Who Is Left at Guantanamo?

Postado Originalmente: 12/05/2016

On January 20, 2016, Mohammed Ali Abdullah Bwazir stood with shackles on his ankles, wrists, and waist at the bottom of a ramp leading up to a U.S. Air Force cargo plane. The plane was going to take him, along with two other Guantanamo Bay prisoners, to an undisclosed southern European nation. Bwazir, who is either 35 or 36 and is from Yemen, had been cleared for release after spending 14 years in the U.S. prison in Cuba.

He refused to get on the plane.

“He wasn’t angry. He wasn’t acting out. He was very calm,” Army Colonel David Heath, the Guantanamo prison warden, later recalled to Carol Rosenberg, the Miami Herald reporter who has been covering the prison since it first opened. Bwazir’s lawyer, John Chandler, told The New York Times the man was depressed and feared living in a country where he had no family. Bwazir wanted to go to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, or Indonesia, where he has a mother, brothers, uncles, and aunts. Faced instead with a new life in Europe, he chose to return to his cell.

Bwazir’s case highlights the complexities of emptying the prison opened after 9/11 to house dangerous terrorism suspects. The potential release of its captives carries a host of legal, political, and diplomatic implications. They illustrate why two presidents have been unsuccessful in closing the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, despite criticism of the treatment, including waterboarding, that some of the inmates underwent.

About 780 inmates have been held at Guantanamo since it opened in 2002. Today, 80 remain.

Most have not been charged with any crimes, according to a comprehensive database maintained by The New York Times. All are men, mostly in their 30s and 40s. The youngest is about 30 or 31; the oldest is 68. Most have been there for more than 13 or 14 years. Some have gone on hunger strikes and were force-fed with liquid nutrients through nasal tubes.

The inmates come from 17 countries and the Palestinian territories. The majority of inmates—43—are from Yemen. Eight are from Afghanistan, and six each from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The rest are from Tajikistan, Tunisia, Iraq, Algeria, Indonesia, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Russia, and Somalia. One inmate’s native country is unknown.

At least 26 inmates, including Bwazir, have been cleared for release; a review board system President Obama created by executive order in 2011 has determined they no longer pose a security threat to the United States. This week, the board cleared for release Salem Ahmed Hadi, a suspected jihadist who left Yemen for Afghanistan before 9/11 and arrived at Guantanamo in its second week of existence. It was his fifth time before the board, which had previously rejected releasing him.

At least 43 inmates are being held indefinitely and have not been recommended for release by the review boards. These indefinite detainees are known as the “forever prisoners,” the captives deemed too dangerous to release but who have not been charged with any crimes. Indefinite detention without trial is illegal under the Geneva Conventions, but the Bush administration argued that international laws did not apply to the “unlawful enemy combatants” who were taken to Guantanamo.

Seven inmates have been charged with war crimes in Guantanamo’s military commissions, the judicial system set up by the Bush administration and tweaked by the Obama administration. They include Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged organizer of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and his four alleged co-conspirators. The others are Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi detainee charged for allegedly organizing the bombing of a U.S. Navy destroyer in Yemen in 2000 that killed 17 sailors, and Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, an Iraqi detainee who allegedly led al-Qaeda’s military operations from 2002 to 2004.

Three inmates have been convicted of war crimes, but the conviction of one was overturned on appeal. Majid Khan, a Pakistani native who once lived in Baltimore, pleaded guilty to war crimes in 2012, acknowledging he returned to Pakistan after 9/11 to work for Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Ahmed Muhammed Haza al-Darbi, a Saudi citizen, pleaded guilty in 2014 over the 2002 al-Qaeda attack on a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen. Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al-Bahlul, a Saudi citizen accused of being Osama bin Laden’s “media secretary,” was convicted in 2008 of conspiracy, terrorism-related charges, and other charges. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his conviction in 2013, saying the crimes of which he was convicted were not recognized as war crimes at the time he committed them.

The White House’s push to shutter Guantanamo for good began a decade ago. In May 2006, President George W. Bush said he wanted to close the detention center. Two years later, Obama made the closure of the prison one of his campaign promises. In his first days in office, Obama issued an executive order to close the prison within a year. He has since vowed to shut it down before he leaves office.

