EMMANUEL MACRON, THE UNORTHODOX POLITICIAN, WHO CAN BECOME THE YOUNGEST PRESIDENT OF FRANCE

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

If elected, at 39, Emmanuel Macron would be the youngest president in the French electoral history. Before it, Napoleon Bonaparte’s 40-year old nephew Louis Bonaparte was elected in 1848. France is holding its second and final run-off round of presidential election today. By tomorrow, the outcome will become clear on who has won the polls though it will be officially declared on May 11. According to pre-poll projections, he is set to win the election with all the surveys giving him a lead of 20-23 per cent over his rival Marine Le Pen.

Macron, whose rise in French politics is described as meteoric, sounds like an unusual politician who holds his ground for what he believes in. He is unabashedly pro-European Union and pro-free immigration. He is a staunch believer in globalization and advocates for common Eurozone budget. He has apologised for the French colonial legacy, especially in Algeria, likening it to “crime against humanity” and believes in integration and assimilation of Muslims to tackle the rising spectre of Islamist fundamentalism, and therefore terrorism, in France.

He has not taken a comfortable middle way to skirt his views by using diplomatic words, especially after the rise of Marine Le Pen, her rival from the Front National (FN) with a far-right ideology, who has risen to become an important pillar in the French politics exploiting people’s scepticism and fear against the EU, globalization, immigration and linking terrorism and Islamism after spate of terror strikes in France that has killed over 200 in last two years. Le Pen sees globalization and Islamism as two major threats for France while Macron quotes in his speeches the disorder that Brexit has brought to Britain and Donald Trump’s election to America, attacking the far-right ideology directly, two events that Le Pen finds capable of creating a new world. Le Pen promises taking France out of the EU while Macron talks about France’s greater integration in the EU.

The incumbent French president Francois Hollande from the centre-left Socialist Party (PS) brought Macron in politics. Macron was member of the Socialist Party from 2006 to 2009. In 2009, he became an independent politician. In 2012 when Hollande became the president and the Socialist Party got majority in the National Assembly, he became member of Hollande’s personal staff. In August 2014, he was appointed a minister to oversee economy, industry and digital affairs in prime minister Manuel Valls government.

He was going strong and was seen as the political protégé of Hollande with a prime career ahead. But no one had expected that it would come so soon. In an orthodox move, he left his political office in April 2016, his formed En March! (EM), that he called a political movement that translates to ‘on the move’. His supporters liken the event with ‘birth’ when Macron had announced to form the EM. In August 2016, Macron resigned from the Valls government to take a plunge in the presidential elections.

And within eight months, he has become the presidential candidate with highest ratings who looks poised to win the election when the results are finally announced. Macron emerged with the largest vote share in the first round of the French presidential polls held on April 23, according to the pre poll projections.

Macron won the first round with a narrow margin. He secured 23.8 per cent votes while his rival, Marine Le Pen of came a close second with 21.5 per cent votes. The polls go to the second and run-off round when no candidate is able to secure 50 per cent of the votes in the first round, something that has never happened.

Macron has also won the televised debated between him and Marine Le Pen, held on May 3, comfortably, with 63% viewers finding him more convincing. And for the final rounds, all pre-poll surveys have given him a 60-40 lead over Le Pen. Some surveys have reported even higher a gap.

His campaign’s emails and documents were hacked on Friday and were leaked online, hours before the campaigning ended. But it is not expected to affect the final outcome as there was literally no time to use it as election propaganda material. Also the election commission in France has issued stern warning to disseminate it further.

Like his political decisions, he has taken an unconventional approach even to his personal life. He is married to his teacher, Brigitte Trogneux, who is 24 years older than him. When they began courtship, she was married and was a mother of three. She left her husband and married Macron in 2007.

Born to doctor parents, Macron is a philosophy and public affairs graduate. He is an alumnus of the prestigious National School of Administration which has given three French presidents including Hollande. He was in the French Civil Services from 2004 to 2008 when he left his government career to join Rothschild as an investment banker that made him a millionaire.

