Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Lamenting Modi’s absolute win is more phobic than rational

May 25, 2019

The point about phobias is that they are all irrational fears. A phobia is not removed by rational argument but by addressing and removing the underlying fear(s). “Phobic” assertions are futile then in a rational discussion just as “rational discourse” has no impact on reducing a phobic fear.

I have been hearing many people lamenting the absolute win that Narendra Modi and the BJP party have just achieved. They believe themselves – in the main – to be of the educated middle classes; to be liberal, secular and rational. Nearly all of them believe themselves to be atheists (conveniently forgetting that their atheism is existentially dependent upon others’ beliefs) and they are all generally contemptuous of those who profess themselves to be religious. They generally claim a monopoly over “reasoned argument” and dismiss nationalistic or religious claptrap out of hand.

But what strikes me is that their lamentations about the Modi win and the rise of dark, nationalistic and religious forces are more manifestations of a Modiphobia or a BJPphobia than the exercise of reason. It is not unlike the Trumpophobia that now dominates the Democrat discourse in the US. But just as in the US, the apparently “rational arguments” are subordinated to irrational fears and only carry the appearance of rationality. They end up being phobic assertions and lose rationality along the way.

Following the Indian elections the BJP, by itself, now commands a comfortable majority in parliament. The BJP with its allies now have almost two-thirds of the seats in parliament (353 of 543). Narendra Modi is unchallenged as Prime Minister and is perhaps the first to to have transcended some of the traditional block-voting patterns of caste and religion.

Back in 2014, I posted:

If Narendra Modi manages to break – or even to weaken – the debilitating stranglehold that caste and clan have on Indian life, he stands some chance of releasing the huge potential that is still buried deep in the country. Paradoxically, his brand (now mellowing) of Hindu nationalism may allow him the freedom not only to challenge the shackles of caste and clan but also to keep in check the extravagant expectations engendered by the pampering of minority groups (which was unavoidable with a coalition government).

I find the lamentations now lacking in reason:

  1. There was not a single individual among all the opposition parties who realistically aspired to be or (or was capable of being) the Prime Minister.
  2. There was no majority coalition of any kind remotely feasible without the BJP.  The option of the BJP not being in government did not exist.
  3. A parliament having a party with an absolute majority is more likely to be effective as a parliament and less likely to be disrupted than a minority or a coalition government. A BJP minority government or a BJP led coalition (and since BJP is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha) would have given India an impotent government.

India will have at least 5 more years of Narendra Modi and the BJP. From 2020 the BJP will likely have a majority even in the Rajya Sabha. The subcontinent is awash with fractures and fissures. My reason tells me that the chance of Indian potential being unified and harnessed is far greater now than it has ever been since independence in 1947. It is greater now than it was under Nehru and his phobias, and greater than it was under Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. I may not like some of the fanatics riding the BJP wave, but paradoxically, a strong Modi has a better chance of keeping them in check than a weak Modi.

I suspect that 2020 – 2024 will see a period of unprecedented growth of not only the Indian economy but also of Indian infrastructure and social welfare.


 

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Actually, Netanyahu has just had his best ever election result

April 10, 2019

I am no great student of Israeli domestic politics and my perceptions/knowledge of the Israeli elections are only what I have gleaned from media reports. However, I do try to also read reports from the Israeli media and not just from the western mainstream media. Over the last few weeks the “liberal” mainstream media have been supporting an anti-Netanyahu position and most of their reporting has been critical of Netanyahu and his chances in the 2019 general election.

Last night, just before I went to bed, the exit polls were showing a close race between Likud and Blue & White. The “liberal” press had started putting out headlines about a “setback for Netanyahu”. The New York Times – among others – has been hoping for a Netanyahu defeat.

NYT dislikes Netanyahu – and it shows

This morning, as exit polls are replaced by vote counts, I find that Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party narrowly won the Israeli election. With 97% of the votes counted former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff Benny Gantz, led the opposition Blue & White party to a strong showing. Both parties will receive 35 seats (out of 120) in the next Knesset. Likud received 26.3% of the vote and only just exceeded Blue and White’s 25.95%. No single party has ever won an overall majority on its own. The right parties are expected to have 65 seats and the left parties 55. It is virtually certain that Netanyahu will form the next coalition government.

But the reality is that Likud have won more seats this time than they ever have under Netanyahu. Likud has won 5 more seats than in the outgoing Knesset.

Netanyahu’s record

The only time Likud have done better in an election was in 2003 with Ariel Sharon when they received 29.39% of the votes and 38 seats in the Knesset.

The “liberal” media have become peddlers of opinions and cannot be relied upon to be purveyors of facts. The Fake News phenomenon starts with their increasing presentation of opinion and wishful thinking as fact.


 

 

All the Democrats vying to lose to Trump in 2020

April 9, 2019

It seems that every new day brings a new Democrat into the race (or who says that he or she might enter the race) to be chosen as the Democratic candidate for President in 2020 to stand against Donald Trump (if he does indeed seek reelection).

