Yesterday we initiated a daily answer writing challenge for the UPSC civil service aspirants. The response is very good considering how difficult it is to push oneself to writing.
Four aspirants came up with very good answers. They are: Keerthi Narayan, Asha Goud, Mahendra Nath and Biman Ghosh. Thank you all.
Questions Asked – Day-1 (20/07/2013)
1) “The Snowden saga has brought out underlying tensions in the international diplomacy”. Critically comment.
2) Is democracy a viable alternative form of government for some of the countries in the WANA region? Substantiate your answer in the light of recent developments in the region.
Edward Snowden, an intelligence analyst, working on contractual basis with the National Security Agency of the USA recently revealed that the USA has been spying on various nations of the world by secretly collecting information about patterns and manners of internet usage.
This, he has said, that USA has been doing in the name of “its own” cyber security. The revelation has created shock waves across the world. Many countries have expressed their shock and disapproval to such unacceptable acts of the USA. It is to be noted that the USA, till recently, has been complaining about hackers of China invading its cyber security.
The revelation by Snowden has questioned the credibility of the USA’s accusations. Moreover, besides China, many nations of the Europe and the rest of the world which are in good diplomatic terms with the USA have expressed disapproval of such snooping acts.
Besides the snooping acts accusation and its disapproval, the Snowden saga made more implications in the international arena. Snowden who may face trial in the USA for treason is currently seeking political asylum. Many countries in the fear of antogonising the US relationship has refused asylum to him.
Few countries like Ecuador Venezuela and Russia have told that they are ready to grant asylum.
However, whether the Snowden saga has brought out underlying tensions in the international diplomacy to the fore is a matter of question.
The Snowden Saga has indeed raised questions about cyber security of developing nations. Countries like India have revealed Cyber Security -policy post Snowden revelations. However, the China- US diplomatic tussle over hacking, the Latin American countries’ taking a stand against the hegemony of the US or the Russian offering to Snowden are not new elements surfacing as a result of Snowden’s revealations. In fact there are underlying reasons for each.
1. China’s growth as economic superpower even amidst tough economic conditions and its emergence as an alternative area of power to the West has been creating uneasiness in EU and in the US for quite few years
2. The Latin American Opposition to the US is basically because of the socialist-capitalist ideological divide between them and the result of US hegemony in the South America
3. Russia has historically been a potential alternative to US dominated world polity and has expressed itself this stand whenever situations necessitated it. A recent example is the vetoing of external military intervention in Syria in the US Security Council.
So considering the past and the recent developments in world polity, we can conclude that the tensions in international diplomacy have been prevalent since few years and Snowden saga has not created anything new.
The West Asia and the Northern African region has been a seething cauldron of politics since last 5 years. There have been civilian upraises overthrowing of government, military takeovers etc. Tunisia, Libya and Egypt witnessed civilian uprisings. In Libya and Egypt, military dictatorships came to an end and other forms of government were experimented.
Recently in Egypt the elected president Muhammad Morsy has been brought down and an interim govt is going to be formed. Turkey is witnessing civilian protests against a authoritarian though democratic government. Syria is undergoing a turmoil, armed conflict between the government forces and the rebels who want to ouster the Bashar al Assad government. Afghanistan is going to face elections in 2014. This is particularly significant considering the presence of fundamentalist Taliban and the recent US exit.
Democracy is the form of government in which the people of the country are entrusted with the power to decide who should rule them. It also means the existence of political rights like right to peaceful protest, freedom of speech, right of peaceful assemble and a free press. Such democratic governments with all political rights ensured in letter and spirit have been examples of assuring the people a meaningful, rights-based, secure life even in multi-cultural, multiethnic and multilinguistic societies. Examples are South Africa, Brazil, India, France, United States.
In case of WANA nations, a true democracy with assured fundamental political rights is the best way of giving a hope for peaceful existence. Though a few countries in the WANA region have democratically elected governments like Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, the people of these countries are divided by religious schism, ideological divides etc.
In many countries minorities are not given freedom to express their opinion. There is flagrant existence of fundamentalism, hegemony of the rulers over the ruled, crushing of freedom of press etc. Syria witnesses armed clashes between Shia and Sunni sects of Islam. Egypt is facing pro-Morsy and anti-Morsy clashes.
Turkey’s Erdogan government has been too harsh on civilians who claimed the right for free spaces in crowded cities, Afghanistan has been reeling under the frequent attacks of the Fundamentalist Taliban who are totally against women’s education, modernisation of country etc.
Considering all these aspects, it would be right to say that the immediate requirement of the WANA nations is a ‘real’ democracy which ensures it citizens the choice of electing their rulers, basic political rights and freedom, watchful oppositions and a free press.
