For those who came in late: Purboposchim at Alal-o-Dulal argued that in the context of Sino-Indian rivalry, Bangladesh should avoid becoming like Afghanistan and be like Switzerland; I said Bangladesh need not be either because it need not be a theatre of Sino-Indian rivalry, rather it should focus its foreign policy on selective issues in the global fora; Purboposchim wrote back with some further thoughts.
Over the fold, the conversation continues.
The folks at AoD have thrown the gauntlet — they want a conversation. Well, I don’t have anything terribly original to say about ministers or MPs or ex-MPs or their drivers, whether they are with or without jobs. Nor do I have anything to say about the return of hartal. But I think I can say something semi-intelligent about Purboposhchim’s take on foreign policy.
The blogger observes:
Consider that two of our neighbours are China and India – high growth countries with large populations. Over the next century these two countries will grow more powerful and their ambitions will grow with them. There will be opportunities for cooperation and for conflict.
What should the Bangladeshi foreign policy be in response to this ‘new Great Game’?
Purboposhchim says there are two options: one, ”play one against the other” (the Afghanistan option); or two, “make ourselves indispensable to both” (the Switzerland option).
Of course the blogger is pumping for the Swiss route. And I suppose if there is a choice between those two options, I would also choose the Swiss – who wants to be Afghanistan?
It’s just that I don’t think the premise of that choice is particularly sensible.
Alal O Dulal seems to have a certain kind of verve that I haven’t seen in the Deshi blogosphere since the heydays of 2006-07 — just before and after 1/11. Do visit, and participate in debates there. This particular one caught my eyes.
To quickly summarise: one of the bloggers note that while talking about the corruption of Syed Abul Hossain or Nazmul Huda (both communication ministers, AL and BNP respectively), no one uses the salutations Janab / Sahib, but Suranjit Sengupta is frequently addressed as Sri / Babu, which has the effect of reminding people of the minister’s religion; and one of the commenters argued that Sri / Babu salutations aren’t necessarily communal, but reflect the general social manners.
Suppose the commenter is right. What does that tell us about our society?
A number of things have happened in the past few months that would be worthy of Naeem Mustafa and Col Rumi. But I haven’t posted about rumbles in the cantonment, gruesome double murders, or about corruption scandals forcing ministerial resignations. And a few readers have asked why.
The answer is two-fold. First, thanks to the vagaries of time zones, “real life” commitments, and software issues, I am usually pretty late to these stories myself. This rules out ‘breaking’ any news.
However, I could analyse some of these events, and their consequences. And that’s where the second factor comes in. I don’t think my analysis of current events are particularly good. This is particularly true of matters political. For example, I have little to say about the fallout of the Suranjit saga that one can’t get from many other sources.
Of course, I may have little of interest to say about border killing or minority persecution — and that hasn’t stopped me from posting about them. But then again, on both issues, the posts came when I felt like writng about them.
So, the news junkies are very likely to be disappointed with this blog. But there is, potentially, some good news for them. Some new bloggers, and a few old hands, have started what could be a very exciting site. (Some of my pieces will be cross-posted there time-to-time).
The founders of Alal-o-Dulal prefer to be low key for now. I hope their wish doesn’t come true, and the blog becomes a huge hit.