THE TRUMP QUESTIONS

SO FAR.. 

As @realDonaldTrump is being inaugurated, the world looks even more volatile now. He may prove disastrous, for the US foreign policy and for the world.

Immediate @realDonaldTrump threats:
Nuclear proliferation
South China Sea dispute
Israel-Palestine and the prospects of two state solution
Protectionism and trade wars
Xenophobia, bias against immigrants and racial minorities, the Mexico prejudice
Taiwan and One China policy

As @realDonaldTrump is being inaugurated, people are obviously asking when he is going to be impeached?

What is the main problem with @realDonaldTrump?
Too straight?
Foul mouthed?
Too casual?
Too shallow?

Is @realDonaldTrump really real? How real he is? His time begins now. Soon we will know.

Going by the state of affairs, in the US and the world, @realDonaldTrump has an extremely narrow window.
80% he is going to fail.
He has just 20% to make it.

Repealing Obamacare will unravel @realDonaldTrump. He simply can’t give what he has promised – universal healthcare!
Beginning of the end?

Which US President before @realDonaldTrump had seen so much protests? Probably none.

Will @realDonaldTrump make the US another island nation in isolation? Is that what people cheering him have in mind?
This @POTUS is going to be ‘make or break’ for the US.

Will @realDonaldTrump as the @POTUS will be the beginning of the end for Trump and American global prominence/dominance as we know it?

If @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS become synonymous, what would be the long term communication and branding consequences?

Does @realDonaldTrump/@POTUS have time, liberty and scope to go ‘trial and error’ in running the US and handling geopolitics?

©SantoshChaubey

TRUMP’S TRYST WITH CONTROVERSIES CONTINUES EVEN AS HE ASSUMES PRESIDENCY

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified and extended.

The controversial businessman and President-elect Donald Trump is US President now with the White House as his official and residential address for at least the next four years, a distinction that makes him unarguably the most powerful person on the Earth.

But true to his controversial past, his tryst with controversies has continued unabated and has, in fact, seen two major controversies in just two days after his inaugural on January 20, 2017.

Donald Trump has had a bad reputation when it comes to respecting women. He has made several gaudy, bitter in taste sexist remarks against women with women even accusing him of sexual assault. His reputation on this front is sullied to the extent that news outfits run even ‘Donald Trump sexism tracker’.

It was natural then that millions of women protested against Trump, not just in Washington but in many cities in America and across the world. According to an ABC news report, ‘more than than 600 rallies in 60 countries around the world’ were held. Reuters headlined the worldwide women protests as ‘unprecedented’. They were all there, mocking and denouncing the new US President, as the Reuters report put it.

But Donald Trump, in his trademark style, a hangover from his past, chose to berate women again. Tweeting from his personal Twitter handle (@realDonaldTrump), Trump mocked women protesters, “Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.” Though he later tweeted to say that even if didn’t agree, ‘he recognized the rights of people to express their views’, he left an impression that protests didn’t matter for him.

And it seems Trump has chosen people like him to represent his administration. After the inauguration ceremony, Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed that it was the most watched inauguration ever of any US President, a false claim that fell flat with contradictory figures. According to Nielsen data, Trump’s inauguration with 30.6 million eyeballs ranked behind Ronald Reagan (1981-41.8 million), Barack Obama (2009-37.7 million), Jimmy Carter (1977-34.1 million) and Richard Nixon (1973-33 million).

But Trump, in his familiar style, tried to belittle his predecessor Barack Obama again tweeting “Wow, television ratings just out: 31 million people watched the Inauguration, 11 million more than the very good ratings from 4 years ago!”. Clearly, he was trying to shield behind a selective set of information, picking up what suited his purpose.

Both Trump and his Press Secretary have slammed the media for being preferential and biased for showing truth behind the numbers. Trump thinks media is dishonest when it says that Barack Obama’s inaugural in 2009 had more people in attendance. Going a step further, his Press Secretary Spicer threatened to ‘hold the press accountable’ blaming that ‘some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting’.

If it is the beginning, let’s see what happens next. If Trump and his administration can’t handle media coverage on his inauguration, imagine what would happen when it comes to media carrying in-depth policy analysis of Donald Trump’s stated priorities where he said he would go against the established norms, be it Obamacare repeal or nuclear proliferation and military expansion or climate change protocols or trade protectionism or the US intervention in the geopolitical affairs.

