- El Baradei: the Devil's Advocate

El Baradei: the Devil's Advocate

By Shiva Kant Jha

This country welcomed El Baradei, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), when he visited our Republic a few days ago. He chose to speak in support of the Indo-US deal. Some of the points he made (as reported in the media) deserve to be examined and evaluated. That nothing of that sort was done by our media is not amazing knowing the way the syndicate of the vested interests keeps that under enchantment, if not under trammels. It is in the interest of the general public that the points which he made in defence of the Indo-US Nuclear deal be weighed, and impeached.

It was not appropriate for him to poke his nose into this affair which is under our active consideration amidst the storm of apprehensions of all sorts. As the Director-General of the IEAE he had his brief to advance, but he should have chosen a better time and a better place to cast his pearls around. A Nobel laureate can never be a mercenary whatever be the garb.

El Baradei, it is reported, said that he "wanted India to be a full partner in nuclear arena including its use for peaceful purposes and to rid the world of nuclear weapons." His noble wish is really great; and we Indians must have a sense of pride that those good expectations this distinguished statesman has from us. He should try to persuade the mighty Five to implement the obligations prescribed under Art VI of the NPT, which says, as they seem to have forgotten it:

"Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."(Emphasis supplied).

Now which Einstein's heart would bleed to seek counseling from a Freud by presenting a case with candour on his concussion caused by the failure of disarmament efforts before the World War II, when even the most noxious weapons were, by the present-day standards, mere toy pistols? Einstein had bewailed:

"The [the politicians and statesmen] have cheated us. They have fooled us. Hundreds of millions of people in Europe and in America, billions of men and women yet to be born, have been and are being cheated, traded and tricked out of their lives and health and well-being."

It is hoped that El Baradei would work with moral courage and imagination to work for total nuclear disarmament leading to total disarmament. We appreciate El Baradei's noble concern, but we wonder at his priorities, and his tardy efforts to stop the most sinister roguery in human history.

But after making a nice pitch he comes to the brass tacks: the cat is now out of the bag. He is reported to have said that with the commencement of the Indo-US Nuclear deal:

(a) India's "nuclear isolation" would end, and

(b) India would be helped to "sustain its nine per cent growth with the help of energy."

We wish to remain in "nuclear isolation" to escape even an apprehension of the thermonuclear holocaust, even to escape an embroilment in the realpolitik. We believe in 'basudheva kutumbakam' (the whole world is one family); and we would like to live on the principles of co-operation and solidarity. But we also know that many situations do come up when it is prudent to live in isolation'. Japan prospered most during the 'isolation' from the global distractions by keeping it involved in a powerful process of modernization: and America shot up high in might to become a global hegemone drawing on its resources it generated and conserved before the World War II by isolating itself from the game of chess that the prime European powers played without understanding that they were their own grave-diggers.

This plea of a better prospect of economic growth with reference to the increase in the GDP (galloping from 9% to 10% or to this or that) is self-serving, and highly deceptive. This criterion of growth is the artifact of the economists who have devised it to deceive the suffering millions to remain in the trance of delightful hope till the reaper of the super-profits, and the amassers of all wealth loosen some day, some time the ferrule for some drops to trickle down for the 97% of the humans of this Republic. Economics, as the product of capitalism, may derive delight in such measures of growth; but for most of us this is fast becoming a mere craft to aid the strategy of deception. Such 'growth' does not become an index of development of the common people, who die of starvation, suffer disease without medical help, go without good education, live without shelter and sanitation, and feel life so gruesome that death is viewed as the sole benefactor. We live in a world where the one-third of the GDP is stashed in the tax havens, where digitized money remain in the electric waves in the cyber space, where political institutions are fast becoming subservient to the corporate gladiators and other players of the world of darkness, where the government we elect allows itself to get suborned. El Baradei, who said in his Nobel lecture:

"Consider our development aid record. Last year, the nations of the world spent over $1 trillion on armaments. But we contributed less than 10 per cent of that amount - a mere $80 billion - as official development assistance to the developing parts of the world, where 850 million people suffer from hunger. My friend James Morris heads the World Food Programme, whose task it is to feed the hungry. He recently told me, "If I could have just 1 per cent of the money spent on global armaments, no one in this world would go to bed hungry."

should have shown some deeper and pro-people insight.

His ex cathedra statement that the Indo-US Nuclear deal would help India achieve higher growth rate may be right, may be wrong. If right, what is the use of this 'growth' if it delights only the denizens of the cloud-castles; if wrong, what is the use of dangling carrot to people whom Alexander Hamilton called people the 'great beast' . But even worm will turn.

It is reported that El Baradei said that "Indo-US nuclear deal would not affect India's foreign policy." The 123 Agreement and the Hyde Act would interact to interdict India from pursuing an independent policy. What I had written on this point in an article [vide at] on the Indo-US deal deserves to be quoted:

"With India on the side of the USA, the latter's vulnerability to variables is greatly reduced in any strategic engagement againstChina, or the Islamic World, or any other emerging formation in realpolitik of our fragile world. A measure of credibility is lent to the apprehensionby all that is happening around us, which includes the scheduled Joint U.S. -Indian naval exercisesin the Bay of Bengal; and the tone and temper of the media build-up, and the baroque antics of the wielders of the State-power."

For our country problems are made more complex by the fact that China is our neighbour, and it would be unwise to give any apprehension to a neighbour. To be even thought of as an ally of a power which, in effect, is pursuing the Crusade under a new version, would surely be shocking to those who believe in, or appreciate, the Islamic culture. India must be seen to be good and impartial to the Muslim world outside, and to the Muslims of this country with whom we share common destiny, and from whom now have great expectations when the 'invisible hands' of the consumerist capitalism of the West is working in thousand ways against the oriental culture and the values that it upholds..

El Baradei highlighted what is at the core in his approach when, as is reported, he said pithily: ''I look at the end and not the means". What an irony that he made this proposition in this country of Mahatma Gandhi who had said in words which time cannot ever make stale:

"They say, 'means are after all means'. I would say, 'means are after all everything'. As the means so the end. There is no wall of separation between the means and the end. Indeed the Creator has given us control (and that too very limited) over means, none over the end. Realization of the goal is in exact proportion to that of the means. This is a proposition that admits of no exception." (the Young India, 17. 7. 1924)

Gandhi never taught us to ignore the consequences of an act when it is prudent to take them into account. But on no account the purity and propriety of 'means' be ever defiled. The world has seen the worst tyrannies and deceptions when citizenry of a country allows itself to be lulled by the false hope of some El Dorado. When we hear some politicians counseling us to have patience till 2020 or 2050 when good days would begin for all, we feel like asking them: "Good. But if we stand deceived where will we find you to hang you as was done to Oliver Cromwell after the Restoration when his body was dug up and hanged because most of you would have returned to the dust by then defiling some spots of this good planet. - Links on Shivakantjha - Links on Shivakantjha

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