Deranged Leaders Do Destroy Democracies

What is being attempted in the US now is not the first instance in history. There have been countless examples of leaders getting their own way and in the process totally decimating any opposition from what appeared to be strong democratic institutions. Throughout time and space there exist heads of states whose very word is the law. We all know of several such names of people in power, but every one he’s favourite example is a dead fuhrer.

Of course this will be a first for the USA at such a high level, though bullies have ruled wide spaces in different spheres. A bully who never appears to feel empathy but seems only to be moved by sensations of blood running to different parts of his body was elected president by mainly two groups of people.

The first group is the smaller one. It is formed of the rich cronies who always want to get their own way and don’t like inconvenient rules obstructing them. These rich cronies could feel growing discontent in the second larger group of the angry people who didn’t expect their lot to improve in the usual way.

Myths of a deep state were implanted mostly using social media that thrives on sensational conspiracy theories. But conspiracy theories do not necessarily need Facebook to survive. They have always been around (remember the devil). Whatever catches the fancy of the idle.

The kind of people’s movement that allows a bully to get elected president merely needs sloth, apathy, fear and greed, all of which are around aplenty.

The kind of environment that would not allow such a thing to happen requires courage, honesty and alertness; please don’t snicker!

No institution can withstand a big bully unless people who care about society and institutions stand together and upto the bully. Because institutions are often headed by people who are not used to saying no to their bosses. If you have gone along with the boss once too often, you will turn into his advocate soon enough.

America stands at the cross roads. The World is watching.

Will China Rule the World?

It would appear so. No other nation appears as efficient, as well coordinated or as resourceful. None comes close to matching its growth rates. Yet those reasons do not suffice. We believe that China may well rule the World in the not very distant future because it shows aggressive intent with that aim.

Perhaps the aggression resulted from the lessons that the rulers of China learnt from history.

Chinese economy has been growing rather quickly for the last three decades, but the transition of that nation, from a seemingly benign power with a long history and ancient culture, into a bully that encroaches on smaller neighbors while challenging the sole superpower on Earth, has happened almost undetected, as if everyone else was sleeping.

Coming to the question in the title, let us make an attempt to find the force that may stop China from ruling the World. But before that, if the reader considers such an idea too far fetched, I remind her of history; of events that led to Great Britain losing the greatest empire ever. I remind the reader of military technologies that the best forces in the World were not ready for; remember the blitzkrieg. Of course, in the 1940s, Britain could seek the aid of the new World; but now, China is the new World.

Today’s sole superpower doesn’t have a very powerful ally to enlist even as it is a power in decline and to some extent, in disarray. In fact the President of the United States has never missed an opportunity to pick on the oldest allies that nation has. The EU has been careful not to blindly follow the US, at least since l’affaire General Soleimani and the subsequent posturing against Iran. Besides, this has pushed Iran into the arms of the Chinese. The United Kingdom has been a more faithful ally to the US, but it is not easy. China has made huge investments there that may make it difficult for Britain to take a tough stance.

Nations in the neighborhood of China; Japan, India, Philippines and Vietnam, Nepal and Myanmar are normally careful in their own actions not to challenge the dragon, even as they desperately desire deliverance from encroachments. India has bravely tried to stand up to the PLA, even at substantial cost. The quad grouping of US, Japan, India and Australia is aimed at the only tormentor in the neighborhood.

But any grouping needs direction and trust. Only a consistent, trustworthy and energetic leadership from the most powerful nation on Earth can unite the World and contain an aggressive China. Otherwise que sera sera.

The President and His Friends

(Made in the USA)

President Trump is the weirdest thing that happened on the Earth since Hitler.

Such events possibly happen only when a bully is convinced of his own greatness, and so are his chums.

In their ignorance, the bully and his cronies set out to destroy old and venerable institutions.

They have been impatient during previous rule by consensus, now they don’t brook any opposition.

Banana Republic: When the greatest nation on earth went bananas under the Republican party.

