Views and News from my side….

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Doing a bit more than normal has led to me not updating my once in two days blog. I am planning to update it a couple of times in a week from now onwards. Once on a Weekend and once on a Weekday.

A couple of issues made me sit up and take notice of things.

1. Hollande Wins. Well that was not unexpected. However i did notice a piece of news where he would be meeting the “Socialist” Obama in the White House. Jeez he makes Obama seem like Sarkozy.

2. Greece elected a sizable number of far-right MP’s. They seem to make LePen’s FN look like bunnies. My Advice: EU beware. Don’t discount the democratic deficit in your organisation.

3. IPL and drink driving seems to be the major news story in India. Indian Premier League is a Premier League for that silly game where people stand at one place, like baseball, and think its a sport. Anyways we had incidents of owners throwing a tantrum, organisers throwing a tantrum and players well acting like players. I wouldn’t bore you with details except suggest you google IPL. It will make for an exciting weekend.

4. Disaster – Kenny Dalglish sacked. What do Americans know about football ?

5. I have been reviewing cars lately. I have been specifically looking for  a hatchback. For drivers be sure to look at the following when choosing your car. Ford Figo Diesel with its excellent handling and solid feel and Honda Brio for its sexy Engine and Gearbox.

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The Nationalists in Europe

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I just read that LePen is not voting for any Candidate in the French Presidential Election. Marine LePen the leader of the National Front in France, and the candidate who stood third in the First Round of the French Presidential Vote has decided not to cast a vote for either the Right Wing Candidate Sarkozy or the Left Wing Candidate Hollande. She has been the most interesting candidate to watch as she has realised the version of Nationalist Parties which would succeed in Modern Europe are the authoritarian, but not extreme authoritarian, versions of SNP and  Plaid Cymru. Only this would be palatable to the modern European Voter as Extremes are considered distasteful in that part of the world. Whether she can make the voters forget the history of the NF is a different matter altogether. In that sense parties such as the English Democrats or UKIP do much better in matters of public perception as they don’t carry the historical extremist baggage. If you read about the history of economics by the likes of people like Niall Ferguson etc you realise that Nationalist Parties with Socialist philosophies are the ones to generally do better during a recession. Europe, thanks to the Germans in the 1930’s, has already experienced the fruits of extreme Nationalism. Thus extreme Nationalists will always be abhorred there however moderate nationalist parties do have a chance to fill the gap between the liberal left-wing parties and authoritative right-wing parties. The concern I have about these nationalist parties is not their xenophobic views but their views on Globalisation. The issue which concerns me is that there is a chance that due to their increasing influence there maybe a partial rollback of positive political attitudes towards Globalisation in Europe. As such it would be very interesting to see if pro globalisation parties across the political spectrum can create policies which may calm the fears of the natural voters of these nationalist parties.

India – Superpower status,Foreign Policy and the structure of its Armed Forces

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In a humourous way i had asked Indians to resist “Chest-thumping” about our so-called future superpower status(See April 4th Post). In this article an experienced AF officer has also rubbished the claims from a strategic perspective. Bottom line is that it will only happen if we change our attitude about loads of things including , as he specifies in his domain, the way we conduct our foreign policy which obviously will need to be tied into our defence establishment similar to how the US/Uk/France or Russia have tied their international goals/foreign policy to the way their forces are structured. I know Russia is still modernising its force structure but its on its way back.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article3284696.ece?homepage=true

Indo-Sri Lanka Ties

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A lot of critics have stated that India’s support for US sponsored resolution on the alleged war crimes was against India’s Strategic Interests.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/india-votes-against-lanka-un-resolution-on-war-crimes-adopted-188871 ( Link to the story)

Their main points of concern are :

1) India has lost the strategic space to China in Sri Lanka as it would be deemed as a closer and more trusted ally by Colombo. Thus domestic political constraints i.e Tamil politicians were considered more important than the larger national interest.

2) India traditionally has never voted in favour of country specific resolutions. This might come back to bite us on issues such as Kashmir,North East or the Maoist infested areas in Central,Eastern and Southern India.

3) We have stopped having an independent foreign policy and have given into the demands of the US.

I completely disagree with these points:

1) We cannot divorce local politics and ethnic kinship from our strategic aims. The fact is that Tamil Nadu State is the home base for the world’s Tamil population. They have concerns on the happenings to their kin in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka. Riding roughshod over their feelings could come back and bite India as they could feel that a majority of Indians especially the establishment does not understand their concerns about the situation. Thus it could lead to another ethnicity of India feeling alienated with the Indian Union. Smart and tactful diplomacy can ensure that we still retain influence in Colombo while trying to improve the lot of the Sri Lankan Tamils.

2) The concept of using principles in international relations, in my opinion, is a bit of bull. Diplomacy is based upon pragmatism. In spite of voting for country specific resolutions we can still ensure, due  to our increasing economic importance, that no anti-India resolution is passed. Secondly we need to improve our own Human rights records. Remember that persecution only increases support and if you don’t persecute people they will support you.

3) We still have an independent foreign policy. Voting for the US on a few issues does not mean that we have surrendered our sovereignty.

In conclusion, we voted the right way, not because it was the right thing to do ( there is no concept of right or wrong in International Affairs), but because it was in our own national interest to ensure that feelings of the Tamils are understood and taken care of.