Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts

Why Does John Kerry Let the Devyani Imbroglio to Explode in to His Benghazi?


With the recent Chinese belligerence over air and naval supremacy, the US secretary of state John Kerry has a lot of tofu on his platter. Then, it is really baffling why the US state department is letting a bizarre brawl between an Indian diplomat, her Indian maid and an Indian Attorney of a new York district turn in to a Benghazi like crisis.

The looming diplomatic crisis is not between any two countries. It is between, as many Americans claim, the oldest and the biggest democratic nations in the world. For any other country, the diplomatic mission to the USA is the most important, whether some countries admit or not. For the USA, the diplomatic mission from India, the biggest democracy, is bound to be vital for the whole idea of the democratic system.

Then why humiliate the acting head of the Indian mission to the USA, who happens to be a lady, for a six months old dispute with her Indian maid, by public arrest and, reportedly, with cavity search under police custody? Surely, there were better ways to deal with the issue, which has actually sent out a message of utter humiliation to a country of 1.3 billion people. Devyani Khobragade, a medical doctor turned diplomat and acting head of the Indian mission, had this to say about the incident although disputed by US authorities.

While I was going through it, although I must admit that I broke down many times as the indignities of repeated handcuffing, stripping and cavity searches, swabbing, hold up with common criminals and drug addicts were all being imposed upon me despite my incessant assertions of immunity, I got the strength to regain composure and remain dignified thinking that I must represent all of my colleagues and my country with confidence and pride.

The predictable reaction from the Indian government has not just opened up an immense sore in the forty years old amity the USA has been trying to build up with a country with a huge population next door to China but has exposed the US mission in Delhi and other Indian cities to Benghazi like vulnerability, in country where terrorist were easily able to strike at the parliament and other famous targets. The treatment of Devyani by the US government has also lead to unprecedented public anger and outrage in India, in the Indian media and social networks which seems to beescalating with the lukewarm reaction from the US government to solve the issue.

Make no mistake, it is not an election issue.

Despite the general impression that the Indian outrage is to do with the impending election, and both the ruling UPA and the main opposition BJP have political stake in taking a tough stance against the US on account of national pride, the issue is more fundamental and hurting the Indian psyche.
In reality not many people in India are familiar with "cavity search" or understand what it involves. That is until Devyani has let the nation know .
In a country not familiar with people hiding drugs and weapons in body cavities where no police procedure exists for searching of such niches, even strip searching of a woman have connotation to the barbaric denuding of mythological characters, the whole things have only one meaning. Barbaric and utterly humiliating.

Don't Kill the messenger

That, such treatment was meted out to a country in which a large majority look at American capitalism and hegemony with suspicion despite an educated section believe in building bridges and cooperation with the US, hasn't gone well at all, no matter any amount of rationalising and justification.
USA being a nation living on Nike shoes to a million other things made with cheap labour from China and sweat shops from Bangladesh and India, and out sourcing work to India at quarter of the rates, the argument about the wages to an Indian made appear nothing but a farce.

The US has touched the Indian Caste Nerve.

To make things worse for John Kerry and the US, Devyani Khobragade happens to belong to a schedule caste, a factor with extremely sensitive socio political implications in India and something which its most outspoken leader, Mayavathi, has already taken on herself to fight for.
The US State department may be adept at dealing with diplomatic crisis, but certainly not equipped for Indian caste system which many astute Indian leaders find hard to tackle.

Born an Indian, always an Indian.

The US Attorney General, Preet Bharara may have political ambitions and a need to prove himself by following Giuliani and Christie by acting tough. But for 1.3 billion Indians, he is just another one of them, no matter what he does in New York, the villain of the piece and someone who is out to harm India.

The timing couldn't be worse.

Unfortunately the whole episode of humiliation of one of their folk in a friendly foreign country has coincided with the painful anniversary of the mass rape and murder of a girl, which has shaken the conscience of the country and many abroad.

John Kerry and the State Department undoubtedly has a crisis of unprecedented gravity at their hands which seems to be escalating by the day. An effort to assess correctly and not underestimate the Indian sensitivities is the need of the day.

Six Reasons Why Barack Obama Could Be Another Three Term POTUS In the Making.


For those who believe in celestial interventions in affairs on the earth, there were indications of the re election of President Barack Obama and even a third term in office. But for mundane observers, a look at the events to the run up of the presidential election, its conduct and the post election realities raise the question whether Barack Obama will be the next three term president of the U.S. In fact most of the issuesObama is likely to address might need well over a decade to solve and for a determined President too difficult to give up before he achieve.