He has been able to present himself as a youthful source of energy with fresh perspectives in the ongoing political discourse in the country. And the rewards, so far, have been quick and stunning. And now there are very real chances that we are going to see the next French president in him when the results are announced on May 11 after the final round of the French presidential election today.

©SantoshChaubey

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WHY THIS FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IS HISTORIC

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

In an election, where the two mainstream French political parties, the centre-left Socialist Party (PS), with its government in Paris under French president Francois Hollande, and the centre-right Republicans (LR), have failed to reach the final round of the presidential polls, history will be written on May 7 when France will vote to choose between two top candidates from the first round of elections held on April 23.

Emmanuel Macron won the first round with a narrow margin. He secured 23.8 per cent votes while his rival, Marine Le Pen of the far-right Front National (FN) party, came a close second with 21.5 per cent votes. The polls go to the second and run-off round when no candidate is able to secure 50 per cent of the votes in the first round, something that has never happened.

France that is known for its liberal values, politics and social life, will either have its youngest president in Emmanuel Macron who is 39 and who formed his political party, En Marche (EM), that translates to ‘on the move’, just a year ago. In fact, according to an analysis by The Economist, it would be the first time in the history of the major western economies, i.e., United States, Germany, Britain and France, that a leader younger than the median age of the country has been elected, if Macron, indeed, emerges as the winner. Macron is two years younger than the median  age in France.

Or France will have a far-right candidate in Marine Le Pen, 48, in the Elysee Palace, the official residence of the French president, who will take France out of the European Union and who has vowed to upturn the liberal credentials of France by adopting tough anti-globalization, anti-immigration, anti-Euro measures and anti-Islamism measures.

She, in fact, sees globalization and Islamism as major threats against France. She finds the two helping each other and conspiring to bring France down. Her election manifesto has promised to curb immigration, even the legal one, and says the citizenship can only be “inherited or merited”. She keeps the Brexit in the hallowed halls of the fall of the Berlin Wall. She also describes Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election as an importation building block toward making a new world.

For the moment, Macron looks set to win the election on May 7. He has won the televised debated between him and Marine Le Pen, held on May 3, comfortably, with 63% viewers finding him more convincing. And for the final rounds, all pre-poll surveys have given him a 60-40 lead over Le Pen.

©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

TRUMP EFFECT: US NAVY LOOKING FOR BIGGEST EXPANSION SINCE THE COLD WAR DAYS

According to an Associated Press report, the US Navy, emboldened by the remarks made by Donald Trump, the US President Elect, has revised its expansion plans to make it the biggest such exercise since the Cold War days.

Trump has advocated to build new fleets to address the potential threats from Russia, with a more powerful than ever Russian President Vladimir Putin and from China, with Xi Jingping emerging as the most powerful Chinese President since the days of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Both of these leaders have successfully exploited nationalist segments in their respective countries to build their credentials as strong nationalist leaders and they base their foreign policies on the contours of their images cultivated back home.

The AP report says that ’emboldened by the promise, the US Navy has revised upward the number of ships it needs to 355, more than the number used by Trump during his election campaign’.

“The proposal calls for adding another aircraft carrier, 16 large surface warships and 18 more nuclear-powered attack submarines, among other ships”, the report says. Though there are questions being raised on funding this expansion that is expected to cost additional $5 billion to $5.5 billion annually, with backing from the US President, it should not be a problem.

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 nations of the world, especially the US and Russia. The world cannot easily forget this ominous tweet by Donald Trump post his victory in the US presidential polls.

‏@realDonaldTrump: The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes
trumpdec22tweet

On the same day, Russian President Vladimir Putin thumped his chest about the Russian advances in Syria and Ukraine and proclaimed that Russia needed more and advanced nuclear weapons.

©SantoshChaubey

ARAB SPRING 2.0? KEY FINDINGS OF ADR 2016. UNEMPLOYMENT.

UNEMPLOYMENT
Most recent statistics indicate that two-thirds of the Arab region’s population is below thirty years of age, half of which falling within the 15 – 29-year age bracket.

