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

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ALL IN THE NAME OF IDENTITY POLITICS!

While writing this, German city Munich is under siege. A deadly shootout has seen multiple deaths and it is not over yet.

And it has come within 10 days of the truck attack in Nice in France that claimed 84 lives and injured over 300. No bullet was fired yet a self-radicalized ISIS sympathizer killed so many – because he was blinded by an idea.

And it has come within three weeks of the July 1 Dhaka terror strike that left 22 dead.

And it has come almost within three weeks of the Istanbul terror attack on June 28 that killed 45.

And it has come within two weeks of the bloodiest Ramadan ever – the month of peace that terrorists chose to shatter the world piece.

And these are just the few from the latest round of the terror onslaught. Since the advent of the ISIS, the world has seen a renewed form of terrorism that is breaking every mould to chose its methods and is inflicting its damage – in countries as far as Brazil. Yesterday only a news report came that Brazil busted a terror module that was working to target the Rio Olympics that is beginning on August 5.

There have been multiple terror attacks in Asia, Europe, Africa (and America).

On average, some 30000 people are killed every year in terror strikes.

And what lies in base of this madness – is the sheer misuse of a term that has conceptualized and defined (and refined) every breed of politics the world over – ever since we started organizing in different units – and ever since we started realizing that we has an identity – that kept us apart from others.

Identity Politics!

Yes, terrorism is nothing but another political tool that draw its existence from the Identity Politics.

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey

FOR HOW LONG WILL PAKISTAN BE ALLOWED TO WALK AWAY?

Saudi Arabia has arrested 19 people including 12 Pakistanis in the ongoing probe in suicide attacks in three cities of the Kingdom. The three suicide attacks on July 4, which were carried out near the Medina mosque, the second holiest shrine of the Muslims, near the US consulate in Jeddah and near a mosque in the Shia dominated Saudi city Qatif, had killed 7 people and injured many others.

On July 5, Saudi Arabia identified the Jeddah bomber as a Pakistani national who had migrated to the Kingdom 12 years ago. Saudi nationals were found involved in the other two incidents.

Apart from the direct involvement of a Pakistani national, what is important here is the number of people detained in the aftermath – 12 Pakistanis out of the total 19 detained!

Pakistan is yet to response. And Saudi Arabia is not the first country.

Terrorists killed 22 people in an attack on a Dhaka cafe on July 1. The Bangladesh government has blamed Pakistan for the attack. It refused to accept the theory of IS’s claims and said the attack was perpetrated by a home-grown terror outfit which gets active support from Pakistan’s ISI – the notorious intelligence agency that is seen as a terror export organisation in India. In fact, Bangladesh has always blamed Pakistan for promoting terror activities in the country and had expelled some Pakistani diplomats few days ago on the suspicion of being under-cover arms dealers.

On July 7, Iran, which shares border with Pakistan, blamed Pakistan for death of four Iran Border Guards who were killed on July 7 in a terror ambush from across the border in Pakistan. Iran consistently blames Pakistan for being negligent and complicit in allowing its soil to be used by terrorists fomenting unrest in Iran, especially in its border province Sistan-Balouchestan.

Then Afghanistan is another country that always blames Pakistan for terror activities on the Afghani soil – from across the border in Pakistan – be it the attack on the Afghan’s Parliament building in Kabul or countless suicide attacks in Kabul’s diplomatic area and in other parts of Afghanistan. And why not – every terror group active in Afghanistan has got refuge in Pakistan – including the Taliban, the Al Qaeda and the Haqqani Network. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has on record said that “war has been declared against Afghanistan from the Pakistani territory”.

For India, Pakistan is the terror factory that is responsible for every terror activity in Jammu & Kashmir and in other parts of India. The most wanted in India are public figures in Pakistan. Even the world accepts the use of Pakistani soil in launching terror attacks in India – with terror strikes in J&K, in Mumbai, in Delhi, in Pathankot – just to name a few.

Across the Pacific, in the US, one of the worst terrorist attacks post 9/11 – in San Bernardino, California that saw 14 dead – was perpetrated by a Pakistan born couple who reportedly got radicalized under the influence of a Pakistani preacher.

Even Pakistan’s claimed all-weather friend China is not free from this terror taint that emanates from Pakistan. It has been a long held suspicion that terrorists in the China’s Muslim dominated region Xinjiang, that again shares border with Pakistan, find passage and safe haven in Pakistan.