The Bush administration released about 540 detainees without charge. The Obama administration has released 158. Detainees have gone to countries willing to accept them, 58 nations in all, according to the Times database. Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia have accepted the most at 203 and 134, respectively. Pakistan has accepted 63. Five Taliban detainees were released in the swap that freed Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from five years of captivity in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nations on six continents have accepted Guantanamo’s prisoners. Nine have died in the camp, five of them by suicide, according to U.S. officials.

Detainees do not choose where they are released. “We’re not a travel agency,” Lee Wolosky, the State Department’s special envoy for the Guantanamo closure,told the Herald’s Rosenberg, after Bwazir asked to be taken back to his cell earlier this year. “We’re not here to fulfill every wish and desire of a resettlee.” The U.S. no longer transfers detainees to Yemen because of the worsening political and security climates and an active a-Qaeda affiliate in the country. U.S. law restricts transfers to countries whose security situations are considered unstable, including Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. In February, Saudi Arabia agreed to accept non-citizens from Guantanamo for the first time.

Since 2009, Obama has sought to transfer detainees to detention facilities in the U.S. But congressional Republicans have repeatedly blocked those attempts, passing legislation that prohibits the use of government funds to transfer prisoners to American soil and the construction of facilities to house them. Only two detainees have been transferred to the United States: Yaser Esam Hamdi, in April 2002, and Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani in June 2009. Hamdi, who is a citizen of both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and was born in Louisiana, was held at a naval brig in Charleston, South Carolina, until October 2004 when he was repatriatedto Saudi Arabia. Ghailani, a Tanzanian, was transferred to the U.S. in 2009 and remains at the federal super-maximum security prison in Fremont, Colorado.

In February, the administration, in a final proposal to Congress for Guantanamo’s closure, proposed sending detainees to 13 potential sites on U.S. soil but did not identify the facilities. Last year, Pentagon officials surveyed potential candidates, visiting federal prisons in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and Charleston, South Carolina, as well as state and federal facilities in Florence, Colorado.

Opponents of closing Guantanamo argue detainees return to terrorist activity when released. Top Republican lawmakers and foreign-policy hawks, including Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, say 30 percent of freed detainees become terrorists. Bu Congress-mandated reports from the administration’s intelligence officials show the rate of confirmed recidivism is about 17 percent. Obama has said Guantanamo serves as a “recruiting tool” for other extremist militant groups, like the Islamic State, but experts who study jihadist propaganda say the camp is not featured prominently in jihadist materials.

The first 20 prisoners of Guantanamo Bay arrived in Cuba on January 11, 2002. In the short months after Bush declared a war on terrorism, the U.S. military had captured 45 fighters from al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the Middle East, and it needed a place to put them. Officials ruled out Guam after its citizens raised concerns about the presence of terrorism suspects, and settled on the U.S. naval base on Cuba’s southeastern tip—“the least worst place we could have selected,” as former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once described it. Back then, the base was capable of housing 100 detainees, and the first captives were held in the steel-and-wire cages as the detention center was expanded.

More than a decade later, the sprawling camp has enough facilities to house hundreds of prisoners. Military personnel vastly outnumber captives. The annual cost to taxpayers of maintaining the camp was $454 million in 2013.

The last known arrival to the prison was Muhammed Rahim al-Afghani in 2008, an Afghan described as a high-level al-Qaeda operative. The latest release was in April of this year, when nine Yemeni prisoners were transferred to Saudi Arabia.

In 2013, Rosenberg, the Herald reporter, told Poynter she was assigned to report the Guantanamo story “start to finish.” She doesn’t expect Obama to meet his self-imposed deadline. “I thought it would be closed when Obama was elected, but as it stands, it could be that we will just be waiting for the last guy to die before it closes,” she said.

FONTE: The Atlantic

Keiser Report- Truth About Markets

Publicado originalmente em: 23/04/2016


Max and Stacy talk about Obama in London, Boris Johnson, Saudi Arabia, the 28 pages.