A taller President.
By achieving the impossible and winning the re election, Barack Obama has grown taller in stature virtually dwarfing almost everyone else, not just in the U.S. but on the world scene.
First, let's remember what Obama did in the first term: he passed the most substantial new element in the American safety net in generations, Obamacare. He helped pass a massive re-regulation of the financial sector, the Dodd-Frank bill. He passed the biggest stimulus package in our history, which I believe--Ezra Klein convinced me of this--prevented the worst economic depression in four generations. He did these things in the first two years, of course, when Democrats controlled Congress, but he did them. They were not chopped liver, whether or not you liked them. Q&As, Washington Post
However, everyone tends to forget the enormity of the unprecedented Post Lehman gloom and doom and impending recession Barack Obama was send out to put right. What is not clear, at least to the rest of the world not familiar with the U.S. politics is the equally massive obstruction he faced from a republican majority in the House.
Add to all of those the spectacular annihilation of the number one enemy of the U.S.A he promised and carried out, matching the incredulity of the 9/11 attack on the nation which has raised the credibility and image of the US and its President as a force not to be taken lightly.
In short the stature of the President has grown beyond that of any of the potential contenders for a long time to come. If President Obama decides to contest a third term, for which he may have plenty of reasons, there won't be many happy contenders.

Unique Bond of a Leader With His Social Web.


The truth is without the social web and its immense and electrifying power the mystery of Obama would never have happened. At least in such a short time. This special bond which shaped before the 2008 election, which owes to his youth and awareness of the potential of the social media to take his message to a young and savvy supporters will be stronger and forceful in imposing an obligation on himself to pursue the reforms and changing of the United States which he had undertaken but not quite finished. This is indeed the bond which has rendered Obama as the only a Super PAC slaying democrat. In fact, there is no leader in either party who can claim anything similar to this phenomenon which will end if Obama decides not to run for a third term. It is hard to see how the democrats will let that happen.

The Fiscal Deficit.
During the Democratic convention Bill Clinton asserted that one term is too short to remedy the fiscal damage created by the previous administration. But he didn't say two terms are sufficient. Even the president estimates a minimum of a decade, that too if he can get on with it unhindered. As it is, with a majority in the house, it is questionable how much he can achieve. But if the electorate can see reason and buy the president's argument to grant him a second term, they are very likely to go with him for a third if the going is good.

Will Hilary? Won't Hilary?
The big question for the next election is who the Democratic Party candidate is going to be. It is said that Hilary Clinton will be the first choice if she will contest. But if she is ready for it, she couldn't have stayed away from the campaign as she did, leaving Bill Clinton to let everyone second guess. If anything, Hilary has sent out the impression of an overworked diplomat who needs some rest and certainly not the sign of some one hungry for the power of the First Woman President of the U.S.A and ready to go for it. Hilary must know that at the age of seventy, putting up your feet is a lot more comfortable than the gruelling chair in the oval office.

Changing Demographics.
The demographic which gave the most support to the Republicans yesterday was elderly white people--not exactly the men and women of tomorrow. The age-group that gave Obama the most support was the young. White people supported Romney more than Obama; the country is becoming steadily less white. African-Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans overwhelmingly supported Obama. Latinos and Asian Americans are the fastest-growing categories of our population.Q&As, Washington Post
Much has been written about the demographic shift in the US electorate which has turned in favour of Obama on account of his policies and the indifference of the GOP. This shift which will widen in the next election will be another compulsion for a obliging and liberal president not to give up too soon.

Shrinking Election Cycle and The Number Crunchers.
If only it was actually 4 years - 2 years is more like it. With so many people making a living talking and writing about politics, we'll be starting the next election cycle in 2 years, max.Q&As, Washington Post
The impact of the social media, social web, and a huge number of people who have taken election related professions which consumed 2 Billion dollars in the recent election, the election cycle has been reduced to a perennial activity for analysts, strategists and others who predict the outcome. In a way, the next election cycle has already begun and an incumbent president becomes part of the cycle. President Obama has to weigh in if his next term will be enough, especially with the republican majority in the house and obvious absence of an able successor, to achieve his goals. Chances are he will see the need for a third term much like President Franklin Roosevelt before him.

For those willing to ponder, there could be any number of subtle signs of a prolonged Presidency of Barack Obama one can't ignore. After all it is not as hard as searching for a needle in the hay stack.

Are The Indians Stupid To Burn Wal-Mart?


As usual, Indians ignorant about globalisation, are groping in a mess of disinformation and going berserk about Wal-Mart, which unfortunately has come to symbolise Multinational Retail Chains.

I don’t mean the proud ‘American’ Indians who might have sent Columbus back had he landed with a Carrefour business development manager on board his ship. Nether do I mean the ubiquitous bargain hunting ‘Indian’ Americans who constantly stomp Wal-Mart and whose feet count immensely for the foot falls the chain store depend for survival.
Greed is in the eyes of the beholder:
I mean the real Indians, citizens of the largest democratic country who blindly follow the US, the second largest, in a desperate sense of competition. It is easy to identify them outside India, with their dropped jaws staring with avrice at the shopping windows in malls and the goodies they can’t afford to buy during their visits. Why then are they so much against the idea of the very malls they dream of, coming to their cities and towns? According to The New York Times:
“Supporters contend that the chain’s legendary low prices have democratized consumption, allowing low-income households to afford flat-screen televisions, for example. Critics say those low prices have depressed domestic wages and exported manufacturing jobs to foreign countries, hurting Americans more than helping them.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

The defining image of Barack Obama's presidency.

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