The youth unemployment rate is the highest in the world, reaching almost 30 percent, even though five years have passed since the widespread protests demanding a dignified life.

Young people between the ages of fifteen and 29 make up nearly a third of the regThe youth unemployment rate is the highest in the world, reaching almost 30 percent, even though five years have passed since the widespread protests demanding a dignified life.ion’s population, another third are below the age of fifteen.

Their numbers exceed 105 million, equivalent to one third of the population. This is the highest share in the history of the region.

In 2014, unemployment among youth in the Arab region exceeded twice the global average – the situation is expected to worsen by 2019.

The most important challenges that they feel they face – 75.77% said it was the prevailing Economic situation (poverty, unemployment, price increase).

Corruption was a distant second with 14.78% going with it – but together they are over 90% (90.55%) – that means a lot and that tells why there is chronic unemployment rate and why the youth is forced to protest.

Unemployment rate among the young female population is 47%. The global average is 16%. Unemployment rate among the young male population female is 24%. The global average is 13%.

In 2014, unemployment among youth in the Arab region exceeded twice the global average – the situation is expected to worsen by 2019.

By 2020, the Arab region needs to create 60 million new jobs to cater to the rising number the young, working age population.

Young people are coming of age in a context of widening income disparities, increasing inequality of opportunity, slowing average growth and shrinking job opportunities. These problems are weakening their commitment to preserving government institutions and their desire to participate in a political world that does not meet their needs or their expectations.

From:
Arab Human Development Report 2016
Youth and the Prospects for Human Development in a Changing Reality

DONALD TRUMP DOES THE UNTHINKABLE, BREAKS FROM TRADITION, SPEAKS WITH TAIWANESE PRESIDENT

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

According to the news reports rapidly flooding the global media, the US President-elect Donald Trump has spoken with the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen over the telephone on Friday.

It is a departure of mammoth proportion from the established practice where it is believed that no US President or President-elect has ever spoken to a Taiwanese President ever since the US severed its diplomatic ties with the island nation in 1979.

China is bound to be furious over it as it considers Taiwan a part of its ‘One China’ vision and doesn’t take any move lightly that questions its right over the patches of territories it claims.

The world sees how China angrily reacts on Dalai Lama’s global outreach efforts for Tibet or when it issues stapled visa to Arunachal Pradesh residents in India as it considers Arunachal its own territory.

The Financial Times which first reported about the call wrote, “Although it is not clear if the Trump transition team intended the conversation to signal a broader change in US policy towards Taiwan, the call is likely to infuriate Beijing which regards the island as a renegade province.”

But in geopolitics, nothing is seen as by chance, as the Financial Times report further says, quoting Evan Medeiros, former Asia Director, White House National Security Council that ‘the Chinese leadership will see this as a highly provocative action, of historic proportions’.

According to a report in the New York Times, the White House was informed about the call only after it had happened. The report further says, quoting an Obama administration official that in past China had reacted bitterly on US arms sales to Taiwan.

Let us wait and see how China reacts this time.

©SantoshChaubey

WHAT DONALD TRUMP’S FIRST TWEETS SINCE NOV 9 TELL US!

Since November 9, when Republican Donald Trump started tweeting (@realDonaldTrump) again after his landslide (and stunning) victory in the US Presidential polls defeating the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with a wide margin of the electoral college vote (even if Hillary Clinton emerged as the winner of the popular vote), he has tweeted 14 times.

And if we see into these tweets – they tell us how the next phase is going to be in the life of the US President Elect Donald Trump – till January 20 next year when Donald Trump will be sworn in.

And it doesn’t look good.

His first and second tweets (since November 9) were normal – saying ‘happy 241st birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps!’ and – and how his first meeting with Obamas was fantastic.

But his third and fourth tweets were aimed at media and the protests raging against him.

In one tweet, he says them professional protesters and blames media of inciting them. And he doesn’t look to do some course correction in the next tweet when he refers to them as a ‘small group of protesters’. Yes, he says that they (the protesters) have passion for their great country and they (including Trump) will come together but he clearly tries to show them as marginal players while we all know the protesters are not just a ‘small group’. Spontaneous anti-Trump protests have broken out in many US states and even in other countries.

