Friday, December 19, 2014

CRUSHING OIL PRICES - DO NOT PUSH THE BEAR TO THE WALL. IN A DESPERATE MOVE, HE COULD RETALIATE & TURN OIL TAPS OFF TO WESTERN EUROPE, DESTROYING THEIR FRAGILE ECONOMIES AND IN TURN THE WORLD ECONOMY.

President Putin, picture courtesy Wikepedia.org

The decline of oil prices from $100 in mid 2014 to $57 now is no coincidence, nor does it have anything do with supply and demand as oil demand has certainly not halved in six months.

It is seriously suspected that oil prices are being manipulated by U.S. to crush Russia and to make them pay for re-possessing Crimea from Ukraine. When sanctions and all else failed, U.S. seems to have decided to hit Russia, where it hurts most - in the pocket. The Russian Ruble is in a free fall and despite a recent raise in Russian Central Bank rate from 10 to 17%, the Ruble is not even half its worth what it was a year ago.
According to some estimates, it is costing Russia around $70  a barrel to extract oil, if that is accurate, Russia is in net loss of $13 per barrel it produces and sells. This could hit Russian economy hard, inflation could sky rocket, post Soviet style bread lines could form again with possible loss of popularity for Putin from its current 85% level. And that is exactly what U.S. may be hoping to accomplish. Such a policy may have a short term impact, but long term, it could have a devastating effect on the world economy.
A desperate Putin with his back to the wall could adopt 'Destroy West' policy by turning off oil taps overnight to Western Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russian oil. The already fragile European economies will not be able to withstand such a shock and may go into recession or even a depression, which in turn would hit all the economies of the world, including that of the U.S. resulting in a 1930s style worldwide depression.
The Obama Administration needs to reign in its anti Russia hawks and think long and hard about the consequences such a policy. Better sense should prevail before the bear hits back with a vengeance.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Will the 2016 U. S. Presidential Election be between two dynastic candidates - Jeb Bush v Hillary Clinton?


(Photo courtesy the sleuthjournal)






The 2016 U.S. Presidential elections are less than two years away and by early 2016, front runner  candidates will begin to emerge. However, at this point in time, it seems that Jeb Bush (Republican) could be pitched against Hillary Clinton (Democratic).




However, 23 months in politics is a long time and one slip, one bad move, one un-thoughtful speech can derail a candidate and not all candidates have the capacity or resilience like candidate Barack Obama, who came back from the brink a couple of times and won the nomination of his party.




Jeb Bush is a credible candidate, he is the only Republican to have won two full terms as Governor of Florida. He is a moderate Republican and  may attract independent voters who now form the largest group in U.S. elections. Also, he is fluent in Spanish and his wife is from Mexico, which could be a major attraction to 17% Latino population in the U.S. But being pro immigration reform, he is not the darling of the ultra right wing Republicans who are hell bent on deporting 11 million illegal immigrants from U.S., so winning the party nomination may be a challenge, but if he looks like a winning candidate, the party will rally around him.




Other challengers will of course emerge from both parties, but more so from Republican than Democratic Party. Mitt Romney is still harboring Presidential ambitions, so are probably Marco Rubio (son of a Cuban), Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and a couple of others. A black candidate by the name of Ben Carson, a Pediatric Neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins could also pose a serious challenge to Jeb Bush.



Ben Carson by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Dr. Ben Carson




Hillary Clinton is clearly the front runner in the Democratic Party and having lived in the White House for eight years and having successfully held the position of Secretary of State in President Obama's fist term, she has earned the right. However, a challenge could still come from Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is astute, very together and fully familiar with Government policy. She was part of President Obama's team that oversaw the economic recovery of U.S. after the 2008 crash. She is stickler for rules and regulations and has helped greatly in regulating the once wayward financial institutions. In 2012 she won the Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy, which was temporarily won by Republican Scott Brown after Kennedy's death. She is probably a better candidate than Hillary Clinton, but she does not have the grass root support of the party, so her nomination will be an uphill task.
Elizabeth Warren--Official 113th Congressional Portrait--.jpg


Senator Elizabeth Warren




Dynastic Politics
Jeb Bush is the son of former President George H. W. Bush and younger brother of former President George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton is the wife of former President Bill Clinton. Questions may arise about entitlement and dynastic politics. The voters in other countries i.e. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka are already questioning the value of dynastic politics. A case in point, the recent Indian elections, where dynastic politics was one of the factors in Congress Party's substantial defeat at the hands of BJP.