Fonte: Max Keiser

Putin explica como os Estados Unidos criaram o ISIS

How Putin Blocked the U.S. Pivot to Asia

Originalmente publicado em:  MARCH 6-8, 2015

The collapse of the Soviet Union removed the only constraint on Washington’s power to act unilaterally abroad…. Suddenly the United States found itself to be the Uni-power, the ‘world’s only superpower.’  Neoconservatives proclaimed ‘the end of history.’”

—  Paul Craig Roberts,  former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury

“Don’t blame the mirror if your face is crooked.”

— Russian proverb

On February 10, 2007,   Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the 43rd Munich Security Conference that created a rift between Washington and Moscow that has only deepened over time.  The Russian President’s blistering hour-long critique of US foreign policy provided a rational, point-by-point indictment of US interventions around the world and their devastating effect on global security.   Putin probably didn’t realize the impact his candid observations would have on the assembly in Munich or the reaction of  powerbrokers in the US who saw the presentation as a turning point in US-Russian relations. But, the fact is, Washington’s hostility towards Russia can be traced back to this particular incident, a speech in which Putin publicly committed himself to a multipolar global system, thus, repudiating the NWO pretensions of US elites. Here’s what he said:

“I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue.”

With that one formulation, Putin rejected the United States assumed role as the world’s only superpower and steward of global security, a privileged position which Washington feels it earned by prevailing in the Cold War and which entitles the US to unilaterally intervene whenever it sees fit. Putin’s announcement ended years of bickering and deliberation among think tank analysts as to whether Russia could be integrated into the US-led system or not.  Now they knew that Putin would never dance to Washington’s tune.

In the early years of his presidency, it was believed that Putin would learn to comply with western demands and accept a subordinate role in the Washington-centric system. But it hasn’t worked out that way. The speech in Munich merely underscored what many US hawks and Cold Warriors had been saying from the beginning, that Putin would not relinquish Russian sovereignty without a fight.  The declaration challenging US aspirations to rule the world, left no doubt that  Putin was going to be a problem that had to be dealt with by any means necessary including harsh economic sanctions, a State Department-led coup in neighboring Ukraine, a conspiracy to crash oil prices, a speculative attack of the ruble, a proxy war in the Donbass using neo-Nazis as the empire’s shock troops, and myriad false flag operations used to discredit Putin personally while driving a wedge between Moscow and its primary business partners in Europe. Now the Pentagon is planning to send 600 paratroopers to Ukraine ostensibly to “train the Ukrainian National Guard”, a serious escalation that violates the spirit of Minsk 2 and which calls for a proportionate response from the Kremlin. Bottom line: The US is using all the weapons in its arsenal to prosecute its war on Putin.

Last week’s gangland-style murder of Russian opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, has to be considered in terms of the larger geopolitical game that is currently underway. While we may never know who perpetrated the crime, we can say with certainly that the lack of evidence hasn’t deterred the media or US politicians from using the tragedy to advance an anti-Putin agenda aimed at destabilizing the government and triggering regime change in Moscow.  Putin himself suggested that the killing may have been a set-up designed to put more pressure on the Kremlin. The World Socialist Web Site summed up the political implications like this:

“The assassination of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov is a significant political event that arises out of the US-Russia confrontation and the intense struggle that is now underway within the highest levels of the Russian state. The Obama administration and the CIA are playing a major role in the escalation of this conflict, with the aim of producing an outcome that serves the global geo-political and financial interests of US imperialism…

It is all but obvious that the Obama administration is hoping a faction will emerge within the Russian elite, backed by elements in the military and secret police, capable of staging a “palace coup” and getting rid of Putin….