His fifth and sixth tweet since November 9 (November 10 is a no tweet day) are again normal business like – about his team in the government and expressing gratitude on the Veterans Day.

His only tweet on November 12 is again aimed at normalizing an abnormal situation – a divided US society – saying ‘we will unite and we will win, win, win!’ That attitude is a must for him and he needs to practice it honestly if he, indeed, has to see a united America – because the truth is – his election has bitterly divided the US.

And today it looks like about visiting the old foes (and old values again).

Three of his seven tweets today (so far) are about NY Times – that how the publication ‘is losing thousands of subscribers because of its very poor and highly inaccurate coverage of the “Trump phenomena”- that ‘NY Times sent a letter to their subscribers apologizing for their BAD coverage of me. I wonder if it will change – doubt it?’ – and that ‘NY Times states today that DJT believes “more countries should acquire nuclear weapons.” How dishonest are they. I never said this!’

These three tweets and the earlier one blaming media for inciting anti-Trump protests show we should rule out a near future thaw – given the way Trump’s campaign has been – he didn’t believe in climate crisis; he believed in racial domination; he despised immigrants; he liked dictators like Vladimir Putin; he spoke against Muslims; he promoted populism at the cost of logic like his liberal nuclear doctrine or his anti-outsourcing rant and many more – all ingredients to make any media anti-Trump if Trump doesn’t work to change that.

The signals so far have been mixed.

Though before this hour, he had not said anything outrageous after winning the polls – like he used to do every other day during the campaign phase – and has indicated a ‘softened’ approach to Obamacare, something that he had said he would disband – he just sounded absurd again when he said in an interview that he would soon ‘deport 3 million immigrants’ and the US-Mexican border will be ‘partly fenced’.

These tweets indicate, together with his policy decisions like these, tell us that the days ahead are going to be tumultuous in the US.

If Trump would continue with his absurd but populist ultra-nationalist agenda of expelling immigrants (and fencing borders and so on), he will rightly be questioned by media and it will certainly propel the anti-Trump protesters who are quite a sizeable chunk (and are growing) to do more against the Republican President.

His other four tweets of the day are about thanking people and announcing his upcoming TV interaction.

©SantoshChaubey

WOULD THIS BE A DIFFERENT AMERICA? LET’S SEE.

Hillary Clinton just said that the US is more divided than they previously had thought. Well, she just lost the poll of her life because, in all probability, she is not going to stand in the presidential race again. She has had close calls – first in 2008 and now, in 2016. Then it was Barack Obama – a highly competent person who mesmerized not only America but the whole world.

Now it is Donald Trump – whom not only most in America but even most in the world were writing off.

So it hurts.

But like has been the US tradition, like Trump was graceful in his victory speech (even if we cannot give him any benefit of doubt because he was not ‘fully’ graceful), Hillary, though admitting the deep fissures in the US society, has gracefully extended him ‘an open mind and the chance to lead’.

Donald Trump was also graceful till this part – recognizing Hillary’s efforts, her career and her service to the nation. He began his speech with this point. But beyond that, though it was a balanced victory speech sans all the campaign rhetoric, it fell short of expectations.

Trump did not mention Barack Obama even once during his speech – someone who is going to succeed – someone who has been a popular president. Now we cannot say if it fits some pattern but logic cannot accept it.

So far Donald Trump has been known as wearing a reckless business attitude – a ‘profiteering from everything’ motto defines his existence – a life that has nothing credible to inspire people – a lifestyle that has been undoubtedly playboyish – a thinking process that reeks of sexism, class discrimination and racial domination.

So far, Donald Trump has been a character – he has been an actor – let’s see if he can now be the person that a US President needs to be.

We all know election campaign rhetoric and official rhetoric are entirely different. ‘Politics is nasty stuff’ – even Donald Trump accepted it in his victory speech.

If he realizes it and is going to follow it in his governance style, it will be good for America and the world.

