ECONOMICS NOBEL PRIZE WINNER RICHARD THALER PRAISED PM NARENDRA MODI’S NOTE BAN LAST YEAR

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his stunned compatriots last November that two high denomination bills would no longer be legal tender, Richard Thaler, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics today, said it was “a good start on reducing corruption.”

Thaler’s Twitter account isn’t verified. But it does have a link to his page on the website of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

And when the official announcement of the 2017 Prize in Economic Sciences was made on Twitter, the account @R_Thaler was tagged.

Now, while Richard Thaler appeared to favour the idea of demonetisation, his two-word response to being told that Rs 2,000 notes were being introduced was far less enthusiastic:

“Really? Damn.”

One of Richard Thaler’s colleagues at the Booth School of Business is none other than former RBI chief Raghuram Rajan, who recently indicated that he would have resigned had the demonetisation been thrust upon him.

©SantoshChaubey

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WHAT DEFINES INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: COMMERCIAL INTERESTS OR STRATEGIC CONCERNS?

What matters more in international relations? What shapes the contours of bilateral ties in contemporary times? Certainly trade is an important factor but it is not the most important factor.

It is always about the engagement on strategic levels that defines bilateral relations between countries or the international alliances of groupings of countries, be it US-Israel or US-UK or NATO and other similar ties and alliances. They have been rock solid ties weathering varying seasons with equal fervour because the cornerstone of these relations have been strategic concerns. Historical linkages are an added advantage.

Though NATO has seen some trouble recently with US President Donald Trump raising objections over skewed funding contribution in the world’s most formidable military alliance between countries where the US is the largest contributor, NATO is still sailing smoothly with regular high level US visits to the NATO headquarters at Brussels.

In contrast, trading blocs like WTO, NAFTA, ASEAN, APEC, SCO and so on are basically about commercial engagements and though have increasingly become important in a world globalized by economy, cannot replace the ties built on strategic interests, especially in the times of crisis, like prolonged border standoffs or any aggression inimical to bilateral ties.

Also, when countries are globally important and are slated to become poles in a multi-polar world of future, like India and China are, what is going to define their diplomacy and international politics is how they cultivate their strategic ties.

Because loss of commercial interests can be met with forging other ties and alliances but there is no replacement for a strategic tie that gives a country sense of security or tools to secure its borders and skies.

That is why China doesn’t matter for India in case the ongoing border tension in the Sikkim Sector between two countries escalate to severe levels resulting in localized, limited scale military hostilities (because the two nuclear powered nations cannot afford a full-scale war).

China is basically a country engaged in trade relations with India. Relations have failed to go beyond that. There are no cultural ties and people to people contact. Defence and other strategic elements are non-existent from the table. Coupled it with the non-existent India-China bilateral trade in services. All these factors make India to easily look beyond China when it comes to suspending ties.

The bilateral trade between India and China was around $71 Billion in 2016 with a trade deficit highly skewed in Chinese favour – $47.8 Billion. India basically exports diamonds, cotton, yarn, organic chemicals, iron ore and copper worth $12 Billion (2016). Chinese export to India includes fertilizers, antibiotics, electrical machinery, equipments and organic chemicals and the 2016 worth was $59 Billion.

When we see the items of import and export, especially in the context of the stagnating Chinese economy, it is quite clear that India can easily do away with its miniscule Chinese export. But it will be difficult for China to ignore India, the world’s fastest growing large economy now for many quarters. Add to it India’s projected middle class base of around 450 million people and the country becomes a promising market for any manufacturing hub like China.

The trade deficit with China doesn’t hurt us (and won’t hurt us), at least in the near future, till the country reaches to a stage where unemployment becomes chronic and threatening for the country’s weaving; till the time we have ramped up our infrastructure to be able to make for any future contingency on our manufacturing needs. Till then, it’s like we have outsourced our manufacturing needs to countries like China (and with manufacturing bases in many other countries, we can easily find alternatives).

But China has not this advantage. It is already the manufacturing engine of the world with its majority of population engaged in those small or large factories supplying to the world. They are as dependent on the domestic Chinese consumption as the international demand.