Monday, August 11, 2014

U.S. & Russia are both resposible for the mess in Ukraine. Canada should have stayed neutral in the conflict, restriction on its Agricultural exports to Russia will cost Canadian farmers $500 million+ a year.



The Ukraine is a mess and both United States & Russia are equally responsible. U.S. provided support and instigated rioting against a pro Russian but an elected Ukrainian President. This is part of super power supremacy game as under the garb of friendship, U.S. has been trying to encircle Russia by bringing in some of the former Soviet Union component states into Europe & NATO. Also, the plan to install missiles in Poland and overthrowing an elected Government in Ukraine are part of the same game.

Russia on its part has been opportunistic, first grabbing Abkhazia from Georgia, then Crimea from Ukraine. Russia knows what U.S. is trying to do and it is playing its own game in response to U.S. policies.

Europe is stuck in the middle and while U.S. has been trying to strong arm it against Russia, but as their energy needs are largely met by Russia they are not in a position to be too gung ho. Germany alone imports 30% of its energy needs from Russia and if Russia starts to turn off the tap, not only European, but the world economy could collapse. Fortunately, Russia is not that position yet. In about three years, when their new pipelines will be built to China, they may be able to do just that.

Meanwhile, Canada's Harper Government has taken an untenable hardline on Russia. Both Stephen Harper and his rather immature Foreign Minister - John Baird have been posturing aggressively. Getting involved in super power games is a folly as it will harm Canada's interests. By staying neutral, Canada could have played an important role in bringing Russian & Ukrainian leaders to the negotiating table to find a peaceful solution.

By slapping sanctions on Russia, perhaps the Harper Government forgot that Canada exports a fair bit to Russia. The retaliatory sanctions on Canada will cost $500m+ a year to the Canadian farmers and this just the start. If Harper Government keeps its posture, Russia could tighten the screws further. Mr. Harper is jeopardizing Canada's already fragile economy. Also, the failure of this Government to build any oil pipelines to Eastern or Western Canada is placing Canada at a serious disadvantage. Had a pipeline been built to the Eastern shores, we could have replaced Russia as an oil supplier to Europe.

Canada's history shows that by staying neutral, it has contributed a great deal more and helped end conflicts, which is  why Canada's stature was so high in the world. Sadly, Mr. Harper lowered Canada's prestige in the world.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

WHO IS THE REAL CRIMINAL HERE, AL JAZEERA'S CANADIAN JOURNALIST MOHAMED FAHMY OR EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT EL-SISI?

HE IS NOT THE CRIMINAL


MOHAMED FAHMY sentenced to seven years imprisonment for fair reporting.


HE IS THE REAL CRIMINAL FOR OVERTHROWING A LEGITIMATELY ELECTED EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT, ANOINTING HIMSELF PRESIDENT THROUGH FRAUDULENT ELECTIONS, SENDING 500 EGYPTIANS TO THE GALLOWS THROUGH KANGAROO COURT TRIALS.

FIELD MARSHALL (self appointed) Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

War Makes Strange Bedfellows


Photo Courtesy www.telegraph.co.uk. Photo source: AFP/Getty Images/EPA


Only a few months ago some American politicians were singing 'Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran' and now the same politicians are likely to be singing Iran's praises.


The capture of second largest Iraqi city, Mosul by ISIS, Saddam Husain's home town - Tikrit and some smaller cities has not only alarmed the U.S. and the inept Al-Maliki regime in Iraq, but also sent collective shivers down the spines of Iranian Ayatollahs and Jordanian & Saudi Kings. The avowed aim of ISIS or ISIL is to establish an Islamic State in all of the region including Iran. 


U.S. Secretary of State Kerry met with the Iranian Foreign Minister June 16 to discuss cooperation against ISIS. Only a few months ago U.S. was issuing all kinds of threats against Iran and now they are asking their help.  War makes strange bedfellows indeed. The saying 'my enemy's enemy is my friend' seems to be operative here.


Iran has offered help to the Iraqi regime, they would not like to see their puppet regime crumble at the hands of ISIS. They already have some presence in Iraq through the revolutionary guards serving as Al-Maliki's security guards. But if Iran sends in soldiers, the bloodshed will only multiply and ISIS will be able to recruit many more volunteers. Their coffers are full, according to some reports, they have close to $2 billion in assets, especially after robbing Mosul Central Bank Branch, .


Apart from causing a blast here and there, ISIS will probably not be able to cause much damage to Iran. An attack on Iran could prove fatal for ISIS as it did for Saddam in the 80s. If ISIS captures Baghdad, it will be emboldened to move on to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, where they are likely to find support from a portion of the population unhappy with their rulers.


