Nov. 14, 2019: Global Political Warming in the Himalayas: Nepal & Communism 2019:
“Chasing angels, or fleeing demons, go to the mountains.”
(Jeffrey Rasley in Bringing Progress to Paradise)
For most of us Nepal conjures up images of the stark pyramid face of Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) or Hindu temples nestled in villages at the base of towering mountains, or idyllic scenes of colorful prayer flags strewn above icy streams. Yes this is Nepal, but it is not all that is Nepal.
Nepal is a landlocked South Asian country located mostly in the Himalayas with a population of 26.4 million and a complex geography of fertile plains, forested hills, and eight of the ten tallest mountains in the world. Its rich ethnic and cultural diversity embraces followers of the major eastern religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, along with Islam, Kirant, Christianity, and Animism. Nepal has also weathered political storms worthy of those claiming lives on its lofty summits.
“For more than a decade, February 1996 to November 2006, Nepal was buffeted by an overt effort by a radical, left-wing group…to overthrow the existing government and remake society according to the Party’s understanding of the works of Mao Tse-tung…Throughout the persecution of their ‘people’s war,” the Maoists used a mix of violent and non-violent actions (e.g., terrorism mixed with propaganda)…” (Thomas Marks, Post-Conflict Terrorism in Nepal, J. Counterterroism, & Homeland Security International, Spring 2015)
Complicating the political and military situation in Nepal are the challenges of nature and economics including devastating earthquakes, warming temperatures, melting glaciers, and the never-ending parade of western tourists who want to scale the world’s tallest peaks…for a price. NSF is privileged to have two outstanding sherpas to guide us through Nepal’s arduous political terrain and share a glimpse of life in the country wedged between China and India that is often called “the yam between two boulders.”
Dr. Thomas Marks is Chair of Irregular Warfighting Strategy at the National Defense University in Washington, DC, and a scholar of irregular warfare and counterinsurgency strategies. Tom has written numerous treatises on the complex and somewhat tenuous political situation in Nepal. Tom will share his insight on the political and military turmoil in Nepal has challenged many U.S. Administrations forcing us to reassess our response to communist insurgencies mixed with terrorism and heavily influenced by the political winds blowing in from the frigid north (China) and more temperate south (India).
Dr. Antonia (Toni) Neubauer is the Founder of READ-Global, CEO of Myths and Mountains, and a regular NSF participant. Her extensive experience leading both philanthropic projects and tours in Nepal have given her a perspective on the life in Nepalese communities far flung from the politics in Kathmandu. Together Tom and Toni will help us understand why the security situation in Nepal continues to be a national security issue for the United States and what Nepal, the United States, and others, can do to keep the peace or at least not feed the beasts of civil war, communist insurrection, and terrorism.
Come join us for Tom and Toni’s tour of the country in the clouds.
For some light reading in advance here are a series of very informative articles about Nepal penned by and about Tom.:
Dr. Thomas A. Marks is Distinguished Professor and MG Edward Lansdale Chair of Irregular Warfighting Strategy at the College of International Security Affairs (CISA) of the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, DC. A former military and government officer, he completed his doctoral work in his home state of Hawaii. He has authored hundreds of publications dealing with irregular warfare and served as the Oppenheimer Chair of Warfighting Strategy at the Marine Corps University (Quantico), as well as long-time adjunct professor at the Air Force Special Operations School (Hurlburt Field), where he was instructor of the year, and at the intelligence community’s Sherman Kent School (Washington, DC). His field service includes efforts as diverse as writing the Sri Lankan national counterinsurgency plan, leading the team that trained Mexican Cabinet bodyguards, and serving as operations consultant to a newly raised special tactics unit in Saudi Arabia. He was awarded the Military Medal “Faith in the Cause” on 28 July 2014 by the Colombian Army for contributions to the country’s counterinsurgency effort; and in AY 2016-17 received a MINERVA grant to pursue fieldwork on female combatant motivation in the Nepali Maoist insurgency. It may be added in passing that during the heyday of Soldier of Fortune, Marks was for a decade the magazine’s Chief Foreign Correspondent. His uneven grasp of sound is a consequence of the untimely co-location of his head and an RPG7 rocket while covering Hmong resistance in Laos against the genocidal “Yellow Rain” campaign.
Dr. Antonia (Toni) Neubauer is a traveler, humanitarian, and teacher. She is the founder of READ Global, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiriting rural prosperity by building rural library community centers. READ Nepal received the 2006 Access to Learning Award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Toni also received the Ambassador for Peace Award, Walk the Talk Global Citizen Award the Friends of Nepal Award, and the Northern Nevada International Center’s International Visionary Award. She is also the CEO of Myths & Mountains travel company based in Incline Village. She has a PhD in Educational Administration from Loyola University, a MA in French Literature from New York University, and a B.A. from Tufts University. Toni is a resident of Incline Village and a Friend of the Forum and regular participant in NSF programs.