Thursday, 24 February 2011 00:00 GFP Columnist - Rattan Mann

It is well-known that the CIA is given a blank cheque of billions of dollars every year to predict the future, if not control it. It is equally well-known that CIA’s failure rate in predicting the future is 100%. Some examples of this debacle are the Iranian Revolution of 1979, 9/11, and the present Egyptian Revolution. The CIA is always caught sleeping at the very moments the world start burning. So it looks as if the burden of predicting the future has fallen on the shoulders of an unemployed outcaste like me freezing outside the Gates of ‘Paradise Norway’ like the ‘unemployed’ Huns roaming outside the Gates of Paradise Rome.

So from 2011, the CIA has someone to worry about – ‘Rattan Mann, the Hun’ knocking at the Gates of the Pentagon. From now on I will not only take up the mantle of an ‘Alternative King of Norway’ but also of an ‘Alternative CIA’ pitching my predictions against theirs.

Maintaining my new column, Quo Vadis Mankind, on NFP would be my ‘main covert operation’ as the ‘Alternative CIA’, just as wikileaking my New Year’s Messages via NFP is my ‘main ceremonial duty’ as the “Alternative King of Norway”.

In many of my articles on this very NFP I have said that never since the eve of the French Revolution has there been a greater divide between the rich and the poor, the rulers and the ruled than today. I never thought I will be vindicated in my own lifetime. But surprise, surprise, current events in the Middle East have vindicated me already when (hopefully) I am a thousand miles away from my death-bed. I am glad that once more, and within my life-time, “Revolution” and “Uprising” are no longer dirty words.

These are times when those who do not understand the past will butcher the future. Unfortunately, the events in the Middle East are totally misunderstood and misinterpreted. This is an ill-omen for what lies ahead.

The on-going revolutions and uprisings in the Middle East are not against any individual king or president like Mubarak, but against covert colonialism or abstract colonialism. Just as the CIA’s favourite word is “covert”, my favourite word is “abstract”. To explain this I need to stand on the shoulders of History. I will use India as an example, but the argument is more general.

Why did colonialism collapse in India (and elsewhere in general)?

In short, and symbolically, because Mahatama Gandhi fell into the gutter while making way for a white man coming from the opposite direction.

What this means is that the daily insults, humiliations, and complete denial of all opportunities became so unbearable that people were willing to go to jail or die for their birth rights.

This brought colonialism to an end. Or did it?

Actually it didn’t. Colonialism disappeared from India only to appear on the greener pastures of the Middle East. Black pastures actually, because black oil was the Middle East’s Indian grass. And while rushing from India to the Middle East “in a sealed train”, the colonial masters learned a very important lesson:

Don’t insult and humiliate the natives. And don’t be too visible. Just pick up a “Maharaja” – king, president, prime minister - of your choice and put him on the throne to do your bidding. This form of covert colonialism would be more immune to collapse because the natives won’t notice it too much. And so it was for another 60 years. But covert (abstract) colonialism too has now run its course.

There is a striking similarity between the collapse of colonialism in India and covert colonialism in the Middle East. India kicked out the British in 1947 when Great Britain was in a weak position after the Second World War. The Middle East is throwing out its “Maharajas” when USA is in a weak phase. I am not claiming that US is “finished” or is in “permanent decline”. On the contrary, I believe the US will remain a power for a long time to come, but with one crucial difference – it will not be the sole player, but one among equals. But US is no longer powerful enough to protect its “Maharajas” or ignore the aspirations of the Arabs, exactly like Great Britain of 1947 which was in no position to ignore the aspirations of the Indians. And there is a lesson in this for the US.