With a slowing down economy, the domestic consumption in China is going to ease and its manufacturing hubs are going to be ever more dependent on big overseas markets and India is a big imperative there. It is important to maintain China’s social fabric with flow of jobs and gains of economy in the society and is going to be must for its behemoth economy that needs global markets to lubricate its tentacles. Just a corollary would suffice to prove the point here. Four Chinese manufactures, Xiaomi, Lenovo, Oppo and Vivo, are in top five of the Indian smartphone market. India can easily find alternative smartphone manufacturers with a strong domestic industry to fill the gaps. But these Chinese manufactures cannot find a market like India that has emerged as the world’s fastest growing smartphone market.

To continue….

©SantoshChaubey

WHY HAMBURG G20 SUMMIT IS GOING TO BE STORMY

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

Apart from the routine anti-capitalist protests that events like World Economic Forum, G20 and G7 Summits see, the G20 Summit at Hamburg is also going to be stormy because of two factors – North Korea and US President Donald Trump.

North Korea’s first ICBM test that was surprising successful, giving it the capacity to launch nuclear powered missile on the American mainland, has left the major world powers divided. A Russia-China joint statement was soft when it put the onus of North Korea’s missile launch on annual US-South Korea military drills in the region and deployment of the US anti-ballistic missile defence system THAAD in South Korea.

Trump who had said earlier he would not allow North Korea to have an ICBM, has reacted strongly saying US is drawing plans for its “pretty severe” response. The US, with South Korea, held military drill in response to North Korea’s ICBM and the US allies held an emergency UN Security Council meeting where US’ UN Ambassador Nikki Haley asserted that the US could use “considerable military forces” if situation demanded.

The G20 Summit leaders are meeting in Hamburg against this backdrop where Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, all primary stakeholders in the North Korean crisis, will see face to face each other and the issue will certainly dominate the talks.

The other big issue is climate change that is expected further eclipse the traditional G20 agenda, which is essentially financial and economic in nature and aims to bring social change through implementation of economic policies, i.e., achieving balanced economic growth for a resilient global financial system to take on issues like social empowerment, healthcare, corruption, employment, climate, infrastructure, along with the recent addition of combating terror financing and spread of digital technology.

The 43rd G7 Summit held in Italy on May 26-27 had seen fireworks when the group of the world’s most industrialize nations, i.e., US, UK, Germany, Canada, Japan, France and Italy, had become a virtual 6+1 with Donald Trump pitted against its other six members on his non-committal stand on climate change and the global Paris Climate Accord of 2015 that aims to cut down carbon emission levels to handle global warming.

The final G7 Communiqué after the Summit put the blame squarely on Trump with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying bluntly that Trump had already made up his mind to withdraw from the Paris Accord. And within a week, Trump, a harsh critic of the Paris Accord who used to term global warming a hoax during the campaign days, pulled the US out of global deal on June 1 for which he got global condemnation with countries rallying in favour of and reiterating their commitment to the Paris Accord.

The Presidency of G20, the group of the world’s 19 largest economies and the European Union, keeps on rotating and is currently with Germany which is hosting the 12th G20 Summit of the heads of states and governments in Hamburg. The G20 convention says the agenda of any G20 Summit is laid by the host country and discussions follow the theme accordingly.

And since Angela Merkel has made it clear that climate change discussions will be central to the Hamburg G20 Summit, it will be interesting to see how Trump and the American delegation manage the appearance of their isolationist instance here.

©SantoshChaubey

WHY DONALD TRUMP IS TAKING ON US JUDICIARY

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

US President is disgusted and he letting the world known the root-cause of his anger, the US Judiciary, that has stayed the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban order on people from seven Muslim countries, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan for 90 days. His order also suspended the US refugee programme for 120 days and put an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.

Trump said he was doing so to prevent entry of terrorists in the US but it seems no one is buying that.

First, the New York District Judge on January 28 had partially stayed Trump’s executive order barring deportations already arrived on the US soil with a valid visa. Then on January 3, the Seattle District Judge, though temporary, put a complete, nationwide stay on the executive order.

How desperate is the Trump administration about its travel ban plans becomes evident from the fact that the US Justice Department approached the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals late in the night, after midnight, against the Seattle District Judge order. But even that court refused to grant Trump administration any immediate respite till the next hearing that is scheduled for today.

Meanwhile, protests again Trump’s executive order spreading nationwide and in many other countries and the number of protesters is swelling, including the corporate America, information-technology companies and some Republican senators like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and more importantly Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader of the US Senate, who said that in case of an adverse court ruling, the Congress would not help Trump with his travel ban plans.