The United States is not seeking to trigger a widespread popular revolt. (But) are directed entirely at convincing a section of the oligarchy and emerging capitalist class that their business interests and personal wealth depend upon US support. That is why the Obama administration has used economic sanctions targeting individuals as a means of exerting pressure on the oligarchs as well as broader sections of the entrepreneurial elite…

It is in the context of this international power struggle that one must evaluate Nemtsov’s murder. Of course, it is possible that his death was the outcome of his private dealings. But it is more likely that he was killed for political reasons. Certainly, the timing of the killing—on the eve of the opposition’s anti-Putin demonstration in Moscow—strongly indicates that the killing was a political assassination, not a private settling of accounts.”  (Murder in Moscow: Why was Boris Nemtsov assassinated?, David North, World Socialist Web Site)

Just hours after Nemtsov was gunned down in Moscow, the western media swung into action releasing a barrage of articles suggesting Kremlin involvement without a shred of  evidence to support their claims. The campaign of innuendo has steadily gained momentum as more Russia “experts” and politicians offer their opinions about who might be responsible. Naturally, none of the interviewees veer from the official storyline that someone in Putin’s charge must have carried out the attack.  An article in the Washington Post is a good example of the tactics used in the latest PR campaign to discredit Putin.  According to Vladimir Gel’man, Political Scientists European University at St. Petersburg and the University of Helsinki:

“Boris Nemtsov, one of the leaders of political opposition, was shot dead nearby the Kremlin. In my opinion, it has all the hallmarks of a political assassination provoked by an aggressive Kremlin-induced campaign against the “fifth column of national traitors”, who opposed the annexation of Crimea, war with the West over Ukraine, and further decline of political and civil freedoms in the country. We may never know whether the Kremlin ordered this killing, but given the fact that Nemtsov was one of the most consistent critics not only of the Russian regime as such but also of Putin in person, his dissenting voice will never upset Putin and his inner circle anymore.”  (What does Boris Nemtsov’s murder mean for Russia?, Washington Post)

The article in the Washington Post is fairly typical of others published in the MSM. The coverage is invariably long on finger-pointing and insinuation and short on facts. Traditional journalistic standards of objectivity and fact-gathering have been jettisoned to advance a political agenda that reflects the objectives of ownership. The Nemtsov assassination is just the latest illustration of the abysmal state of western media.

The idea that Putin’s agents would “whack” an opposition candidate just a stone’s throw from the Kremlin is far fetched to say the least.  As one commenter at the Moon of Alabama blog noted:

“Isn’t the image of a dead political opponent lying on a bridge overlooked by the Kremlin a bit rich? I mean, short of a dagger lodged between his shoulder blades with the inscription “if found, please return to Mr Putin”, I can’t think of a more over-egged attempt at trying to implicate the Government. And on the night before an opposition rally Nemtsov hoped to lead. I mean, come on.”

While there’s no denying that Moscow could be involved, it seems unlikely. The more probable explanation is that the incident is part of a larger regime change scheme to ignite social unrest and destabilize the government. The US has used these tactics so many times before in various color-coded revolutions, that we won’t reiterate the details here. Even so, it’s worth noting that the US has no red lines when it comes to achieving its strategic goals.  It will do whatever it feels is necessary to prevail in its clash with Putin.

The question is why? Why is Washington so determined to remove Putin?

Putin answered this question himself recently at a celebration of Russia’s diplomatic workers’ day. He said Russia would pursue an independent foreign policy despite pressure in what he called “today’s challenging international environment.”

“No matter how much pressure is put on us, the Russian Federation will continue to pursue an independent foreign policy, to support the fundamental interests of our people and in line with global security and stability.” (Reuters)

This is Putin’s unforgivable crime, the same crime as Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Syria and countless other nations that refuse to march in lockstep to Washington’s directives.

Putin has also resisted NATO encirclement and attempts by the US to loot Russia’s vast natural resources. And while Putin has made every effort to avoid a direct confrontation with the US, he has not backed down on issues that are vital to Russia’s national security, in fact, he  has pointed out numerous times not only the threat that encroaching NATO poses to Moscow, but also the lies that preceded its eastward expansion. Here’s Putin at Munich again:

“I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: “the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee….

Where are these guarantees?”