The situation is beyond dangerous and it could set fire to the entire Middle East. All this has been caused by George W. Bush and Co. for setting off events in motion with Iraq's invasion.

Monday, June 16, 2014

OUTCOME OF U. S. ILLEGAL INVASION OF IRAQ - A FRACTURED COUNTRY ABOUT TO FALL INTO THE HANDS OF EXTREMIST JIHADIS.

                                      THIS






                                     BEGETS THIS


The American Jihadis (the neo-conservatives) pursuing Israeli agenda egged President George W. Bush on to invade and occupy Iraq and he stupidly followed their advice. His father, George H. Bush had shown maturity and political acumen by resisting such advice during his tenure even though he was in a legitimate war with Iraq after Saddam's illegal occupation of Kuwait. However, Bush Junior, could not resist those who brought him to power - the likes of Dick Cheney, Wolfowitz (a dual Israeli/US citizen), Rumsfeld, & others.

The final outcome is a fractured Iraq with local & foreign Sunni Jihadists about to capture a major chunk of the country and wreak havoc on Iraqi citizens as if the American invasion had not done enough damage on the hapless people of Iraq with half a million killed and six million made refugees.

The invasion was nothing short of a criminal enterprise, which the International Criminal Court (ICC) should have taken up immediately and issued arrest warrants for Bush & his cohorts.  However, the ICC is a gutless, sissy organization and its judges have no courage to stand up against tyranny inflicted by a major nation. The excuse that U.S. is not a signatory to ICC is a lame one and it should not have stopped them from issuing indictments of Bush & Co. ICC is only capable of issuing arrest warrants for third world dictators. This is a massive failure on the part of ICC, which should either be abolished completely or all its judges removed and new courageous judges appointed, who can stand up to anyone.

Saddam Husain was a tyrant, a dictator and an ego maniac, but his rule is almost beginning to look like a saner option than what has been bestowed on Iraq. During Saddam's time there was never a Shia-Sunni-Christian problem. Baghdad, Mosul & Basra were thriving cities with free education, health care for all and no electricity shortages. In Noori Al-Maliki, U.S. anointed a Shia hard liner who has suppressed the 30% Iraqi Sunni population.  He sits in the lap of Iranian Ayatollahs and takes instruction from them, whose personal security is provided allegedly by Iranian revolutionary guards. Instead of consolidating the country, Maliki's failure to share power with Sunnis has brought Iraq to its knees.

Extremist Sunni fighters having captured Mosul, Dohuk, Tikrit and now Baquba (a suburb of Baghdad) are knocking at the doors of Baghdad. They have not only found support amongst the Sunni civilian population, but also amongst the military, where soldiers and generals have switched sides in droves. Highly sophisticated American weapons are now in the hands of these extremists. An all new and a massive 850,000 U.S. trained Iraqi Army seems to be melting away. Maliki is asking for U.S. help and air power, the question is, why is his Army and Air Force not fighting?

Amongst the main causes of Iraq's fracture at the hands of U.S. was disbanding its multi-ethnic Armed Forces at the outset of the war and destroying civil structures. These incomprehensible acts by Bush & Co. have caused a body blow to Iraq, from which it has never recovered.

U.S. air raids now as advised by Senator McCain will be utterly insane. It will embolden Jihadis even more and swell their ranks with more Iraqi and other Sunnis joining to fight the 'devil'.

The best solution for Iraq at this time is for Maliki to dissolve the parliament, resign immediately followed by a unity Government independent of Iran's influence, representing Shias, Sunnis, Kurds & Christians. This Government should start a dialogue with major groups, come up with suggestions to amend the constitution to give everyone a fair share and hold fresh elections in about a year, so that wounds heal and Iraq stays one country, prosperous once again.

 Conspiracy theorists in Muslim World have long held the view that Iraqi invasion was engineered by Israel and inspired and backed by the Taliban of Christianity - Evangelical Christians (George W. Bush is  considered to be a follower of that crazy faith), to divide and destroy the Muslim World. They also say that continued war and occupation of Afghanistan, its alleged involvement in Rafik Hariri's murder, ouster of Gaddafi in Libya under the cover of 'no fly zones', engineered Military coup against an elected President in Egypt and attempts to overthrow Asad of Syria are all links in the chain. Each and every affected country, being a Muslim country!