Diplomatic relations between countries are largely based on the fundamental principle of respecting the sovereignty of nations and non interference. Nations reiterate their commitment towards creating a multipolar world and general well-being However in the background nations maintain clandestine negotiations with other nations to protect encroachment to their authority. In a crisis like situation similar to the one that arose when an American national Edward Snowden released in public domain classified documents, diplomatic relations become vulnerable to pressures.
Snowden episode challenged the American authority therefore granting an asylum to him would attract hostile future relations with America in future.
The Snowden episode made very clear that in the current international environment nations are no longer free from diplomatic pressures in their decision making. Their decisions are no based solely on national laws. Powerful nations use their strong position to their advantage. The response of certain European nations is a sign of this.
Also such situations bring to surface confrontational relations between nations. The divide between the USA and Latin American nations was clearly visible here.
The use of pressure and confrontations is not healthy for maintaining peaceful and cordial relations in the world. Such practices can bring in tensions and further accentuate them leading to negative consequences for the world. Sovereignty of all nations should be respected.
The region of West Asia and North Africa is of huge geopolitical importance. This region is resource rich and strategically placed. The resource attracted the colonial rule in the region and colonial rule got replaced with authoritarian and dictatorial regimes. Essentially these regimes are exploitative in nature. The region has become a geopolitical playground of Western as well as Asian Countries.
Few countries in the region like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya have experienced civil uprising largely led by the people, demanding a representative model of government. Countries like Syria, Turkey already have democracy in place, however here too people have come out on the streets demanding a “Functional Democracy.” People are demanding that politics in their country should not be influenced by external forces and should work for the betterment of their people. The civil movements has led to successful over throw of authoritarian rulers and Egypt, Libya, Tunisia have adopted a democratic set up.
However recently the democratically elected President of Egypt has be removed with the intervention of military. The rebels in Syria have adopted violent means against the government. Such armed rebellion led to over throw of Muammar Qaddaffi in a violent clash. Democracy is a right of every citizen of the nation in WANA region but civil uprisings should not disrupt peace in the region and democratic form of government should be given enough time to stabilize.
Edward Snowden of USA National, a young aged employee of USA’s national security agency’s (NSA) program PRISM which is working with a aim of restricting terrorist activities on USA’s soil.
But the said programme was derailed its objectives & caused to violation of human rights of its own people along with many other countries of the world, both developed & developing countries by secretly accessing private information of all countries people through their internet access accounts like Facebook, Google, yahoo,etc..
This was exposed by Mr.Snowden and he feared the threat of USA, so he went to Hongkong. Later many Latin American countries like Equador, Bolivia, Venejuela, Nicaragua and Argentina came into picture which are invited asylum for Snowden and indirectly these countries shown their character against USA.
When Snowden reached Mascow airport and stayed there, because there is no alter native route to Latin America or Iceland, because European countries are ready to grab him on orders of America. This shows once again cold war situation of USA lead NATO against Soviet lead eastern countries like china.
Though Mr.Obama and Mr.Putin voiced their priorities of trade relationships and want to backside the issue of Snowden, the actual situations appears otherwise and it is truly brought the international differences in the light.
WANA region countries consists of West Asia and North Africa Countries. The North African counties are Morocco from west to Sudan and Ethiopia in the south east, Turkey in the north area to Afghanistan in east part.
These countries are geographically located at water scarcity zone and except few Arabian countries; many of these countries are suffering from poverty and unemployment from decades.
One of the main reasons for this is ever levels of poverty due to lack of good governance. These countries are under dictatorship of various autocratic rulers since decades.
The Arab spring which started in Tunisia in 2011, was spread to all surrounding countries of Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Bahrain, Sudan and Arabia as well.
The wave of protests caused to dethrone all these autocratic rulers and the transition phase existed.
The rebels are continuously trying to recapture and the struggle is still going on in many countries. But in this globalized world this is the only way for development, because without democracy, the right people will not be get the right social schemes because of widespread corruption. Democracy with good governance will address the issues of these countries which are suffering from at most poverty and unemployment
The much contentious “Snowdon Saga” starts with a revelation of a significant US surveillance program,named PRISM by Snowden, a US nationalist and a former employee of National Security Agency(NSA).
Mr. Snowden has unleashed the covert US surveillance program,under which the US, mines user’s used data from all internet giants,like google, facebook, youtube,etc. without the prior consent of users.this has been seen by people as a gross breach of privacy of netizens by the US.this not only caused of discontent in US nationals but also across the world.
While,the US see the entire issue as it’s internal matter and is upset over the concerns,shown by other countries,the anti-US countries envisaged this opportunity to unleash double standard of US policies and compared them with the “tooth of elephant”. Snowden revealed his identity from Hongkong,an administrative region of china,after fleeing from his own country.
The US hostile countries,especially Latin america,Russia,China etc. have sought this opperunity as a major against the US,which is being touted as the savior of human rights and values for a long time. Now,Snowden has filed his political asylum in multiple countries,including India.this gave born a new stabilization factor in current diplomatic equations.
