The Great Moat of Beijing

Beijing, China,” Google Maps, downloaded 23 June 2005,,+china&ll=39.916720,116.389010&spn=0.010793,0.015836&t=k&hl=en (from Danwei).

Jeremy informs us…

It’s never been easy to gain entrance to Zhongnanhai, the traditional residential compound of China’s post-1949 leaders. Maps of the area have never offered too many details of the buildings inside the sprawling compound.

However, thanks to Google maps, you — lowly common man — can now have a bird’s eye view of Zhongnanhai, and the rest of Beijing inside the Second Ring Road.

The question is, as Danwei reader Jonas Chau asks: “Does the Nanny know about this?”


Hmmm… I wonder who the moat is supposed to keep out?

Gotchas v. Swarms

Rhetoric Takes Nasty Turn in Congress,” by Jim Abrams, Associated Press, 21 June 2005, (from South Dakota Politics).

A good AP story that illustrates the difference between swarm attacks and opportunity attacks in politics

A Republican accuses Democrats of demonizing Christians. A Democrat talks of Nazis in connection with the treatment of terror suspects. Both sides cry foul, and apologies are hard to come by.

It’s just another day of vitriolic gotchas at the Capitol.

House Republicans on Tuesday were all over Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, because of recent comments in which he referred to Nazis, Soviets and Cambodia’s Pol Pot in describing the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

On Monday, House Democrats stopped debate on a defense spending bill to protest a comment by Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind., that, “like moths to a flame, Democrats can’t help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians.”

Swarms are pulsing like a heartbeat or a lighthouse — the intensity rises and falls. Think of swarming like the hydrological cycle, with warms “raining” (condescending from vapor to water) and evaporating (dispersing from water back to vapor) over and over again.

Congress isn’t that advanced in its thinking yet, perhaps because the Congressional environment doesn’t support the coordination and medium-term thinking swarming needs. Instead, Congressman fight like regular guerrillas, with little thought of the big picture.

Bangladesh and the Making of the Indo-American Alliance

‘Indians are bastards anyway’ – Kissinger,” India-Defence, downloaded 23 June 2005,

Interesting thoughts from… excerpted below with my emphasis. See here and here for other Indo-alliance comments.

The seeds of the Bangladesh war were sown in India’s freedom in 1947, which came with a bloody partition, with India keeping the Hindu-dominated areas of British India and Pakistan the Muslim-dominated ones – to the extent they were geographically divisible. The Pakistan that was born as a result had two flanks – East and West. East Pakistan comprised the Muslim-majority Bengali-speaking areas, while West Pakistan consisted of primarily Urdu-speaking Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and North-West Frontier Province.

Separated by 1,200 miles, East and West Pakistan were hardly comfortable in the compact. Though the East was more populous, West Pakistan cornered the bulk of the Pakistani budget. The West was given more representation in the legislature than the East, and further fueling Bengali sub-nationalism, Urdu was made the official language. West Pakistan, with a 97% Muslim population, was also far less liberal than the East, where at least 15% of the population did not practice Islam. With Pakistan mostly under military rulers – all from West Pakistan – since 1958, any scope for political accommodation was limited. Successive military regimes tried to deal with the problem the only way they knew how – savage repression, adding to the spiral of hatred and tyranny.

he military now decided enough was enough. At a meeting of the military top brass, Yahya declared: “Kill 3 million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands.” Accordingly, on the night of March 25, 1971, the Pakistan army launched “Operation Searchlight” to “crush” Bengali resistance in which Bengali members of military services were disarmed and killed, students and the intelligentsia systematically liquidated and able-bodied Bengali males just picked up and gunned down. Death squads roamed the streets of Dacca, killing some 7,000 people in a single night. “Within a week, half the population of Dacca had fled. All over East Pakistan, people were taking flight, and it was estimated that in April, some 30 million people were wandering helplessly across East Pakistan to escape the grasp of the military,” writes Robert Payne in Massacre. Mujibur Rahman was arrested and the Awami League – which should have been ruling Pakistan – banned.

As East Pakistan bled, refugees began to pour into India, some 8-10 million over the period of the genocide. India repeatedly pleaded with the US administration that it could not cope with any more refugees, and appealed that it use its influence over Pakistan and rein in Yahya. But Nixon continued to condone the repression. To a Pakistani delegation to Washington, DC, he said: “Yahya is a good friend. I understand the anguish of the decisions which Yahya had to make.” Strangely, in his eyes, the military dictator was the victim – one forced so much against the wall that he had to conduct mass murders and rapes.

The US government supplied military equipment worth $3.8 million to the Pakistani dictatorship after the genocide started, even after telling Congress that all shipments to the regime had ceased. Throughout the war, the US government tried everything in its power to hinder India. The US policy included support of Pakistan in the United Nations, where it branded India as the aggressor, and putting pressure on the Soviets to discourage India, with the threat that the US-Soviet detente would be in jeopardy if Moscow did not play ball. When war broke out, Nixon promptly cut off economic aid to India, and at one point dispatched the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal to “intimidate” India. When nothing worked, it pleaded China to join the war to scare off India.

In that sense, this war was the turning point in Indo-US relations, triggering a slow and long process of engaging Delhi – a policy that picked up steam under Bill Clinton and accelerated further under George W Bush. Testifying before the House International Relations Subcommittee for Asia and the Pacific, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Christina Rocca, last week said: “We are accelerating the transformation of our relationship with India, with a number of new initiatives.” With India “this is a watershed year”, she said, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh scheduled to visit the US next month and President Bush promising to go to India some time later this year”.

Seen as a possible counterweight to the same China for which it sacrificed the lives and honor of millions of Bangladeshi men and women three decades ago, the US is even said to be tilting to India as a possible permanent UN Security Council member. Even Kissinger has come out strongly in favor of a permanent seat for India. “I’m known as a strong advocate and one of the originators of close relations with China. I believe that today I am also a strong advocate of close relations with India,” he was recently quoted as saying. Bring home the bastards, such are the compulsions of geopolitics.

This is the same India whose nuclear tests a few years ago drew sanctions from the US. But as in the Bangladesh war, it has lost little time in reversing its position. Now it conducts military exercises with India and offers to make fighter jets with it. In addition to US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns’ agenda when he reaches India on Friday is, curiously, a deal on civilian nuclear energy, which may be unveiled during Manmohan Singh’s trip. This serial policy infidelity has only one explanation: the US understands power, and respects power. That’s why it pounces on Iraq and engages North Korea. Manmohan Singh would do well to remember this when he embarks on his trip to the US to chase India’s UN dream. Groveling won’t help, growling might.