Where, indeed. Apparently, they were all lies.  As political analyst Pat Buchanan said in his article “Doesn’t Putin Have a Point?”:

Though the Red Army had picked up and gone home from Eastern Europe voluntarily, and Moscow felt it had an understanding we would not move NATO eastward, we exploited our moment. Not only did we bring Poland into NATO, we brought in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, and virtually the whole Warsaw Pact, planting NATO right on Mother Russia’s front porch. Now, there is a scheme afoot to bring in Ukraine and Georgia in the Caucasus, the birthplace of Stalin….

… though Putin gave us a green light to use bases in the old Soviet republics for the liberation of Afghanistan, we now seem hell-bent on making those bases in Central Asia permanent.

… through the National Endowment for Democracy, its GOP and Democratic auxiliaries, and tax-exempt think tanks, foundations, and “human rights” institutes such as Freedom House,… we have been fomenting regime change in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet republics, and Russia herself….

These are Putin’s grievances. Does he not have a small point?” “(Doesn’t Putin Have a Point?”, Pat Buchananantiwar.com)

Now the US wants to deploy its missile defense system to Eastern Europe, a system which–according to Putin “will work automatically with and be an integral part of the US nuclear capability. For the first time in history, and I want to emphasize this, there are elements of the US nuclear capability on the European continent. It simply changes the whole configuration of international security…..Of course, we have to respond to that.”

How can Putin allow this to happen?  How can he allow the US to situate nuclear weapons in a location that would increase its first-strike capability and undermine the balance of deterrents allowing the US to force Russia to follow its orders or face certain annihilation. Putin has no choice but to resist this outcome, just as has no choice but to oppose the principle upon which US expansion is based, the notion that the Cold War was won by the US, therefore the US has the right to reshape the world in a way that best suits its own economic and geopolitical interests. Here’s Putin again:

“What is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term,  it refers to a type of situation where there is one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making.   It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign. At the end of the day, this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within…

I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world…. the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilization…” (Munich, 2007)

What sort of man talks like this? What sort of man talks about “the moral foundations for modern civilization” or invokes FDR in his address?

Putin:  “‘Security for one is security for all’. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said during the first few days that the Second World War was breaking out: ‘When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries everywhere is in danger.’ These words remain topical today.”

I urge everyone to watch at least the first 10 minutes of Putin’s speech and decide for themselves whether they think the characterization (and demonization) of Putin in the media is fair or not. And pay special attention to Minute 6 where Putin says this:

We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?” (Vladimir Putin’s legendary speech at Munich Security Conference)

While Putin is making this statement, the camera pans to John McCain and Joe Lieberman who are sitting stone-faced in the front row seething at every word uttered by the Russian president. If you look close enough, you can see the steam emerging from McCain’s ears.

This is why Washington wants regime change in Moscow. It’s because Putin refuses to be pushed around by the United States. It’s because he wants a world that is governed by international laws that are impartially administered by the United Nations. It’s because he rejects a “unipolar” world order where one nation dictates policy to everyone else and where military confrontation becomes the preferred way for the powerful to impose their will on the weak.

Putin:  “Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts…The United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way….And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this — no one feels safe.” Vladimir Putin, Munich 2007

Putin isn’t a perfect man. He has his shortcomings and flaws like everyone else. But he appears to be a decent person who has made great strides in restoring Russia’s economy after it was looted by agents of the US following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He has lifted living standards,  increased pensions,  reduced poverty, and improved education and health care which is why his public approval ratings are currently hovering at an eye-watering 86 percent.  Even so, Putin is most admired for standing up to the United States and blocking its strategy to pivot to Asia. The proxy war in Ukraine is actually a struggle to thwart Washington’s plan to break up the Russian Federation, encircle China, control the flow of resources from Asia to Europe,  and rule the world.   Vladimir Putin is at the forefront of that conflagration which is why he has gained the respect and admiration of people around the world.

As for “democracy”, Putin said it best himself:

“Am I a ‘pure democrat’? (laughs) Of course I am. Absolutely. The problem is that I’m all alone, the only one of my kind in the whole world. Just look at what’s happening in    America, it’s terrible—torture, homeless people, Guantanamo, people detained without trial or investigation.     And look at  Europe—harsh treatment of demonstrators, rubber bullets and tear gas used in one capital after another, demonstrators killed on the streets….. I have no one to talk to since Gandhi died.”