It has left Trump fuming and he has chosen his favourite platform Twitter to let the world know his anger and he began his onslaught with a ‘MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!’ tweet on February 4 that followed five more tweets on the issue on February 5 and two on February 6. He has continued with his agenda and today tweeted to say that ‘courts must act fast’ on his travel ban order and the day is not over yet. Also, Trump added today that he was ready to go to the Supreme Court to get his travel ban order implemented.

THE HIDDEN AGENDA?

According to a Washington Post report, the Trump administration has inherited 103 judicial vacancies in the federal and district courts from the Obama administration. It is almost double to what Barack Obama had got, 54 vacancies to fill judges of his choice.

What Barack Obama had inherited from his predecessor George Bush was a Republic legacy with majority of Republican nominated judges in 10 of 13 circuit courts as per a USA Today report. It took Barack Obama eight years to replace the Republican choices with Democratic nominees but his progress was halted midway in 2015 when the Republicans took the US Senate control. The Obama administration blamed the Senate Republicans for deliberately obstructing the process.

Nominating judges in the US courts has always been the prerogative of the US President and his party and so being majority of Democrat nominees or Republican nominees is a natural things and we should not look beyond that.

But the perception about Donald Trump changes that normal. The Washington Post report writes that ‘Trump has vowed to choose ideologues in the mold of the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon — a prospect that has activists on the right giddy’. Antonin Scalia, a Ronald Reagan appointee to the US Supreme Court, was seen as a legal luminary but with a conservative mindset who vocally opposed gay rights and abortion.

Scalia’s death last year had given Obama an opportunity to tilt the 5-4 conservative majority in the US Supreme Court in favour of a 5-4 liberal majority but the Senate Republicans didn’t allow Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland.

And it seems Trump has started giving shape to his plans to reshape the US judiciary. On January 31, Trump nominated appellate judge Neil Gorsuch to fill Scalia’s vacancy. If confirmed, Gorsuch will again tilt the 5-4 majority in favour of the conservatives.

TRAVEL BAN A CHANCE?

The way Trump is criticising the US Judiciary on putting a stay on his travel ban executive order, it seems it can be the beginning of the process to rapidly fill the US Judiciary with more conservative judges who are likely to have a favourable view of Trump’s administration conservative policies like travel ban or stopping funds to the NGOs working for abortion.

Trump thinks the present US Judicial System is like ‘that of a third-world country’ and rigged, a CNN report says, “Folks, we’re living in a third-world country. This has never happened before. This is the lowest point in terms of our judicial system. This is the lowest point in the history of our country. Remember that. And when I talk about a rigged system, let’s see what happens. Let’s see what happens.”

His tweets say it all, his disdain for the US Judiciary. He finds the judges’ decision to put a stay on his executive order ridiculous. He is blaming them to make the US unsafe by allowing terrorists and dangerous people to pour in. It is as if denouncing all the systems that existed in the US before Trump who want to change it all. Probably, this is his way to initiate ‘making America great again’!

And a more ‘likeminded and amenable judiciary’ can be a great help here, especially when the US under Trump is going to see a flurry of lawsuits against Trump’s decisions that his rivals see as controversial. That is bound to happen as Trump’s victory has bitterly divided America and he took oath with historically low approval ratings amid nationwide protests.

Barring few, Republicans who control both Houses of the US Congress, have backed Trump’s travel ban and judges’ adverse views on it may propel them to have more likeminded, conservative judges in the judicial circuits. True that will take some time but then Trump is ready to move to the Supreme Court and he may expect a respite there with a 5-4 conservative majority once Neil Gorsuch is approved.

©SantoshChaubey

TRUMP VS JUDICIARY

US President is disgusted and he letting the world known the root-cause of his anger, the US Judiciary, that has stayed the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban order on people from seven Muslim countries, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan for 90 days. His order also suspended the US refugee programme for 120 days and put an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.

Trump said he was doing so to prevent entry of terrorists in the US but it seems no one is buying that.

First, the New York District Judge on January 28 had partially stayed Trump’s executive order barring deportations already arrived on the US soil with a valid visa. Then on January 3, the Seattle District Judge, though temporary, put a complete, nationwide stay on the executive order.

