BEING A GOOD CITIZEN: THIS IS WHAT I WROTE TO OBAMA FOUNDATION

This is what I wrote in response to the Obama Foundation mailer on what “I think about being a good citizen.” And on what the Obama Foundation should be? Well, anything that can bring smile to the majority of this planet, something that other honest organizations working in the social sector are trying to do, irrespective of societies, boundaries and countries.

MY RESPONSE

What I am going to write here is based on my experiences in the Indian context and I believe it will stand true for any other society that needs large scale social intervention. India is slated to become the world’s most populous country but its majority is still poor and forced to live a life of misery, something that the government alone cannot address.

The basic needs of life, food, i.e., shelter, health, education, are still not on their radar. And how can it be when they have to go through the grinding of feeding themselves first, day after day, month after month, year after year. Everything else comes later.

We need to accept the ground reality if we have to bring the change here. The process to change a society and undoing its wrongs and malaise can only begin once we have this realization.

And the most important thing is – the government cannot do it alone. The society must contribute. And we must contribute. We all must feel duty-bound with the sense of ‘giving it back to the society’ for our very existence here – in whatever capacity we are. For me, that is all about being a good citizen.

On a larger and more organized scale, someone once had told me that in order to bring empowerment to the needy, one needs to be an activist and not a fighter. A fighting spirit is good but many a times, the trade-off between ‘fighting the system’ and ‘fighting over your way out of the system’ becomes too costly for the people you are fighting for.

An example will be apt here. Natural calamities, if displace many, are also opportunities for the corrupt souls in a system. You know there is corruption but your priority must be rehabilitating those displaced – and you have to work in tandem with the system – even if the system is corrupt. Your integrity and tenacity lie in how you can take work from the system. There is always the time to fight the menace of corruption later.

As always, committed social work needs a committed soul more than anything else, otherwise there is always the chance to drift away, especially when in India, where everything is so political that in order to get things done, one needs to be inside the system, knowing how to take work from it, keeping in mind the fine line between manipulating a system and taking work from it.

I believe this should be the story of every not-for-profit or every individual working in the social sector – no compromise with ethics – and no compromise with patience – because I think we just do not deal with the mindset or the behavioural change here only – but more importantly, we also deal with the exterior of a person – the society he lives in – with all sorts of good and bad people and institutions.

THE OBAMA.ORG MAILER

We’re so glad you’re a part of this startup for citizenship. Working together, we’re going to build a working, living center for developing the next generation of active leaders all over the world. We have a lot of work to do, and we’re going to count on your ideas to inform our efforts.

That’s why we’re asking you to add your voice today, and that’s why we’ll continue asking you to share your ideas in the months and years ahead. Let us know what’s on your mind, what good citizenship means to you, and what you want this Foundation to be.

©SantoshChaubey

TRUMPCARE VS OBAMACARE: D-DAY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP AS NEW HEALTHCARE BILL FACES CONGRESS TEST

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

Previous US President Barack Obama had signed the Affordable Healthcare Act or Obamacare on March 23, 2010. Then it was termed as the most important healthcare legislation in the US since Medicare, the national health insurance plan of the US for senior citizens, was launched in 1965.

Down the line seven years, his predecessor, the current US President Donald Trump is trying all to get Obamacare repealed and replaced with his American Healthcare Act or Trumpcare. It was one of his major campaign promises. The house vote on Trumpcare is likely to be held on March 23, 2017.

But even many Republican senators feel Trumpcare is not comprehensive enough to meet those campaign promises and amendments are needed. Intense parleys are taking place but so far a consensus has not emerged. Estimates say Trumpcare is expected to leave 24 million Americans without insurance by 2016. Obamacare would have these Americans covered. But it may be even worse. A New York Times report says, quoting an analysis, the number of uninsured may be as high as 32 million more Americans by 2026.

The US media is replete with reports on pros and cons of Obamacare, like tax burdens, deductibles, coverage, freedom to choose insures and so on and how and if a Trumpcare can take care of it because as it is an issue that is going to define the Trump presidency as it had defined Obama’s.

