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Another ‘Ugly American’ in the making

Ugly American

So far Donald J Trump has not outgrown his campaign style, he continues to manage his transition in the same manner from the 58th floor of Trump Tower. Smart and experienced Republicans are being sidelined in favour of men having a track record of hate. Initial indicators point out that: a man associated with white supremacy may be the chief strategist; future attorney general may be a person dropped to judgeship on account of alleged racism; and an Islamophobe may be the National Security Advisor. Trump’s new partners in shaping world economy are likely to be ‘Brexit and make in India lobbies’. indeed another 'Ugly American' may be in the making.

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Donald Trump: Hillary’s President

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Americas are still amidst electoral shock. First post-election Trump-Obama summit showed a grim looking Obama trying to put-up a brave face. Hillary may never recover from the shock, her lifetime ambition stands shattered, with no possibility of a third attempt. In his victory speech, Trump shunned electoral rhetoric and tried to convey a reconciliatory message towards Americans as well as …

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Myth of Obama’s world sans nuclear weapon–Global Zero

Global Zero

Prague speech, on April 05 2009, was the first off the rails articulation by President Obama after assumption of presidency: “First, the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons… we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy … we will negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russians…my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue US ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)… the United States will seek a new treaty that verifiably ends the production of fissile materials… we will strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty…” Peace loving people all over the World were pleasantly surprised. They thought the promised Messiah has become, realists scorned it off, asserting that he would become a ‘normal American President’, rather soon. It is interesting to explore the viability about myth of Obama’s world sans nuclear weapons. Obama would most likely go down in the history as a dubious leader, who took cover behind the noble cause of global nuclear non-proliferation to perpetuate American nuclear supremacy, and in a crazy quest to contain China, he added to his predecessor’s effort of propping up a nuclear devil—India. Obama’s successor will have a tough task of getting over the nuclear mistrust that Obama has thrust on America. However, it is doable, first step is to un-knot Indo-US nuclear nexus.

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Combating terror: lack of skill or will?

Courtesy The Express Tribune

[Featured image: courtesy The Express Tribune, August 10, 2016] Quetta carnage has once again underscored the international dimension of terrorism; and that no country could overcome it in isolation. Keenness to claim responsibility indicates the unending appetite of terrorist entities for larger than life projection. It is also reflective of hollowness of claims by those responsible for countering terror. Surfacing of a multi billion dollar Global scandal of manufacturing and selling fake bomb detector devices has brought forth lack of empathy for the victims of terror. Pakistan’s terrorism related sufferings in terms of loss of human lives, destruction of infrastructure and missed economic opportunities is colossal. Pakistan has launched World’s largest military effort for counter terrorism operations. However, this is not being duly acknowledged.There is a need to evolve a universally acceptable definition of terrorism to differentiate it from genuine freedom struggles, like in Kashmir and Palestine. This is time for the international political leadership to pay heed to how Pope Francis interprets terrorism. Pakistan says there are limits to how much it can do as it is already fighting multiple militant groups and is wary of a "blowback" in the form of more terror attacks on its soil. Indeed terrorism is more of a concern to Pakistan than its neighbours.

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Indian Occupied Kashmir on brink

Indian occupied Kashmir on brink

Just because not as many were being killed since the uprising in the 1990s, India thought Kashmir was “normal”. The wounds of the 1990s were deep and stayed open. A whole new generation has been added to the population which is, even angrier. And life for a young man in the most militarised area in the world is a series of humiliations, some petty, some overwhelming. Even the Indian media admits that Kashmir has been on the boil since the killing of Burhan. The killing spree continues and an enraged population is getting desperate. In the wake of ongoing violence, UNSG has once again offered Pakistan and India mediation on Kashmir. Pakistan has appreciated the offer. It is the UN’s official responsibility and obligation to address the issue of Kashmir because there are UN Security Council’s resolutions on it. OIC Secretary General has deplored the use of force by the Indian security forces on innocent Kashmiris in IOK on July 13. OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) has called for an immediate end to the ongoing abrasive human rights violations. “There is no denial in Delhi … that a problem exists,” said retired Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain, an Indian army corps commander in the area from 2010 to 2012 who was deployed there seven times during his career. “But no one seems to be clear on how to get into engagement with the people on the ground.” The IOK’s deputy chief minister, Nirmal Singh of the BJP, said the government was ready to engage with the Hurriyat under a legal framework. Asked whether police and paramilitary forces used excessive force to control crowds after Wani’s killing, BJP’s Singh replied: “It is a matter of concern”.

