking at civic architecture. In India, there is a noticeable absence of public goods — just monuments of, for and by emperors (what Safvi rather funnily refers to as “infrastructure” and implies that Shah Jahan knew of the “tourist potential” of the Taj Mahal), as contrasted to Europe during the same period - where every form of public good can be found, from bridges, town halls and theatres, built not by emperors but by the citizenry themselves. This, as Bibek Debroy shows, was the case in Maurya and Gupta India as well.

Medieval Europe was developing, just as India was collapsing. (Photo: Reuters)

Unsurprisingly, Madison’s figures also show that for the entire period of the 1500s to the 1700s, the per capita income of these European states was significantly higher than India and continued to grow exponentially higher while India stagnated at 550 USD. In1500, for example, Italy led the pack at 1100 USD, followed by Belgium and Holland. The UK in 7th place had a per capita income of 714 USD — almost 50% more than India — and this increases to 974 USD in 1600 and 1250 USD in 1700, well before the era of colonial exploitation begins, while India remains stagnant at 550.

Add to this the point that almost 1/4th of the Mughal state’s revenue was the emperor’s personal property, that 1/3rd of the revenues went into maintaining the Omrah (or court) and that between 60% to 70% of revenue was concentrated in the hands of just 655 nobles — that tells you all you need to know.

The same Thomas Roe that Safvi quotes, for example, was shocked at the levels of poverty he encountered in India. The Mughal empire, like any medieval feudal empire, and the entire Islamic period in India was a period of economic stagnation — one that saw Europe steadily overtaking it even in the 1500s and reaching a massive power differential by the 1700s.

That arts and culture flourished in the near-total absence of public goods and civic amenities is, in fact, a confirmation of this extreme resource capture and extraordinary poverty that the vast majority of Indians endured.

Was the Taj Mahal, in fact, built for private gratification? Or, public good? (Photo: Reuters)

India’s decline compared to the rest of the world starts sometime in the 1200s and by the 1400s, most European powers start overtaking it in per capita terms (the reasons for which are elaborated in Barbara Tuchman’s The Calamitous Fourteenth Century).The colonial era only exacerbated the difference because of India’s own stasis.

That’s all.

How is it then that British rule, for all its “wealth drainage”, still sees Indian GDP grow steadily — and for the first time in 700 years, sees an actual increase in India’s per capita income from 550 to 673 USD in just 100 years?Safvi seems to excel at apparently manipulating figures.

The basis of her argument is that as long as extortion stays with “Indians”, despite economic stagnation, despite horrendous inequity and lack of trickle-down, it is not extractive and exploitative — but extortion, if it is taken abroad, even though there is a clear rise in public goods (railways, bridges, civic amenities, etc.) and significant rise in per capita income, is extractive and exploitative.

Given that history is shades of grey, her assertions are laughable at best. But given the age we live in, where the works of Eric Diamond, Angus Madison, Ian Morris, Steve Pinker and Yuval Harari, have shown us new amazing and nuanced ways of perceiving history, Safvi’s piece comes off to me as eminently clueless, deliberately mischievous in the selective use of Maddison's statistics, ignorant of Europe, unaware of real economics and displaying all the pitfalls of finding convenient statistics to suit an agenda.

To quote Disraeli “there’s lies, damned lies and statistics” and Safvi, rather predictably, given her bloopers, fits solidly in that infamous last category.

July 14, 2019

World Bank court orders Pakistan pay $5.8 billion damages to Tethyan Copper

World Bank court orders Pakistan pay $5.8 billion damages to Tethyan Copper

Dave Sherwood

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - A World Bank arbitration court has ordered the Pakistani government pay damages of $5.8 billion to Tethyan Copper, a joint venture between Chile’s Antofagasta Plc (ANTO.L) and Canada’s Barrick Gold (ABX.TO), the Chilean miner said late on Friday.

Tethyan Copper discovered vast mineral wealth more than a decade ago in Reko Diq, at the foot of an extinct volcano near Pakistan’s frontier with Iran and Afghanistan. The deposit was set to rank among the world’s biggest untapped copper and gold mines.

The company said it had invested more than $220 million by the time Pakistan’s government, in 2011, unexpectedly refused to grant them the mining lease needed to keep operating.

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The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled against Pakistan in 2017, but until now had yet to determine the damages owed to Tethyan.

Tethyan board chair William Hayes said in a statement the company was still “willing to strike a deal with Pakistan,” but added that “it would continue protecting its commercial and legal interests until the dispute was over.”

