Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Selamat Datang!

The world continues to burn.

Malaysia's new king took office today. Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin won't formally installed until April 2007, but it is a remarkable day nonetheless. Early this morning, both President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issued a striking joint statement that neither India nor Indonesia was averse to using nuclear weapons, if the tactic was deemed necessary towards the capture –or elimination– of Oliver Lowell (and other members the PURE network).

Meanwhile, in a separate televised broadcast in Pakistan, that country’s leader Gen Pervez Musharraf indicated his nation’s acceptance of a conditional peace agreement with India, which he signed into law at a heretofore undisclosed treaty meeting in Kashmir. The arrangement, it's reported, was hammered out by Musharraf and Abdul Kalam during the days and weeks that followed the 7/27 attacks.

Analysts here say the agreement has less to do with peace between the two countries and more to do with the fact that Musharraf wants to be sure that India (with 827 Million Hindus), doesn’t undercut Pakistan’s measure of influence in what is, after all, being called a 'Pan Moslem Coalition'.

Others –more conspiratorially minded– say that Pakistan would not have come to the table had not China exerted its own diplomatic pressure from across the Himalayas. China has long played an important role as a leading provider of sensitive military technology to Pakistan, a relationship which has naturally strained Sino-American relations before, despite the relatively recent influx of numerous U.S. investment deals in the East. Some say the current move reveals a new hidden political agenda that Pakistan is implementing on China’s behalf.

Possible covert Chinese strategies aside, Abdul Kalam's nuclear banter has pushed buttons in the west, especially in the United States, where Reuters reports that the Indian ambassador to Washington was called to the White House to clarify the Indian President’s remarks.

A source reveals how Ambassador Ronen Sen, India's US ambassador, explained to a room full of unspecified U.S. government officials that the July 27, 2007 attacks on South East Asia by militant Christians have necessarily inspired disaffected Coalition partners to not just strengthen their region’s protective defenses from future threats, but to prevent 'anticipated western aggression' with pre-emptive measures.

"We have a pragmatic obligation to strike down Oliver Lowell and the PURE Network before they develop the capacity to strike us again," Ronen Sen said, "–and there’s not a bloody thing Dick Cheney and a pot full of coconut curry can do about it."

Naturally, Washington returned Sen's swagger with words of warning, impressing upon him the importance that India back off from threats that speak either to India's nuclear capability, or of any measures that indicate a possible incursion of U.S. territory.

Sen responded immediately expressing concern that Washington's words sounded less like a warning than a thinly veiled threat, and returned with a warning of his own, telling the US superpower "not to even consider coming to Bhabha in search of yellowcake". "We are not so naive," he added.

Bhabha is the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre [BARC], which looks like a bit like a robo-hindi version of the Taj Mahal and bills itself as "A premier multi-disciplinary Nuclear Research Center of India". One wonders what is meant by 'multi-disciplinary', though? Atomic Research, and perhaps a dance program?

This tête-à-tête between India and Washington has in turn given rise to new fears in South East Asia and throughout the Muslim world that western forces –which could easily launch an action from America-occupied Afghanistan– might seek to topple India, Indonesia, Pakistan, or all three, in an attempt to destabilize newly formed alliances. I can tell you that one immediate result is that right now, I guarantee you, local Imams all over the world are using their PA systems to issue an immediate call to jihad, as a pre-emptive measure against a possible attack by Washington.

Good job, President Bush.

And in case you aren’t following the stories that are buried in the middle of the newspaper, Under-Secretary for Political Affairs, R. Nicholas Burns, –who I've learned has been working tirelessly for some time to hammer out a Civil Nuclear Cooperation agreement with India– commented on Sen's remarks by declaring the Indo-American initiative, reached only last May, by the way, "now absolutely dead".

Daulat Tuanku! –Long Live the King!