Monday, 8 August 2011


Please find below IMANI's response to my risposte(unedited)

Dear Sir -
May thanks for taking time out of your very busy schedule to comment.

1. It is not entirely clear if you support the entry of our armed forces into commercial, for-profit, enterprises.

2. As we point out, on a priority scale, especially for a military establishment struggling to find its feet with respect to its own operational and maintenance affairs, a new function of raising finance and establishing factories does not seem like a vital need. Your view on this is neither clear nor instructive. We also note that you sideline the comments we made about the financial and technical details of this specific undertaking in favour of general concepts. Is it that you're comfortable with what we have revealed to be the case?

3. When we mentioned "global trend", we were here careful to provide a thorough cross-section of regional experience - Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and North America. We are not naive about the frequent mischaracterisation of "western" to mean "global" in certain parts of the development literature and its critiques.

4. It is not clear if your position is that any country has developed without learning from the experiences of others in its geopolitical neighbourhood, beyond its own geopolitical orbit, or at the same level of its historical threshold. Whether the experience-sharing proceeds north-south, south-south, or cross-hemispheric, the process of development relies on experience -sharing. You do not suggest an alternative model for "learning" on the part of a young, undercapitalised, economy striving for economic "emancipation". To the extent that we have used "global" to mean global in its true sense, we are inclined to take you up on your offer to point to us any country that has nurtured a development narrative that was truly "unprecedented".

5. We never suggest that "de-commercialisation" implies a wall of separation between the military and the financial and industrial system which capitalises its capacities. In several places, we point to an intermingling. Our central thesis is that "ownership and direct management" by the armed forces has been proven less effective. We clearly also mention that both the "civilian-state" and "private sector" have elsewhere been seen as alternatives to military ownership and management.

6. Once again, you reserved your determination with respect to whether you support direct military management and ownership or not.

7. Your point about Huawei is in the above light non-sequitur. We acknowledge without prompting that there is indeed a range of interactions between the civilian defence complex and the military. Just as Kongsberg, Lockheed, EADS etc are all interlocked with the cvilian defence establishment in their western perches, we can only suspect that Huawei, ZTE, and the rest maintain strong relationships with their country's military establishment. That point is mere bagatelle, per se.

8. You use the word "superficial" but do not go ahead to clarify if that means the civilian elite in China do not intend to drive through these reforms. Throughout your response, we encounter sweeping statements in rebuttal of certain points we have made without the accompanying re-education. Is it your position that the civilian elite in China does not want to keep the PLA out of business? Or something else?

9. You then make the bizarre point that we absolve the private sector of sins against humanity. Sir, we do not address private security companies in our short piece. Perhaps, you can point us to the portion where we do? We restricted ourselves to civilian defence industries, and were very clear throughout about what we are referring to. We struggle to appreciate your point about PMCs in this context.

10. Your conclusion about our view of the "state's involvement" in military production was rushed. We distinguish between military ownership/management and civilian (both state and private sector) ownership/control. We struggle to appreciate how you could have missed the conflation of private sector and state within the "civilian" category throughout the text. Was it a case of your having "read between the lines"? In this case, however, there is nothing in our text to ground your suspicions, and it is a bit careless for a scholar of your stature to extrapolate so liberally:-)

Your eloquence notwithstanding, Sir, we would on this occasion pass on your offer of "two pesewas":-)

Blessed sabbath.


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