©SantoshChaubey

TRUMP ERA BEGINS NOW: WORLD WILL CLOSELY WATCH HOW HE HANDLES THESE FIVE ISSUES

The article originally appeared on India Today.

US President-elect Donald J. Trump is now the US President Donald Trump. He was sworn in this afternoon as the 45th US President, taking over from his predecessor Barack Obama. He is one of the most controversial people in the US history to move the White House because of his background and the values that he looks to espouse.

He looks comfortable in his skin, a flamboyant but controversial businessman, be it his divisive and derogatory campaign rhetoric or his days since November 8, 2016 when he stunned not just America but the whole world by registering an impressive victory over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, former First Lady and the US Secretary of State.

His campaign rhetoric and post-election remarks have stirred the whole world and people the world over are waiting to see how he is going to handle his Presidency once he settles in the White House, because creating a mess around any of the issues that he has so casually talked or tweeted about can turn the whole world or a large section of it upside down.

NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION

Donald Trump has ratcheted up war and nuclear rhetoric to newer heights. US is considered the big daddy when it comes to enforcing international non-proliferation and disarmament measures but Trump’s campaign rhetoric and his post election words have instilled a fear that the world could see a renewed race for arms among the most powerful nuclear nations of the world, especially the US and Russia.

The world cannot easily forget the ominous tweet by Donald Trump post his victory in the US presidential polls where he asserted that “the United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes”.

TAIWAN AND ONE CHINA POLICY

Like his victory, this signature Trump decision made the global headlines when he chose to talk to the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen post his election victory. It was a first for any US President or President-elect to speak to the Taiwanese President since 1979 when the US had closed its embassy in Taipei and severed its diplomatic ties recognizing the Mainland China as the sole Chinese voice.

After a growing global debate and Chinese displeasure, Trump’s transition team issued clarification that it was just a courtesy call. But nothing is seen as casual or ‘by-chance’ in geopolitics. The rift has deepened further with Trump’s recent statement that the One China Policy is open for negotiation.

ISRAEL-PALESTINE

Jerusalem is contentious. Both Israelis and Palestinians consider in their capital. Though it is where Israel’s power corridors are, no embassies are here but in Tel Aviv because doing so would compromise the peace process and would damage the prospects of the ‘two state’ solution beyond repair. Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem has been a campaign rhetoric in the US Presidential polls. It never went beyond that.

Now, like his Taiwan move, Trump says he doesn’t break promises and will move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Protests have begun against it and if Trump’s designs materialize, it will force an entire region in flames again, something that even many Israelis are not in favour of, even if the Israeli leadership is encouraging it. A New York Times report writes, “It would only set off new fighting with the Palestinians as well as the rest of the Arab world, a big price tag for a symbolic change that would hardly move the ball on the broader conflict”.

ETHNIC DIVIDE

Trump’s campaign and his transition team have been harsh on immigrants and minorities. He has not desisted from issuing offensive statements against immigrants including Muslims, Black Americans and racial minorities. They talked of creating a Muslim Registry to humiliate them even further. His election saw protests not just in America but in many other parts of the world. Before and after his election, Trump has made clear his intention to build a wall along the Mexican border using choicest of words for Mexican immigrants.

The world had never seen society in the US so divided, at least in decades, since the days of segregation and counterculture. Okay, there is always this division, a group chooses this, the other one goes for that, but this all is at an electoral level. What happened in the US after Donald Trump’s victory is suggestive of deep fissures in the US society that Trump likes to flare up even if he talked of a united US society today – of Black, Brown and White Americans. After Trump, people are fearful of rising White supremacist tendencies in the US society.

If things really go out of control as the scenario looks now, its repercussions would be seen across the world because US has been a cosmos of ethnicities from across the world.

TRADE WARS

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting was held in Davos from January 17 to 20. China tried to make a big presence there this time but the whole Chinese focus revolved around sending Trump a message that protectionist approach would lead to trade wars which would hurt everyone. Targetting increasing anti-globalisation, Chinese President Xi Jinping reminded Donald Trump and the world that “no one will emerge as a winner from fighting a trade war” and that China would pitch in to counter Trump’s moves.

Donald Trump has threatened to create protective barriers to stop businesses and jobs moving out of the US. He has been a harsh critic of outsourcing and the US under him would potentially see a much declined numbers of professionals heading towards the US. He has vowed to impose tariff barriers to check inflow and outflow of goods in the US.

