Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Water: Tibet and China

This title has got no relation with the movie Water :)
I guess one would have already guessed what I intend to speak...It is about China's strategic interest in Tibet....WATER
There is already a saying that the future wars are not likely about oil but about the basic requirements of food and water.
I was trying to understand the reasons China would be so interested in Tibet...Agreed all the countries are bent upon acquiring as much geographical area and hence as many natural resources as possible, but Tibet especially stands in a very strategic location.
1/3rd of the World's population directly or indirectly depends on Tibet..Guess how?
Almost all the big rivers in Asia originate from Tibet, be it the Yangtze or the Yellow River or the Brahmaputra or the Indus or the origins of the Ganges all take its roots from Tibet.
This is the image showcasing the rivers around Tibet:

The Yangtze river alone is such big and has such huge potential that the world's biggest dam is on the river and there are plans to make another huge dam on the same river and together they are pumping 18 GW of power and have plans to increase it to around 30 GW.
So, imagine what powers would a country have if it possesses the lifeline of 2 billion people living under the shadow of these rivers.
Even if China doesn't want to hurt the flow of these resources to other countries, the country in itself is in a dire condition in terms of water availability. China reels under severe water scarcity owing to the ill use of its resources. Statistics show that:
18% of Yangtze river is not longer suitable for drinking purposes
30% of Yellow river
and close to 50% of some other rivers that do not come from the Tibetan region...
China's developed areas are in the water scare zones and Tibet is on the other side, so China is struggling to pump the water from the water rich zones into the water scarce areas..It is expected that by 2025 and beyond 450 million people in China will be starving for water, and to supply water to all these people China has no option but to acquire resources of water and what better way than to take control of one of the largest sources of water, Tibet.
So, the people who should be asking for freedom of Tibet should not be Tibetans alone, but the countries like India, China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand etc. who would otherwise die without their precious rivers being cut by China.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The democratic recession, Friedman

There was an interesting artcile by Thomas.L.Friedman, The World is Flat guy.... He quoted that one of the other depressions that the world is facing is democratic depression. He quotes that the economic freedom decreases with the increasing oil prices.
It is certainly vis-a-vis the countries like Russia, Venezuela etc. who are oil exporting nations but are not under democracy.
The article arose certain questions...
But is democracy a matter of concern now? Is china a democracy with hardly any press freedom or verbal freedom? In the countries who boast about their democractic standards what are the achievements received?
I may sound a communist, but Cuba has acheived somethings like near 100% child nutrition, education for every child etc. that most democratic biggies could not acheive?
So, what is so significant about democratic recession?
There are countries which are certainly sending grotesque examples like the Zimbabwean president, who has ensured that the elections become void..sounds like an extreme Musharraf :). But Mr. Musharraf, though he has lost his way during the fag end of his reign, has actually helped Pakistan regain some of its might. Also the countries like Saudi Arabia though have ensured great developments are rated quite low on some of the humanitarian metrics.
Agreed that Democracy has many advantages, but it is the timing of the implementation of democracy which is crucial.
So, instead of democratic recession, may be a leadership recession sounds better to me. We need leaders who are visionaries and can help the globe sustain the basic needs and can ensure that no child gets killed in a missile attack and the ones who do not lead us into the likes of sub prime crisis..

PS: The article by Thomas.L.Friedman is available on http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/07/opinion/07friedman.html?em&ex=1210305600&en=56fd0b63fd541e7a&ei=5087%0A