Monday, August 01, 2016

Pakistan Should Consider The Forest; Tall Poppies in Australia; Seeds of Dissent in West Papua; Growing Localists in Hong Kong

Touqir Hussain and Ishrat Saleem on Pakistan's urgent need to widen its perspective on security in the age of global Jihadism, C/PEC and OBOR:
If Pakistan is serious about fixing itself, especially through democracy, the redefinition of its security paradigm should be its central national priority...The involvement of jihadists in Kashmir has allowed India to confuse Kashmiris’ struggle for their rights with international terrorism, which has undermined their just cause. It is not enough to withdraw state patronage from jihadists. Pakistan must oppose and dismantle the radical networks not only for the sake of Kashmiris but also for the sake of its own internal security and international image...Radical forces are obstructing the break out of a modern, progressive, and prosperous Pakistan, for which the country has all the necessary ingredients – human and natural resources, resilience, and a certain faith-based optimism... Right now the state’s fear of those who want to take Pakistan backwards seems to be greater than its courage to support those who want Pakistan to move forward... 
With its nuclear capability and a good professional army, Pakistan is secure enough. It is time Pakistan felt confident about its defense capability and focused attention on building a more prosperous, tolerant, cohesive and internally secure country, for which it has the potential. And above all, Pakistan must find a new framework of relations with its neighbors... India and Pakistan need each others’ help in meeting their own challenges and realizing their ambitions. The much-celebrated China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will bring a massive Chinese investment of $46 billion, may not yield the expected results if Pakistan’s internal security and the regional stability continue to face questions ... Similarly, Pakistan will be missing massive economic benefits by blocking India’s transit trade to Afghanistan and Central Asia. If the move is meant to force India to solve the Kashmir dispute, it has not worked as it is Pakistan, not India, that suffers.
The Diplomat

Peter Harcher on how Malcolm Turnbull's refused to support Kevin Rudd's UN GenSec to appease the Tall Poppy Syndrome in Australia's Liberal Party leadership:
He fears for the unity of his government. He is acutely conscious that he was narrowly returned to power, that he is subject to a lot of biting internal criticism ... that a small knot of his party's conservatives ... will enjoy making trouble for him if they can... His authority may be tested on matters including his proposed superannuation reforms, which have generated some heated anger among the party's base. The same sex marriage plebiscite will also test his powers of internal political management.
Before the election, when Turnbull imagined his future self to be in a stronger position, he was committed to supporting Rudd in the national interest... As Rudd wrote to Turnbull in a letter he released on Friday night: "You in fact sent me a message on your preferred Wickr system [encrypted message service] where you stated that you and the FM [foreign minister] were 'as one' in your support for my candidature." 
Newly anxious,  Turnbull has preferred to appease his right faction, to yield their personal and partisan vitriol, than to support his deputy leader and foreign affairs minister. He allowed himself to be bullied rather than advised.

Andre Barahamin outlines the independence struggle in West Papua against the Backdrop of Indonesia's growing regional influence:
(Indonesia) targeted Papua New Guinea first...growing trade links and budding economic ties between the two nations are a match made in free-market heaven. They share land and water borders as well as impressive portfolios of vast natural resources and accessible transportation routes into commercial Asian markets... (her) quickly expanding middle class provides Indonesian products and services with a massive new market...The two countries have signed eleven memoranda of understanding and three agreements to strengthen their partnership based on mutual respect...Papua New Guinean elites cite their willingness “to learn from Indonesia’s rich experiences in democracy.” 
Next, Indonesia turned to Fiji ... Ina Seriaritu, Fiji’s minister of agriculture, rural, maritime affairs, and national disaster management openly praised Indonesia as a key player in the Asia-Pacific region, and called the country’s success in disaster management and mitigation a model... Indonesia moved fast, sending Husni Kamil Manik — chairman of the Indonesian general election commission — to sign a memorandum on cooperation for election management with his Fijian counterpart. 
These economic investments later paid off: both PNG and Fiji supported Indonesia at the MSG meeting this July. They not only endorsed Indonesia’s proposal to become a full member — the nation was granted associate member status in 2015 — but also took Indonesia’s side in debates over the criteria for membership in the regional alliance.

Elson Tong on the dilemma of Edward Leung, and the building of Hongkongers' identity based on civic values:
Edward Leung Tin-kei, the face of localist party Hong Kong Indigenous, became the subject of controversy in March this year when his Wuhan roots were made public. Internet users criticised the hypocrisy of the perceived anti-Chinese immigration – or even xenophobic – stance shared by many localist groups, when one of their own best-known figures was an immigrant himself. Leung responded by claiming that Hongkongers are defined by their “common values, cultures and institutions”, rather than place of birth. Internationally, Leung’s civic – as opposed to ethnic – conception of national identity is hardly a new idea. But how has a common identity been constructed in Hong Kong, a refugee city whose population has exploded almost tenfold since the end of the Second World War? An ever-increasing number of young Hongkongers no longer identify as Chinese, but there is no single all-encompassing reason why... 
Published by the Hong Kong University student magazine Undergrad, Hong Kong Nationalism was a seminal collection of writings from activists and commentators. Many drew reference to historian Benedict Anderson’s theory that nations were merely socially-constructed “imagined communities”. They refuted the idea that Hongkongers necessarily belonged to the Chinese nation, and cited the city’s own cultural artefacts – such as its television, film and music industries since the 1960s – as elements of a society that has developed independently from China. It would therefore be possible to construct, through “imagination”, an independent nation. 
...Sophie still identifies as Chinese, despite expressing moral support for Hong Kong localism and independence. She agrees that she has spent too many years in mainland China to consider herself a Hongkonger ...she is pessimistic about the city’s prospects: “as the city is quickly succumbing to mainland influences, the ‘Hong Kong identity’ is also becoming increasingly devoid of meaning. Foreigners don’t think that Hong Kong is particularly special or distinct from China anymore.” Yet Sophie has even stronger words of scepticism for the phenomenon of Chinese nationalism. “Everyone around me – whether friends or family – is trying to leave China and move abroad. They don’t trust the system and want security in daily life. As long as they have the [financial] means, they don’t want to stay in mainland China.”

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