New white paper: “China’s Nationalist Policies Obscuring Reality in Tibet.”

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chinas-Nationalist-Policies-Obscuring-Reality/dp/1981817174

 

“I always, you see, admire the spirit of (the) European Union,” the Dalai Lama said in a video message to the International Campaign for Tibet on the Washington D.C.-based group’s 30th anniversary on Thursday.

“Common interest (is) more important rather than one’s own national interest. With that kind of concept, I am very much willing to remain within the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese word, “gongheguo” (republic), shows some kind of union is there.”  –His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, March 2018.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-tibet/tibet-can-exist-with-china-like-european-union-dalai-lama-idUSKCN1GS0C7?il=0

 

The scourge of Tibet.

 

The Central Government continues to ferret  rules of engagement as it is closing Tibet’s borders for ten days between  October 18-28, while the Communist Party holds meetings of the 19th National Congress. I’ve got to wonder if Xi would make time for “agencies” if trade value was at stake. As usual, it is “do as I say or pay more” else-where. And really, why are developed nation-states subsidizing the Chinese economy at the expense of home-grown R & D and jobs. We’ve taken a wrong turn and now it is a time for a serious re-think about rogue nation-states that flout human rights and their place in our democratized orbit. China can get there, but, not when we have tunnel vision on “factory of the world” procurements. Stand up for Tibet; she deserves the dignity. Tibet is not unlike the rain forest, with her delicate eco-system. Cluttering her environment with super- highways and high speed rail, nuclear waste and other forms of pollution only hastens the debilitating effects of climate change in neighbouring countries; India notwithstanding. Meanwhile, Chinese officials still continue to impose control over citizens that celebrate the Dalai Lama’s birthday which takes place on July 6. Chinese officials will wait until His Holiness ascends and then name a successor as they did with the Panchen Lama. Congressional talks ring familiar.

Chariot’s received some love when it was selected for a recommended reading list for a course at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland. I’m humbled and thankful.

Recommended Reading for “Agency and Strategy in Non-Western Political Thought (2015-16) and Fall 2017” at St. Andrew University, Scotland. Week Six.

Week 6: Self-Immolation by Fire

Recommended Reading 

Chariots of fire: a Tibetan historical perspective – Kevin Kieswetter, 2014 Book

https://www.amazon.ca/Chariots-Fire-Tibetan-Historical-Perspective-ebook/dp/B00KEHMTS0

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/NEW-Chariots-of-Fire-A-Tibetan-Historical-Perspective-by-Kevin-Joseph-Kieswette-/391115259068

Available in print & Kindle format.

Envocracy in Tibet

13

Environment and Democratization

Michael Buckley, the Canadian Tibetologist has witnessed the mass deforestation of Tibet where “half the forests of eastern and southern Tibet” have been eviscerated by its Chinese denizens. Buckley continues: “…over 50% of Tibet’s forests have disappeared since  China invaded Tibet” …while “over 50 billion worth of oak, pine, larch, and rhododendron has been logged and hauled out to mainland China.”1 Given the vast amount of resources shipped out of Tibet as Buckley notes, consideration must be accorded to mining, and the loss of employment opportunities to native Tibetans due to the sinicization of Tibet since the occupation. As mentioned earlier, China has invested 100 billion in the region through subsidies, though, it is the present damage and long term consequences of its actions that are difficult to calculate. As Tibet is native to “46,000 glaciers” it has the third largest cluster of ice in the world after the north and south poles, thereby earning the title of Third Pole.