Many of them are only doing so in a desperate attempt just to get themselves some free publicity. The media can no longer afford to ignore any one who might conceivably stand. They are still smarting from the ridicule they still enjoy for their gross miscalculation with Trump. They are too scared now to ignore or trivialise anybody.

At the latest count there are 25 potential Democratic candidates. The Rolling Stone ranking puts Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris at the top of the list. Hillary Clinton is not on the list (yet).

With ISIS almost eradicated, the N Korea threat apparently neutralised, the challenge to China on trade, the increasing isolation of Iran and with booming jobs and a strong economy at home, the indications are that Trump will return for another term.

as of April 2019


 

 

US Democrats have just lost the 2020 election

March 25, 2019

The entire Trump/Russia conspiracy theory was always a little far-fetched. But now as a major part of what turns out to have been a “spoiling exercise” has run out of fuel, the emphasis will shift to how the formal investigation into a nonsense theory first began. It certainly dates back to the campaign and long before Trump was elected. I suspect it was the Clinton e-mail flap which started it all. I am not convinced that the Clinton campaign was itself clever enough to have thought this up. “Deep State” Clinton supporters at the FBI probably started the whole thing as a way of both diverting from Clinton’s criminal incompetence (in which they succeeded) and of attacking their most hated candidate.

Of course they were aided and abetted by other Trump-haters (John McCain was a willing accomplice in spreading the fake dossier). The pro-Clinton media with CNN in the forefront and followed by WaPo and the NYT took Fake News to new heights.

It is unlikely that anybody will be held accountable for starting the Fake News conspiracy theory.

The Democrats are too heavily invested in the conspiracy theory to give it up easily. I suspect that continuing to beat this horse will only make it more likely that the investigation will turn to who started the fake collusion theory and make it more difficult for the Democrats to dig themselves out of their ever deepening hole. They already have the debilitating baggage of taking over the mantle of being the socialist, anti-Semitic, soft-on-crime, Big Government party.

Trump may not have won yet, but the Democrats could well have lost the 2020 election with the Mueller Report. Of course it doesn’t hurt Trump that

  • ISIS were beaten on his watch,
  • N Korea are a much reduced threat,
  • the Chinese tsunami is being contained,
  • that unemployment is low,
  • that the economy is booming,
  • that black and Latino employment has never been higher and
  • that legal immigrants don’t much care for illegal immigrants

 

A bird’s eye view of the rise and fall of ISIS

March 6, 2019

The simple reality is that it was the support for anti-Assad groups which enabled and fueled the growth of ISIS.

In their fervor to get rid of Assad and effect regime change in Syria, Obama and the EU (led by France) and Saudi Arabia supported varied, and sometimes barbarous, parties as long as they were opposed to Assad. Russia supported Assad but this support was constrained by the Obama/EU led coalition. Many of the anti-Assad rebel groups were already associated with – or became – ISIS which eventually extended from Syria to Iraq. Being anti-Assad, all the rebel groups, and even the most fanatic ISIS units, received money and materials from Obama’s US and the EU. As Sunnis, ISIS also received funding from Salafist sources in Saudi Arabia. Turkey was very happy to see Assad opposed but didn’t like the growth of Kurdish forces opposed to ISIS in “Kurdistan”. ISIS kept growing and expanding their territory throughout the period of US/EU support for the anti-Assad groups. The Iraqis were happy to accept support from Iran (Shia) to oppose ISIS. Obama – albeit reluctantly – refrained from attacking ISIS in Iraq because they were anti-Assad. On Obama’s watch, the US presence in Iraq effectively allowed the unchecked growth of ISIS.

Then Obama lost to Trump.

The US opposition to the Russians support for Assad was subdued. Putin filled the vacuum. Direct Russian military intervention in support of Assad mushroomed. ISIS and the rebel groups were hammered into submission by the Russians. As ISIS retreated, Assad advanced in Syria. So did the Kurds, as they retook territory from ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Even the US under Trump now joined the winning band-wagon and actively opposed ISIS in Iraq.

And now ISIS is on the verge of destruction. The Caliphate has returned to dreamland. Assad is secure again even if Syrian Kurds are empowered to a much greater extent than they were. Turkey is not very happy. Neither is Saudi Arabia. ISIS (Sunni) influence in Iraq has been decimated and the Shia position (Iran) is greatly strengthened.

The Obama/EU strategy for regime change in Syria, which encouraged the growth of the ISIS monster, which was always naive and ridiculous, is now seen to be a disaster defining Obama’s tenure.

In a nutshell:

The winners are Assad, Putin, the Kurds and Trump’s US. Even the Iranian position in both Iraq and Syria is strengthened.

The clear losers are ISIS, France, the EU, Obama’s US, and Saudi Arabia. Turkey is not very happy.