Though the Republican Party, along with Donald Trump and Paul Ryan, is presenting Trumpcare as a panacea that will take care of every American’s healthcare needs and Obamacare as a vestige of law that is detrimental enough to be replaced as soon as possible, its own house is not in order.

The house vote on Trumpcare is expected on Thursday, but going by a latest CNN report, the Republicans still have no clear numbers to get Obamacare repealed and Trumpcare passed even if less than 24 hours are left for Trumpcare to go to vote. If Trumpcare fails to pass through a Republican majority house, it will be serious setback for Trump and will further complicate his days ahead. He is already facing serious charges on his Russia connections and the probe has reached to the White House. Then there are other controversial issues like his wiretap claims without evidence or his controversial travel ban, issues for which he is being slammed everywhere.

Trumpcare which the expert have been doubting about from the beginning may end up like another Trump rhetoric which does nothing except stirring up society and market with his uncontrolled flow of tweets. Once the dust settles down, it only gives more energy to anti-Trump voices or in this case to the US pharmaceutical and insurance companies that, after going down because of a hostile Trump tweet, bounce back and even rally on stock exchanges, a CNN Money report says.

Trump, during the campaign phase of the US presidential polls, and even after his election, had raised hopes of a healthcare act to replace Obamacare that would guarantee ‘universal healthcare’. In an interview before his government’s inaugural on January 20, 2017, he said ‘we are going to have insurance for everybody’, a Washington Post copy says.

Going by that scale, anything less would be like betraying those hopes. But a universal healthcare was always an impossible concept because it would be so unwieldy, so expansive and so therefore so expensive, that it was not never in the Republican Party’s plans for a healthcare act to replace Obamacare. The Washington Post op-ed, headlined ‘Donald Trump may have just destroyed the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare’ wrote, “Donald Trump emphatically promised universal health coverage. That’s an absolutely gigantic promise, and it’s one that Republicans have no intention of keeping”.

©SantoshChaubey

#THETRUMPDUMP: AFTER OBAMA’S DENIAL, WHAT NEXT FROM MASTER OF LIES (OR MCCARTHYISM)?

As expected, the denial from Barack Obama’s camp on Donald Trump’s diversionary allegation was quick, swift and effective. It was already amplified in appeal by the fact that the 45th US President didn’t offer, as has been his favourite ‘hoot and scoot style’, any evidence to back his wild claims that many US senators see as a ‘serious breach’ and emphasize on the need for ‘serious investigation’.

The team of the 44th US President has said that it was a policy cornerstone of the Obama White House to never interfere in the Department of Justice probes. The team further clarified that under the US law, no US president can order ‘wire tapping’ of any US citizen and the accusations made by Donald Trump are ‘simply false’.

Now Barack Obama carries much more weight than Donald Trump and people will have no problem in buying the clarification put forward by his team, especially when Trump is still silent on backing his wild accusations with some sort of evidence though almost 24 hours have passed.

That brings us to the natural extension of this row – that what would be the next body of lies tweetaculated by Donald Trump who prefers to use his personal Twitter handle and personal resort as his official mouthpiece and his official winter residence.

Interestingly, while levelling frivolous allegations on Obama, Trump used the term McCarthyism. McCarthyism was a notorious term given to the acts of US Senator John McCarthy in 1950s and is basically about targeting and persecuting people for treason crimes without even a shred of evidence – something that Trump is looking to be masters at – something that is again evident by the bunch of these wild tweets against Obama in a desperate attempt to deflect attention from the growing row over his campaign team’s Russia connections.

Trump is well habituated and thus well suited for McCarthyism. That brings us to another conclusion that we all know that, on one side, Trump is not well read, and at the same time, lacks a team of advisers and support staff who could help him with such basic but glaring mistakes in his tweetacules.

©SantoshChaubey

#THETRUMPDUMP: ITS OBAMA AND SHWARZENEGGER AGAIN!

