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Condoleezza Rice provides food for thought!

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Condoleezza Rice recently raised a bit of dust in the Indian political circles by making a statement that the policy of non-alignment had no more relevance in the current international scenario. Indian politicians promptly launched a verbal assault on her for bad-mouthing a doctrine that has held sway for 60 years as a legacy left behind by Jawaharlal Nehru. Even Ms.Rice’s admirers conceded that she had put her foot in her mouth on this particular issue while Keshav came out with his typical cartoon of her in the center page of The Hindu.

    I can understand the feelings of our politicians on this issue. They have thrived on the principle of non-alignment all their life. By following an improvised form of non-alignment called flexible alignment, they have hogged the limelight right through their existence!

    I really do not know about the ramifications of Condoleezza’s statement in the international context. Maybe she was wooing those nations, which continue to be reluctant to come under the protective ambience of US. Maybe not. I am not into all that mindboggling international manoeuvres and would leave it to guys like Sashi Tharoor! But I find Condoleezza’s statement on the ineffectiveness of non-alignment very significant in our personal lives.

    Right through our life, we all have to encounter groupism at every stage from our school to office and to retirement and beyond. We have it in our families too. Many of us are forced to align ourselves with one group or the other depending upon multiple factors. Most of us have a tendency to align ourselves with the majority and remain safe. Even when we sympathize with the minority, we do not openly align with them for the fear of being isolated and being labeled as rebels or young turks!

    During my banking career with SBI, I have observed a lot of trade union activity at close quarters. While I could understand the reason for the majority of staff remaining with the Union recognized by the management, the few who stayed with the splinter groups were always a great puzzle to me because these people had to face the wrath of both the management and the majority union. But the ones who had to pay a heavy price were people like me who treated all the groups alike in our managerial decisions. Our principle of being good to all the groups alike invariably landed us in bigger muddle than others who went with the tide!

    In retrospect, my tendency to be good to everyone has been a kind of millstone round my neck. This tendency of mine was also the reason behind my desire to satisfy all the people all the time. Little did I realize that it was more difficult than including a climb of Mt.Everest in our daily work-out! Due to my pursuit of non-alignment, I had to maintain a stoic silence even when I knew that one side was grossly unfair to another. And my desire to keep everyone satisfied invariably isolated me from the crowd.

    Have we not seen in our households that whenever there is a friction between a wife and mother, if the man maintains complete neutrality and silence despite his knowledge of who is on the erring side, he appears in very poor light? While his mother may think that he has been enslaved by his wife’s wily charms, the wife may think that he has not made much progress ever since his delivery by his mighty mother. His non-alignment policy doesn’t do much to improve his image either with his wife or his mother!

    In the professional scenario, pursuit of non-alignment can be more disastrous. The need to please everyone slowly erodes over a period of time our ability to say NO. We forget that we have the right to say NO. We say YES when we want to say NO. Thus we lose the greatest weapon that we have. What an abysmal depth we plunge ourselves into by not saying NO when we ought to!

    I really do not know why everyone is making such a fuss about Condoleezza’s statement on non-alignment. I do feel that she has spoken sensibly. I have observed many climbing the corporate ladder at the speed of light by aligning themselves with the Chief! What more proof is needed?!
     
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  2. vmur

    vmur Silver IL'ite

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    Interesting topic Cheeniya sir - Permit me to add a few ramblings of my own.

    Non-alignment has always been more of an euphemism than a term that can be taken at face value - atleast in the context of international politics. Plainly put, back in the 60's the newly independent Indian govt wanted to appear "non-aligned" while their sympathies rather "aligned" with the Soviet camp.

    This facade afforded us a cloak of plausible deniability that helped us shrug off American charges of being sympathetic to the communist cause. Condi Rice is basically saying "Enough with this pretence - you cannot have non-alignment in a unipolar world - we're the only player in the world today- align with us".

    Interestingly, this dynamic applies in our personal life as well. Though there are situations where one side is clearly in the wrong and the other is right, we want to avoid antagonize the other party by coming out and saying that. So we stick to the crutch of "non-alignment".

    Not that Condi Rice or the US is above reproach or devoid of ulterior motives. The US has a history of being absolutely ruthless in pursuing its own interest regardless of ideology. In such a situation we would be well advised to keep our reserve. If that reserve takes the form of an outdated philosophy such as "non-alignment", then so be it. We are beholden to none but Mother India.

    Regards,
    Vidya
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2007
  3. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,

    You call yours senile ramblings, adding the word senile like a safety valve in the pressure cooker (you know I can never come out of the “Recipes – chitvish” image ! My comparisons are always connected with the kitchen!).

    Now you will read that I am more senile with my ramblings, unlike the young, knowledgeable, prim & proper vmur !:oops:

    I have never been good at manoeuvering even on domestic scene,leave alone, ever being a Mamiyar Mechiya Marumagal. So, it is beyond me to understand the same on an international level, by none other than C Rice. But I must mention that I adore that lady & like her a lot for whetever she is today – not a mean achievement in U S politics !

    Just because you wanted to write a serious post, giving humour a secondary place, do you think, we will miss out on those points ? No, not at all.