Conspiracy theorists can say what they like, but U.S. actions from hereon will decide whether there is steam in those theories. If it pressurizes Maliki to quit and help form a fair and representative Government that keeps Iraq intact or does it succumb to the hardliners and bomb Iraq and fracture the country for good. Hopefully, President Obama will opt for the diplomatic option and ignore the call to war by McCains of this world.

Friday, May 2, 2014

NEHRU v PATEL, MODI v GANDHI, IS HISTORY ABOUT TO REPEAT ITSELF?



Sixty seven years ago a Gujarati - Sardar Jhaverbhai Vallabhbhai Patel was pitted against a Nehru of Allahabad for India's leadership. Today, once again a Gujarati - Narendra Damadardas Modi is pitted against a Nehru (Rahul Gandhi) from Allahabad for the Prime Ministership of India.

The difference is that Patel and Nehru belonged to the same party, the Indian National Congress, both led movements against Britain's ouster from India, both were British educated, both were Barristers, Patel from Middle Temple and Nehru from Inner Temple. They stood side by side and united against British occupation of India.

Patel was considered a natural leader and vastly expected to be the first Prime Minister of India, but Nehru a man of smart intellect and cunning, outsmarted and outfoxed Patel on the last bend of the last lap of home run and became the first Prime Minister of India.

Nehru's great grandson, Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi come from two separate political parties with vast intellectual differences. Rahul carries the Nehru legacy as a leader of Indian National Congress and Narendra Modi, a former member of RSS is the current leader of BJP, a right wing Hindu Party. Rahul was educated in India and abroad, his stay at Harvard was cut short due to his father's assassination, he subsequently obtained M. Phil degree from Cambridge. Modi being the son of a tea stall vendor comes from a poor background, he was educated in India, earning Bachelor's degree from Delhi University and Masters in Political Science from Gujarat University. He is entirely a self made man.

Another difference between the pre independence era and now is that Nehru & Patel led independence movements, they hardly spent any time in Government, whereas both Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi have spent several years in power or in controlling power.

Sixty seven years later, history repeats itself as another Gujarati is pitted against another Nehru from Allahabad. The question is, will a Nehru once again outsmart and outfox a Gujarati? Hardly likely as Modi is no pushover nor simple and na├»ve like Vallabbhai Patel and Rahul Gandhi is not smart enough or clever enough to be another Jawaharlal Nehru.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SOME AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY SUCCESSES UNDER BUSH & OBAMA



  • INSTIGATED ANTI RUSSIAN RIOTS IN GEORGIA - LOST ABKHAZIA TO RUSSIA
  • LOST IRAQ WAR - AN UNJUSTIFIED WAR, DELIVERED IRAQ INTO THE LAP OF IRANIANS - LOST THOUSANDS OF U.S. SOLDIERS AND HALF A MILLION IRAQIS, SPENT WELL OVER $3 TRILLION (SEVERAL BILLIONS CASH WENT MISSING).
  • LOST AFGHANISTAN WAR, A JUSTIFIED WAR THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN WRAPPED UP IN THREE MONTHS. 13 YEARS LATER, SEVERAL THOUSAND U.S. SOLDIERS STILL IN AFGHANISTAN, THOUGH WINDING DOWN. $1 TRILLION SPENT WITHOUT ANY RESULTS, WITH SEVERAL THOUSAND US & AFGHANS DEAD.
  • STAGED AN UPRISING IN LIBYA, OVERTHROWING QADDAFI, HIS PUBLIC BEATING AND MURDER, SOON AFTER PUBLIC BEATING AND MURDER OF US AMBASSADOR IN LIBYA,. DELIVERING LIBYA TO SEVERAL PRO AL-QAEDA GROUPS WITH ENSUING CHAOS.
  • MANIPULATED A MILITARY COUP IN EGYPT, DEPOSING AN ELECTED PRESIDENT DEALING A GEAT BLOW TO DEMOCRACY. THE CORRUPT AND THUGGISH MILITARY GENERALS ARE IN THE PROCESS OF CONQUERING THEIR OWN PEOPLE - YET ONCE AGAIN
  • INSTIGATED RIOTS IN UKRAINE, RUNNING OFF YET ANOTHER ELECTED PRESIDENT FROM OFFICE (SECOND WITHIN 12 MONTHS) - DELIVERING CRIMEA IN  RUSSIA'S LAP.