The lesson is that the collapse of colonialism or covert colonialism per se is not bad, either for the rulers or the ruled. History is a proof of this. Ties between India and England became stronger, not weaker, after the British were kicked out of India. And Britain had one of its most prosperous times after it lost all its colonies. But a precondition for such a rapprochement between the new Middle East and US would be the solution of the Palestine problem with a “two state solution” as the only rational possibility. In my opinion, not solving the Palestine problem would be US’s greatest blunder of this decade (2010-2020) because it would play into the hands of extremists which may be more difficult to control now unless the root causes of extremism are addressed. If extremists start becoming powerful in populous countries like Pakistan and Egypt it would be a real cause of concern. But I guess the ball (solution) lies in US’s court.

So much for Covert Colonialism and the direction it is heading. What about Communism?

Communism too is on its way out, not the way the West would like, but the way Marx himself had envisaged. Marx had said many times that after correcting the imbalances of History, communism would wither away by merging with capitalism. This is exactly what is happening in China. China would be the first country in modern times which would rightly unify communism and capitalism. This should be no surprise to anybody who knows history. Before the era of imperialism and colonialism, “profit making” and “social responsibility” were two sides of the same coin. Imperialism and colonialism peeled these congenital twins off each other. In many ways, the Wheels of History are turning a full circle. And the reunification of communism and capitalism is one such full turn. And mind you, this is not the same as the collapse of communism.

In Summary:

Communism is on its way out in Marx’s style, that is, not by collapsing as in the Soviet Union, but by bowing out of the world stage after handing back to China its historic right to be the greatest nation on this planet.

Covert Colonialism (Abstract Colonialism) too is on its way out, at least in the Middle East, and in Gandhi style. But the non-violent revolutions in the Middle East face the same danger Gandhi’s revolution faced in India. After the dust settled down, it evolved into two rather opposite directions: the stable and democratic direction of India, and the somewhat more unstable and extremist direction of Pakistan. As I said above, in the case of the Middle East this direction will largely be determined by the solution or lack of it of the Palestine problem. And it will take a greater part of this decade before we know which direction the new Middle East has chosen. The dust has to settle down first.

Thirdly, climatic revolution is on its way in – charging towards our planet like intoxicated Huns and Vandals galloping towards Rome. But this issue requires separate considerations, because it is more of a scientific rather than historical nature.

Now we come to the billion dollar question: Will these tectonic movements of communism and covert colonialism define the future?

Not at all!

This century and the next will be defined by just two simple questions.

The Twenty-First Century will be defined by the question: “What is Life?”

Already at this early stage of the century alternative forms of life are emerging. Artificial life, robot life, virtual life, clone life are some of these alternative forms. How this drama will unfold, and how these various lives will interact with each other will take a greater part of this century to understand. But experts are aware of this emerging problem.

What even the experts are not yet aware of is that this question would eventually give birth to the next question: “What is a State?” Alternative forms of life and mind would demand alternative forms of the state. How these various forms of the state will interact with each other would become clear in the twenty-second century.
So, life and state, which are defined in every high-school text-book today, will take two centuries to be redefined!

I started with Saint Peter’s words. I end with Jesus’ reply except for a change of one word: “Eo Oslo iterum crucifigi.” (I am going to Oslo to be crucified again).

PS: Since around four years I am trying to finish a short story. I know the title, “Alternative Minds”, and the plot which I won’t tell. But the ideas I am waiting for are just not coming. All this time I have been consoling myself by saying that my mind is fully occupied with “creating” a so-called “Alternative Research Program in Mathematics and Physics”, so I shouldn’t expect a story from my overloaded brain. But something is wrong with this “consolation prize”. If I can write almost a dozen “political articles” with the same mind overloaded with the same “Alternative Research Program”, why can’t I write a single short story?

It looks as if my assessment of my own brain is terribly off the mark. CIA is waiting to know this. If I can’t assess my own mind correctly, how can I assess world events and the future? And once the CIA grabs your Achilles Heels, hell, everybody knows how they love to twist them, and then with lightning speed move towards your balls. Hell twice, being the “Alternative CIA” won’t be so much fun as being the “Alternative King of Norway”.

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