Volume 23, No.3, July 2002

INDIA AND THE COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY

by Bhumitra Chakma

            Mr. Dr. Bhumitra Chakma is an Associate Professor, Department of International Relations, Dhaka University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

          This article examines India’s changing CTBT postures and the motivations underlying these policies from the mid-1950s to date. Although India was the first country to propose for a nuclear test ban in 1954, it eventually rejected the CTBT when it was readied for signature in 1996 after three years of intense negotiations. This article explains this U-turn in India’s nuclear test ban policy. It argues that basically it was “politics of national security and survival” which guided India’s policy that eventually led it to reject the treaty in 1996. The same factor still guides New Delhi’s CTBT policy.

 

RELIGION AND VIOLENCE: APPRECIATING TRADITIONAL ETHICAL REASONING IN THE GLOBAL CONTEXT.

by Richard C. Martin

          Mr. Dr. Richard C. Martin is a Professor of Islamic Studies and History of Religions, Department of Religion, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

         The paper deals with four issues in the context of September 11 and its aftermath. Firstly, it addresses the issue of religion and violence.  In this regard, the central question under consideration was whether  religion in the form of religious convictions or religious practices causes social violence or cure it – or both? Secondly, it argues that the world civilizations with their own ethical and cultural systems have a history of two and a half millennia of interaction, though with increasing tension in the past century. Thirdly, it analyzes the works by a growing number of Western intellectuals who lay blame for the “clash” of these “world civilizations,” especially between Islam and the West, on the doorsteps of the Muslim world.  In an attempt to deconstruct such theories, the paper argues that such views are dangerously wrong, yet discouragingly widespread. Fourthly, the paper argues that it would be wrong to essentialize Islam or Christianity, or any religious tradition as holding any set of beliefs that  can  be  characterized  as  good or  bad from  an ethical point of view.  It further asserts that religious traditions are social and doctrinal constructs that dispute issues on the basis of cherished texts and traditions.  Such issues as just wars, abortion, marriage and family life generate contested positions within religious traditions.  To fail to see that is to fail to understand the nature of religion in human societies.

 

ECONOMIC PROSPERITY, SOCIAL JUSTICE AND GLOBALIZATION IN THE POST-SEPTEMBER 11 WORLD.

by  Stephen F. DachiS

        Dr. Stephen F. Dachi is a Professor at the South Asia Area Studies Seminar, Foreign Services Institute, Department of State, USA.

          While dealing with the question on whether or not poverty is the root cause of terrorism in general and the terrorist attack of September 11 in particular, the paper argues that the terrorist deviations of Islamic fundamentalists do not arise primarily out of concerns about poverty, but out of irrational fear that their religion and their views of traditional Islamic practices are in danger of being wiped out.  It reveals alarm about secularism and modernization as a threat to their faith.  They seek a return to their vision of a medieval Islam as the path to restoring the golden age of Islamic supremacy.  The West can do little to assuage such enemies, because these theological problems are rooted in the terrorists’ countries of origin and no amount of outside political action or economic aid is likely to be relevant to them. The central focus of the paper has been on whether there is a necessity to radically change present Western strategy for alleviating poverty, fostering development and building a more just and prosperous society, or the West needs simply to refine and intensify what it was already doing. While many in the West have advocated the former, the author argues in the paper the case for the latter.   

 

ECONOMIC WORK IN COMMON: DEMOCRACIES AND OPPOSITION TERRORISM.

by Christopher C. Harmon

          Dr. Christopher C. Harmon is a Professor at the Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University, Virginia, USA.

The paper argues that there is in Bin Laden’s work a certain superficial novelty. But below the surface are the familiar twisted arguments and misplaced moralism of a long line of similar incitements to killing. In this regard, the paper focuses on the ideology of the anarchists of the late 19th century and the Soviet Communists of the early 20th century, Latin American bomb-throwers of the 1960s, Italian Red Brigadists of the 1970s and neo-fascists of a few years later.  All these claimed to speak for neglected majorities; all have had their bloody day; all have since passed on. Clearly, politicized religion – one major current concern – has much company in the present and the past of terrorism. The paper further argues that there is a corrosive effect on the democracy that does not meet its foreign or internal challenges from violent extremists.