Five a Day
Modi’s Foreign Policy
Years hence, historians will recall how Trump curtsied rather submissively before the Saudi king in his first official act as an American president abroad. The occasion was to receive the Gilded Collar of King Salman Abdulaziz al-Saud. And don’t forget, dear readers, it is the same Trump who had blasted President Obama for a much more dignified half-bow several years before, tweeting at the time: “Do we want a President who bows to the Saudis?” But a meek little curtsey, however prettily delivered, is far less presidential than a half-bow.
Doesn’t all this entitle us to add Hypocritical Oaf to our ever-growing list of Trump nicknames?
Five a Day
The Washington Post has a reputation to live by – a reputation of making life uncomfortable for Presidents who find it difficult to see the fine line dividing truth from falsehood. You remember all that the daily and its intrepid reporters did with Nixon. The lingo of the Watergate scandal – “to cover-up,” to “stonewall,” and “to leak” – became part of the American political vocabulary.
Now it seems to be the turn of Donald Trump to create and bequeath a similar legacy.
The paper has started its home work meticulously. Lately, it informed us all how the American President made 586 misleading claims of all sorts in 119 days. Quite an achievement - when you come to think of it - nearly five false claims a day.
Do you expect a bigger than average handshake from someone with smaller-than-average hands? Before saying “of course, no”, think twice. Yes it’s possible when the person involved is Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America. Screeds and screeds of Internet have been devoted to analyze his far-from-friendly – almost hostile – handshakes with world leaders.
According to the raft of online analyses covering these moments of first contact, most of them have been drawn – quite literally – into the Trump trap. The roughhouse technique seems to involve Trump using his considerable girth to pull his opponent into his body. If that fails, he simply ensures that his fingers get further up the wrist of the unsuspecting foreign leader than might reasonably be expected in any non-competitive hand-offering.
An article in the Independent, the British daily speculated that the move is an extension of Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy, and ultimately, a play for the cameras.
The person who has lived the longest (according to reliable organizations such as Guinness World Records and the Gerontology Research Group) was a French woman called Jeanne Calment. Isn’t it another proof (if needed) of the impact of red wine? I see you smirking, and not without reason.
She herself thought olive oil played a part in her longevity and also to her being calm (calme in French) which she facetiously claimed to be the reason for her surname. Genetic tests showed that she carried the DR1 allele, common amongst centenarians.
Calment became especially well known from the age of 113, when art lovers started thronging to Arles on the occasion of the centenary celebration of another celebrity of the town i.e., Vincent van Gogh.
Mamata-di has a mulish trait in her character. Her stubbornness is inborn. And the State that has the good or bad fortune of having her as its Chief Minister has to pay the price of that.
After years and years of misrule the Left Front in its twilight years realized that industrialization of the State is the only way to get out of the cul de sac they had landed West Bengal in. Hence, the Left Front’s invitation to Tatas to set up shop in West Bengal for their small car project. That was the last – literally, the very last – chance of the State to turn a long-deferred new leaf. But Mamata-di chose to play the spoil sport. Her role in sabotaging the Tata small car project is too well-known to be reiterated.
The latest example of her pig-headedness is the refusal to settle the long-standing issue of sharing Teesta waters with Bangladesh. Sheikh Hussaina has retaliated by cutting off export of Hilsa fish to West Bengal which deprives the Bhadralok of West Bengal their culinary favorite.
A breathtakingly part of the shenanigans associated with the Kashmir politics is that our intelligence agencies have routinely arranged lucrative jobs and undue promotions for close relatives of the most active anti-India leaders, who spend all their time spewing hatred against India.
Just a few weeks ago, a major controversy erupted over Geelani’s grandson being offered a plum job at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre. Since the place is frequently used for high-security state functions, it is surely not possible for anyone to be employed there without clearance from security agencies. And the young man’s well-paid job is, you’ll be surprised to hear, part of a long-established pattern.
Modi’s Foreign Policy
Nehru and his daughter are not the only moulders and shapers of India’s foreign police. Modi too has done his bit to leave a stamp of his personality on India’s foreign policy. Non-alignment has been given a decent burial and major power diplomacy is now being conducted on the basis of strict reciprocity.
In the name of non-alignment, New Delhi had been pandering to Chinese sensitivities, imaginary or otherwise, for far too long. Now India is building pressure points around the Chinese periphery and is not hesitant in using powers like the US, Japan and Australia to stabilize the Indo-Pacific. While sections of the Indian intellectual establishment still retain reflexive anti-Americanism, Modi has used his decisive mandate to carve a new partnership with the US to harness its capital and technology for his domestic development agenda.
Most of all, Modi is not ambivalent about positioning India as a challenger to China’s growing regional might and assertiveness.
What, dear readers, do you call it when a Man-Baby takes over the American government?
A: Coup d'Tot.