Trump’s plans to go ahead with his promises took a large part of his inaugural address today. He said, “We have spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich, while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon. But that is the past. And now, we are looking only to the future. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never ever let you down”.

The Trump era begins now. He is officially now the most powerful person on the Earth. Let’s see where his domestic and geopolitical priorities take us. Trump says “the time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action”. Indeed!

trumpinaugural-whyoutube

©SantoshChaubey

Featured Image Courtesy: Donald Trump delivering his inaugural speech – The White House’s YouTube screen-grab

MODI SAYS WALK AWAY FROM TERROR, NAWAZ SHARIF SHIELDS BEHIND K-RANT..AGAIN!

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified.

As expected, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has chosen not to answer Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demand that to resume dialogue with India, Pakistan must walk away from terror. Instead, he has picked the Kashmir rant again to blame India.

Nawaz Sharif is in Davos to attend the World Economic Forum. According to the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio Pakistan report, Sharif, while talking to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said that Pakistan invited India for talks but India did not respond.

The report says that Nawaz Sharif said that resolution of all outstanding issues between Pakistan and India including the core issue of Kashmir is imperative for durable peace in South Asia. Exporting terror in Kashmir while continuing his double speak, Nawaz Sharif said that “peace in the region is in the best interest of the people of the region”.

While playing the victim Nawaz Sharif did not forget to polish his credentials by mentioning Indian violations of the Indus Water Treaty and that how India has been thwarting Pakistan’s sincere efforts ‘for durable peace in the region’, the foremost priority of his government. While he spoke of all outstanding issues including Kashmir, he did not mention terror and India’s only demand to resume dialogue with Pakistan.

While delivering the inaugural address of the 2nd Raisina Dialogue on January 17 in New Delhi, PM Modi said that if Pakistan wanted to resume dialogue with India, it must first renounce terrorism. Modi said, “Pakistan must walk away from terror if it wants to walk towards dialogue with India”.

While saying that a thriving well integrated neighbourhood was his dream, Modi said, “My vision for our neighbourhood puts premium on peaceful and harmonious ties with entire South Asia. That vision had led me to invite leaders of all SAARC nations, including Pakistan, for my swearing in. For this vision, I had also travelled to Lahore. But, India alone cannot walk the path of peace. It also has to be Pakistan’s journey to make. Pakistan must walk away from terror if it wants to walk towards dialogue with India.”

Prime Minister Modi’s unscheduled Lahore stopover in December 2015, while returning from Afghanistan, had left everyone stunned and his unilateral move to improve ties between the South Asian neighbours was appreciated globally.

This was his one of many initiatives to improve relations with a country that has behaved as India’s sworn enemy ever since its birth in 1947, beginning with Modi’s invitation to the South Asian leaders including Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony on May 26, 2014.

But Pakistan, continuing its tradition of backstabbing India, gave Pathankot airbase attack and declared Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani a martyr and fuelled and supported the latest round of unrest in Kashmir.

Pakistan’s actions forced India to put forward the condition that the future India-Pakistan dialogue will be on the issue of terror only. Pakistan, the main sponsor of terrorism in India, obviously could not have accepted it and chose to escape, shielding behind its Kashmir rant. It said it would not go for dialogue with India until Kashmir is on the table.

Raisina Dialogue is organized jointly by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF). It is India’s geo-political conference and is aligned with India’s foreign policy priorities. Its second edition is being held in New Delhi from January 17 to 19. More than 250 global leaders from 65 nations are slated to speak at the conference which has ‘the New Normal -Multilateralism with Multi-Polarity’ as its theme this year.

©SantoshChaubey

US JOURNALISTS SET RULES ON ACCESS TO TRUMP’S ADMINISTRATION, AIRTIME FOR NEXT FOUR YEARS

The article originally appeared on India Today.

US President-elect Donald Trump has been livid over many issues and people and the US media is one of his main targets. He has slammed media left, right and centre, going as far as to mock a disabled journalist and threaten to keep media outfits away from the White House.

Now, just two days before his inaugural, the US Press Corp has come out with a strongly worded open letter, published in the Columbia Journalism Review of Columbia University, to set things in a perspective for the next four years clearly spelling out that who will be the boss saying while “Trump has every right to decide his ground rules for engaging with the press, they have some, too. It is, after all, their airtime and column inches that Trump is seeking to influence.”

