Saturday, July 21, 2018

If only there wasn't pervasive corruption in defence procurement, the Indian Air Force would be so much more powerful

  • Not wrong to say that when it comes to procurement of military equipment, bribery, corruption and squandering of rare cash on needless "capabilities" are things that are present throughout the world - like an epidemic - irrespective of whether a country is developed or developing [don't fool yourself into thinking that defence spending in an advanced nation like America doesn't involve corruption - there's probably much more corruption in America than in India].
  • After centuries of loot by the British [and other Europeans], India is a poor nation and ideally we cannot afford to waste any money. However, as written above, overpriced procurement of fighter aircraft, missiles, tanks, etc., is a widespread phenomenon throughout the globe, and obviously India too has wasted and is wasting its precious money on equipment that isn't the best bang for the buck.
    • Examples include Dassault Rafale, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, Boeing P-8I Neptune/Poseidon, etc.
  • India's focus should be on buying high-value aircraft, rather than getting attracted to the most powerful ones [which are usually very expensive and not suited for constrained Indian budgets].
  • India's second focus should be on buying Indian-designed and/or Indian-made planes, so that our own aircraft-manufacturing industrial capabilities get evolved [even if this means pains for some years or decades].
  • Thirdly, from a geopolitical standpoint, India should also focus on buying fighter jets and other equipment from our decades-old trusted friends Russia and Japan, as well as our other emerging partners from developed and developing countries [Brazil, South Africa], rather than relying on nefarious, opportunistic and unreliable countries such as the US and UK.
  • Fourthly, where possible, acquire modern, clean-sheet designs with latest technologies [such as Kawasaki C-2 and Kawasaki P-1].
  • Following aircraft seem suitable based on the above focus areas:
    • Yakovlev Yak-130, AHRLAC Holdings Ahrlac, Dornier Do 228, Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, Textron AirLand Scorpion [American but high value], HAL Tejas, Embraer KC-390, Saab JAS 39 Gripen, Saab Swordfish, Mikoyan MiG-35, Sukhoi Su-35, Kawasaki C-2, Kawasaki P-1 [link], Beriev Be-200, Beriev A-100, etc.
    • Continue buying existing high-value yet capable planes such as Ilyushin Il-76, Ilyushin Il-78, Sukhoi Su-30MKI, etc.
  • This is obviously an ideal scenario. Neither the sellers nor the buyers [Indian ministers] will let "value buying" happen. When everyone wants corruption, it's obviously going to happen.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

If not for America's nefarious geopolitics, there's no reason why Iran too cannot become a large hub for global aviation, connecting East, West and more (like Emirates, Qatar, and Etihad) [COMPACTIDEA]

One look at the map of the Middle East makes it clear that if geographic location's "lottery" is the reason why Emirates of Dubai, Qatar Airways of Qatar, Etihad of UAE, Turkish of Turkey, etc., are able to act as hubs in the global airline industry, then there's no reason why Iran too cannot and should not be able to [similarly] become a hub for commercial international flights [also applies to Saudi, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and some others]. It's only the highly destructive and nefarious geopolitical games played by the US that stop Iran from realizing its full potential - geographic, manpower, industrial, and more.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

It's a mistake to think that just because China imports a lot less from America than the other way round, America can somehow hurt China more

US exported ~130 billion USD worth of stuff to China in 2017. The reverse flow was ~505 billion. News stories are filled up with analyses / claims / declarations / opinions that because of this huge imbalance - in China's favor (??) - the US has an upper hand in the ongoing US-China trade war [ironically, it's this trade imbalance itself which has caused the trade war in the first place], and that America can somehow hurt China more. The argument is that China can't match dollar-for-dollar the tariffs that the US continues to impose on imports from China [because China imports so little, relatively], and so it'll quickly "run out" of the current Chinese response of imposing matching tariffs on imports from America [once American tariffs cross 130 billion worth of goods imported from China].

Not entirely correct actually. 130 billion is just the direct, visible imports figure. There's another *massive* category of indirect "imports" from America - the locally-made American products that Chinese consumers buy *so prolifically* [Starbucks, GM cars, Apple's iPhone and other iProducts, Boeing airliners, etc.]. Example follows:

"General Motors now sells many more cars in China than it does in the United States...". - [link]

Not sure if America or Donald Trump realizes this, but it's quite easy for the Chinese leadership to *really, really* hurt American companies and thus America by mobilizing its population against American products - whether directly imported or manufactured and sold locally - in the name of retaliation and patriotism. Trump and his team will quickly crumble to their knees under unbearable pressure from Corporate America if the Chinese leadership one day decides to encourage its citizens to vigorously boycott American products and services in favor of goods from German, British, French, Italian, South Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, Indian, Australian, Spanish, Mexican, Russian, Swiss, Swedish, Canadian, and other developed / powerful nations' companies. The point behind listing the names of these nations is that there are many other developed or otherwise large / consequential countries in the world which'll be more than happy to provide substitutes for American goods and services.

America shouldn't overestimate its power, or underestimate a mighty country like China's. The eras of America hegemony, and of abuse of the rest of the world are ending fast.

Update [May'19]: A comment on a FT article.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Russia must seize the moment - the 2018 FIFA World Cup - and convert each of the foreign visitors into a psychological soldier who will forever speak good of Russia

Western news media is vile. They report selectively. They don't report stuff that doesn't fit their agenda, their goals [which is basically promoting the imperialist foreign policy of their home nations]. They act as a middleman between those leaders/rulers who they want to demonize, and thus general public - thus presenting a highly distorted image of the leader/ruler to the public and making him a sort of demon in their eyes. They don't allow you to see or hear him directly - lest you see clearly that Western media is lying. This isn't very different from a man-in-the-middle attack.

Russia must fully utilize this moment it has got - the FIFA World Cup - to send back home "soldiers" who will speak well of Russia. Russia must convert the foreign fans and visitors who have come here for the games into Russia-lovers who will, for their entire lifetimes, spread positive messages about Russia and attack Western media's false reporting. Russia has got this moment where it can speak directly to the people of the world - right here in Russia - completely bypassing Western media which doesn't let Westerners directly see or hear Russia/Russians.