Capitalism is the antecedent economic structure to communism dating back to the Middle Ages in Western Europe. However, as Capitalism has evolved and innovation advanced rapidly, the difficulties associated with technological innovation have laid waste to the environment that protects humans and provides for our sustenance. In the 21st century, particularly in North America and notably in Ontario (including China’s Socialist command economy), the notion of a kleptocracy or envocracy 2 ,within those economic structures is prevalent. Ontario Canada is a good example of a burgeoning envocracy with the provincial government having wasted millions of tax payer dollars on the purported switch from coal to gas powered plants and now a looming carbon-tax. The notion of a kleptocracy in Capitalist states is perhaps a bit pedantic, though the notion of pork-barrel politics lends some credibility to American  and Canadian politics.The strength of a kleptocracy can be found in Russia today as President Putin has amassed large sums through state coffers.Indeed, the Panama Papers suggest that Putin and his associates have benefited from 2 billion through off shore activities. Talk about pork. Yet, to keep those Russian denizens on his side, he annexed Crimea to speak to former Russian pride, real or imagined. So, the reality of politics and the benefits of working within that sphere are unmistakable in cosmopolitan centres, no matter the continent. The basis or crux of this discussion is the effect of China’s occupation of Tibet on its environment and culture. As mentioned above Buckley notes well of China’s plundering of Tibet’s resources for economic gain in China (I don’t consider Tibet part of China, though that it is, is accepted in the international community) and will continue to build rail links and provide employment opportunities for Han Chinese that choose to migrate to Tibet for the vast enjoyment of state benefits at the expense of compromised health due to the high altitude. Instances of women returning to mainland China to complete their pregnancies due to the effects of high altitude difficulties are well documented. One has to be born into these circumstances in order to adjust to the environment. Everest is a prime example where sherpas are employed as guides to those individuals who chose to scale the mountain. Everest has a Nepal side and a Tibet (China) side, so, the economic advantages prevail for both parties. In fact, these same Panama Papers have implicated President Xi and other members of the Politburo for hiding assets in off-shore accounts. Ironically, Xi came into office on the promise to eradicate the graft and prosecute those public officials “capitalizing” on Chinese resources on the mainland or Diaspora. The system is heavily weighted in those command economies or a managed democracy such as Russia’s for mass corruption by public officials.

In order to mitigate against supporting these regimes, the difficult decision to attach conditions reflecting human rights through trade agreements with these states, seems be the only way to catch their attention. Currently, the quagmire of trade and political associations can be found through Brexit and the separation of state from union. No doubt Britain will be ostracized within the EU and will need to forge new trade deals outside of this zone in order to revitalize it’s economy and strengthen their voice once again, in foreign policy decisions. Streaming away from Chinese goods towards Britain and other nation-states without human rights issues provides Canada, in particular, a great opportunity to expand its foreign policy without curry favouring to the UN for a seat on the Security Council, which is long overdue for expansion from a post WW2 club of five permanent members, that remains in this form to the present day. Canada, though still a crown nation-state would do well to create a Department of Collective Security whose sole purpose would be to collaborate with the United Nations P5 in order to find Canada a seat on the UN in a permanent role, alongside the United States. After all, Canada will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2017. What better way to illustrate to the world a stronger and more  independent Canada, that can flex its foreign policy muscles in order to affect positive change in other parts of the world, including the Near East and Tibet.  In the meantime, consumers ought to purchase American, Canadian or goods from nation-states that pursue freedom of speech as the vanguard of human rights and utilize this as a potential pressure point to work with the Tibetan Government in Exile on a power-sharing doctrine that is meaningful. In this way, the Chinese envocracy can be minimized in Tibet and China, while pushing innovation to protect the environment and the public purse.While China has invested heavily in Tibet, it has taken out more in resources for the mainland while a floating population of  between 150,000 – 200,000  Tibetans have left for larger urban centres in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou to pursue new opportunities, according to CRIENGLISH.COM.3 The traditional Tibetan way of life for centuries has been circumvented due to China’s occupation and oppression. To further illustrate this case, a Chinese work-team surfaced at Larung Gar, the largest Buddhist teaching facility in Tibet on July 20 with heavy equipment to demolish parts of the monastery and academy because they feel overcrowding is an issue, “with only 1,500 monks and 3,500 nuns allowed to live on the site” by October 2017. A student at Larung Gar disputed the authenticity of China’s claims with  overcrowding that already exists in towns and cities across China.4

 

 

1.Buckley, Michael. “Meltdown in Tibet.” New York: Palgrave/McMillan. 2014.

