Pramod Biligiri's Blog

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Where India scores over USA
pramod kde
Isn't it astonishing that the USA, for all its strengths, has only 2 political parties effectively? How can it be that 50 states and all the wealth and diversity hasn't produced a cacophony of political noises? The hustling and jostling of the corporate scene has no equivalent in their politics.

Ron Paul lamented this situation in a recent press conference which featured 3rd party candidates like Ralph Nader and Chuck Baldwin. Basically he's urging US voters to turn their backs on the big 2 - the Warpublicans and the Welfarocrats in the words of Lew Rockwell - and vote for a 3rd party or any other candidate of their choice.

Now consider the scene in India. Regional parties and leaders routinely grab media limelight. Imagine if a Mamata Bannerjee or a Mayawati were not allowed to succeed because of a rigged system. A tremendous amount of debate would have been suppressed!

The best way to reduce concentration of power is to have multiple power centers. We have already experienced the excesses of one party rule - Congress of socialist times and the Left governments in Kerala and West Bengal.

One more problem in USA (and increasingly so for India) is the role of media. Since long tail dynamics don't work in the press or TV, mainstream public discourse is conducted in an extravagant echo chamber. And that leads to a deadly negative feedback loop.

So even as the Indian media zooms into the McCain-Obama horse race for the next few months, score one for Indian democracy :)

"India's redemption lies in the inherent anarchy and factiousness of its people, and in the legendary inefficiency of the Indian state"
- Arundhati Roy, in Power Politics
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US fears Africa?
pramod kde
WaPo speaks to an NGO in Africa called Refugees International, who say that US aid to that continent is increasingly routed through the Pentagon and Department of Defense. The person who conducted this study says "the militarization has been driven by the U.S. focus on counterterrorism".

I don't know why people in Africa would want to kill Americans currently. But the US-China fight for Sudan's oil was being fought on the news networks last week, through the proxy issue of a "crimes against humanity" case slapped against the President of Sudan (link).

US aid, like diplomacy, is war by other means.
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