Ahmedabad Prepares to Welcome President Trump

The Motera Stadium Shines like a Rising Sun

Ahmedabad is dolling itself up to welcome president Trump. The visit may coincide with the opening of the largest cricket stadium in the world with capacity to seat a hundred thousand spectators. The suburb where the stadium is coming up is getting a major face lift. There are armies of workers, many of them women, preparing sidewalks and helping with the mending of roads. A stretch of road that had become very bad during the long period of Metro construction work is now repaired and is getting cleaned up at an incredible pace. Even the roads that were already good to begin with are getting attention for minor bumps. Nobody’s complaining, especially the locals who are basking in the attention. The times are exciting when the president of America is visiting their neighborhood.

The USA continues to be the benchmark for quality in most considerations for most of the Indians. They want to know and emulate how America became the richest and most powerful country in the World. If anything is good enough for Americans, it is good enough for them.

That continues to be the case now, but cannot continue indefinitely. Not much longer can everyone in India or the World overlook the specific traits of the kind of person who rules the most powerful nation in the World. President Trump is a person who gloats over a dead enemy in his state of the union address. He believes he owns not just the officers who work for the government but also the elected representatives of the people. He is a control freak who leads a grand old party that he controls by an obviously cunning use of the carrot and the stick. The people who work for him hang on to dignity by the flimsiest of threads. Perhaps he nurses a desire to be the emperor of America and the World.

He embodies a nature that is the very opposite of that which India holds sacred. Surely he shall visit Rajghat to pay respects to Mahatma Gandhi. We know he is a showman. Still, Indians shall be welcoming and respectful to him, but not because of their politics. Indians welcome the president of the USA because they value their strong relationship with that other great democracy. Indians welcome President Trump because they have a vision of a partnership well into the future that shall outlast governments on both sides.

Positions of Weakness and Strength

When you want something too much, the first thing you are prepared to give up are your principles, even though you may have held these principles for a long time. The USA badly want the troops out of Afghanistan.

US wants to strike deal with the Taliban

But when the other party finds out how desperate you are, they will punish you and charge you for it. So there are bombings even when you are talking peace. The other side knows that they have you in a tight place.

Trump’s withdrawal from Afghanistan ignores a dangerous threat

Why Afghanistan is more dangerous than ever

Taliban bomb Kabul even as peace talks are on

What India is attempting in such times is perhaps the best way ahead. India is trying to hold, consolidate and strengthen what she has rather than let things drift out of any semblance of order. It is high time too, especially with the US deciding to leave the neighborhood in a worse state than it was when they walked in first.

The Importance of Bluster

The livable landmasses in today’s world are choked and even the seaways are extremely busy. Even as the members of NATO are not as well bonded together as they used to be in the last decade; China has been increasing in power and influence for a few decades now. New alliances may form as Russia sidles closer to China; North Korea and Pakistan, besides several countries of the African continent also look more towards Beijing for leadership. The political developments in the US in the last few years have led to a situation where a show of strength as well as a display of willingness to engage in combat has become essential as is shown by some recent events:

South Korea fires warning shots at Russian military aircraft

We need not wonder why Russian planes flew through the airspace over the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima islands. When you pass through sea or land, you are claiming your right and ability to do so. While the Americans have tried to carry out similar moves near South China sea and Taiwan, these do not seem to be having much impact as China continues to entrench itself by building and expanding its bases in the South China Sea.

Beijing strengthens its hold on South China Sea

The submarines and rivalries underneath the South China Sea

Though the current US administration comes across as inconsistent and ungainly, with hardly a week passing without a senior officer handing in papers; it must be said that global trends and realignments were already evident under the previous presidency of president Obama, who perhaps saw it as a fact of life about which nothing much could be done. Every problem that you overlook has the potential to become a monster and eat you up. He concentrated on his priorities in righteous support of the Arab spring which ultimately led to the turmoil of an Islamist Arab winter. The longer term effects are still being revealed.

The present US administration began by being extremely friendly to Russian president Putin, which wasn’t such a bad thing, except President Putin continues to work more with China and also increasingly with Pakistan and at the same time noticeably less with India. To top it all here’s what a recent study by the National Defence Study Commission of the US says:

US military ‘losing its competitive edge’

In order to bluster effectively, countries need to have the muscle to back it up. So whatever be the principles leaders mouth, nobody is a pariah anymore and countries are making bilateral arrangements in attempts to stay strong and safe. Even as Britain continues to be stuck in an isolationist Brexit, hoping for a golden age Boris Johnson is going to bring in.

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