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The Reko Diq mine has become a test case for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ability to attract serious foreign investment to Pakistan as it struggles to stave off an economic crisis that has forced it to seek an International Monetary Fund bailout.

Pakistan’s military sees Reko Diq as a strategic national asset and had taken a key role in its development amid the dispute with Antofagasta and Barrick, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters earlier this year.

GLOBAL EUROPE: EU’S EXTERNAL RELATIONS IN A MULTIPOLAR WORLD


 

09 JUL 2019 - 14:21

BACK TO ARCHIVE

The EU leadership reshuffle raises questions about the EU’s external relations. Should we interpret the appointment of a German defence minister as president of the Commission as a belated response to new (and old) security threats in a multipolar, post-Cold War world, or as an attempt to give the EU a new reason d’être beyond its role as trading power - in the absence of a common identity and sense of community at home?

In a recent article, the chief economics commentator of the Financial Times, Martin Wolf, reflected on the (then) upcoming reshuffle of the European Union’s leadership. It was the choice for a new president of the European Central Bank, he argued, that far exceeded the importance of all other decisions European governments would have to take, which ranged from the appointment of new presidents to the European Commission and European Council, of a new High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the handling of Brexit and trans-Atlantic damage control during the reign of Donald Trump.[1] Wolf’s comment points at the primacy of EU’s internal or ‘domestic’ affairs over its external relations. And, indeed, much of the future internal and external stability of the EU will depend on the political skills of the new ECB president, and on the question whether she will manage to save the euro from enduring divisions within the eurozone.

European leaders at the G20 Summit in Osaka. © Flickr / Number 10

This in turn depends on the level of social cohesion that can be reached in a post-Brexit EU. Here the role of the next president of the European Commission is equally important. Will she be able to bridge the seemingly unbridgeable divides between the old and new member states of the EU, between the Northern and Southern members of the eurozone, between the haves and have-nots across Europe? Will she be able – and willing – to correct more than thirty years of (partly) EU-induced liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation and re-establish the balance between market integration and welfare provisions? The centre-right outlook of the package-deal does not necessarily indicate a strong commitment to improving social cohesion. On the contrary, the appointment of a German defence minister as president of the Commission may very well suggest the continuation of a practice that started with the 2016 ‘State of the Union’ address of Jean-Claude Juncker and the publication of the European Union Global Strategy that same year: efforts to realise a functional spill-over from the economic and monetary union to so-called high politics, notably a defence union. Should we interpret this as a belated response to new (and old) security threats in a multipolar, post-Cold War world, or as an attempt to give the EU a new reason d’être and revamp its external actorness – i.e. beyond its role as trading power - in the absence of a common identity and sense of community at home?

Trade policy
When discussing the most pressing themes with regards to EU’s external relations as I did in my most recent book, trade policy is the most concrete external action in terms of material capabilities and, hence, the strongest expression of EU actorness in its most effective form.[2] However, it is also a policy terrain to which the notion of Normative Power Europe applies, not as a proclamation of universal norms but as an extension of specific European interests and their projection onto the world market. This is expressed in the notion of ‘commercial internationalism’, i.e. the outward manifestation of the EU’s emphasis on competitiveness and structural reforms as part of the so-called neoliberal turn since the 1980s. However, these external projections by the EU are not uncontested.

The EU’s trade with the rest of the world is one of the most important internal and external battlegrounds in which state and non-state actors collide


Indeed, looked at more closely, the EU’s trade with the rest of the world is one of the most important internal and external battlegrounds in which state and non-state actors collide at various levels of analysis. This is clearly evident in the now-defunct TTIP, which brought supporters and opponents increasingly to blows until President Trump unilaterally broke off negotiations. Also, increasing external pressure on the Common Agricultural Policy—formally a separate area of policy that originally had primarily internal aims—has led to a considerable modification of this form of trade protectionism. In the latter case, the officially stated goal of reducing economic disparities in the international system has been part of the legitimation of trade liberalisation—and the politics of commercial internationalism more generally.

European development policy
European development policy shows that this policy area has become more ideologically specific since the 1990s too. In line with changing ideas within the EU on government intervention, the emphasis has come to rest on economic liberalism, also with regard to development issues. Governments in developing countries should focus on export promotion on the one hand, and on the realisation of a political investment climate that can best be described as good governance on the other. Second, the EU’s development policy has increasingly been targeted at the poorest countries in the international system, which has partly been at the expense of a policy focused on good relations with former colonial territories.

