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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Of dogs and wolves: lessons of Rouhani-Obama talk for Hollande and Netanyahu


Out of strong respect for all living creatures, I sometimes feel calling some people ‘dogs’ is, in fact, an insult to the whole species of dogs. For thousands of years, the dogs have been taught the one dimension of loyalty by human beings and that is precisely why they behave the way they do. That is indeed what is expected of dogs. 

Dog and the loyalty! (Photo by Perhols), Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Dog with the wolf? Not exactly (Photo by Cyclotron)
But the problem starts when a human being behaves like a dog: with loyalty and nothing else. When the dog over-reacts to a threat, the master can always order or pull him back and it looks normal. But when the human master has to call back a human dog, it looks a bit embarrassing. 

Well, everybody knows French president Francois Hollande is not a dog. I also believe his predecessor Sarkoy was not a wolf.  But their behavior, at least in hindsight, appears to perfectly match the behavior of the animals. Sarkozy's wolfhood had manifested to its full extent during the liberating bombing of Libya. Hollande's canine dimensions have been laid bare in the magnanimous 'Strike Syria' fiasco. 

To put it plainly, when the reluctant Obama was yet to make up his mind to strike Assad's powers in Syria, his pet rulers in Britain and France were already itching for a strike there. When the British parliament jammed brakes on Cameron's plans to bombard Syria, same thing did not happen in France and president Hollande kept rabble-rousing  for the war. 

Indeed if everything had gone as planned, the Syrian forces would have been battered by now facilitating the 'unified, moderate rebels' to grab the power in Damascus. With a remorseful and embarrassed Cameron watching, Hollande would have been crowned the sole European protector of democracy and human rights in West Asia.

What is more, Iran would have been crippled by the loss of the ally in Syria and Israel would have tacitly warned Iran: See what happens if you cross the red line! 

Alas! Reality and wishful thinking are different things. Hollande's ill-thought rush to start even rhetorical war on Assad's Syria has badly backfired: his approval ratings in France have reportedly dropped to their lowest levels. The Syrian opposition is in chaos with cataclysmic decision of some powerful militant factions to abandon the farcical leadership in exile that was recognized by some states like Qatar and enjoyed the patronage of world powers whose patronage matters in reality. 

And now to add the insult to injury, Obama has called the new Iranian president Rouhani a day after the latter denounced the holocaust. In all likelihood, constructive engagement with Iran will now follow rather than more--and rather counterproductive-- red lines. 

This leaves the human president from France and the not-so-human PM of Israel in a rather awkward position: while the master has restrained himself somewhere on way to the potentially bloody show down with the adversary, they appear ready to bite the enemy yet unable to do so because the maser is way back.

The disgust among the French people towards the president for his canine ways is perfectly understandable. While the friendship of their country to the US is valuable, that does not demand a thoughtless and dog-like loyalty from any human being. And if Hollande was trying to appear more militant leader by more actively projecting the French military power, he has now fallen victim of his own brinkmanship.

And to the other losers in the game, Israel and the ill-fated Syrian National Council, I have a prudent advice: please be realistic towards your relationship with the superpower. The master who has the capability to mobilize you also has got the ability to restrain you, strategically if not directly. And when a human being restrains the other human being the way he does a hyperactive dog, it does not look nice. 

And one more thing: in any unequal relationship, the master is master, after all, and the subject is subject. That the British parliament saved Cameron from exposure of such a relationship is something Hollande must be really envious of now.

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जीवनमा अफ्ठ्यारा घुम्तीहरुमा हिंडिरहँदा मैले कुनै क्षणमा पलायनलाई एउटा विकल्पको रुपमा कल्पना गरेको थिएँ, त्यसलाई यथार्थमा बदल्ने आँट गरिनँ, त्यो बेग्लै कुरा हो त्यसबेला लाग्थ्योः मेरा समग्र दुखहरुको कारण मेरो वरपरको वातावरण हो, यसबाट साहसपूर्वक बाहिरिएँ भने नयाँ दुख आउलान् तर तत्क्षणका दुरुह दुखहरु गायब भएर जानेछन् कति गलत थिएँ !

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