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Pakistan Focus condemns the PCA award on South China Sea

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Pakistan Focus condemns the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)’s award on South China Sea. The Philippines had filed a compulsory arbitration against China at The Hague-based PCA in 2013. China maintains that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case, which is in essence about territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation. China, therefore, had made it clear it will not accept …

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Meltdown of Post-cold war world order

Meltdown of post cold war world order

Chinese opposition to entry of non-NPT countries to Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and UK’s exit (Brexit) from the European Union (EU) have set the course for changes in the prevalent US led unipolar World Order. The US wanted the UK to stay in EU as it’s “Man” and wanted India getting into the NSG as full member while keeping Pakistan out, despite latter’s better credentials. In both cases, otherwise has happened indicated meltdown of post-cold war world order.Long awaited bipolarity in the World Order may be at a fairly advanced stage. Keeping in view Pakistan’s close relations with China, the evolving situation would expose Pakistan to challenges as well as opportunities, for which it needs to brace up. Pakistan would feel incremental squeeze from American side, it needs to make a bold course correction to come out of the trap of its critical dependencies on the US—especially direct budgetary support and military hardware. Moreover, Pakistan should take robust measures for its macro-economic stability to face the bumps of politico economic changes that are on their way.

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American troops back to combat in Afghanistan

American troops back to combat in Afghanistan

Efforts to engage the Afghan Taliban for negotiations are in disorder since the United States last month killed their leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour. Another development has taken place, the US military has begun air attacks against Taliban targets in Afghanistan under new rules, allowing greater powers for US forces to go after the Taliban, making it easier for Afghan security forces to strike the insurgents. “There have been operations carried out with these new authorities,” Pentagon press Secretary Peter Cook said. “It’s fair to say that these strikes did target Taliban positions.” Initial strikes occurred in southern Afghanistan; and that American troops are back to combat in Afghanistan. Operation Zarb-e-Azb is the largest and most effective anti-terrorism campaign anywhere in the world through which Pakistan has achieved substantial gains and is determined to eliminate all terrorist threats within the country. Afghan government and the international coalition need to take supplementary and complementary actions to consolidate the gains of this operation. And the Afghan government should launch similar effort against TTP in its territory; elimination of TTP sanctuaries is essential to peace and security in both countries. And finally, America should make up its mind regarding leaving or staying, because peace effort would take different trajectories for handling either of the options.

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Rewriting Afghan conflict!

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In yet another rebuke to Pakistan, America has repeated the beaten line: “The US continues to be clear with Pakistan about steps it should take to improve the security environment and deny safe havens to terrorist and extremist groups,” the Pentagon said in its six-monthly report on Afghanistan sent to the Congress on June 17. The US defence secretary Ashton …

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Complexities of Afghan chaos

American intent in Afghanistan

At this point and time killing of Mansour raises a pointed questions about on which side of peace process various actors are? Does America want peace in Afghanistan or wants to keep the pot boiling to add back more troops to Afghan theatre? Was the option of killing Mansour discussed in the QCG meeting held immediately before the drone attack? Or, Is the QCG a dummy body to gain time and America is working on bilateral channel with Afghan government to impose its own version of peace settlement by co-opting dormant militant Afghan entities? Is India instrumental in derailing the Afghan peace process? Will the Afghan Sikh community begin asserting its minority rights in Afghanistan? As of now one could have only partial answers to these tricky questions; and the content could vary hugely from respondent to respondent. One thing appears certain about Afghanistan: pro-turmoil lobby is quite strong, and peace in Afghanistan is a far cry!

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