US President Donald Trump is at his favourite pastime again, pastimes that he routinely forgets to keep a bay as pastimes while donning the all important hat of the world’s most powerful person (he also conveniently forgets that it makes his position as the most responsible one as well).

He is back at slamming his bête noir Barack Obama, his predecessor in the White House, and is adding some garnishing to it by sparing some visionary words from his stable for Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Hollywood action machine with a long career as a Republican politician (and California Governor).

Both are known for their dislike for Donald Trump. Obama has been a towering presence with two successive terms in the White House and Trump treated him like his primary opponent even if he was pitted against Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s Obama tweetaculation of the day are:

Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!
I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!
How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!

See the range here! Blaming Obama for tapping his phones, Trump’s tweetacules use some mighty words like McCarthyism or ‘new low’ or Watergate. People are busy analysing that whether Donald Trump will be another Richard Nixon in terms of an aborted presidential term. By using the Richard Nixon/Watergate corollary, Trump, it seems, is trying to send out a message that using such a corollary to paint Trump in a negative light is fundamentally flawed.

Donald Trump’s another target of the day is nowhere near to the towering presence of Barack Obama. But even then, he is no lesser important in the US society, especially when people have doubts about Trump who is seeing historically low approval ratings. But in the classic way of ‘I will always chase my detractors come what may’, Trump never forgets to shoot a punch whenever he sees an opportunity to deride his opponents.

Schwarzenegger has decided to leave hosting Celebrity Apprentice where he replaced Donald Trump. He has cited Trump’s divisive politics and his presence as the executive producer on the show behind his decision. Trump has always criticised Arnold for not delivering on the show the way he did. Tweetaculations on it have been in vogue. Now Trump thinks that Arnold is being sacked from the show for not delivering a hit performance and finds it apt for another round or Arnold bashing tweets. He wrote,

Donald J. Trump‏ @realDonaldTrump
Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show

But then Arnold’s reputation of being an action machine is not any fluke. He immediately hit back.

Arnold ✔ @Schwarzenegger
You should think about hiring a new joke writer and a fact checker. https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/838016045222854656

Well, whatever might be Arnold’s intent behind advising Trump to hire new joke writer and fact checker, we indeed know that the Trump Team indeed needs an army of fact checkers, especially after repeated exaggerated speeches by Trump, before and after his election. Latest in the series is his maiden congressional speech delivered to joint sitting of the US Congress which ran so low on facts that media houses not just in the US but globally carried out its ‘fact checking’ analysis of it.

©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

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 IS FURIOUS AT OBAMA, AGAIN!

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

US President Elect Donald Trump has a trademark style of hitting back on his opponents. And when he does so, he minces no words. He lays bare his thoughts in clear words, be it his Twitter handle or his statements.

The latest in his series of Twitter onslaughts is targeted at his bête noire, the present US President Barack Obama. Donald Trump is fuming and he has tweeted to express his anger, “Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!”

‏@realDonaldTrump
Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks.Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!
7:37 PM – 28 Dec 2016

‘NOT’ in caps summing his tweet is self-explanatory to tell us the scale of his anger over a person who was one of his two main adversaries during the US Presidential election campaign even if he was pitted directly against the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton who was addressed as ‘crooked Hillary’ in his Twitter blasts.

This one follows his other anti Obama tweets in recent days focusing on reminding Obama that Trump is superior to him and his victory is no fluke. Rather, it was a vote on account of Obama’s inefficiency.

‏@realDonaldTrump
President Obama campaigned hard (and personally) in the very important swing states, and lost.The voters wanted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
3:22 AM – 28 Dec 2016

‏@realDonaldTrump
President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me. He should say that but I say NO WAY! – jobs leaving, ISIS, OCare, etc.
3:06 AM – 27 Dec 2016

The latest spat began after Obama recently said that he was fully confident that if it would be a presidential race between him and Donald Trump, he would have beaten him. It came along with other Obama’s statements that Trump found ‘inflammatory’ as this news report in The Hill says, “It is here that we remember that even when hatred burns hottest, even when the tug of tribalism is at its most primal, we must resist the urge to turn inward, we must resist the urge to demonize those who are different.”

