I've made a conscious decision, sometime back, not to discuss the Middle East peace process in this blog because I've always believed that Israel has never been sincerely interested in giving up land for peace, that's as long as it remains the superior power in the region. In this groundbreaking article, the author articulates with impressive accuracy why peace isn’t possible but how Israel’s vision of peace is completely different of what is discussed publicly.
According to to the article, Israel wants a defeated Palestinian people living in different pockets of land - example, Gaza and West Bank - nothing more. The articles quotes top Israeli policy makers as well as American officials talking about their commitment to the settlers cause, which basically centers around the mission of never allowing a Palestinian state to emerge. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
In fact, all previous peace initiatives have got nowhere for a reason that neither Bush nor the EU has had the political courage to acknowledge. That reason is the consensus reached long ago by Israel’s decision-making elites that Israel will never allow the emergence of a Palestinian state which denies it effective military and economic control of the West Bank. To be sure, Israel would allow – indeed, it would insist on – the creation of a number of isolated enclaves that Palestinians could call a state, but only in order to prevent the creation of a binational state in which Palestinians would be the majority.BBC: Perils of a new Pacific arms race
The Middle East peace process may well be the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history. Since the failed Camp David summit of 2000, and actually well before it, Israel’s interest in a peace process – other than for the purpose of obtaining Palestinian and international acceptance of the status quo – has been a fiction that has served primarily to provide cover for its systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and an occupation whose goal, according to the former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon, is ‘to sear deep into the consciousness of Palestinians that they are a defeated people’.
China has been significantly increasing its military budget in the last few years with particular focus on its navy. Some American lawmakers perceive this as a challenge to US naval dominance in the region, sparking an arms race in the region. This is excellent article capturing the debate on both sides.
BBC: Why do Indian Muslims lag behind
For the 60th anniversary of India's independence, the BBC looks at the state of Muslim Indians, the largest religious minority numbering at about 130 million. Apart from ceremonial positions in the government such as the presidency - and entertainment - Bollywood actors and cricketers, the Muslims of India are no where to be seen. A large portion of the Muslims live under the poverty line and the percentage of Muslims in the government jobs is less than 5%. It's an interesting analysis of the root causes behind this and apparently the Muslim leadership, the establishment and the last hardline hindu government all have something to do with it.
SystemAddict: Taxed to Death
US is moving towards taxing virtual good, sold in Second Life and the like. Economists estimate the trade at about $880 million world wide, and will surely increase. In China, Korea and Japan, it’s not uncommon to find young men making a career out acquiring and selling these goods. But taxation could mean the end of this trade in US. This is a compelling reading.