Nepali Times
By The Way


Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai's address to the UN General Assembly in New York on Saturday was among the rare moments in recent times when a Nepali national leader has actually presented what can be called a foreign policy statement.

Speaking for almost 20 minutes from the GA podium with its distinctive green marble backdrop, Bhattarai not only talked about the epochal transformations back home, but delved into the lessons others could learn from us. The quest for sustainable peace, he said, can only materialise if protagonists address inequality, deprivation and marginalisation within their societies. In a moment of irony, Bhattarai questioned the rationale for "war-mongering". He said: "How can one justify the spending $1.5 trillion on war every year while more than two billion people across the globe lack basic necessities like food and medicine?"

No other Nepali prime minister we can remember has given a speech at the UN that is such a cogent critique of the negative side of globalisation.

The chronic global economic crisis, he said, called for deeper soul-searching and the creation of a new, just and scientific economic order.

Being a PhD as well as the ideologue-in-chief of a Maoist party, our prime minister may have the tendency to lecture, but at least the speech at The New School on Friday did not sound like a Marxist harangue. Some eyes rolled over when he used words like "imperialist capitalism" leading the world into a recurring global financial turmoil. But given the crises besetting the global economy there were quite a few takers. Bhattarai's "21st century Marxist model" explained the unbridled greed that is at the heart of global capitalism, and how the gap between the rich and the poor globally and within countries can breed conflict.

As the chairman of the Group of 49 'Least Developed Countries', Bhattarai's speech drew loud applause from member nations, who were clearly more impressed with him than the pro forma speech delivered by his predecessor in Istanbul in June. Bhattarai even had problems with the label "least developed" and suggested "underdeveloped".
Civil society groups and experts had termed the Istanbul declaration 'toothless'for failing to ensure adequate aid, reform unjust trade rules, and remove the burden of debt on the LDCs and subsequently came out with their own Istanbul declaration.

After joining the United Nations in 1957 and taking a proactive role in the Non-aligned Movement, what little international influence Nepal had has steadily eroded. Chairing the LDC group is seen as an opportunity for the country to find its foreign policy voice. But the conflict and protracted transition have not only weakened our national economy and polity, we have often found our foreign policy pragmatism at odds with our geo-political realities.

The failure to clearly negotiate border and security issues with India is a case in point. We have failed to convey urgency in our position on climate change and highlight the meltdown of the Himalaya. While other countries took a stand, we kept quiet even after the Copenhagen Declaration was exposed.

We have betrayed the trust of 100,000 Bhutanese refugees, by getting rid of them in the name of third country repatriation, instead of voicing their cause strongly and pressurising the Bhutanese government to ensure their dignified return. Our foreign policy does not reflect the high sounding principles we tout when we tell Bhutanese or Tibetan refugees that their issue is not our foreign policy priority. And we readily undermine our democracy and international credibility by mistreating, prosecuting and deporting Tibetan refugees in the name of pragmatism.

It is not a surprise that in the last two decades of our "democratic" foreign policy exercise we have somehow managed to balance the interests of our neighbours. And that may be the problem: our foreign policy reflects their interests, not ours.

Bhattarai's statement on "freedom of transit as the right of a landlocked nation" is therefore a refreshing departure from our previous wishy-washy stand. Is Nepal finally trying to get over the conventional mindset of a geographical handicap?

Bhattarai also met with Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh in New York, and got himself an invite to visit New Delhi in October. It may be in our national interest to be "pragmatic", but Bhattarai will be wise to remember that for our self-respect there are certain non-negotiables.

Read also:
"Evaluate me through my performance" , BBC Nepali Service

1. ASP
A warmonger questioning the rationale for warmongering? 

Lessons others could learn from us? 

Lets see...

China can learn from us how to grow economy at 3% per annum.
India can learn from us how to craft Constitution in a timely manner.
United States can learn from us how to keep Pennsylvania Avenue clean like Asan Galli.
China can learn from us how to establish Maoist politics.
Castro can learn a lesson or two from Bauram.
(Shall I go on?) 

A Ph.D. prime minister? Ha... that's got to take the cake.

*scratching my head*

2. Schumpetererian
Politics more often starts with words. Take it that politicians also do works, the work of talking. The other side is a mere vacuum in waiting.

Baburam isn't a great speaker as many do expect, claim and pronounce. He's not in the same vein a great emancipator-like ideal or compromise(r) or wildly charismatic politico. He's just another strand of technical manliness. He knows plenteous maths..I know. There lies his biggest strength. All other sides and countersides are harangues for naught.

Perhaps that makes him speak like equations and curves manifest in his speaking even about trifles. 