For America, his election has deeply divided the US society. Clashes broke at many place, in many states after his victory became clear. Students organized protest rallies. There were incidents of arson and vandalism. Many US parents are worried that what they would tell to their children. Women are fearful of a president with a long history of anti-woman statements.

The world, too, has not taken it kindly. From world leaders to media outfits, they have shown displeasure and scepticism. It can be summed up in two expressesions – of the French President Francois Hollande who reacted on Trump’s election saying it has ‘opened a period of uncertainty’ – and of the UK daily The Telegraph’s report on the global reaction headlined ‘dear God, America what have you done?’.

Donald Trump has to change that if he has to have successful four years first. Second term or eight years, as he mentioned in his speech comes only after that.

©SantoshChaubey

INDIA AND PAKISTAN IN HILLARY’S LEAKED SPEECHES

The set of Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches to the Wall Street bankers leaked by WikiLeaks has been categorized under different sections, i.e., Clinton Foundation, reducing emission, pro free trade, Wal-Mart, Egypt, Syria and terrorism, among others.

Since delivered to the bankers, as expected, the content is basically economic in nature but as the US profile is (entwined globally) and has Hillary’s career has been, it has myriad of political themes and geopolitical interests.

And as expected, China has some pretty frequent mention in terms of frequency – 62 times. The next thing to expect naturally would be about India, the next big thing to happen to the global economy after China. And if India has just 12 mentions, we can see why. When Hillary was saying all these things, China was on top of the mind. Bur China has now started stagnating (and slowing down) while India has become the fastest growing economy with ‘boon to market’ dividends like a young demography and a burgeoning middle class that will be soon largest in the world.

India’s 12 mentions are in four categories – Clinton Foundation, reducing emission, pro free trade and Wal-Mart – basically personal, environmental and financial in nature. As expected, it is both, positive and negative. If Hillary lauds India somewhere, she also cautions us on our trade and economic policies. And she also supports India’s stand on tricky issues like emission reductions.

Clinton Foundation: “So a few examples of what we’re doing at the Clinton Foundation. First, the Clinton Climate Initiative has a solid waste management program that works with governments and with businesses to reduce their dependency on landfills and develop systems to convert waste into new products or into sources of energy. For example, we are working with the city of Delhi in India to develop that country’s first integrated solid waste management system.”

Reducing Emissions: “And at that time you could not get China and India to agree to do anything on their emissions because they, I think understandably, one an authoritarian regime, one a democracy, a raucous democracy, were of the opinion it would interfere with their efforts to continue to grow, a totally rational response if you were the leader of China or India.”

Free Trade: “I thought I was doing pretty well. I’m making the case, making the argument for openness, fairness, transparency, claiming, look, Malaysia manufacturers want access to markets overseas as much as American manufacturers, Indian firms want fair treatment when they invest abroad, just as we do, Chinese artists want to protect their creations from piracy, every society seeking to develop a strong research and technology sector needs intellectual property protection to make trade fair as well as freer. Developing countries have to do a better job of improving productivity, raising labor conditions, and protecting the environment, on and on.”

Indian Ocean Nations (Trade): “More than half the world’s population lives in the vast region from the Indian Ocean to the Island Nations. Here we find some of our most trusted allies and valuable trading partners, many of the world’s most dynamic trade and energy routes. A few years ago, when our country was struggling through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, American exports to the Asia-Pacific helped spur our recovery. Our future growth will get a real shot in the arm if we reach farther into the burgeoning consumer markets across the region. […] And you are on track here in this state, in this city to take full advantage of a 21st century economy, and to help make sure that the United States remains a strong presence and a power in the Pacific.”

Wal-Mart (Trade): “I think that if India can ever get its regulatory system straightened out, you know, we have gone back and forth on opening up to retailers, large, multinational retailers. Wal-Mart just withdrew and it is a real shame and because one of the things Wal-Mart promised to do was to help set up the supply chain for agricultural products to actually get to the end user consumer. The harvest in India loses about 40 percent because there is no good storage; there is certainly no good cold storage. So if there is a way to get the politics to open up somewhat in India, you know, the market is just overwhelmingly large.”