Third, grand ideas about development and underdevelopment have made way for a stronger emphasis on poverty relief and the fulfilment of basic needs. This appears to reflect a certain degree of pessimism about the likelihood of development, which is both industrial and sustainable, succeeding in the poorest countries. And finally, development policy has been ‘polluted’ by two considerations that have little to do with a global and altruistic perspective on inequality. Since the end of the Cold War, priority has been given to developments in Europe’s immediate neighbours, while security considerations with regard to the EU itself have received a more prominent place on the political agenda. Migration flows and the related crises are key motivations for this last tendency.

Delegation of the EU Commission in Ethiopia. © Flickr / EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operation

Another conclusion that can be drawn is that the Europeanisation of development policy still has a long way to go. The differences between member states remain too significant. The larger member states in particular continue to see development policy as an extension of their national foreign policy; other countries have a national development culture that is largely based on non-material interests. And still other countries, in particular the new member states that joined in the 2004-2007 period, are yet to start developing a full-fledged policy of development aid. Though there are traces of convergence to be found, especially since the turn of the millennium, there are two reasons to believe that such a convergence will ultimately be found wanting. Firstly, this convergence is a convergence of interests based on a common (or at least perceived to be common) external threat and not one based on mutual cooperation conjoined by beliefs—i.e. not based on functional spill-over and upward Europeanisation. Secondly, not all member states are a part of this convergence. If the big bang enlargement of the EU has shown anything, it is that the various external ‘challenges’ are perceived and appreciated in different ways by old and new member states.

EU’s enlargement policy
The end of the Cold War and the concomitant collapse of socialism in Central and Eastern Europe has had a wide range of consequences. One important result was the shift in attention within the EU’s external relations away from regions and countries that were geographically distant from the Union—whose development prospects had not significantly improved despite decades of aid—and towards democratising and liberalising the ‘other Europe’. This was further encouraged by the fact that the typical Cold War fear of a domino effect, i.e. the spread of left-wing revolutionary and anti-Western tendencies in the Third World, was reduced (if not completely dissipated) as a result of the demise of communism. This took away a significant reason for development cooperation with these countries. That the increase in national implosions and the phenomenon of new wars that were also a result of the end of the Cold War created completely new security dilemmas and fears was not fully appreciated everywhere during these first euphoric years after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Transformation means real social-political and economic convergence accompanied by a change in mindset among elites and citizens


Based on the idea that charity begins at home, the EU developed a comprehensive enlargement strategy in the 1990s of which the final accession of CEE countries in 2004-2007 formed the apotheosis. The Copenhagen criteria were key to this strategy. Although the generally formulated and strictly formal and nominal criteria are seen as the cornerstones of the EU as a transformative power and are even the most effective part of what the EU can do as a global player, reality is more complicated. Here, the difference between transition and transformation plays a central role. Transformation also means real social-political and economic convergence accompanied by a change in mindset among elites and citizens. Recent developments in Central and Eastern Europe have shown that this distinction is relevant. This is one of the four meanings given to the notion of ‘beyond conditionality’ in my book. The successive governments in CEE after 2004-2007—that is, after having met EU conditions for accession—have indeed fulfilled their formal obligations within EU institutions but have also experienced a certain setback in the political transformation process. Corruption is widespread, and some governments are increasingly turning to authoritarian, xenophobic and Eurosceptic practices.

EU Commissioner of European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn & High Representative of the Union Federica Mogherini. © Flickr / European External Action Service

In the EU’s relationship with the current candidate countries and with the countries participating in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)—two other meanings of ‘beyond conditionality’—it can be concluded that considerations of its own security have become increasingly important for the EU. In the case of the candidate countries, there is a risk that the EU will repeat its previous mistake regarding the big bang enlargement, but this time with potentially more serious consequences due to the continuing instability of the candidates. In the case of the ENP, the EU has increasingly become the victim of contradictions in its external relations: forced democratisation imposed from the outside can lead to greater instability in the surrounding countries, and increased instability among neighbours can increase the feeling of insecurity within the EU to such an extent that it ultimately endangers the entire integration process. Again, migration is an important factor here, but it is certainly not the only source of insecurity and scepticism towards the EU looking at the internal and external factors and actors determining the security of the EU and its member states, and their policy re- (or in-) action, in a liberal and multipolar world.