The open letter by a body representing US journalists, asserts, “We, not you, decide how best to serve our readers, listeners, and viewers. So think of what follows as a backgrounder on what to expect from us over the next four years”.

The letter categorically rebuts Donald Trump’s regular slanderous assualts and threats against media. Addressing Trump it says, “You’ve banned news organizations from covering you. You’ve taken to Twitter to taunt and threaten individual reporters and encouraged your supporters to do the same. You’ve advocated for looser libel laws and threatened numerous lawsuits of your own, none of which has materialised. You’ve avoided the press when you could and flouted the norms of pool reporting and regular press conferences. You’ve ridiculed a reporter who wrote something you didn’t like because he has a disability”.

The journalists body, through its open letter, sets rules on access to Trump’s administration, off the record statements, airtime, objectivity and cultivating and embedding news sources in the government for the next four years or in best case scenario, for the next eight years, if Donald Trump gets the second term.

Journalists say that Trump may deny them access but it will be a challenge that they will relish. The letter clears it out that ‘access is preferable, but not critical’. They say ‘attending background briefings or off-the-record social events’ will be their sole discretion and they deserve the right to give or deny airtime to Trump’s spokespersons.

They lay out terms for the quality of coverage that will be driven by objective truth. Newsworthiness is must, but not without facts. And they warn Trump they will have upper hand in covering how his policies are carried out, even if he seeks to control information.

US journalists recognize where they have failed and credit Trump to highlight it and emphasize the need to ‘regain trust’ and say that “they’ll do it through accurate, fearless reporting, by acknowledging their errors and abiding by the most stringent ethical standards they set for themselves”.

But they blame Trump of trying to create a division in the journalistic fraternity and even trying to cause family fights. The letter says those days are over now as ‘the challenge of covering Trump requires that journalists cooperate and help one another whenever possible’. The letter reiterates on its role in making the US a great Republic and expresses gratitude that “forced them to rethink the most fundamental questions about who they are and what they are here for”.

©SantoshChaubey

WORSE THAN PROSTITUTES! THATS WHAT PUTIN THINKS ABOUT TRUMP’S DETRACTORS

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified and extended.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that those who are trying to defame US President-elect Donald Trump with unsubstantiated claims are ‘worse than prostitutes’.

According to a report from Russian news agency TASS, Putin has said that ‘prostitution is a serious ugly social phenomenon as young women engage in this also because they cannot provide a worthy life for themselves otherwise and this is largely the guilt of societies and the state. But people who order fakes like this, which are currently being spread against the US President-elect, are fabricating and using them in the political struggle. They are worse than prostitutes’.

Putin was reacting on the claims that the Russian intelligence has compromising material on Donald Trump and Russia may use it to blackmail him in future. An unverified dossier, authored by a former British intelligence officer, made headlines last week with its sensational allegations on Donald Trump of accepting bribes and indulging in sexual favours while he was in Russia. Both, Trump and the Kremlin had dismissed the dossier as fake.

Putin added that the ‘people who ordered such information have no moral restraints whatsoever’.

Saying that Trump has been in showbiz, Putin doubted that ‘Trump fell for girls with reduced social responsibilities’. He said, “Trump is a person who has dealt with organizing beauty pageants for many years and has communicated with the world’s most beautiful women. You know, I can imagine with difficulty such a thing that he immediately headed off for the hotel to meet with our girls of reduced social responsibility”.

Trump had slammed people spreading such rumours and had taken to Twitter to question if John Brennan, the outgoing CIA chief, was behind the leak of the fake news.

‏@realDonaldTrump -.@FoxNews “Outgoing CIA Chief, John Brennan, blasts Pres-Elect Trump on Russia threat. Does not fully understand.” Oh really, couldn’t do…
5:46 AM – 16 Jan 2017

‏@realDonaldTrump – much worse – just look at Syria (red line), Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes. Not good! Was this the leaker of Fake News?
5:59 AM – 16 Jan 2017

Donald Trump has indicated that he would take a soft approach towards Russia and would ease sanctions slapped on the country if ‘Moscow decides to work with the US’. There are reports that during first foreign visit of Trump to Iceland, a summit between Putin and Trump is being finalized.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN’S DEFENCE MIN AT IT AGAIN: DARES INDIA TO CONDUCT A SURGICAL STRIKE

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified and extended.