But our neighbour Pakistan, our historical enemy who believes that maintaining friction and hostility in ties with India is the only way to look at par with India on global platforms, performs poorly even here. The leaked speeches mention Pakistan five times – and all in disturbed categories like Egypt, Syria and terrorism.

A further look on ‘Pakistan’ mentions clearly tells us that whenever she has quoted Pakistan, it is either for breeding terrorists and promoting terror or for illegally proliferating nuclear weapons. See it to reaffirm what you already know.

“We also were very concerned about the breeding of instability in terrorist havens in the Sinai which could be used just as the FATA between Pakistan and Afghanistan had been used by AlQaeda as launching sites for extremist attacks against Egypt, against Israel, against Jordan and further afield in the Gulf.”

“So the free Syrian Army and a lot of the local rebel militias that were made up of pharmacists and business people and attorneys and teachers—they’re no match for these imported toughened Iraqi, Jordanian, Libyan, Indonesian, Egyptian, Chechen, Uzbek, Pakistani fighters that are now in there and have learned through more than a decade of very firsthand experience what it takes in terms of ruthlessness and military capacity.”

“It depends upon how you define national interest. We certainly do with chemical weapons. We certainly would if Syria became even, in part, like the FATA between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a training ground for extremists, a launching pad for attacks on Turkey, Jordan, the non-tetarian elements in Lebanon and, eventually, even in Israel.

“And you know, it is like these terrible plots in James Bond movies where you have got some really creepy guy sitting around saying, I want to get a hold of some nuclear material, and I can bring the west to their knees and they will have to give me a hundred billion dollars in my private account. Well, unfortunately, there are people like that. And we saw what happened with the Pakistani scientist, Mr. Khan, who basically proliferated nuclear knowledge to as many countries as he could. He thought that was part of his religious mission to give the bomb to as many Muslim countries as he possibly could reach.”

Hillary’s words reiterate what we already know yet Pakistan behaves as if it can maintain its equal status with India on global platforms. Yes, it is not about a country’s size but its policies. And Pakistan’s policy of endorsing and promoting terror and proliferating nukes certainly make it one of the most rogue nations on earth.

©SantoshChaubey

YES, LEADERS CAN HAVE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE POSITIONS

WikiLeaks has released parts of paid (in millions), private speeches of Hillary Clinton that she delivered to audiences like the Wall Street bankers. The dump is part of trove hacked from email of John Podesta, Hillary’s campaign head. These so-called speeches have always been controversial. Bernie Sanders would always reiterate his demand to make transcripts of these speeches public. Donald Trump, though fast losing the race (of popularity and of ratings) with his misogynistic, crude, sexist remarks, continues to do so.

Yet Hillary refused to budge.

On their part, activists were always on the job. They had already flagged some excerpts in January and a comprehensive stuff is out now.

And on their part, Hillary’s team has gone on record to deny the authenticity of these papers, blaming them on Russian hackers who want to jeopardize Hillary’s electoral chances.

But on her part, Hillary doesn’t look so perturbed. Even if Trump mocked her on her answer, she sounded good when she answered why a leader needed to ‘have a public and a private position’ on an issue.

She said, “That was something I said about Abraham Lincoln after having seen the wonderful Steven Spielberg movie called ‘Lincoln. It was a masterclass watching President Lincoln get the Congress to approve the 13th Amendment. It was principled and it was strategic. I was making the point that it is hard sometimes to get the Congress to do what you want to do, and you have to keep working at it, and yes, President Lincoln was trying to convince some people, he used some arguments, convincing other people, he used other arguments. That was a great, I thought, a great display of presidential leadership.”

And it seems her explanation has gone down well in the public because now her team looks to own it (even if they will still disown the WikiLeaks trove). Her campaign manager Robby Mook said in a TV show after the debate, “Let’s be clear. I think there’s a distinction between what goes on in negotiations and what her positions are on the issues and have been on the issues.”

Yes, leaders can have public and private positions on an issue. That is only natural. That is human. Ethical politics is all about maintaining a fine balance between what you feel and what is needed.

©SantoshChaubey