2.Kieswetter, Kevin. I define an Envocracy as “a nation-state that advocates democratic principles for its subjects in the realm of the environment; though, eschewing in practise those very elements that underlie good and fair  governance in the name of environmental protection, and/or urbanization.”

3.Zhou Yan and Sun Yang.”Tibetans Leave Home to Seek New Opportunities.” 03.14.2012. 02.07.2016. <http://english.cri.cn/6909/2012/03/14/3123s686949.htm>.

4.Demolitions Begin at Larung Gar. freeTibet. 21 July 2016. 28 July 2016. <http://www.freetibet.org/news-media/na/demolitions-begin-larung-gar?mc_cid=e5d205c329&mc_eid=4ff30258c7>.

 

Photo: www.tibetnature.net

Of Hobbes, Tibet and Palestine

tibetan-prayer-flags

‘… a defeated population, for fear of death, will authorize all the actions of the sovereign “that hath their lives and liberty in his power.”1 The defeated groups surrender should be unconditional and it should be signified as a relationship between the master and the servant. This “dominion” is then acquired to the victor when the vanquished , to avoid the present stroke of death, covenanteth, with in express words or by other significant signs of the will, that so long as his life and the liberty of his body is allowed him , the victor shall have, the use thereof at his pleasure.”2

Jabareen is referring to absolute surrender by the Palestinians to Israelis upon formation of the first Knesset and territoriality that was imposed on them through Israeli Parliamentary procedure, that exists to this day. There is the obvious comparison to Tibetans and the occupation by Chinese authorities that remarkably, covers an almost identical period of time and offers no sign of resolution in either case. Moreover, one can say with probable cause, the existence of an Islamic rebirth in the 20th century that had much to do with the subjugation of Islam to the new colonial powers beginning in the 18th century.
If, Tibetans, prima facie, were to exhibit the same tactics to avenge their occupiers mistreatment, Tibetans prima facie can expect little to no support from the international community, and may find themselves constantly ensconced in periods of renewal and rebuilding from the onslaught of Chinese munitions. Therefore, to draw a similar comparison to our Palestinian friends, is frankly, not very invigorating because, given the overcrowding and poor living conditions of Palestinians, they (Palestinians) still control some of their territory through their elected government. Tibetans cannot claim this right nor the right to freedom of speech or expression that we sometimes take for granted in the developed world.
Similar tacts by the international community and the United Nations in a post WWII universe; one stricture saw the formation of an Israeli state; the other, the absence of any meaningful dialogue with Peking regarding conditions inside Tibet. Israel’s management of the situation with Palestine echoes Hobbesian ideology in that obeisance to the state is based on “surrender and humiliation.” The international community lay witness to the carnage on Palestinians by Israel, and in an indirect manner, those nation-states that support Israeli Zionist policy. Further, it is apparent for all to see the backlash against Zionism that has been ruinous to Israeli security beginning with the First Intifada from 1987-1993; the Second Intifada from 2000-2005, and a Third Intifada, which occurred in 2014 around Jerusalem. In addition, the “Arab Spring” that began in Tunisia on December 18, 2010 can be considered a regional uprising and not a case of racial turmoil, that exists between Israel and Palestinian Arabs.Similarly, Tibetans are being marginalized by their Asian occupiers, despite a lengthy historical – geographical linkage.