Security of the EU
The period of ‘hegemonic stability’ has run its course, not least because of the changes in US foreign policy. The US has partly turned away from Europe or, rather, is focused on other partnerships. The end of the Cold War was a development of unprecedented significance. With a certain delay, EU member states and EU institutions started to reflect on the consequences of this change. The result of this reflection is the CSDP. This policy domain provides the framework within which the EU can eventually develop its own defence and security policy. But reality is unruly. The EU has shot itself in the foot by subjecting itself to the dictates of the US too ideologically, and for too long. This is evident in the deliberate choice to go along with the neoliberal turn initiated by the US. And it is even apparent in Europe’s most recent attempts to give the EU a military identity. The increase in defence spending, implemented partly at the instigation of the Americans, is something that, given the neoliberal principle of austerity, irrevocably leads to a shift in budgetary priorities. A greater emphasis on defence at the expense of other policy areas must, of course, be legitimised.

It is ultimately a debate about the role of Europe as a global player


As of now, it is too early to speak of a militarisation of the European integration process, but in conclusion we can say that there is undeniably a movement towards enhanced cooperation in the field of defence. In addition to the debates that are taking place around this theme—between Atlanticists and Europeanists, and between intergovernmentalists and supranationalists—perhaps the most relevant debate is about what type of military power the EU should develop: a proactive intervention force that can also be used to discipline or deter opponents (which according to the security dilemma would quickly amount to provocation) or a structure that takes the accompanying acronym seriously, namely a policy-oriented and institutional architecture based on communality and defence (or self-defence).

It is ultimately a debate about the role of Europe as a global player. A European security strategy that unequivocally nestles between offensive realism and power politics on the one hand, and naive idealism on the other, allows for a broader understanding of the concept of security, including the socioeconomic security of its own citizens. Such a shift almost irrevocably implies a gradual socioeconomic and political-military emancipation from Europe’s former ally on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The question, however, is whether such a strategy is realistic and feasible within the current multi-level balance of power, both within and outside the EU.
 

Otto Holman
‘Global Europe. The external relations of the European Union’ 
Amsterdam University Press - ISBN9789462985377
Pagina's 244 - €34,95

1.Martin Wolf, ‘Weidmann casts a shadow over the ECB’, Financial Times, 12 June 2019, p. 9.2.Otto Holman, Europa als Wereldspeler. De Externe Betrekkingen van de Europese Unie (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019), translated as Global Europe. The External Relations of the European Union.

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AUTHORS

Otto Holman

Universitair hoofddocent Internationale Betrekkingen en Europese Politiek aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam


https://spectator.clingendael.org/en/publication/global-europe-eus-external-relations-multipolar-world

GLOBAL EUROPE: EU’S EXTERNAL RELATIONS IN A MULTIPOLAR WORLD


 

09 JUL 2019 - 14:21

BACK TO ARCHIVE

The EU leadership reshuffle raises questions about the EU’s external relations. Should we interpret the appointment of a German defence minister as president of the Commission as a belated response to new (and old) security threats in a multipolar, post-Cold War world, or as an attempt to give the EU a new reason d’être beyond its role as trading power - in the absence of a common identity and sense of community at home?

In a recent article, the chief economics commentator of the Financial Times, Martin Wolf, reflected on the (then) upcoming reshuffle of the European Union’s leadership. It was the choice for a new president of the European Central Bank, he argued, that far exceeded the importance of all other decisions European governments would have to take, which ranged from the appointment of new presidents to the European Commission and European Council, of a new High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the handling of Brexit and trans-Atlantic damage control during the reign of Donald Trump.[1] Wolf’s comment points at the primacy of EU’s internal or ‘domestic’ affairs over its external relations. And, indeed, much of the future internal and external stability of the EU will depend on the political skills of the new ECB president, and on the question whether she will manage to save the euro from enduring divisions within the eurozone.

European leaders at the G20 Summit in Osaka. © Flickr / Number 10

This in turn depends on the level of social cohesion that can be reached in a post-Brexit EU. Here the role of the next president of the European Commission is equally important. Will she be able to bridge the seemingly unbridgeable divides between the old and new member states of the EU, between the Northern and Southern members of the eurozone, between the haves and have-nots across Europe? Will she be able – and willing – to correct more than thirty years of (partly) EU-induced liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation and re-establish the balance between market integration and welfare provisions? The centre-right outlook of the package-deal does not necessarily indicate a strong commitment to improving social cohesion. On the contrary, the appointment of a German defence minister as president of the Commission may very well suggest the continuation of a practice that started with the 2016 ‘State of the Union’ address of Jean-Claude Juncker and the publication of the European Union Global Strategy that same year: efforts to realise a functional spill-over from the economic and monetary union to so-called high politics, notably a defence union. Should we interpret this as a belated response to new (and old) security threats in a multipolar, post-Cold War world, or as an attempt to give the EU a new reason d’être and revamp its external actorness – i.e. beyond its role as trading power - in the absence of a common identity and sense of community at home?