Well said, Vladimir.

Fonte: Conter Punch

How not to win friends

Publicado originalmente em: Mar 28th 2015 | JERUSALEM AND RAMALLAH

BARELY a day has gone by since the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, won re-election on March 17th without one senior American official or another chastising him in public. On March 23rd officials leaked word claiming Israel had spied on America’s talks with Iran. A day later President Barack Obama himself referred to a “knotty policy difference that has great consequences for both countries and the region.”

Senior figures in Mr Netanyahu’s circle think this is all a ploy to weaken the prime minister’s efforts to influence the talks over a nuclear deal with Iran. The view is that Mr Obama is resolved to reach a rapprochement with Iran, and that he sees Mr Netanyahu and his Republican allies in Congress as the main obstacles. Mr Netanyahu, about to begin his fourth term as prime minister, resolutely opposes what he calls a “bad deal”, even if that damages relations with the White House.

Israeli officials think the talks in Lausanne will result in a general outline of an agreement. That could allow the negotiations to continue until June to finalise the details. Meanwhile they have largely given up on trying to convince the administration to drive a tougher deal. Instead, they and the Saudis are trying to stiffen the positions of the British and French.

Pressure is also mounting on Israel over the establishment of a Palestinian state. Earlier this month the central committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which runs the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, recommended that security co-operation with Israel be halted. Similar threats have been made in the past but never fulfilled. This time, insists Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, “it’s really happening. We’re not going back. We’re not playing games.”

On April 1st the Palestinians will become members of the International Criminal Court, where they hope to see Israel in the dock for alleged war crimes committed during last year’s Gaza war, and for settlement-building in the West Bank.

For Mr Netanyahu this means fighting on two separate diplomatic fronts before he has even sworn-in his new government. “Bibi is counting down the days before Obama leaves the White House” says one adviser. “These are going to be twenty-two long months.”

Fonte: The Economist

The Looming U.S.-India Trade War

The Looming U.S.-India Trade War

All seems simpatico between New Delhi and Washington. But with the Trans-Pacific Partnership on the horizon, tensions between the two are certain to boil over.

If international relations were about cultivating personal chemistry, you might assume that the U.S.-India relationship has never been stronger. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington last September, full of warm and fuzzy moments and buoyed by a sense of bonhomie, suggested a growing camaraderie between the nations. Following closely on the heels of that meeting, President Barack Obama became the first sitting president in history to visit India twice, and the first to be named guest of honor at its Republic Day celebrations on January 26, 2015.

But look past the veneer of chumminess, and you’ll see that the era of good feelings is likely to be short-lived, as simmering disputes between Washington and New Delhi retake their place at center stage. Among the most important are likely to be their vastly differing trade priorities, as each competes for a piece of the world market and plays a high-stakes game to ensure that its businesses and workers get a larger share of the pie.

One of the key sticking points is a trade disagreement that has now reached the dispute settlement body of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The United States alleges that India’s domestic procurement requirements for solar cells and modules violate WTO rules, which mandate fair and non-discriminatory access to both foreign and domestic firms, while India contends that the United States unfairly subsidizes its own solar technology manufacturers. Typically, a case under the dispute settlement body runs anywhere from a year to a year and a half, and the decision is binding for the losing party.

It’s difficult to see how India and the United States will find common ground on this issue. Obama has made it abundantly clear that one of his administration’s key goals is to create high-quality jobs by pushing U.S. exports and manufacturing in overseas markets. This was a central theme in the State of the Union address, which he delivered just before coming to India, and one he reiterated at a summit of American and Indian business leaders in New Delhi. Washington will not take kindly to being shut out of a large and growing market for solar technology in India, a key plank in Modi’s plan to increase the share of renewables in India’s energy mix.

For its part, the Indian government has made it very clear that promoting domestic manufacturing under the “Make in India” program is a cornerstone of its policy to jumpstart growth and generate millions of new jobs. For better or worse, domestic procurement rules are one of the time-tested tools that governments around the world use to even the competition for domestic manufacturers.