How desperate is the Trump administration about its travel ban plans becomes evident from the fact that the US Justice Department approached the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals late in the night, after midnight, against the Seattle District Judge order. But even that court refused to grant Trump administration any immediate respite.

So, now the law will take its own course. Both sides will be asked to present their sides and then the court will arrive at a decision, a decision, that again, can be challenged in higher courts. Meanwhile, protests again Trump’s executive order spreading nationwide and in many other countries and the number of protesters is swelling, including the corporate America and the Republican senators like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and more importantly Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader of the US Senate, who said that in case of an adverse court ruling, the Congress would not help Trump with his travel ban plans.

It has left Trump fuming and he has chosen his favourite platform Twitter to let the world know his anger and he began his onslaught with a ‘MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!’ tweet on February 4 that followed five more tweets on the issue the next day and two more today and the day is not over yet.

‏@realDonaldTrump
I have instructed Homeland Security to check people coming into our country VERY CAREFULLY. The courts are making the job very difficult!
2:12 AM – 6 Feb 2017

‏@realDonaldTrump
Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!
2:09 AM – 6 Feb 2017

‏@realDonaldTrump
The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!
6:18 AM – 5 Feb 2017

‏@realDonaldTrump
What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?
2:14 AM – 5 Feb 2017

‏@realDonaldTrump
Why aren’t the lawyers looking at and using the Federal Court decision in Boston, which is at conflict with ridiculous lift ban decision?
5:07 AM – 5 Feb 2017

‏@realDonaldTrump
Because the ban was lifted by a judge, many very bad and dangerous people may be pouring into our country. A terrible decision
3:14 AM – 5 Feb 2017

‏@realDonaldTrump
What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?
2:14 AM – 5 Feb 2017

‏@realDonaldTrump
MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
7:56 PM – 4 Feb 2017

His tweets say it all, his disdain for the US Judiciary. He finds the judges’ decision to put a stay on his executive order ridiculous. He is blaming them to make the US unsafe by allowing terrorists and dangerous people to pour in. It is as if denouncing all the systems that existed in the US before Trump who want to change it all.  Probably, this is his way to initiate ‘making America great again’!

©SantoshChaubey

#THETRUMPDUMP FEB 4, 2017: TRAVEL BAN BOOMERANGS

THE TRUMP DUMP

45th US President Donald Trump has begun on a wrong note now we can safely say that. And it seems his days ahead in the White House are going to be quite tumultuous for the US policymaking apparatus.

His predecessor Barack Obama had his fare share of controversies but he was widely loved and appreciated and now he looks a taller figure than he was before January 20, the day Donald Trump officially took over the US Presidency.

Much before the campaigning for this round of US Presidential Polls began, Donald Trump had established himself as some sort of ‘sworn enemy’ of Barack Obama with many controversies to his credit including the ‘birthir’ row that questioned Barack Obama’s US birth credentials.

Hillary Clinton was his rival candidate but his campaign also themed around Barack Obama with a high pitched anti-Obama rhetoric being an integral part of it.

In his typical Trump manners, Trump never felt shy in expressing his mind how he intended to undo most of the policies and initiatives taken by Barack Obama – be it Obamacare (US public healthcare policy under Obama) or Obama’s diplomatic initiatives or Obama tax policies or Obama’s refugee preferences or Obama’s stand on immigrants.

And on January 20, he began with a loud thud. So, all of Obama’s initiatives are going to see tough times, and with that, the systems in the US – with their checks and balances. Going by the US Presidential history, it’s been a long time since the last time when these checks and balances had a chance to prove their mettle.

And they proved their mettle. We all know what happened with Richard Nixon. Hope history will repeat itself. And signs look encouraging.

Like what is happening with the so-called travel ban imposed by Donald Trump that has been suspended by US courts!

Trump administration has issued a travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim nations – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen – on the pretext of making the US homeland safer – when these countries form the maximum count of refugees in urgent need of humanitarian help – when there is no evidence that people from these countries have carried out any terror activity on the US soil.

So it is an outrageous decision. And people are rightly outraged at it, holding protests, marches, demonstrations, filing lawsuits. And the system is also responding to it. A judge had earlier barred deportation of people under this order and today another judge put a nationwide temporary stay on Trump’s bizarre diktat forcing the US State Department to revoke its cancellation of visas or restraining the Homeland Security Department to inflict harassing measures on innocent people.