Trade policy
When discussing the most pressing themes with regards to EU’s external relations as I did in my most recent book, trade policy is the most concrete external action in terms of material capabilities and, hence, the strongest expression of EU actorness in its most effective form.[2] However, it is also a policy terrain to which the notion of Normative Power Europe applies, not as a proclamation of universal norms but as an extension of specific European interests and their projection onto the world market. This is expressed in the notion of ‘commercial internationalism’, i.e. the outward manifestation of the EU’s emphasis on competitiveness and structural reforms as part of the so-called neoliberal turn since the 1980s. However, these external projections by the EU are not uncontested.

The EU’s trade with the rest of the world is one of the most important internal and external battlegrounds in which state and non-state actors collide


Indeed, looked at more closely, the EU’s trade with the rest of the world is one of the most important internal and external battlegrounds in which state and non-state actors collide at various levels of analysis. This is clearly evident in the now-defunct TTIP, which brought supporters and opponents increasingly to blows until President Trump unilaterally broke off negotiations. Also, increasing external pressure on the Common Agricultural Policy—formally a separate area of policy that originally had primarily internal aims—has led to a considerable modification of this form of trade protectionism. In the latter case, the officially stated goal of reducing economic disparities in the international system has been part of the legitimation of trade liberalisation—and the politics of commercial internationalism more generally.

European development policy
European development policy shows that this policy area has become more ideologically specific since the 1990s too. In line with changing ideas within the EU on government intervention, the emphasis has come to rest on economic liberalism, also with regard to development issues. Governments in developing countries should focus on export promotion on the one hand, and on the realisation of a political investment climate that can best be described as good governance on the other. Second, the EU’s development policy has increasingly been targeted at the poorest countries in the international system, which has partly been at the expense of a policy focused on good relations with former colonial territories.

Third, grand ideas about development and underdevelopment have made way for a stronger emphasis on poverty relief and the fulfilment of basic needs. This appears to reflect a certain degree of pessimism about the likelihood of development, which is both industrial and sustainable, succeeding in the poorest countries. And finally, development policy has been ‘polluted’ by two considerations that have little to do with a global and altruistic perspective on inequality. Since the end of the Cold War, priority has been given to developments in Europe’s immediate neighbours, while security considerations with regard to the EU itself have received a more prominent place on the political agenda. Migration flows and the related crises are key motivations for this last tendency.

Delegation of the EU Commission in Ethiopia. © Flickr / EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operation

Another conclusion that can be drawn is that the Europeanisation of development policy still has a long way to go. The differences between member states remain too significant. The larger member states in particular continue to see development policy as an extension of their national foreign policy; other countries have a national development culture that is largely based on non-material interests. And still other countries, in particular the new member states that joined in the 2004-2007 period, are yet to start developing a full-fledged policy of development aid. Though there are traces of convergence to be found, especially since the turn of the millennium, there are two reasons to believe that such a convergence will ultimately be found wanting. Firstly, this convergence is a convergence of interests based on a common (or at least perceived to be common) external threat and not one based on mutual cooperation conjoined by beliefs—i.e. not based on functional spill-over and upward Europeanisation. Secondly, not all member states are a part of this convergence. If the big bang enlargement of the EU has shown anything, it is that the various external ‘challenges’ are perceived and appreciated in different ways by old and new member states.

EU’s enlargement policy
The end of the Cold War and the concomitant collapse of socialism in Central and Eastern Europe has had a wide range of consequences. One important result was the shift in attention within the EU’s external relations away from regions and countries that were geographically distant from the Union—whose development prospects had not significantly improved despite decades of aid—and towards democratising and liberalising the ‘other Europe’. This was further encouraged by the fact that the typical Cold War fear of a domino effect, i.e. the spread of left-wing revolutionary and anti-Western tendencies in the Third World, was reduced (if not completely dissipated) as a result of the demise of communism. This took away a significant reason for development cooperation with these countries. That the increase in national implosions and the phenomenon of new wars that were also a result of the end of the Cold War created completely new security dilemmas and fears was not fully appreciated everywhere during these first euphoric years after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Transformation means real social-political and economic convergence accompanied by a change in mindset among elites and citizens