Engineers are great talents around the world in gaming and talking about politics.

3. chandra gurung
Two major flaws in Anurag's arguments:

1. He , rather than citing an authority figure, evaluates himself how good BRB was in presenting his arguments. May I know your academic qualification, Anurag? A cogent critique of globalization? What you wrote above doesn't even address globalization.

2.BRB's speech was not very different from any other red leaders' who come to NYC with their own crooked vision of the world. Anurag would have served himself and the readers better had he explained how BRB was different from other reds.

4. Soni
"The financial capital-driven 'globalization' process is increasingly exposing its inherent structural deficiency and incompatibility. Unless the interest of labour, the basic source of human wealth, is duly integrated in this process, we may have to face the 'globalization' of unrest and upheavals."

I have no intention of being critical. I understand that Nepal is likely to continue being ruled by this autocracy and its variants for the foreseeable future.

However, when I see a journalist suggesting that the PM provided a "cogent critique of the negative side of globalisation", I want to spend a moment on it.

The first step I took was to check what cogent really means, (to the point, relevant and pertinent or convincing, believable, by virtue of forcible, clear, or incisive presentation). Good.

The PM points out that "The islands of prosperity amidst the sea of poverty are not sustainable. It is morally indefensible,"

I completely agree with the PM's sentiment, but here is what I wonder. 

Who is actually responsible for creating the sea of poverty?

What caused these Islands of prosperity to be created? What is the nature of the present crisis and what, in particular, has made it so acute?

What are the "inherent structural deficiencies" and "incompatibilities" that the PM is referring to?

How must labour be integrated into the process of globalisation, in a way that labour has not already been integrated into the production process and a share in the benefits.

5. jange

# 1 ASP

Do please go on. We get very little benefit from our Ph.D prime Minister as it is. At  least we can have a laugh.

I also wondered about the Ph.D. PM description. If the author is so immature as to go gaga  merely by the title Ph.D then it is no wonder that he is mesmerised by what whatever BRB had to say.

Where does NT get them? Are they that desperate?

6. Nepali
Did Anurag mention that he's a fellow JNU-ian? I can see relevance of this article.

7. Nirmal

So interesting has been BRB's synthesis(I'm not mentioning the rests that you can find in nepali communist market) on the possibility of Marxism between Nepal's poorly educated mass that it has produced a vast political literature of poor quality and lax standards, as the same happened to you when you call him pragmatist knowing that:
1. Marx had the homogeneous idea of the community in which the citizen has no more identity than the one that ensures them equal rights. Marx envisioned a classless society, composed of free individuals and their partners whereas BRB and his company want 14 ethnic federal states (sounds a remixed casteism, Well he is pragmatist in the sense that he loves current status-quo so that he is ready to give it a new look putting some garam-masala over).

2. Karl Marx was a political animal of the modern public, who defended freedom of expression and association, the abolition of slavery, social equality and the separation of religion and state, the projection of uniform citizenship although he hadn't thought about how to settle down at a time when the multicultural communities of the XXI century is getting together indiscriminately. So what BRB and his Marxist idea suggest us? Nada. You know what does NADA mean? You know what is more detestable of the Maoists? Not that he presents himself as if he were the single person of the world who knows with perfection on Marx but their deliberate intention to integrate these thinkers and their works as constitutional principles.

3. A society like the nepali one, increasingly stratified from the economic viewpoint, regional or social, increasingly involved in the affirmation of otherness, racial, generational, religious, sexuality, gender and migration, could really find any correct answers in the thinking of Phd owner BRB and his burgeoise republicanism of 19th century. Laxmi Prasad Devkota and his theory of cross-culturalisation would have more to say in XXI century Nepal but nobody has thought of it, to add it as an article in future constitution, why?

4. Relatives of war victims have been demanding justice with each and every govt formed after 12 points pact that led the Maoists to come to open politics, but have not received yet any effective response than disdain. The former armed group has an obligation to respond to the families of these missing or/and killed persons and enable them to get justice i.e whereabouts and punishment to culprits. And it is the first and foremost duty of all to demand that the Maoists take that step first and come clean face from the dark chapter of its history and allow families to close the wound that still is bleeding.


If tomorrow the Maoists and above all BRB break with the antiquated communist tradition and redefine his Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, approaching any of the many strands of critique that it produced in Europe or America over the past half century, perhaps he and his party is more likely to have dialogue with heterogeneity which exists in this tiny country, but he could never ensure that the social complexity would not be exceeding the daily practice. For one thing, the Maoists, symbol for some as the last hope for "XXI Century Communism" is inside the constitutional debate on multiculturalism, national diversity and democracy that is taking place in Nepal today and that is Nepali people's desire to Modern Democracy. So sooner the Maoists and your Phd owner BRB accept this reality better it'll be for the most suffered people of Nepal.