And it seems just the beginning and ‘The Trump Dump’ is expected to swell in the days to come.

©SantoshChaubey

NEW ‘RUBRIC’ OF GEOPOLITICS IN A DONALD TRUMP WORLD

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

Geopolitics has always been shaped by few global powers, especially the US so far, even if it has been an increasingly multi-polar world.

But with the recent developments that have revolved around inward looking protectionist and autocratic powers taking central position not just back homes but in the overall flow of geopolitics, the world order is increasingly going to be shaped by four countries and an event, Russia, the US, Britain leaving the European Union (EU) or Brexit and China, the new RUBRIC that will shape the flow of geopolitics in the days to come. RUBRIC with changed evaluations and definitions that would try to outsmart the existing ethos in order to impose their own.

And the rules of this new RUBRIC will be written by their leaders, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the US’ Donald Trump, Britain’s Theresa May and China’s Xi Jinping, with new equations emerging after Donald Trump has taken over the world’s most prosperous and powerful nation.

WHY THEY MATTER

The US still wields enormous military power and if we say it remains unchallenged, especially after the demise of the Soviet Union or the USSR, it will not be exaggerating it. The US is also the world’s largest single nation economy and will remain so with its clout to greatly affect the trade blocks and negotiations.

Though the USSR is no longer there, it left behind a stockpile of nuclear arsenal that makes Russia a strong regional power that exercises considerable influence in Europe and Asia, even if it has had a volatile economy. Add to it the vast energy reserves Russia has that serves as Europe’s lifeline.

China is the world’s second largest economy and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world and is in a position to dictate trade terms with global power centres even if it derided for its one party autocratic system and poor human rights. In terms of purchasing power parity, China is already the world’s largest economy and is a growing military power with increasing clout in space, air, navy and on ground.

Britain, once the reigning colonial superpower of the world with economic and military might, has reduced to being just a small country with no influence to affect the geopolitical matters. Yes, but it remains a symbolic superpower of values that define the existing free democratic world order – free men, free markets and a freer world. And the country is still an economic superpower. Its GDP at 2.29 Trillion USD was at par with India’s GDP of 2.3 Trillion USD in 2016.

TRUMP IN THE WHITE HOUSE IS SETTING THINGS IN MOTION

China has a production model back home that is antithesis of the values that the US and major economies of the free democratic world cherish and promote but nothing stops them or the big transnational corporations from engaging with China. China has absolute protectionism and labour laws heavily tilted in the favour of businesses.

With the new US President Donald Trump’s inward looking and protectionist views that aim to seclude the US economy in domestic shackles, the Asian economic giant is trying to take a global leadership position with Xi Jinping already saying that China is ready to fill the void created by the US.

The US under Donald Trump has effectively dumped the biggest global trade deal proposed, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), including 12 Pacific rim countries that already regulate the world’s 40% economic output. China would sure be happy to milk the opportunity that many including Barack Obama, the former US President, tried hard to grab and now believe that going away from it will be suicidal for America’s global dominance.

Trump’s next target is NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and no one knows what comes next. No one knows where he will stop in the name of preventing jobs and businesses from going out of the US and paying back to the countries who he believes have sucked the US wealth. Signs don’t look good. He is threatening businesses with counterproductive measures.

Military and nuclear confrontation with China already looks on the table. Trump has ratcheted up nuclear and military expansion rhetoric quoting Russia and China but while he has always been soft on Putin, hoping for ‘good deals with Russia’, he has never given such indications for Xi Jinping or China. Trump believes that ‘One China’ policy can be negotiated while China considers it blasphemous. Trump calls the Taiwanese leader breaking decades old US tradition and says it is not a big deal. The South China Sea dispute where it’s defiance is directly pitted against the whole world community is another in the series.

Russia is a big military power and big economy of its region of influence in Europe and Asia with an autocratic president in Vladimir Putin who believes in the unbridled run of power, military expansionism and has increasingly displayed a tendency to interfere in the theatres of conflicts like he is doing in Syria. And as Putin is sitting comfortably at home, crushing all the dissent, if he goes about pursuing his global designs, it will be a development that was just about to happen. The erstwhile USSR was one pole of the once bipolar world and Putin has not forgotten that.