Based on the idea that charity begins at home, the EU developed a comprehensive enlargement strategy in the 1990s of which the final accession of CEE countries in 2004-2007 formed the apotheosis. The Copenhagen criteria were key to this strategy. Although the generally formulated and strictly formal and nominal criteria are seen as the cornerstones of the EU as a transformative power and are even the most effective part of what the EU can do as a global player, reality is more complicated. Here, the difference between transition and transformation plays a central role. Transformation also means real social-political and economic convergence accompanied by a change in mindset among elites and citizens. Recent developments in Central and Eastern Europe have shown that this distinction is relevant. This is one of the four meanings given to the notion of ‘beyond conditionality’ in my book. The successive governments in CEE after 2004-2007—that is, after having met EU conditions for accession—have indeed fulfilled their formal obligations within EU institutions but have also experienced a certain setback in the political transformation process. Corruption is widespread, and some governments are increasingly turning to authoritarian, xenophobic and Eurosceptic practices.

EU Commissioner of European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn & High Representative of the Union Federica Mogherini. © Flickr / European External Action Service

In the EU’s relationship with the current candidate countries and with the countries participating in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)—two other meanings of ‘beyond conditionality’—it can be concluded that considerations of its own security have become increasingly important for the EU. In the case of the candidate countries, there is a risk that the EU will repeat its previous mistake regarding the big bang enlargement, but this time with potentially more serious consequences due to the continuing instability of the candidates. In the case of the ENP, the EU has increasingly become the victim of contradictions in its external relations: forced democratisation imposed from the outside can lead to greater instability in the surrounding countries, and increased instability among neighbours can increase the feeling of insecurity within the EU to such an extent that it ultimately endangers the entire integration process. Again, migration is an important factor here, but it is certainly not the only source of insecurity and scepticism towards the EU looking at the internal and external factors and actors determining the security of the EU and its member states, and their policy re- (or in-) action, in a liberal and multipolar world.

Security of the EU
The period of ‘hegemonic stability’ has run its course, not least because of the changes in US foreign policy. The US has partly turned away from Europe or, rather, is focused on other partnerships. The end of the Cold War was a development of unprecedented significance. With a certain delay, EU member states and EU institutions started to reflect on the consequences of this change. The result of this reflection is the CSDP. This policy domain provides the framework within which the EU can eventually develop its own defence and security policy. But reality is unruly. The EU has shot itself in the foot by subjecting itself to the dictates of the US too ideologically, and for too long. This is evident in the deliberate choice to go along with the neoliberal turn initiated by the US. And it is even apparent in Europe’s most recent attempts to give the EU a military identity. The increase in defence spending, implemented partly at the instigation of the Americans, is something that, given the neoliberal principle of austerity, irrevocably leads to a shift in budgetary priorities. A greater emphasis on defence at the expense of other policy areas must, of course, be legitimised.

It is ultimately a debate about the role of Europe as a global player


As of now, it is too early to speak of a militarisation of the European integration process, but in conclusion we can say that there is undeniably a movement towards enhanced cooperation in the field of defence. In addition to the debates that are taking place around this theme—between Atlanticists and Europeanists, and between intergovernmentalists and supranationalists—perhaps the most relevant debate is about what type of military power the EU should develop: a proactive intervention force that can also be used to discipline or deter opponents (which according to the security dilemma would quickly amount to provocation) or a structure that takes the accompanying acronym seriously, namely a policy-oriented and institutional architecture based on communality and defence (or self-defence).

It is ultimately a debate about the role of Europe as a global player. A European security strategy that unequivocally nestles between offensive realism and power politics on the one hand, and naive idealism on the other, allows for a broader understanding of the concept of security, including the socioeconomic security of its own citizens. Such a shift almost irrevocably implies a gradual socioeconomic and political-military emancipation from Europe’s former ally on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The question, however, is whether such a strategy is realistic and feasible within the current multi-level balance of power, both within and outside the EU.
 

Otto Holman
‘Global Europe. The external relations of the European Union’ 
Amsterdam University Press - ISBN9789462985377
Pagina's 244 - €34,95

1.Martin Wolf, ‘Weidmann casts a shadow over the ECB’, Financial Times, 12 June 2019, p. 9.2.Otto Holman, Europa als Wereldspeler. De Externe Betrekkingen van de Europese Unie (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019), translated as Global Europe. The External Relations of the European Union.

SHARE

AUTHORS

Otto Holman

Universitair hoofddocent Internationale Betrekkingen en Europese Politiek aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam


https://spectator.clingendael.org/en/publication/global-europe-eus-external-relations-multipolar-world