Yet Pakistan behaves as if it is the leader of the Islamic countries of the world – proudly flaunting its ‘Islamic nuclear bomb’ credentials.

The reality that we all in India realise is – Pakistan is a nation that has always used terror as its state policy. Saudi wealth may be the resource behind many terror organizations in the world but it is the Pakistani soil that is harbouring countless terrorists – from Al Qaeda to Taliban to LeT to JeM to Haqqani Network and many other smaller terror outfits.

A FRACTURED NATION – BUT A NATION OF DOUBLESPEAK

Pakistan is a fractured nation. Its political chaos, lost in its military juggernaut has made the country directionless. The perpetual disagreement among its controlling institutions failed to check insurgency in its restive provinces and now it has engulfed the whole country. Its civilian government cannot control it and its all powerful military has other considerations – like promoting “good terror” to destabilise India and running a propaganda machinery to show India as a demon that is out there to devour Pakistan.

Pakistan has created monsters of terrorism that are the threatening the world, including the Islamic countries. Pakistan sheds crocodile tears saying it is the biggest victim of terror and presents the supporting data but it does nothing to crackdown on the many terror groups that use the Pakistani soil to perpetrate terror in other countries – a terror network that has created havens even for many anti-Pakistan terror groups that refuse to bow down – so much so that now unless it is a news of some very big terror strike, the international media doesn’t notice it.

Afghanistan President Mohammad Najibullah had warned Pakistan of Taliban’s grave dangers saying its flames would burn Pakistan. Soon Taliban swept Afghanistan and killed Najibullah in a public display of brutality. Pakistan created Taliban and now Taliban is trying to undo an already chaotic Pakistan. Isn’t it?

FOR HOW LONG THE WORLD WILL ALLOW PAKISTAN TO FOOL EVERYONE!

The United States had agreed to extend for one year the aid to Pakistan to fight terrorism on the condition that it would stop differentiating between good and bad terror. And the country’s most powerful person, the Army chief of Pakistan Raheel Sharif had extended this promise during his US visit. Yet, many big terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar, directly implicated in heinous terror acts in India, are roaming free and are even ‘respectable’ citizens there. We saw the Pakistani government’s attitude that allowed bail to Zaki-ur Rahman Lakhvi, main handler of the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, on technical grounds. This is when the US has put a bounty of US$ 10 million on Hafiz Saeed. This is when Masood Azhar, then lodged in an Indian jail, was ‘exchanged’ in a hijacking incident. Isn’t Pakistan taking Uncle Sam for a ride? Or Uncle Sam is allowing it to happen? And many other countries who support Pakistan?

There is no reason for the world community, for us, to think that the US is not aware of it. But apart from putting a reward and occasional back channel assurances, we don’t see any aggressive posturing by the US. Should we go by the explanation that when the US lawmakers demanded Pakistan to stop differentiating between ‘good and bad terror’, it was meant only in the context of Taliban and the AfPak theatre? Is it for the same reason that no other country, not any NATO nation, or any other nation from any grouping of the world countries question Pakistan for its terror credentials? When Pakistan is a haven for terrorists operating in so many countries, why can’t the world community take a coordinated action to pressurise Pakistan to crackdown on the terror infrastructure present in the country?

Hillary Clinton, the then US Secretary of State, had warned Pakistan sternly on its doublespeak on terrorism. Hillary’s blunt message delivered in Islamabad in October 2011 was: “It’s like that old story. You can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbours. Eventually those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard.” That was some five years ago yet Pakistan has kept a blind eye and is still doing the same, harbouring many snakes while trying to crush only a few.

©SantoshChaubey

WASHING, KISSING FEET OF MUSLIM MIGRANTS: SYMBOLISM OF POPE FRANCIS’S GESTURE

It is one of those rare images that make profound policy statements – yet, will it change anything?

What Pope Francis did today could not have been better than it – and could not have come at a more opportune time than this.

The Pope chose the Holy Thursday rite to convey the message that we all so desperately need – that we all are same – in joy – in pain – that we all are brothers – be it the European residents – or the migrants from Asia and Africa that have created the biggest human crisis in the Europe since the World War II.

When he washed and kissed the feet of refugees, including Muslims, Christians and even Hindus, it was a strong counter-statement to those who are out there to exploit the xenophobic mindsets to score political mileage.

Remember the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany – who exploited the nationalist sentiments of Germans after the loss and humiliation of Germany in the World War I to create his brand of ultra-nationalism that ultimately gave the world the World War II and the Holocaust and millions dead across the continents!