Ever since the unexpected Trump victory, there has been a prevailing atmosphere of fear in the US that now immigrants, Black Americans and racial minorities including Muslims will be targeted more. Trump had based his campaign on these lines.

Though Trump is a known Obama critic and has used every opportunity to target the present US President, even going to the extent to question Obama’s US birth credentials, after his first meeting with Obama in the White House, he had found Obama ‘a very good man’.

Barack Obama had joyfully welcomed his successor to the White House and they both had sounded agreeable and optimistic on the smooth transition of the government from the Barack Obama administration to the Donald Trump Administration by the time the latter’s government is inaugurated on January 20, 2017.

And Trump had tweeted about his meeting with Obama with words like ‘fantastic day, good meeting, and great chemistry’.

‏@realDonaldTrump
A fantastic day in D.C. Met with President Obama for first time. Really good meeting, great chemistry. Melania liked Mrs. O a lot!
7:40 AM – 11 Nov 2016

The thaw that had looked to set in that day was seen taking some shape when, after some days, Reuters had published a story titled ‘Obama’s not-so-secret admirer: Donald Trump’ quoting Trump’s interview to the New York Times. Trump had said here, “I didn’t know if I’d like him. I probably thought that maybe I wouldn’t, but I did. I really enjoyed him a lot. I had a great meeting with President Obama. I really liked him a lot.”

But with these recent developments, it seems that it was more of a facade and the cover was blown away with slightest of the provocation from the either side. Obama has become increasingly critical of Trump again, after the Oval Office bonhomie, amid indications that Trump may continue with his divisive agenda as he pushed during the campaign phase. Trump, after finding fault in Obama’s healthcare, outsourcing, Iran deal, anti-terror and nuclear policies, has gone to grab new avenues like the US policy on Israel and Palestine under the Obama administration.

©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

DISTURBING SIGNALS FROM 2016 US ELECTION

Glass ceiling: The world’s most successful democracy was closest to undo one of its historical wrongs – by electing its first female president – but the glass ceiling remained intact on this front – and what is ironical is that the US has elected a president who has had a life of making misogynistic and sexist remarks. Now the US will have to wait for at least another four years if it has to correct that ‘historical social anomaly’.

A divided nation: 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 is happening in the US after Donald Trump’s victory is suggestive of deep fissures in the US society. There have been violent protests in many states and though its over 24 hours, they are only going up.

No Obama mention: Though Donald Trump delivered a graceful victory speech beginning it with the words of thanks for Hillary Clinton who had called him to accept the poll outcome, he didn’t mention Barack Obama even once – like some words for his predecessor who led his country for eight years before him. Though Obama and Trump have had differences and Barack Obama candidly accept it, he did call Donald Trump to congratulate him immediately after the final results came in. And we all know, going by the life lived by Obama and Trump so far, Obama is a towering person compared to Trump.

A growing chasm with more than ever have-nots in the US: It is being said that the class who felt left out by the political elite of the US who rules the power corridors of Washington – the blue collar workers, people of small town and rural America who still feel the pain to manage their lives and families after the 2008 global economic crisis went en masse to elect Trump – even registered Democrats – even those who had voted for Obama in the previous two presidential polls. This poll outcome shows that all is not well and the US is no more that model of society that the world looked up to. Okay, there are other reasons and groups who have voted for Trump as well but a Trump victory propelled by have-nots of America (by American standards) tells us that disparity is rapidly growing there.

A fear psychosis that is pushing people to check immigration options to other countries: There are plenty of reports that many in the US are scramming to check immigration websites of countries like Canada or New Zealand.