Given the nature of Apartheid in Israel and the Occupied Territories, the similarity between Tibetans and China and the former remain mired in illegitimate support from the international community and those agencies that support those nation-states. It doesn’t take a wry economist to acknowledge the financial windfall of promoting trade with Beijing. Not so for Israel, that is surrounded by neighbours who would be quite happy to see it disappear from the Near-East. The crux is that the Palestine “state” has been granted reasonable recognition to file clams against the state of Israel through the ICC (International Criminal Court) for war-crimes; uprisings have seen a disproportionate number of casualties that Palestine has borne the cost of throughout both periods of unrest and peace. Tibetans, by comparison, and through mostly non-violent measures, resort to self-immolation to express dissent against their Chinese occupiers, and are not of a maudlin persona. The question is: why not? First, Palestinians have an elected government, that, while not given widespread credibility, does provide elections and support, if only token. Tibetans, by contrast, have a government – in – exile located in Dharmsala, India that provides a voice to the international community through its spiritual leader, The Dalai Lama and Political Leader or “Sikyong,” Lobsang Sangay. In 2008, during the 2008 Summer Olympics, Tibetans found a vehicle to express their disdain for treatment by Chinese officials through the mass media that was foisted upon Beijing . There was a good deal of unrest that resulted in vandalism and casualties to both sides; casualty figures comparable to Palestinian and Israeli recent conflicts. China’s response: shut down communication inside Tibet and take a hard-line against the Buddhist community, which continues in 2015. Barring a complete economic melt-down by China, the status quo seems most likely for Tibetans; the international community recognizes Tibet as part of China. In order to create a fair opportunity for Tibet, a strong presence by the United Nations (an expanded Security Council) combined with recognition by the ICC of the Tibetan Government in Exile, may provide vigour to Tibet’s hope for democratic reform. For now, Palestine, has a comparative advantage, yet, the “war of everyman against everyman” persists in Tibet and the Near-East.

1 Hobbes, Leviathan. 122

2Jabareen, Hassan. “Palestinians and Hobbesian Citizenship.” Multiculturalism and Minority Rights in the Arab World. Kymlicka Will and Eva Pfostl. Oxford University Press. 2014. 192.

 

 

 

Statelessness and Modernity

1393781240_abe14492bf_o

Concerning the Kurds, Tibetans, Palestinians and various Native groups, we observe the issue of statelessness as a fairly recent phenomenon in a multi-polar world. Given the apparent strength of this durable political machine, the question that leaves many political scientists scrambling for answers to is: how did western-based developed nation-states view these events so tardily, and how can we ameliorate some of these situations that affect millions of people on a daily basis.  UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) reports that 1.5 million registered Palestinian refugees live in 58 recognized camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.1 UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency) reports that conflict in Syria has led to the disbursement of 3,988, 857 Syrian refugees to neighbouring Turkey (1,758, 092) and Lebanon (1,196,560) comprising the majority of those individuals displaced through conflict between various groups and the Assad regime. 2 The Tibetan diaspora is reported by the CTA (Central Tibetan Agency) to number 127,935 with 94,203 living in India or residing in Indian refugee camps. 3 A York University researcher, Caryl Patrick, reported that in urban areas in Canada …”more than 90% of those living on the street are aboriginal” where 10% exist in Halifax; the problem extends across to Yellowknife where 95% of the homeless are aboriginal. Patrick explained in her report that the Canadian Aboriginal population comprises 4% of the Canadian population, indicating, an epidemic is upon us in Canada regarding the number of Aboriginal homeless on the street. 4) A Brookings article indicates that Libya has 2 million people abroad, mostly in Tunisia with 400,000 IDP’s (internally displaced people.) 5 The political crisis since the departure of Muammar Gaddafi during the Arab Spring uprising (that began in late 2010 and concluded, more or less by the middle of 2012) has seen Libya’s political structure fragment and the country teetering on a “failed state” status. The aftermath for Libyans has resulted in a power vacuum between Islamists, and two governments. The conflict has led to an exodus of migrants to Sicily in haphazard vessels that has been perilous, and in one instance resulted in mass casualties. Recently, there exists a mass exodus of migrants from war-torn Syria and Libya, both of which are affected by the incursion of Islamic State militants that operate under an extreme form of Sharia Law. Iraq’s government with the support of American air power is reclaiming territory claimed by Daesh and the liberation of Fallujah is upon Iraqi’s. Continuation of repressing this terrorist group must expand into Mosul and into Raqqa, Syria in order to send assurance to those individuals risking their lives to migrate to Europe in order to escape the barbarism of Daesh. Only then can a multi-national effort embrace the notion of putting in place a strong central government in Libya to restore order and signal stability to those that remain, and ultimately, encourage those who have defected to return home.