Yes, it is not going to be the World War III – but again, human lives are at stake – and millions of them.

Thousands have been killed in the ongoing war theatres in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria, Libya, Yemen, Lebanon and many other Asian, African and Central American countries.

And the war-torn nation states have left millions of displaced – desperate to find some shelter – desperate to find the next day of their lives.

And the exodus is coming mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

We talk of universal nature and values of the human rights.

We have a world body for it – the United Nations.

We have a global agency dedicated to look after the affairs of the refugees – the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

We have an International Criminal Court – we have an international police organization (Interpol) – and we have many strategic and trade bodies panning across the globe.

That directly tells we all are global citizens with similar rights to live and grow.

Now, when there are domestic war theaters forcing people out of their homes, of their cities, of their countries – isn’t it the responsibility of everyone – including those in Europe – to give them shelter – to give them a place to live – to preserve their right to live and grow?

Yes, these are utopian propositions – but have always been true – and will always be – even if the ground realities are starkly different.

When Pope Francis delivered his message of ‘brotherhood’ by embracing the Muslim refugees, he just did that.

It was a humane attempt to convey the message of seeing the God in everyone, be it a Christian or a Muslim, in the times of war rhetoric and increasing anti-migrant voices in the European establishments after the spate of terror attacks in European nations, especially France and Belgium.

Let’s hope sense prevails – because the millions – displaced from their houses – and trying to pick the thread of their existences in Europe – need it desperately.

RV14378_Articolo

Image Courtesy: Vatican Radio’s Facebook Page (see the video here – https://www.facebook.com/VaticanRadioEnglish)

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHY THE WORLD NEEDS POLICING EVEN MORE

— Two deadly terror strikes in France – office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket store were targeted this January – and multiple coordinated terror strikes in Paris killing over 120 people in the worst terror strike in France and the worst on a major western power after 9/11 – and two more attempted terror strikes were thwarted, a planned attack on a concert and one on an Amsterdam-Paris train – and France is a major world power

— The worst time to fear that the war theatres of terror are expanding to other peace time nations after the lull of 9/11

— Sporadic events in some other European countries – continued dastardly terror strikes in India – pre and post 9/11

— Terrorism deaths in last few years – multiplying rapidly now with emergence of the Islamic State and the outfit’s increasingly global designs

— Terrorism deaths in state-sponsored terrorism – in countries like Pakistan, in many civil war torn African nations and in many tyranny-ridden Middle East countries

— Increasing civil war theaters – with failure of Arab Spring in countries it took place, except Tunisia

— Deaths in civil war theaters – Yemen, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia and many more countries across the globe – the human crisis is at its deafening levels now

— Deaths in ethnic wars/clashes – Christian and Muslim clashes in Nigeria and elsewhere – Shia-Sunni clashes panning countries, symbolized now in the IS

The powers that be must intervene without fail. The geopolitics of domestic concerns is no more a guarantee that terror will not strike you next.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINE!!

The Hindu says ‘Israel is upset with India’s ties with Palestine’.

Deccan Herald says ‘Palestinians are wary of India-Israel bond’.

Well, the two extremes that may or may not echo in India’s domestic politics.

India’s has around 17 crore Muslims and that makes Palestine a sensitive issue, but then we also need to consider this that the ‘Palestinian cause’ doesn’t reflect to that level in our day to day politics to make a domestically sensitive issue, at least at the visible level.

Israel is critical for India’s defence needs and can supply some of the most advanced defence tech, irrespective of what the world community says and is certainly on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radar.

And India tries to do that, at least in dealings at international level, in international politics – for principles – for compulsions. It tries to stem concerns of the Muslim community back home and the larger Arab world, the traditional anti-Israel block.

President Pranab Mukherjee just concluded his historical visit to Palestine and Israel before Narendra Modi’s planned Israel visit later. And though it will be a milestone since any Indian prime minister is visiting Israel for the first time, there are already concerns and debates on the line that whether Narendra Modi would include Palestine in his itinerary.

But none of that reverberates much in our domestic politics. Unless and until something massive happens with Palestine and Israel is the root cause of that, Palestine is not going to be an issue in our routine domestic politics.

Now, whether that is in Modi’s mind or not – we need to wait and watch – for his official itinerary.

So, when I saw this poster during a random excursion trip, in a place inhabited by many media outfits of the country, I felt amused – for obvious reasons.