SOME FOREIGN POLICY SUCCESSES INDEED!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

IT IS TIME FOR HARPER GOVERNMENT TO STOP BEING AMERICA'S MOUTHPIECE AND STEP FORWARD AS A MEDIATOR IN UKRAINE



(Sergey Ponomarev's photo courtesy New York Times)

The knee jerk reaction of Harper Government on the Ukraine situation is  not helping to turn the temperature down, instead it could create more difficulties for the Ukrainian public from a more aggressive Russia. Instead of taking a hard right pro U.S. position, Canada should have taken a middle of the road approach whereby it could act as a mediator in resolving the crisis.

Germany's Angela Merkel has demonstrated a great deal more maturity by suggesting a peaceful resolution rather than Harper Government's empty threats of imposing sanctions on Russia and expelling it from the G8.

To start with, Mr. Harper needs to restrain his Foreign Minister, whose aggressive tactics  have done more damage to Canada's foreign relations than good. His handling of relations with UAE resulting in Canada losing a free military base in Dubai, with an estimated cost of a few hundred million dollars to Canadian tax payer is a case in point.

It is obvious that U.S. interference in Russia's back yard has brought Ukraine to this situation. A deft handling and a diplomatic solution is what is required here. Alas, Canada has lost its position as a neutral umpire, whereby it could offer to mediate between aggrieved parties, rather than take an extreme position as the Harper Government has done.

A peaceful solution to Ukraine's situation would be where the people's aspirations are met, where the minorities are not afraid of domination and persecution by the majority and where Russia does not feel, there is a hostile Government in place right next door.

This is a great opportunity for Mr. Harper to demonstrate leadership, maturity and diplomatic prowess. By actively helping to resolve the Ukraine situation, he could distinguish himself from a bunch of mediocre Western leaders. This requires him to get on that plane to Moscow and talk to President Putin, ask him for restraint and find out what it would take to diffuse the situation and bring the Ukranian and Russian leadership together for a peaceful resolution.

It may already be too late for Mr. Harper as Russian and U.S. Foreign Ministers have started a direct dialogue, though there may still be space for Canada to play a role. There may be issues that Russia and U.S. may not want to talk to each other about, but could open up to a neutral third party.

Mr. Harper, stand up and make Canada proud.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

IS THE U.S. RESPONSIBLE FOR RUSSIAN MILITARY INTERVENTION IN UKRAINE?



Armed servicemen wait near Russian army vehicles outside a Ukrainian border guard post in the Crimean town of Balaclava, March 1, 2014.
(This Reuters picture of Russian troops in Crimea, courtesy Voice of America website)

Only a couple of weeks ago, Henry Kissinger had warned that Ukraine is very important to Russia and it being their backyard, they will never accept a hostile regime in that country.

The hawks in Washington D.C. were obviously not listening. In a recorded conversation (aired on CNN and other media), an American diplomat was caught red handed, trying to incite anti Ukraine President elements when Russia and Putin were busy putting on a good face at Sochi Winter Olympics.

It is the second time within a year that a legitimately elected President has been run out of office with U.S. backing through street protests, gun toting criminals and thuggish Generals, just because U.S. did not like the legally elected regime.

First it was Egypt, where Mohammad Morsi's Government was overthrown by the criminal, crooked and corrupt Egyptian Generals who have stolen billions of dollars over the last fifty years to fill their own pockets, while masses get poorer. Now it is Ukraine, where a legitimately elected Pro Russian Presidnet - Viktor Yanukovych has been run out of office. In his place, a Prime Minister has been appointed who could only get less than 9% votes in Presidential election against Yanukovych.

This is not to say that Morsi and Yanukovych were innocent. They had taken many unpopular decisions  that turned majority of their populations against them. However, there is still no reason for U.S. or any other country to interfere in another country's internal affairs. These are (or were) nascent democracies and it is a process that the people of those countries have to go through to elect better leaders.

Nikita Kruschev had handed over Crimea to Ukraine in the 50s probably under the assumption that that USSR will remain intact and Ukraine will always be a component of it. Did the U.S. really think that Russia will standby and watch from a distance while U.S. sponsored the overthrow of Ukrainian Government? If policy makers in the U.S. believed that, then they couldn't be more naive or ill informed. If this is a game to bog Russia down in Ukraine, it may work for a time, but eventually it could backfire on the West and on the people of Ukraine.

These actions have resulted in Russian troops entering Crimea and they are probably itching to enter the rest of Ukraine. Regardless of what President Obama says or how much noise his bumbling Secretary of State makes, they should have known better. They should have known that the outcome will be exactly like this. Instead of helping the people of Ukraine and strengthening democratic institutions in that country, they may just have added to their miseries for a long time to come.  

They should have heeded Henry Kissinger's advice.