    I loved your comparison of including a climb of Mt Everest in our daily workout ! Leave alone setting a target, doing the workout daily without giving ourselves an excuse, is a mighty achievement. To me, that is a climb of atleast our own St Thomas Mount in Chennai.:)

    Yes, you are right when you say that a few men never grow out of the fold (or hold?) of their mighty mothers ! I do not want to discuss whether you & Vish belong to this category – in which case, I will stray far & wide & never come back to the forum possibly !

    But, Sri, rest assured, unlike C Rice who has spoken “vettu onnu thundu rendu”, we know how best to tackle our menfolk. Is not aligning perfectly with the wife, call it “enslaved by her wily charms”, his duty as well ?

    In all dealings in life, we have to learn to be like
    Kazuvar neerile nazuvara meen :wink:
    In domestic, official, national & international secenes for our own survival.
    Love,
    Chithra.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2007
  4. Malathijagan

    Malathijagan Silver IL'ite

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    Yes non-alignment certainly isolates! I used to be of that kind!But now I have learnt that wherever, there is not going to be a problem aligning with one side, I have grabbed that opportunity. Only thing is that I try to take the sides of the that party(not a political one!) whom my conscience takes to; and I swear that has produced better results!
     
  5. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Cheeniya,

    It is an interesting topic. I always consider non-alignment as 'mathil mel poonai' (cat on the wall). I feel Condoleeza Rice is right in pointing out this after the fall of Soviet Union and Russia itself looks to be aligned with U.S. I also feel that India has suffered with this policy while Pakistan has benefited. They have always enjoyed both the worlds getting favors from U.S as well as China and Russia.

    On the lighter side, I remember the famous statement by Rani Annadurai when she was asked after the passing away of Mr. Annadurai that which party she supports. Her comment was, "naanga innum side edukkalinga'.

    Regards,

    TDU
     
  6. Lavanya

    Lavanya Bronze IL'ite

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    I was planning to send in my comments at the end of the week when I may have more time to relish the posts... unfortunately the title forced me to read it right away & hence my reply. I'm sorry that so many people admire Condi. Everyone comes to the table with personal gain, in this case US wants complete control over our nuclear policies where they will control when & where India needs to send the raw materials, also would levy charges at every step including disposal of the waste. When India can do it on its own with its own huge resources & manpower then why should it be a slave to another? Moreover US needs more developing countries with huge economic potential on its side so tomorrow China cannot be a threat to US. Sorry, but all is fair in love & war!! So I would say that India has played the cards very well & has every right to remain non-aligned!!

    Its a very interesting concept that you've applied to life... last week I was engrossed thinking about this concept closer to home than to global issues. But aren't we all players in the end? We do or don't take sides depending on which brings us more glory to our ego than because we would like to avoid confrontation. But men are different species - they follow non-alignment because of the diplomatic cowardice that they've learnt to survive with. Unfortunately, the same mentality does not hold with the same guy when it comes to matters of work. So there's always dual standards everywhere...that's a totally different issue anyway.

    Yesterday I chanced to watch an episode of Enterprise - Star Trek, where the Vulcan reminds capt Archer that humans are free to choose - so its up to them to make a choice of whether they want to be arrogant & feed their ego or whether they want to accept the truth & face it.

    But, many a times I've seen that freedom is actually a virtual reality!!
     
  7. srinivasan_vanaja

    srinivasan_vanaja Gold IL'ite

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    Hello Sir,

    Being a lady, I admire Condi a lot. She spoke sense regarding non-alignment.
    As usual, as per Condi, politicians indirectly favoured her by being against her in this issue.:-D

    When we apply it to our personal lives, many times I could identify some people and ofcourse myself following this non-alignment effectively. To put it very simply, one who follows the conscious strictly, non-alignment is very effective. These type of people never bother about the minority and majority.

    regards,

    vanaja
     
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  8. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Don't know about Miss Rice Cheeniya, you sure do provide lots of food for thought :2thumbsup:

    L, Kamla
     
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  9. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Vmur
    That's a very lucid analysis indeed though I have never cared to analyse the American mindset in the matters of their concern for the Third World. What is there really to analyse? Everyone will have a reasoning for his action? Didn't Godse say that he assassinated Gandhi to protect Hindus? And are there not people who go with that reasoning?
    My only point is non-alignment should give us the flexibility to decide which way to go on crunch situations. It should not be the kind that would make us dumb even in extremely provocative situations. This kind of non-alignment has become essential now with everyone seeking some gain out of our support!
    In domestic situations, non-alignment would appear to be the best policy to pursue in explosive situations but the fact remains that being non-aligned may increase the chances of our perishing in the crossfire!
    Sri
     
  10. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Chithra
    I am hearing for the first time non-alignment being summed up as 'Kazhuvara Neerile Nazhuvara meen!' I should say it is very apt particularly in the domestic scenario!
    Let me share a secret here with you. When I post a thread here, after toiling hard to give it a touch of humour, I wait anxiously to see if anyone notices it or simply dismisses it as further evidence of my senility! It is nice that my peers like you are able to notice it! Inam inathoda serum?

    When I read about 'aligning perfectly with wife' being the duty of a man, I am reminded of Disraeli's definition of an agreeable person as 'one who always agrees with me!'
    Sri
     

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