Palestine Solidarity

It might have been an exercise, placing it there, to catch some eyeballs, something that didn’t work. And anyway, such routine exercises by these so-called outfits didn’t go out of conference halls where the event is held. And we all know why such events are held.

Yes, solidarity with Palestine is a principled stand that India has always taken, and has taken rightly, and the country will find it hard to balance the Israel-Palestine ‘hyphenation’ in the days to come.

But the same is not expected to bring upheavals in our domestic politics and the society it is aimed at.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE 2015 TO TUNISIA’S NATIONAL DIALOGUE QUARTET: A PERFECTLY LOGICAL DECISION

“The National Dialogue Quartet must be given much of the credit for this achievement and for ensuring that the benefits of the Jasmine Revolution have not been lost. Tunisia faces significant political, economic and security challenges. The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes that this year’s prize will contribute towards safeguarding democracy in Tunisia and be an inspiration to all those who seek to promote peace and democracy in the Middle East, North Africa and the rest of the world. More than anything, the prize is intended as an encouragement to the Tunisian people, who despite major challenges have laid the groundwork for a national fraternity which the Committee hopes will serve as an example to be followed by other countries.”

– The Norwegian Noble Committee, October 10, 2015

Now, for the first time, in its recent history, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has chosen a winner that all would agree to – all who watch geopolitical developments and understand the importance of the ‘Tunisian example’ in a world marred by civil wars, dictatorships and terrorism.

And the press release by the Nobel Committee sums it up logically.

The Nobel Peace Prize has had a controversial history when it comes to selecting its winners. The universal perception is, and the stated reason behind ‘deciding the recipient’ is, that it would ‘recruit’ global attention, its local manifestation, more organizations and more people to the cause that the ‘selected’ person(s)/organization(s) is/are associated with.

That is not the underlying reason always and there have been no assessments on ‘links between yearly selections and intended recruitment results’.

The recent spate of controversies began with the unusual ‘Peace Nobel’ decision to award Barack Obama in 2009, for raising hopes with his elevation as the President of the United States of America (with no ‘such’ past to talk about), and continued with the ‘too late’ decision about the European Union in 2012 and the compromise decision with ‘Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yusufzai’ in 2014.

The 2010 decision to recognize Liu Xiaobo was a much needed step but had its global repercussions with China flexing its muscles at every stage, first in trying to derail the decision, and then exercising its power to affect ‘opinionating’ by many countries.

So, in a way, since 2009, the Norwegian Nobel Committee had three ‘controversial decisions’ in five years and the committee chose to play safe by naming Malala Yusufzai, again ‘for raising hopes’ and balancing the decision by adding Kailash Satyarthi, a career activist working for children but certainly not the national, regional or global icon, in 2014.

But 2015’s decision to name the National Dialogue Quartet of Tunisia is really apt, is to the point, and is rightly based on geopolitical developments.

Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution that gave rise to the larger ‘Arab Spring’ movement in many countries in North Africa and the Middle East is the only bright spot if we look back at its journey against authoritarian regimes in different countries.

Libya, Yemen and Syria are badly stuck in civil wars. Libya and Syria didn’t see power transitions after the Arab Spring that could keep the countries well on the way of becoming peaceful democracies. The fight to change the regime in Syria has the biggest terror menace since Al Qaeda to control, the Islamic State that has overran vast parts of Syria and Iraq. In Egypt, first it was Muslim Brotherhood, a shady organization, and now a military ruler. In other countries like Bahrain and Saudi Arab which are absolute monarchies, the mass movements have been effectively crushed.

But not in Tunisia!

Tunisia, a small country with ‘not much’ geopolitical stakes, is globally important because it is the only ‘survivor’ of the Arab Spring, the biggest mass movement in the recent history.

‘Survivor’ because there are forces in authoritarian regimes spread across the world, especially in Muslim monarchies, and terror outfits like the Islamic State, that would do all to destabilize Tunisia to create situations like Libya or Yemen or Syria or Egypt – to create situations that would tell the world that the Arab Spring failed to produce any result even in its birth place.

The transition, from Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s dictatorial regime to democracy now, has been quite a journey for Tunisia. The journey that began in December 2010 and took first step towards reconstruction in January 2011 had an Islamist party government with its proposed ‘controversial constitution’, political assassinations and widespread protest movements.

But thankfully, Tunisia had strong civil society organizations – organizations that formed this National Dialogue Quartet – organizations that represented workers, activists, lawyers and business outfits.