New Delhi and Washington’s positions seem downright irreconcilable. In fact, shortly after Obama’s visit, reports in India suggested that the state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation would soon put out bids for new solar projects, available only to domestic manufacturers. That’s unlikely to help resolve things.

But the solar dispute is only one piece of a much larger philosophical divide. An equally important, unresolved source of friction between India and the United States is their positions on intellectual property protection (IPP), and on the relationship of IPP and international trade agreements.

Large, deep-pocketed American pharmaceutical companies with powerful lobbies in Washington want India to strengthen its regulatory regime. For instance: they want India to extend patent protections to new drugs and not allow compulsory licensing, whereby makers of generic drugs are allowed to manufacture patented pharmaceuticals.

Here, India appears to have made a fairly major concession to the United States. Its long-standing position has been that IPP is a domestic matter, not one to be negotiated with trading partners. But during Modi’s visit to the United States last fall, India agreed to discuss its evolving IPP regime in a joint working group with U.S. experts. The report from those discussions has yet to be released, perhaps suggesting some difficulty in reaching a consensus.

On the other side of the fence, Indian generics manufacturers — the largest source of generics in the world — fear that they will lose much of their business if India adopts U.S.-style patent protection, which privileges the inventors of new drugs and limits availability of cheaper generic alternatives. What’s more, public health advocates and non-governmental organizations fear that moving to a tougher regime would raise the cost of life-saving drugs for those both in India and in developing countries that depend on its generics instead of the costly American originals.

The IPP issue resides at the heart of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement among 12 nations in the Asia Pacific accounting for 40 percent of world gross domestic product and one-third of world trade. Pointedly, the TPP includes neither China nor India.

If India remains outside the TPP — the likely outcome, as there is no indication that the original 12 wish to open up to potential new members until they have first struck a deal among themselves — India is likely to lose out on major market access. One study from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, a think tank, released in May 2014 finds that the TPP’s big winners would be countries like Japan, Korea and Malaysia. India, meanwhile, is likely to end up a loser, due to what economists call “trade diversion.” This occurs when a free trade area shifts production away from more efficient suppliers locked out of the agreement, to less efficient suppliers that are part of the agreement. This would hurt India. Its textile manufacturers, for example, worry that they will lose out on the lucrative U.S. market, in favor of suppliers in Vietnam, a TPP member.

Intellectual property regulations would be at the core of the TPP’s potential negative impacts on India. If India joined the TPP in the future, it would almost certainly have to replicate the patent regime built into the agreement. This would extend and worsen the difficulties India faces on pharmaceuticals into a range of sectors where trademark and copyright laws are important, including publishing, music, and film production — the TPP’s IPP regulations, after all, are more stringent. Another study, also by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in May 2014, concludes: “the costs of conforming to the TPP’s [intellectual property regime] Chapter are greater than any potential market access gains from joining the TPP.”

The TPP also includes a host of stringent labor and environment standards that India — and, for that matter, most emerging economies — would fail to meet. There’s no indication that the Modi government has any plans to cave on these standards, the adoption of which would seriously erode India’s competitiveness, anymore than it has shown any inclination to cave on climate change — yet another area where India and the United States remain at logger heads.

It’s very hard to see how the new-found friendship between Obama and Modi can resolve these tensions. Now that he’s unburdened by the need to win another election or help his party win, Obama is free to be as aggressive as he wishes in pursuing his policy agenda. In search of a legacy, bringing the TPP to fruition would be a feather in his cap, much as the India-US civil nuclear accord became a late foreign policy triumph for George W. Bush back in 2009.

Obama’s State of the Union was quite striking for the strength of its rhetoric. Indeed, when it comes to the rules of global commerce, he said: “We should write those rules.” This may play well in Peoria. But leaders of other major economies like India are unlikely to sit back and accept dictation from Washington on how to run their own economies.

Saul Loeb / AFP

Fonte: Foreign Policy

Putin: Anything US touches turns into Libya or Iraq