And Trump, it looks like, is giving him a chance. He has indicated that he will lift sanctions imposed on Russia after Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. The US, so far, led in Syria peace talks but now, it is being led by Russia and Turkey with the latest round of talks between Syrian rebels and government representatives in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital. And experts believe this may be the beginning of the process that can effectively see the US dominance, first in the Middle East and then elsewhere, diminished to a great scale, thanks to the Trump’s policies that aim to make America an island nation, away from geopolitical tumults and thus stakes, away from the values that the US has globally promoted so far, democracy, free markets and human rights.

Britain is also picking signals from Donald Trump, emboldened by his anti-EU tirade. Trump says ‘Brexit will be a great development for the UK’.

Many in Britain fought hard and championed to create the world’s largest economy as a single trading block and single, border-free zone of countries in the form of the European Union (EU) – inspiring the world to create such free zones for men or economies to flow freely. But that is not the case anymore. Britain is leaving the EU, after a bitter referendum, or Brexit, that divided the country. Brexit will make US the world’s largest economic region again. Britain’s new leader Theresa May has said that the legal process for Brexit has already begun and she is looking forward to meet the staunch EU critic and therefore her big admirer Donald Trump this Friday to negotiate trade deals, like she has done with other countries including India. Trump has also predicted, in his inimitable style, that more countries will follow Britain in leaving the EU.

So, the next few months are going to be very volatile and challenging for the existing world order and geopolitical equations. RUBRIC have set things in motion. What happens only future can tell but the flow of geopolitics is going to be dependent on the movements of these four nations and their leaders.

©SantoshChaubey

RUBRICHUS WITH PUMAXIT: BLOCK THAT IS GOING TO SHAPE GEOPOLITICS

Geopolitics is always shaped by few global powers, especially the US so far, even if it has been an increasingly multi-polar world.

But with the recent developments that have revolved around inward looking protectionist and autocratic powers taking central position not just at their homes but in the overall flow of geopolitics, the world order is increasingly going to be shaped by a block of four countries – RUBRICHUS (Russia-Britain-China-US) with their leaders – PUMAXIT (Vladimir Putin-Theresa May-Xi Jinping-Donald Trump).

The US still wields enormous military power. Russia and China are big military powers in their region.

The US is also the world’s largest economy and will remain so with its clout to greatly affect the trade blocks and negotiations.

But then autocratic China is also there with its economic might and a production model back home that is antithesis of the values that the US and major economies of the free democratic world promote.

There is absolute protectionism and labour laws heavily tilted in the favour of businesses. And with that model, China has become the world’s second largest economy. Further, with the new US President Donald Trump’s inward looking and protectionist views that aim to seclude the US economy in domestic shackles, the Asian economic giant is trying to take a global leadership position with its president Xi Jinping saying that China is ready to fill the space vacated by the US.

The US under Donald Trump has effectively dumped the biggest global trade dead proposed – Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with a potential to regulate 40% of the world’s trade. Trump’s next target is NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) and no one knows what comes next. No one knows where he will stop in the name of preventing jobs and businesses going out of the US. But signs are not good. He is threatening businesses with counterproductive measures

Russia is a big military power and big economy of its region of influence in Europe and Asia with an autocratic president in Vladimir Putin who believes in the unbridled run of power, military expansionism and has increasingly displayed a tendency to interfere in the theatres of conflicts like it is doing in Syria. And as Putin is sitting comfortably at home, crushing all the dissent, if he goes about pursuing his global designs, it will be a development that was about to happen. The erstwhile USSR was one pole of the once bipolar world and Putin has not forgotten that.

Britain, once the reigning colonial superpower of the world with economic and military might, has reduced to being just a small country with no influence to affect the geopolitical matters. Yes, but it remains a symbolic superpower of values that define the existing free democratic world order – free men, free markets and a freer world.

Many in Britain fought hard and championed to create the world’s largest economy and single, border-free zone of countries in the European Union (EU) – inspiring the world to create such free zones for men and economies to flow freely. But that is not the case anymore. Britain, under its new leader Theresa May, in a bitterly fought referendum that divided the country, has said that it will exit from the EU and the legal process has already begun.

What happens to RUBRICHUS and PUMAXIT, only future can tell but the flow of geopolitics is going to be dependent on their movements.

©SantoshChaubey

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 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!

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©SantoshChaubey

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