The international community is a resilient amalgam of ideologies that operate in a vacuum, with self-serving interests. Modernity in our current state is, after all, mostly a capitalist one that we operate in, save for the unfortunate folks in North Korea. China has democratized somewhat, though the sanctity of the vote and personal freedoms remain squelched by the various state apparatus, including labour conditions, a muted press, and dubious human rights policies. Tibet remains under lock-down, while Hanoi features a burgeoning private sector. The situation remains murky as we travel east to Syria, Palestine and Israel. Just to blow the top off of the whole thing, it is apropos to include the Aboriginal groups in North America and abroad, as well, in any discussion of statelessness. If asked, many Canadian Aboriginals would scoff at the notion of life on a reserve as anything but democratic. Suffice it to say, we have a lot of work to do, but, can achievement be accomplished in a multi-polar world torn by economic interests. There is the problem of mounting deficits that curtails the effectiveness of most developed nation-states.

Matthew Happold sums up nicely the aftermath of the post-Soviet world that has put pressure on formal power relationships, such as Russia’s intervention in Georgia, and recently in Crimea (2014) and the Ukraine. In addition, Happold notes that the collapse of the DOHA trade talks in 2008 remain mired in red tape that could foster economic growth globally with huge spin-offs to developing nations. Current criticism of trade agreements has thrust America into the spotlight over job losses to countries such as Mexico that offer cheaper labour and other costs compared to the higher corporate taxes that imperil North America and shunt growth. The emergence of robotics and technology is impacting the employment picture for future generations that cannot access the necessary tools to operate in a work force that has fewer humans producing products.

Indeed, the emergence of China as an economic and military power, particularly in Asia, continues to strain formal political relationships due to the intransigent nature of Beijing’s hold on dubious human rights policies and political beliefs. Finally, regional trading blocs and economic zones such as BRICS, and the United States hegemonic nature of managing terrorist threats, continue to create cleavages in international relations. 6

If we consider the absence of a super-power or a role – reversal for America with China, for instance; can a fragmented international community function effectively with a pre-eminent power subscribing to dubious human rights violations and environmental degradation, through policies that nurture it’s own economic interests and political salvation. This remains to be seen and could throw a greater divide between those nation-states that support it for economic or military purposes and those nation- states that oppose those creeds. In the latter case, a return to an early 20th c League of Nations rendering of global balance of power and Realpolitik; in the former, a return to a pre Cold-War period where American sovereignty and NATO countered the Soviet doctrine of Stalinism and the Warsaw Pact.

Therefore, one can hope that the international community can reconcile the issues of statelessness of Syrians, Libyans, Palestinians and Tibetans in a well-orchestrated quid pro quo in a bi-polar, or multi-polar universe that is the current form of political power.

It seems that a multi-polar world coalescing with a goal of collective security through an organization such as an expanded United Nations, can help to improve the length and scope of some refugee crises within a single organ (Security Council) with broad reaching powers, while dismantling an organization such as NATO, that has fomented anger in Moscow, and, is an icon of western political excess may promise an improvement in stabilizing relations between western powers and Moscow.

Many problems arise with a global UN and expanded powers (within its proscribed Chapter VII range to maintain peace and security,) such as, funding by member states, military budgets within member states, selling it to various levels of government as a viable mandate, and public acceptance. The latter two will be most problematic with the US Congress and Senate feeling their authority threatened (as will other nation-states and organs such as the E.U.) and the prospects of warfare among various NGO’S and INGO’S for monetary support to keep their jobs. Perhaps we might call that “concentrated outsourcing.”