Pakistan has done it again, with its senate and top political leadership bragging about their military might and how they would teach India a lesson that would make it ‘forget making claims of even a fake surgical strike’ in Pakistan.

According to a Radio Pakistan report, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khwaja said ‘if India tried to make any effort to carry out surgical strikes in future these will be responded with full force and they will forget to carry out even faked strikes in future.’

Pakistan’s senate today passed a resolution to condemn prime minister Narendra Modi’s statement where he called Pakistan ‘mother-ship of terrorism’ without naming it. During the BRICS Summit held in Goa in October 2016, Narendra Modi had said that ‘the most serious direct threat to our eco prosperity is terrorism; Tragically, its mother-ship is a country in India’s neighbourhood’. Condemning Pakistan for using terror as state policy, Modi had said that ‘this country shelters not just terrorists. It nurtures a mindset. A mindset that loudly proclaims that terrorism is justifiable for political gains.’

Passing anti-India resolutions in Pakistan’s senate is a regular scene and, it seems, is a favourite pastime, and during one such spectacle today, its defence minister, while terming India’s surgical strike in September 2016 as fake, said that India violated the ceasefire over 300 times last year in which 45 Pakistani civilians lost their lives. He went on to aggrandize his statement to the extent to say that ‘India was also involved in such violations with other neighbouring countries including Nepal and Bangladesh’.

The resolution said that the international community had rejected ‘baseless propaganda’ by India ‘attributing terrorism to Pakistan’ and ‘the statement made by the Indian Premier was an effort to divert the attention of the International Community from the Indian atrocities against the people of Occupied Kashmir’. Continuing Pakistan’s Kashmir rant, Khawaja Asif said that ‘Pakistan will continue political, diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiris in their just struggle for right to self-determination’.

Khawaja Asif is speaking in a similar tone that he used to go with before India conducted its highly successful surgical strike deep inside Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir in September 2016 destroying many terror camps and killing dozens of terrorists. The surgical strike had left Pakistan shocked to the extent that its leaders initially didn’t know how to react on it and later on toed the Pakistan’s Army line of denying the surgical strike to save their face and humiliated bravado.

Before September’s surgical strike, the favourite line of Khawaja Asif happened to be that it will eliminate India with its tactical nuclear weapons if India tried to impose war on Pakistan.

After the Uri terror strike on September 18, 2016, that killed 19 of our soldiers, most of them sleeping, Pakistan had started feeling the heat as there was intense demand in India that the country should take some decisive, concrete against Pakistan this time. To handle this, and to thwart any serious response by the Indian establishment, (and buoyed by the past precedent, when India had hesitated to take any tough measure), the Pakistani ruling elite started blackmailing and threatening India with their so-called tactical or nuclear weapons.

The same Khawaja Asif, after the surgical strike on the intervening night of September 28-29, was stuttering while accepting that there was an aggression by India and ‘if India tries it again, Pakistan will give befitting reply’ (and not that ‘Pakistan will nuke and eliminate India), before toeing the line of Pakistan’s army. He had gone on to say even this that ‘India and Pakistan cannot take risk of a nuclear holocaust’.

Today’s development in the Pakistani senate seems more of a response to the Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat’s warning that, if needed, India will conduct surgical strike again. Like the Uri attack had forced Pakistan to issue threats to India to thwart any counter move, General Rawat’s open warning this time might have forced the Pakistani ruling establishment to issue a veiled threat to India again.

But see what a successful surgical strike has done. The ‘befitting reply by the Pakistan’ had no mention of tactical, nuclear weapons this time.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN’S TERROR HAVENS DESTROYED? ITS ARMY CHIEF GEN BAJWA CLAIMS SO!

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

When it comes to lying in plain sight, no one can match Pakistani politicians and military officials and the sham this time have come from none other than its army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

According to a Radio Pakistan report, Bajwa called up Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani on Sunday to express solidarity with Afghanistan on its fight against terror and to condole the loss of lives in terror attacks. Claiming Afghanistan and Pakistan being ‘brotherly countries’, ‘he expressed sympathy with families of the victims and empathized on the tragic series of events that have befallen people of the both the countries over the last many years’, the report said.