8. murkha nepali
"cogent critique of the negative side of globalization"???---Ha..Ha...

Had it not been for this 'dire' globalization, Nepalese would not be sweating in sultry Arab heat, sending back remittance which feeds the party cadres who would possibly fall upon their own party headquarters or provides fuel for the copters that have become necessary for the ramblings of our leaders for the worthless purpose of cutting ribbon.

Had it not been for globalization,the party leaders would not be able to create such situations that forces an honest and a capable citizen out of the country, the victims of political nepotism who after being cornered to the extent of tolerance would one day pounce upon them.

Had it not been for globalization, these politicians who know naught of politics would not get a country divested of everything but a host of 2 crore toadies who are willing to break their heads haranguing that a cow is a 'buffalo' on the basis of reasoning that their party leaders said so.

Had it not been for globalization you would not be carrying a cell and I would not be typing this comment.

9. murkha nepali
Looks like a monkey in that tie and coat of his - an offence to the Bhandgaule Cap

'Impressed Internationals by hi pragmatism'- my foot - I bet Obama was yawning, Hu Xin Tao was gone to the john, Sarkozy was taking a respite to dream about Carla Bruni Manmohan Singh had gone out to spit his Paan and some Sudanese with a brand new but an empty country was dreaming of the Bbq by Obama.

10. murkha nepali
Why should BRB have reservations about the nomenclature of "least developed"-wake up old boy, that is what we are, accept it or not - thanks to you, your ideology and your party.
Oh!I get it-he would have rejoiced in advertising us as an epitome of 'aimlessly devastated nation' in the name of Mao who has been rendered obsolete in his own nation.

11. Mukti Ram
Perhaps BRB desires to prove himself international leader. While pronouncing $1.5 trillion on War and Global suffering of one billion people for food and health care he forget following.
1.What they have done in Nepal during conflict Period of 10 years. It cost in aggregate in trillion Nrs in totality.
2. He talks for suffering of people, whom they have killed in more than 15000 in Nepal. Does he thinks all were fighters/warriors.
3.Where they put looted money from different bankers and citizen.
4.Have BRB or his Party any evidence .for reclamation in Public for conflict sufferer sufferer.
5 Now all resources  and access to national and international donors , What is achievement in  last 4 years for the nation.
6 . whole mass parasite to national treasury with PLAs with arms.
7. No Democrat will accept and World knows your double standard.

12. Purusotam
Did he had Mustang Jeep also in NYC?

13. LG
#murkha nepali: Dear murkha....little to doubt that your capacity to grasp things are evident...and your crack-pot cynical attitude is so typical of ill-informed urban brats...who, enthusiastically make passing comments but fail to impress upon any significant point of contention. Stupidity isn't a crime, as long as one does not glorify it. Bless the gen-next...

14. murkha nepali
#LG: Kudos to you for sizing  me up as ' an ill informed typical urban brat'. Hello Mr. Sherlock Holmes, what detective quality in you sees me as ' an urban brat' and please satisfy my curiosity, where do you gloriously hail from?
By the way you are libeling a whole bunch of 'urban brats' on the grounds of a single comment-I suggest you better retract your overwhelming accusation since you are performing an holocaust of identity.Moreover, no thanks to you for all your detective works.
Yes, I am ill informed, disillusioned 'Nepali brat' which I had hoped had been brought to light by my very name "murkha nepali".After all 'stupidity isin't a crime'.
Things have been said and no offense been taken except on aforementioned 'urban brat' context.I hope you shall be magnanimous enough to enlighten the likes of  'ill-informed' me, be my Buddha and provide me my Nirvana.
By the way to avoid any further interaction on cross purposes,kindly tell me on which of my 'passing crack-pot' comment are you so enthusiastic about so that I can further expound myself.
So  long

15. murkha nepali

October 12,2011 :Day The Nepali Republic Died

Prabhu Sah, protege of the incumbent Lendup Dorje of Nepal-Dr. BRB gets a carte blanche  to kill any so called "Sovereign Nepali Citizen". Where are the people who turned the streets into an inferno when King G. enforced laws to regulate the lazy Nepali life? Beware you may be the next victim of Mr. Prabhu Sah.


16. murkha nepali
If BRB is not giving up Prabhu Sah then maybe time has come for the people to rise up once more and lynch all these villians.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)