 

Kejriwal – Fasting unto death?

February 23, 2019

When I was around 10 or 11 and was being punished by my parents for some wrongdoing (usually by the withdrawal of some privilege), I remember I used to “threaten them” that I wouldn’t eat. I remember actually carrying out my threat and missing dinner on two occasions.

My parents were sensible enough not to give in.

There was never a third occasion.

The Chief Minister of the National Capital Region of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, is now going on indefinite hunger strike from 1st March to get full statehood for Delhi (and thereby get a salary increase). He says he is prepared to “face death”. Wow!

How brave! How simply frightful! How delightful!

I expect he will face death from a great distance and then turn away.

NDTV:

NEW DELHI: 

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced that he would start an indefinite hunger strike demanding complete statehood for Delhi next month. “From 1st March I will begin a hunger strike. I am going to fast till we get statehood. I am ready to face death,” Mr Kejriwal said in the assembly.

Gautam Gambhir had the right response to Kejriwal’s histrionics.

Just another manic narcissist.


 

The unholy trinity causing the growth of antisemitism in Europe

February 21, 2019
  1. Socialists generally see all Jews as part of the Capitalist Enemy. That history goes back to the very beginnings of the Socialist movements in Europe. (It is not to be forgotten that the National Socialists – Nazis – had their socialist connections. They were primarily triggered by their form of anti-communistic socialism where personal interests were to be subordinated to the common good). Radical socialists are so eager to be seen to be pro-Palestine and pro-Hezbollah that they are rabid in their hatred of Israel. With both Jews and Israel being on their hate list it is a simple step to antisemitism.
  2. All Muslims are intrinsically anti-Israel (even if not necessarily anti-Jews). For the not insignificant proportion of radical Muslims, antisemitism is their own article of faith and can be manifested either against Jews or Israel or both. With the increase of Muslims of all sorts in Europe – including the radical kind – it is inevitable that the level of antisemitism is on the rise.
  3. The neo-Nazi descendants of the Nazis. now find themselves on the far right of the political spectrum. They cannot forget their antisemitic roots which lie deep in their souls. However, they are now energised primarily by their opposition to the immigration of “lesser” races and religions (blacks and Muslims). The growth of  these parties as a backlash against Europe’s rather stupidly naive “multiculturalism” carries the strain of antisemitism along with it.

Socialists, neo-Nazis and Muslims make up the unholy trinity now fueling the growth of antisemitism whether in France or Germany or Sweden or in the UK. For the more extreme socialists or Muslims or neo-Nazis, to be antisemitic is a badge of membership. But it is not really very surprising.


 

Islamic terror attack probably secures Modi a second term

February 15, 2019

The Indian General Election is due in April/May 2019.

Indian politics are never straightforward.

Whereas the Indian National Congress has lost its clout as a truly national party, the concept of the INC allying itself with different regional parties seemed to be a pragmatic way for them to begin to challenge the BJP and PM Modi. Of course the ideological convolutions of allying with a variety of regional parties, ranging from communists in some states and muslim fanatics to the parochially nationalistic in others, were more than a little intellectually challenging for Rahul Gandhi. Which has, of course, led to a sort of Egyptian solution, where his sister, Priyanka Gandhi, has been brought to stand beside/before/behind him.

The idea of Priyanka & Rahul Gandhi ensuring the security of India does not fly.

There are still 3 months to go but if security is a matter of concern at the time of the election, the Priyanka effect will not compensate for the INC’s perceived policy of appeasement of Muslims.  Security will override any other issues of the time and PM Modi would then be returned with some ease.


 

Devolution of democracy

December 28, 2018

A modern politician’s priorities:

  1. Me
  2. The party
  3. The party’s leadership
  4. My voters
  5. My party’s voters
  6. The country
  7. My constituency

Other parties’ voters do not enter the picture.


 

Elementary but often forgotten: Multilateral depends upon the unilateral

December 2, 2018

Maybe some day geographical boundaries will give way to some other way of clustering and organising and administering human societies. Maybe some day the nation state will become obsolete. But not yet. The sovereign nation state is still the basic unit of organising human societies. Without sovereignty within its geographical boundaries, a nation state cannot exist. (A nation state which cannot protect its geographic boundaries and its sovereignty cannot survive).

Without nationalism as the foundation stone, internationalism falls down.

Without the brick of unilateralism as the fundamental building block, no multilateral structure can exist except as a castle in the imagination of mindlessness.

What is often conveniently forgotten with the multinational or multilateral organisations (UN, EU, IMF, WTO, WHO, …..) is that the multilateral (or multinational) is meaningless without maintaining the integrity of the unilateral (or the national). Undermining the unilateral leaves the multilateral floating aimlessly. Multilateral is a service provider to the unilateral. Without a customer a multilateral service is of no consequence.

It is an existential question of identity.

What the EU does not like to accept that its citizens are Germans or French or Swedes first and only Europeans second.


 


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