The report quoting an official Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) release said that ‘Bajwa emphasized that Pakistan had come a long way in its fight against terrorism of all hue and colour and had eliminated all safe havens in the process’.

Now that is a claim that no one is going to buy including Afghanistan, a country that as recently as January 10 saw big terror attacks in Kabul, Helmand and Kandahar that killed dozens including the UAE Ambassador and four other UAE diplomats. Afghanistan blames Pakistan for continued terror attacks in the country and has raised the issue of Pakistan promoting terror in Afghanistan and harbouring terrorists in its backyard on every international platform. During the Heart of Asia Summit held at Amritsar in December, Ashraf Ghani had called for international intervention to check and stop cross-border terrorism from Pakistan.

While shedding crocodile tears, claiming it is the biggest terror victim, Pakistan uses terror as state policy very conveniently, exporting terror to India and other parts of the world and providing safe havens to dreaded terrorists from across the world, be it Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and its other members or Taliban and its chief Mullah Omar or the Haqqani network or India’s most wanted like Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim or even terrorists operating in China’s Xinjiang region. It all-weather ally China is reportedly going to seal its Xinjiang border with Pakistan to control terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

India, the biggest victim of Pakistan sponsored terror, has been voicing its demand to dismantle the terror infrastructure in Pakistan. There are many launch-pads and at least 17 terror camps in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir that keep on feeding the terror machinery active in India. The SAARC Summit to be held in Pakistan in November was cancelled after other nations of the South Asian grouping had refused to join the Summit blaming Pakistan’s continued use of terror as state policy.

The US has always blamed Pakistan for fomenting terror in Afghanistan and has blamed it for giving safe havens to terror outfits like Taliban factions, Al Qaeda, LeT and the Haqqani network. James Mattis, US President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for his Defence Secretary, has warned Pakistan ‘to expel or neutralise externally-focused militant groups that operate within its borders’. In October last year, in its first ever public warning, the US had said it will go alone in destroying terror networks operating from Pakistan if Pakistan couldn’t do that and had named its all powerful spy agency ISI for actively colluding with the terror groups.

Yet, Pakistan keeps on ranting, shamelessly, that it has destroyed all terror safe havens and has no terror elements acting and spreading terror from its soil, as General Bajwa has done again.

©SantoshChaubey

DALIT-MUSLIM COMBINE: MAYAWATI’S SOCIAL ENGINEERING FOR 2017 UP POLLS

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has announced almost all candidates for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls due next month. Keeping her promise, she has given tickets to 97 Muslim candidates, almost one-fourth of the total 401 candidates announced so far. UP state assembly has 403 seats.

In the 2007 assembly polls, the BSP gave tickets to 61 Muslim candidates – 15 percent of the total BSP candidates in the elections. In the 2012 assembly polls, the count rose to 85 seats – 21 percent of the total count. And now it is at 25 percent.

From 15 to 21 to 25 – this gradual increase in the Muslim candidates is a clever ploy and it can prove a winning element if it works as intended – because the timing looks opportune.

WINNING NUMBERS

Mayawati’s focus is on the Dalit-Muslim combine this time. Dalits and Muslims are 38.5 percent in UP’s population – more than enough to give any party absolute majority in the UP assembly.

The BSP had got 30 percent votes in the 2007 assembly polls and won 206 seats. In 2012, the SP got 224 votes with a vote share of 29 percent.

So, a combine 38.5 percent makes sense to go for. And going by the prolonged Samajwadi Party (SP) internal power struggle that may alienate Muslims, who have traditionally voted for the SP, the timing looks perfect.

According to a CSDS report, 17 percent Muslims voted for the BSP in 2007 polls which rose to 20 percent in 2012. On the other hand, the Muslim votes to the SP saw a considerable decline – from 45 percent in 2007 to 39 percent in 2012. That may come significantly down this time, especially when Mayawati has made it clear that it will not go for any pre or post poll alliance.

There are expectations that the ongoing SP feud may earn positive points for UP’s chief minister Akhilesh Yadav as he has tried to shape this power battle within his own family and party as a war being waged against corruption with an uncompromising attitude. But how far it can help Akhilesh only time will tell and time has already run out.

Add to it the Muzaffarnagar riots, its aftermath with the stories of a life like hell in the camps for the riots affected people and the Dadri lynching incidents have the potential to erode the credibility base of the SP among the Muslims like never before.