Consider the strength of American funding for 2015 of the entire UN budget with a contribution of 22% or $654, 738,938,000.7 George W Bush famously battled with the UN over Iraq’s alleged WMD that the US used to unilaterally enter into a war, (many would say unfinished business) with Saddam Hussein. The strength of withdrawing funding becomes a war of words that ultimately ends with victory for those member states that write the biggest cheques. Most of us aren’t going to argue with our bosses too vehemently towards the end of the pay cycle. Such is the case with another UN organ – the ICC (International Criminal Court) that prosecutes those leaders accused of war crimes at The Hague. There was a strong argument for George W Bush to be charged for war crimes during the second Iraq war, though, how can the UN function with a diminished contribution from America if it’s President is being embarrassed internationally and the entire nation, with it. So, the argument for UN expansion has it’s merits to spread out the responsibility for global peace and the cost to achieve it (over the outdated mode of the P5) that puts far too much pressure on the United States and not enough accountability to the other four members, notably Russia and China. Some may argue that that is well and good, a quid pro quo for American President Woodrow Wilson who was instrumental in founding the League of Nations in 1920, though, the United States never became an official member during Wilson’s mandate, or during the League’s tenure from 1920-1946.

The U.S. military budget for 2015 was tabled at 813.9 billion, so, comparatively, the UN budget is nearing US military expenditures. Is the premise of “collective security “creating good value for America, whereby UN operational costs run tantamount to this degree of spending compared to US Federal interest payments for the year approximated at 229.2 billion. In it’s present form the UN seems a poor investment for the cost, particularly, for the U.S. with an investment to operate NATO for 2015 at U.S. 585 billion. The question becomes one of statelessness and how the international community is responding to Jus Post Bellum i.e. the reparations, post war that enable people to return home. In one instance, we can say that the Palestinians have been forsaken by the international community, since the formation of Israel. In addition, Tibetans have been largely ignored since the Chinese occupation, and Aboriginals within their own nation-states i.e. Jus soli – right of the individual born in a territory to citizenship, have been displaced since colonization.

Despite China’s claims, Tibet is still saddled with the highest poverty rate in the PRC, according to China’s Xinhua news agency as stated in a Fall 2014 report. 8

Statelessness will continue to imperil our best attempts to aid those folks who desperately need and are seeking a better life. Perhaps the present defragmented  multi polar world has left us without the focus that we had in a bi – polar orbit, now affected by social media, outsourcing, and severe budget deficits. This begs the question: is the modern state and the spirit of democracy compatible in a world fraught with terrorism? It seems so, but the international community needs to constrict the number of organization’s impacting collective security, while strengthening the few to collaborate with the many.

Currently, the refugee crisis in Europe is an ominous sign that politics and human rights are at odds with sound judgment. Where does global responsibility lay within the scope of regime change? Hopefully, before photos of young children washed up on a beach emerge to our shock and horror.

 

 

1)United Nations Relief and Works Agency. “PALESTINE REFUGEES.” 10 May 2015. <http://www.unrwa.org/palestine-refugees.>

2)Stories From Syrian Refugees. “Facts and Figures.” 13 May 2015. 15 May 2015. <http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/syria.php>.

3)Wikipedia. “Tibetan diaspora (taken from “127935 Tibetans living outside Tibet: Tibetan survey”.”  12 April 2010. 08 May 2015.  Press Trust of India. 2010-04-12. Retrieved 2010-12-17.<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_diaspora>.

4)CBC News. “Aboriginal homelessness an ‘epidemic’, York researcher says.” 28 March 2014. 12 May 2015. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/aboriginal-homelessness-an-epidemic-york-researcher-says-1.2589861.>

5)Karaspan, Omar. “The Impact of Libyan Middle-Class Refugees in Tunisia.” Brookings. 17 March 2015. 15 May 2015. <http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/future-development/posts/2015/03/17-libyan-refugees-tunisia-karasapan.>

6) Happold, Matthew. International Law in a Multipolar World. Routledge:London and New York. 2012, 2.

7) United Nations Secretariat. Assessment of Member States’ contributions to the United Nations regular budget for the year 2015. 29 December 2014. 9 May 2015. <http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=ST/ADM/SER.B/910>.

8)”Poverty rate in ‘Tibet’ still highest in PRC.” Tibetan Review. <http://www.tibetanreview.net/poverty-rate-in-tibet-still-highest-in-prc/.>

Recommended Reading for “Agency and Strategy in Non-Western Political Thought (2015-16)” and Fall 2017 term at University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Week Six.