The four civil society organizations in Tunisia that form the National Dialogue Quartet in 2013 – the Tunisian General Labour Union, the Tunisian Human Rights League, the Tunisian Order of Lawyers, and the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts – played pivotal role in convincing Ennahda, the Islamist party in the government, to step down – and in laying down a roadmap for further (and rightful) democratic transition.

As the Norwegian Nobel Committee says, and as we know, a strong democratic tradition in Tunisia would serve as the reminder to others, in other countries, that what they had fought for.

A successful spring in Tunisia, originating from the Jasmine Revolution, would be a tribute to the fighting spirit that had made the Arab Spring a multi-country movement.

And the world has its tasks cut in ensuring that it happens in Tunisia – helping those who are helping to restore peace and strengthen democracy in the country – given the fact that the destabilizing forces are active to perpetrate terror and chaos – with two large scale terror attacks in Tunisia this year that killed scores – and with radical elements trying to recruit more collaborative hands.

The decision by the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the Nobel Peace Prize 2015 to the National Dialogue Quartet of Tunisia should be seen as a logical step towards that.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE MAHATMA WILL ALWAYS REMAIN THE CONSCIENCE OF HUMANITY..

Mahatma Gandhi will always remain great because he was one among us – and he will always remain ‘the one’ among us.

And for that reason – and for that reason alone – October 2 will remain the universal day of humanity – not just in India – but across the world.

And the world is celebrating this spirit – the UN has declared October 2 – the birth anniversary of the Mahatma – as the ‘International Day of Non-Violence’.

The movement was initiated in 2004 and the UN had adopted it in 2007. The UN page on the day says – “The International Day is an occasion to “disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness”. The resolution reaffirms “the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence” and the desire “to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence”.”

Yes, non-violence is the only universal principle that can guide the humankind to an egalitarian world – where each human life has same scalability.

And non-violence is the only guiding principle that can ensure equal distribution of opportunities to each human life.

The Mahatma will always remain great because we know the world, in spite of realizing the ‘inevitability’ of non-violence, has failed to build a ‘humanitarian world’.

History of human civilization is replete with violence – men killing men. The world is still plagued with ‘man-created’ violence in many parts of the world.

The modern day world – with its contemporary times – is best chance for humanity to aspire for a world of ‘universal humanity’ – and that world can only be built by eradicating wars and other forms of terror.

But, in the prevailing geopolitical circumstances, that looks a ‘far-fetched’, hypothetical concept.

Well, when the Mahatma had started practicing non-violence, first in South Africa and then in India, to oppose, and then to uproot the mighty British Empire, people had dismissed him first. Gandhi used to be a subject of mock initially.

And we all know the might of ‘Satyagraha-non-violence’ today.

It was the might of ‘Satyagraha’ only that could ‘successfully’ take on the might of British Empire. We recently witnessed this ‘might’ again – not just in India – but in many parts of the world. The underlying theme of every mass protest in the recent history – the global ‘Occupy’ movement, the Arab Spring, anti-corruption movements of India and Pakistan, universalization of Guy Fawkes masks as the symbol of mass protests – has been the principle of non-violence.

Strengthening democracies and minimizing wars are the basic needs of the day – and non-violence is the basic tenet, the guiding conscience behind every such thought process.

And life the Mahatma is its best manifestation – and a robustly functional Indian democracy is the best tribute to him.

The Mahatma

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

OLEG SENTSOV JAILED: WELL, WE ALL KNOW HOW IT IS..

Vladimir Putin has jailed a promising filmmaker, a Ukrainian, for protesting against his ‘illicit’ annexation of Crimea, a province that was part of Ukraine until last year.

Oleg Sontsov, 39, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for ‘plotting arson attacks/attacks’ on ‘Russian’ interests in Crimea.

Well, we all know how it is.

Sentsov, like many others protesting peacefully, in their own possible ways, amid a growing Russian interference in Crimea, were helping the Ukrainian establishment there.

It is immaterial whether the world knows who is Sentsov. What matters is Putinism has had no dents so far, after Russian started facing financial troubles. Incarceration and prosecution of people like Sentsov or members of Pussy Riot or Alexei Navalny or many others or expulsion of the likes of Mikhail Khodorkovsky – Vladimir Putin has, so far, effectively crushed the pro-democracy and anti-Putin voices.

And he has ruthless in his pursuit.

