Monday, 8 August 2011

Re: Re: Re:Re: IMANI Report

My rebuttal to IMANI; in blue!!!!!

Dear Sir,

1) I do not need to indicate that. In any case if our Republic's Armed Forces decide to go into commercial ventures I see no reason why they should and cannot.
That is neither to say that you believe, and can demonstrate, that this is a positive development nor that it will yield positive outcomes for the Republic, which is the only true test. Everything else is detail.
     I thought my position was unambiguous.

2) The technical and financial questions lie squarely with the Ghanaian Armed Forces to decide. You are not suggesting  that this institution simply jumped into the venture without taking into account these matters. At best as civil society and engaged citizens the key point would have been to enquire about whether due diligence had been done rather than the veiled(and patronizing) suggestion that the Army was bat blind in venturing into such an enterprise.
Sir, your reading of the tenets of accountability and probity in a constitutional dispensation is both quaint and arcane:-) It is NOT for the Armed Forces to decide. It is for the civilian Executive to decide, subject to any reviews by the other two arms of government. Where there is a manifest possibility that the public purse shall be unduly burdened there are actually statutes that govern what is permissible. We pointed out clearly, and factually, why the technical and financial partners that have been engaged may not be up to measure. If you have contrary evidence, kindly share same.

    I have not indicated or argued about any sacredness of the Ghanaian Army when it comes to critique. Do not play God on these matters of judgement. Interesting you use the word " believe".   

3)  You cannot be cute on this point. A synthesis of your piece morphs into this syllogistic argument:

 1) Global trends are having a deterministically positive effect on how militaries are interfacing with the market( Quotes from your piece: "This is indeed the thinking across the developed and middle-income world."Why is Ghana rushing to embrace a concept – that of military ownership and management of commercial ventures – when most countries are fleeing from this practice?"

 2) Ghana's army is not following this global trend as it goes commercial

 3) The Ghanaian army's investment is thus bound to go awry.

 Essentially your piece in a very veiled fashion suggested the " "mischaracterisation of "western" to mean "global." " In any case the literature clearly locates the source of the rise of market triumphalism in Western academies which the privatization of the military's industrial activities reflects. Your primary example of the USA under your " Global Trends"  sub-heading was a Freudian slip I guess ;)!!!!
We did nothing of the sort. We liberally cited the work of Dr. Siddiqa, whose work has focussed on the so-called "emerging world", and the ideational winds blowing in that universe.

       You are dodging the issues. Don't find refuge in Dr. Siddiqa. 

4) The lack of clarity is your fault not mine. My very public positions on these issues and my work show where I stand. I will not bore our esteemed readers. In any case your point blithely wish away the ideational power assymetries that characterize the flow of ideas in our contemporary world. Again to think about development on your terms in not the same as saying that the ideas that are thus spawned are unique; that was not my argument. You creating a straw man in order to obliterate it with an ICBM!!!! 
We are not sure which of our points you are referring to.

      Again that is your burden. 

5) "Our central thesis is that "ownership and direct management" by the armed forces has been proven less effective." How do you prove that conclusively? By what metrics? This what I am contending; this law like posturing is intellectually unsustainable. In any case do you have the full facts on these regarding what pertains in the US/UK etc. 
Please share any evidence you have that this central thesis is flawed. Your present position is glib but not very lucid:-) Our analysis clearly pointed to a global trend of military de-commercialisation.

       You seem seduced and inebriated by your own rightness and a certain tunnel vision. The WB itself is now after falling flat on its   face calling for public-private partnerships after demonizing the state sector in Africa and elsewhere. Go dig the literature(Ha-Joon Chang will be a useful primer).  

6)  So why did you not indicate what you consider  " mere bagatelle" in your piece so we can consider that and at the very least come to an informed position. Or you were playing a sophisticated "bagatelle" mind game? You cannot "suspect" with a public document that deals with the Armed Forces of the Republic of Ghana; an institution that with all her faults stands up to the very best on this globe.
Your approach is slef-contradictory. On the one hand you want these matters to be subjected to "critical analysis", on the other hand you consider every action of our Armed Forces sacrosanct. That is not a critical approach we are familiar with.

    The contradiction arises from misunderstanding what is crystal clear.  
7) and 8) You cannot comment on China's military and its relationship with their civilian counterparts in power shorn of that country's post-1919 history. It is not for nothing that every Chinese leader is head of the CMC. I think the military establishment holds the reins of power in China. Check out the Chinese constitution; in that light I will utilize a pragmatic approach in understanding the re-orienting of China's military- business relations than a trendy one. 
Of course the General Secretary of the Communist Party is also Head of the CMC. In every country in the world the Head of State is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Again, this is irrelevant to the thrust of our argument in this particular context, which is that: "the Chinese State is bent on removing erstwhile military enterprises from the direct management control and ownership of the Chinese Armed Forces".

        A 10th grade government student knows this. I was urging a historical reading of China's evolving military policy or strategy(zhanlue in Mandarin). 
9) I insist that your piece was not balanced. You were fudging to push through you own understanding of things. If you said so I will not bat an eye-lid :)!!!

10) You are not suggesting that we simply read your piece perfunctorily. I  introduced a critical approach and did my deconstruction  surgically and that involved reading along the lines. In any case the issues you raise are situated in the whole privatization of military research, operations etc question. Question: IMANI will applaud if the government of Ghana sets up, manages and runs a corporation that produces say military boots?
No we are suggesting that when you introduce a critical dimension to this debate that you stick to it. Your present reactions are a bit all over the place, pardon the metaphor:-)

      My or your confusion? 
I acknowledge your public spirited-ness though I must add. Passing of the offer of two pesewas enriches me I guess ;)!!! Kitiwa biara nso a !!!!!
We are also unswerving admirers of your scholarly work. You are very kind, Sir.

     Being charitable is a virtue. I enjoyed this ;)!!! 

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