REDUCING CLOUT OF THE UPPER CASTE CANDIDATES

It’s natural corollary then that the number of the upper caste candidates has to come down.

And they indeed have come down. The party had given tickets to 139 upper caste candidates in the 2007 assembly polls which came down to 117 in 2012 and has further reduced to 111 this time. Though they are still the largest block of the BSP candidates, the trend from the 2007 high shows their reducing clout.

The 2012 polls saw greater jumps in the SP’s Brahmin and Rajput vote shares than the BSP – Brahmins from 10 to 19 percent and Rajputs from 20 to 26 percent, the CSDS analysis says. In fact, there was even a decline in the Yadav vote share – from 72 percent in 2007 to 66 percent in 2012. But it was compensated well with increase in more Kurmis/Koeris (17 to 35 percent), Jatavs (4 to 15 percent) and Balmikis (2 to 9 percent).

ADDRESSING THE DALIT VOTERS

Doing so will address the chances of Dalit voters slipping away from the BSP fold as happened in the 2012 assembly polls. According to the CSDS analysis, 86 percent Jatav voters voted for the BSP in 2007 which drastically came down to 62 percent in 2012. Even more telling was the reduction in the Balmiki vote share which came down by over 40 percent – from 71 percent in 2007 to 42 percent in 2012.

The major reason behind this then was ascribed to Mayawati’s increasing tilt to the upper caste voters. The alienating Dalit voters felt disillusioned probably.

Also, the upper caste bet did not play well for Mayawati in the 2012 assembly polls. Even if Mayawati had given tickets to 117 upper caste candidates in 2012, 22 less than 2007, they were still the largest block of the BSP candidates. But according to the CSDS analysis, there was only a small increase in the upper caste vote share of the party – Brahmins from 16 to 19 percent, Rajputs from 12 to 14 percent and the other upper castes from 15 to 17 percent.

Not at all anywhere near to compensating the huge loss the BSP got – of Jatav and Balmiki votes! Even the share of the other SCs in the BSP’s overall votes profile, too, came down by 13 percent – from 58 percent in 2007 to 45 percent in 2012.

Now if Mayawati goes full throttle behind this Dalit constituency and works to add more Muslims to her vote base, from the existing 20 percent, she will be having a winning combination then.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINESE MEDIA HITS BACK AFTER TRUMP’S SECRETARY OF STATE REX TILLERSON’S SOUTH CHINA THREAT

The article originally appeared on India Today.

China has hit back through its state media after the next US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson threatened Beijing to block it from the South China Sea.

Continuing the dismissive tone taken by China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kong, a Global Times editorial has termed Tillerson’s remarks during his confirmation hearing an indignant talk with little effect and questioned whether it was a bluff for the US Senate. Global Times is the official mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party and represents the country’s official line on issues.

Rex Tillerson, former ExxonMobil CEO and US President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for his ‘Secretary of State’, had told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his confirmation hearing that China would not be allowed to build more islands in the South China Sea and at the same time, would not be allowed access to those islands it has already built.

TILLERSON’S VIEWS SELF-PROCLAIMED

Terming Tillerson’s remarks ‘self-proclaimed’, the editorial wrote that ‘China has enough determination and strength to make sure that his rabble-rousing will not succeed and unless Washington plans to wage a large-scale war in the South China Sea, any other approaches to prevent Chinese access to the islands will be foolish’.

While saying that the US has no absolute power to dominate the South China Sea, the editorial says that the remarks made by Tillerson are the most radical of all the US statements towards China so far.

The editorial expects that Tillerson’s words on South China Sea are aimed at merely securing his confirmation from the US Senate and will not translate into policy priorities of the Donald Trump administration or else ‘the two sides had better prepare for a military clash’.

EDITORIAL MOCKS TILLERSON’S CREDENTIALS

Mocking Tillerson for his credentials, the editorial says probably he just had oil prices and currency rates on his mind as former ExxonMobil CEO when he made those remarks. Bragging of China as being a big nuclear power, the Global Times piece opines that ‘Tillerson had better bone up on nuclear power strategies if he wants to force a big nuclear power to withdraw from its own territories’.

In its initial response yesterday, China had dismissed Tillerson’s claims. Lu Kong had said that what Tillerson said was ‘hypothetical’ while asserting the Chinese supremacy over the South China Sea.

©SantoshChaubey