Some Latin Americans offered asylum to Snowden,while some US pro countries rejected it immediately,such situations underlined the most sensitive diplomatic relations among the US-pro and the US-anti countries.India rejected it and shown a very pragmatic approach in entire story.
The West Asian and North African (WANA) countries are perhaps the most toughest region to administrate or govern in the world.the very reason lies in the nature of society,over present there.there is a huge bipolarity in the WANA countries, one is hardcore conservative Islamist and other one is liberal and desired to see their country in the queue of “Prosperous and peaceful” countries.
Naturally,its often easy to see deadly clashes between them to takeover the power.both groups have their own philosophies and they want to impose these on country’s ideology and policies.
Before “Arab Spring”,most of WANA countries used to be under dictatorship of a cruel ruler,who ran country on his interests,suppress oppositions and caused to be violent community clashes.”Arab-Spring” brought a ray of hope by ousting such rulers.
Even in some countries,democracy also had been established but as above said,the intense of bipolarity was much larger then the sentiments of nationalist.in countries,like Egypt,Afghanistan,etc.where the abolishing of irrational government signaled for a fair rule.But the failure of Morsy’s government in Egypt and the Karzai’s government in Afghanistan crushed people’s hope drastically.
with a crawling economy and suffered communistic polity,they are still struggling with their handicapped democracy.for a part of population,religious beliefs are supreme and they will not allow any government to breach the Islamist law for sake of any issue,while other part is die hard willing to see their political and economy freedom at any cost,be it violent deadly clashes they don’t care.
In such crucial situations,democracy alone cannot bring peace and stability in these countries.along with democracy,they need the strong will to change the scenario of their own country.they must come up with the feeling of unity and nation’s love.
Edward Snowden the infrastructure employee of NSA has disclosed the of surveillance project of US which is named as PRISM. US has clarified that it was undergoing to combat terrorist activities across the world.
This surveillance of world network by the US and breaking out their official and private content without any information is not justified.US front on terrorism on the cost of the privacies of whole world is not balancing.If really they have concern about terrorism they must negotiate it a multinational dialogue rather then taking it alone.Ceasing one crime by doing many crimes is not a balancing task.
The terrorism is still a major challenge to world in spite of these surveillance so the intention of US through this project is still uncertain.Russia has take anti US stand whereas India shown a middle ground approach with the lack of information.The inclusion of China,Japan and other countries in the debate will surely demarcate the world in two sides with growing tension.
Hence the surveillance has brought the tension again on geopolitical hot bed and it has raised questions on the intra security of networks of the nations.
The WANA region consist of west Asia and north Africa region with major countries of the region are Afghanistan,Syria,UAE,Pakistan,Egypt,Iran,Iraq etc.Most of the countries of this region are suffering from internal turmoil and disturbances with the resulting drop down of economy and prosperity.The nuclear insecurity of Iran,NATO withdrawal in Afghanistan,political turmoil in Egypt and violence in Syria.
Most of the countries have autocratic rule or military rule and the suffering of people is on worse day by day.These countries should seek lesson from the rest world countries where similar situation was dominant in past 40-50 year like India and china.The democracy is only suitable and viable form of government which can lead the country toward prosperity.The inclusion of people in the decision making process will save their interest.so there must be inclusion of every front of the society through democratic government to make the nation a welfare state in short span of time.
There should be ideal of democratic governance in the countries and all the major decision must include the interest of their nation.The nation must have social growth as its first priority not the economic growth.Only democratic government has capacity to lead the development by taking all fronts of society together. Hence the democratic form of government is the only an alternative for the WANA region countries.
The word “Information” itself a very critical and sensitive one and if the information is about personal and International matters, especially if information is about Economy of the country, it is matter of concern .
Snowden, the whistle-blower in the USA’s national security agency (NSA), has revealed the methods how the government of USA is continuously snooping International arena and also it’s citizen not from few days back but since the formation of NSA. Earlier it was done through the ECHELON program , few country was partner in it. NSA, through Internet Corporation for assigned names and numbers (ICANN) – the only hub in controlling internet servers, is being collecting data of all the routes – Asia, Africa, south America. Among the different countries, USA’s mostly eyed on – India, China, Russia, Arab countries. These country are currently using the server facilities of big giants like – Microsoft, yahoo etc. , which is under the control of American government. The Snowden revelation’s has created panic among the country who are depend on these giant server for their day to day life.
The country like India – in which various ministries even Prime Minister Office are using these server for transfer of various sensitive information – is worried over the snooping program of USA. This program not only capable to made economic disaster in the nation but also able to create tension between or among the countries by manipulating various policies of the concerned nation.
As the Internet communication evolved, need is arrived – how much a nation is secure? Depending on the foreign services doesn’t mean that one has got permission for snooping. Even, snooping on citizen of USA is violation of law.