Russia or the central, focal entity of the erstwhile USSR, has been under firm grip of Vladimir Putin since 2000. And going by the years so far, Putin is not going to leave Russia. He was, first, President for two terms. Then he became the Russian Prime Minister, installing a puppet President, thus wielding the real power.

To perpetuate his grip further, he manipulated the Russian Constitution and returned as President again, with increased number of years to his tenure – ‘his’ tenure because Putinism looks set to rule Russia as long as Vladimir Putin is there.

Russia initially revelled with Putin. After all, he had taken the centre stage of Russian politics after a prolonged political unrest that made the country’s social-economic condition a mess. Putin brought order. Driven by strong supply of ‘oil and gas’ money, Russian thought, Putin pushed the country again to the league of forefront nations.

The source of that spirit started drying up with global economic recession. Falling ‘oil prices’ started straining Russian financial streams that gradually gripped the whole country.

And with it, Putinism started unveiling itself. The ‘liberator’ of the Russian population soon found ‘catalysts’ to shed his ‘revivalist’ tag. And today, Vladimir Putin, is a full-time dictator – strengthening his grip on Russia with each passing year – crushing protests – removing/suppressing voices. And oil prices remained muted all this while – dragging Russia in an economic situation where its ‘heavily energy export’ economy had no alternative plans to cushion itself.

Oil prices are still low, and in fact, are projected to slide down to historically low levels, with China slowing down.

But Putin is as busy in devising ways to scuttle voices back home – as he was always. He tries to buy them. He tries to co-opt them. He intimidates them. He silences them.

Annexing Crimea was an important ploy that diverted Russian population’s attention from growing economic failures of his model – a haphazard mess that failed to work beyond a point. By humiliating Ukraine with snatching Crimea from it, Putin bought some support back home.

But Putinism knows such measures are not long lasting, especially when Russia is facing sanctions again – coupled with already low oil prices.

So, he has to keep his fangs sharp always – employing tools to further his dictatorial rule. Sentencing of activists like Oleg Sentsov are just one from his stable.

And what emboldens him is the fact that Russia may not be a big economy now, but it remains among the few dreaded military powers of the world with a nuclear stockpile that can wipe out the entire world.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

FRIDAY’S TERROR ATTACK IN FRANCE..

A suspected Islamic terrorist beheaded one person in an attack that didn’t happen in some Middle-East or in some crisis-torn African nation. It happened in France. And within six months of the deadly attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 9 in Paris. In an Islamic State orchestrated attack, terrorists had killed almost entire editorial staff of the magazine behind the controversial cartoons of the Prophet. No one has taken responsibility of today’s attack yet but the signs are clear.

Reports say attacker targeted an American gas and chemicals company, Air Products, which has an Iranian-born Shiite CEO, in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier in South-Eastern France. The target says much – an American company with a Shia CEO in an  European country that is also an important ally of the US in ‘coordinated’ aerial attacks on the IS. Yes, the attacker didn’t get the ‘scale of destruction’ right, but if he was trying to send a terror message, he was obviously on the spot.

The perpetrators of the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo are dead but the world doesn’t know about their allies. Also, wife of one of the terrorists, who attacked a Jewish store, reportedly fled France successfully to join the IS.

Also, the French Police say they, so far – had thwarted five terror strikes since the Charlie Hebdo attack.

But they could not thwart this one. The sixth happened today. And it is not about the dead-count, it is about the message.

The Arabic inscriptions on severed head, on beheaded body and on flags tell all and the IS, sooner or later, will take responsibility or will come with a statement glorifying the attack. After all, it’s a propaganda savvy terror outfit with a ‘larger than country Caliphate’ ambition.

With this attack in France (with a beheading) on a day that also saw two big terror attacks by the IS (or its affiliates) in two different continents, Kuwait in Asia and Tunisia in Africa, terrrorsts have tried to send their message once again – through killings and destruction – like the IS does so everyday in its area of control – like it’s propaganda videos of brutal executions show. The attacks were coordinated across three continents on a Friday, around the prayer time, in the holy month of Ramadan.

The war, if we say so, has proved a show of reluctance so far, with limited achievements that have failed to deter the IS. The ‘so-called’ coordinated attacks have been dragging on for months but the IS remains a major force in North and West Iraq and in large parts of Syria. And as long as it remains so, even a status-quo will keep threatening the world with more terror designs.

Today’s were, in three countries, across three continents, certainly one (or some) of them.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/