Saturday, April 25, 2009

The fate of freedom when China and India shall dominate the world- part 1

It is believed that India and China will bestraddle the world in the 21st century. That may or may not be true. Here in this long post(that of necessity must be divided in parts) I hold out my views on the issue most fundamental to human well being and civilization -freedom.Or more specifically, what shall happen to human freedom when India and China are the two super-dominating hyperpowers. I believe we need to examine this closely as China has been and is a totalitarian power and India has never shown much enthusiasm for promoting freedom in the world (quite the contrary, in fact, post-independence India has aligned with most despicable regimes and ideologies)

(Note- this was written as an article for Pragati. However it seems it wasn't much to their liking.)

(Note 2 -by "Freedom" I mean the traditional and classical meaning of the word -freedom of an individual from coercion exercised by the state, the collective,the society, from neighbours; freedom to pursue one's interests and happiness without interference)

So here goes-

What will happen to freedom when China and India dominate the world?

Part 1-Alternate history-If the Soviet Russia had triumphed

Let us conduct a thought experiment (a favorite device of Einstein) –
let us imagine that the cold war had been won by the Soviet Union under the formidable command of an ideologically passionate leader (a Soviet Reagan).After long years of recession, depression and busts the economies of the Western bloc collapsed utterly -and once and for all the capitalistic and democratic system of government was thoroughly discredited. The triumph of communism was complete. To the fragile democracies of Western Europe, now hurling out of Washington's orbit pushed along by strong internal leftist parties and a strong anti-American sentiment, the inevitability of the Soviet system became obvious. This was the end of history, announced Francis Fukuyama. The history had made its decision- the future for all times now belonged to the totalitarian system of government with the state being the arbiter of almost all in a person's life. The individual belonged to the collective, to the state that embodied the common good. On his own a person was but a speck of dust- his only worth consisted of what he could do for the collective i.e. what the state commanded.

Of course there were reactionaries who refused to see reason, who still clung to the disgraced notions of individual freedom and liberty. In Western Europe the Soviet tanks had to roll into some capitals, strictly on the 'invitation' and 'call for help' from the concerned governments, now mostly made up of left-communist coalitions, to put down revolts by these modern day 'kulaks'. There were, of course, the usual massacres, deportations and large scale imprisonments that follow wherever the communists take over. The existing gulags filled up quickly and new ones had to be constructed post-haste. Needless to say -like the old ones, the new prisons were built by slave labor.

World wide the collapse of capitalism had profound consequences. There were countries who after decades of socialism and communism were beginning to flirt with free markets-India and China, for example. That now stopped forthwith. The semi-capitalistic economies of East Asia were quickly demoralized and their markets sank, just like everywhere else. The Latin America crumbled completely and threatened to revert either to the Peronist style of strongman lead nationalism or to the more totalitarian Allende/Sandinista variety.

The severe economic situation in Japan lead to a strong rise in the forces of ancient militarism. Its American drafted constitution was abrogated.

China wasted no time in occupying Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

As for Africa, its civil wars now raged even more violently with Soviet and Cuban supported and funded forces now fighting with a new vigor. The Dark Continent became darker. The billions it had received for decades in food, medicine and aid from the West disappeared with no hope of similarly vast humanitarian help from the Soviets.

Emboldened by the United States now not being able to help Israel in any way, a large collective Arab force attacked Israel from three sides.The Israelis were unable to use or credibly threaten the use of their nuclear weapons, backed as the Arabs were by the massive Soviet nuclear arsenal. After a few weeks of extremely brutal fighting, the Jews were butchered in droves and the survivors were driven, literally, into the sea- fulfilling a long held Arab dream.

The withdrawal of US navy, after the collapse of it's armed forces, from all over the world lead to regional struggles for supremacy and a huge rise in piracy. The Soviet navy had no interest, unlike the American one, in keeping shipping lanes open for the benefit of everyone. Now in full or near-full control of waters in most parts worldwide, it controlled the flow of oil and vital goods to its friends and enemies alike. With such power of life and death, the Soviet friendship became a bear hug nobody could get out of. As for the old enemies of the 'people’, the United States being the greatest, they were under extreme stress with Soviets embargoing their shores, the Arabs refusing to supply oil and most of the rest of the world now even more viciously anti-American. Surely, the great Satan would come in line soon enough and adopt a radical program of reforms -that program, of course, consisting of dismantling completely it's old structure of private enterprise and freedom of speech.

Coming soon -Part 2: Alternate history vs. Reality

Update- Part 2 is here.