The class wars: The fact that Donald Trump won even if he openly talked against Muslims and immigrants and was seen as a divisive figure when it came to racial discrimination tells us that the US society is somewhere breaking down and it is needed to be healed immediately. What Trump did may be now a past from his campaign rhetoric but we should not forget that there were plenty of people in the US who saw an appealing person in Trump because of this rhetoric only. Also worrying is the pieces of analysis which say that this Trump victory is because Trump’s predecessor Obama was a black American in a country of predominantly white people. The growing incidents of attacks on black Americans support it. And when it comes to Hillary Clinton, we should not forget that before being anyone else, she was seen as a Democrat of the Washington circle who once worked with Barack Obama.

Hillary is still the popular choice: Now, in 2012, Donald Trump had tweeted to let the world know that how much he despised the electoral college. He had said, “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.” Now it is this electoral college only that has given him the US presidency because Hillary Clinton is the winner of the popular vote. Going by a latest Forbes report, Hillary has got 59,926,386 popular votes, more than Trump’s 59,698,506 votes. That may not be much but statisically it places her on a high pedestal.

Disturbing! Isn’t it? Let’s hope that these signals get the required correctional measures (and the healing) soon.

©SantoshChaubey

GITMO IS GONE NOW – AND IT IS GOOD.

The eight years of Barack Obama are coming to an end. The new US President will be in the office in January 2017. The process has begun and the US Presidential election will reach to its crescendo July onwards.

At a personal level, these eight years should have been monumental, like they are supposed to be in any US President’s life in these times of global turmoil. The US has been and still is the pivot of the global order and we must honestly accept that.

And precisely for that reason, a US President’s term is not judged only by his domestic politics excellence but also by how he manages the world. And it is increasingly ‘how he manages’ from ‘how he controls’ – that was the perception (or the reality) in the Cold War era after the second World War. Much of that has changed and is still changing.

And that has made the job of the US President even more difficult.

Anyway, if it is about Barack Obama, the first black President in the US history, we can clearly say it is nowhere near to hopes raised by the Norwegian Nobel Committee when it decided to award the 2009 Peace Nobel – based on the aspirations he raised – during his campaign – by his words – and by becoming the first black President.

The 2009 press released had said: “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”

We can say nothing of that sort has happened. The world is even more dangerous a place now with Arab Spring’s failure in all countries where it took place except Tunisia. ISIS, an even bigger threat than Al Qaeda has ravaged Iraq and Syria and is threatening other countries in the area. There has been no qualitative change in crisis hotbeds in many African, Asian and South American nations. In fact, the nations where the US has been directly involved, Iraq and Afghanistan, are as much volatile as they were ten years back.

So, nothing much here for Barack Obama to take back his home when he leaves the White House in January 2017.

Well, I do not intend to write a critique of his terms here. This write-up had its genesis this evening when the news broke that Barack Obama was going to close the Guantanamo Bay prison. So, it is finally here and it took Barack Obama eight years to reach at this landmark decision – to come up with a concrete plan to close the detention camp. Obama had been championing the cause, had promised it in his 2009 Peace Nobel speech and the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize had an illuminating mention about it – “Torture is forbidden; the President is doing what he can to close Guantanamo.” – to – “That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed.”

If it has taken this much time, there would be reasons and pressures – but going by the man Barack Obama is – a man whom the world loves to tune into – not only for his oratory, but also for his sincerity and substance – there is no reason to question that why he couldn’t do it earlier.

Shutting down Gitmo (or Guantanamo Bay prison) was long overdue and it is good that Obama has finally done it. It was a living monument of torture and had no place in the societies the US so vehemently proposes to pursue.

And it is another history-making decision after Obama’s last year resolve to bury the hatchet with Cuba – a peace initiative that came after over half a century – a global event that is still in making – with the US and Cuba establishing diplomatic ties. Obama is set to visit Cuba and another positive development came recently when the US and Cuba signed agreement to begin commercial flights after 53 years.

And these developments will be seen with probably the most significant development in Obama’s Presidential career – making the world free of Osama bin Laden – the biggest terrorist of his time – the mastermind of 9/11 and many other global terror attacks.

Like it happens, Obama’s terms (his two terms) have had mixed outcomes with many policy failures (or frustrations) – but he has been able to overshadow them with his history-making decisions – most notably these three.

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