International Policy Digest

BLOG

Coronavirus: A Threat to Geopolitics and Global Economy

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The international system is a sphere of anarchy where self-help, security dilemma and conflict are the order of the day. However, with the complex interdependence as a result of globalization, crises, events or the outbreak of a deadly virus in one part of the world can severely affect the other parts in no time. With the growing interdependence and free movement of people across the borders, the chances of getting embroiled in a crisis always loom large.

The recent outbreak of the deadly coronavirus in the capital city Wuhan of China’s Hubei province is a perfect example of how it is going to threaten geopolitics and the global economy. The virus is taking a terrible toll on human lives, killing more than 1,000 people in China and with thousands testing positive for the virus so far. The virus has infected people in dozens of countries till now and many countries have issued travel advisories to its citizens planning to visit China. Countries like Australia, the United States, and Singapore have blocked the entry of non-citizens traveling from China. Many countries worldwide have also imposed strict measures for reducing the risk of the virus outbreak. The Chinese government has instituted widespread lockdown of schools, colleges, businesses and industries and several metropolitan cities including Beijing and Shanghai, with at least 25 provinces being ordered to keep their company workers at home.

Gazi Hassan

Gazi Hassan is a Senior Research Associate working with CPPR- Centre for Strategic Studies. Mr. Hassan's research focuses on Asia-Pacific, particularly exploring geopolitical dynamics, developments related to trade, terrorism, the role of various actors and including the security dynamics of the region. He has previously worked as a researcher at the Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi and has been contributing articles to Foreign Policy News, SADF, various online platforms like The Quint, The Median and Newspaper dailies in Jammu and Kashmir.

Advancing to the Past: Creating Gas Station Attendant Jobs?

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In Illinois, where government pensions are well-underfunded and some politicians are totally bankrupt of any good job creation ideas to improve regional economic development, comes the latest in creating obsolete jobs for people and charging you for it.

This harkens back to the government efforts of the Great Depression when jobs were scarce, and the more modern version of “shovel-ready” projects in the Obama administration, were created to get some people back to work.

James Carlini is a strategist for mission critical networks, technology, and intelligent infrastructure. Since 1986, he has been president of Carlini and Associates. Besides being an author, keynote speaker, and strategic consultant on large mission critical networks including the planning and design for the Chicago 911 center, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trading floor networks, and the international network for GLOBEX, he has served as an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University.

Choosing Nationality: The Case of Tibetan Muslims

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to nationality. Earl Warren of the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed this by stating that it “is nothing less than the right to have rights.”

Although citizenship is fundamentally an exclusionary concept, India’s citizenship laws are increasingly becoming exclusionary. India has placed restrictions on acquiring citizenship through its Citizenship Amendment Act—a divergence from its traditional policy on citizenship. While India has traditionally facilitated the settlement of Afghans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshi, and Tibetan refugees, it’s accommodative and impartial attitude towards Tibetan Muslim refugees, was path-breaking and hasn’t since, seen a parallel.

Naveed Ahmad

Naveed Ahmad is currently working as a Legal Research Fellow in New Delhi.

‘Are the Democrats Completely Screwing This Up?’

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When Andy Kroll of Rolling Stone posited the prophetic question yesterday of “Are the Democrats Completely Screwing This Up?” even he probably wasn’t imagining the catastrophically embarrassing Democrat-made disaster Democrats would be facing a mere 24-hours later.

What a difference a day makes.

Munr Kazmir is the founder of American International School System, Entrepreneur, Vice President of the American Jewish Congress, humanitarian and philanthropist.

Brooke Bell

Brooke Bell is an assistant to Dr. Munr Kazmir.

Indo-U.S. Strategic Relations: Emergence of Fissures?

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After the Howdy Modi event, there appeared a new trajectory in U.S.- India relations, but behind the optics of the visit of Prime Minister Modi to the United States remained a host of contentious unresolved issues, be it on trade or defense. The first state visit of President Trump has led to the convergence of U.S. and Indian interests on a host of issues, the first of them includes on defense. India is keen to deepen its bilateral defense relationship with the U.S., the purchase of the 22 Apache attack choppers, the 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers signal that America is serious about bolstering its defense relationship with India.

One of the agendas of the Trump visit to confirm the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) would facilitate the exchange of geospatial information between India and the United States. The U.S. considers it one of the foundational agreements besides the MTCR, LEMOA, BASIC agreements which will allow India to gain access to cutting edge U.S. technology for military usages. One aspect that could be very important from the external sphere for New Delhi is to give more substance to the nascent Quad grouping, India has been generally shy of giving the Quad a full military makeover to counter the assertiveness of China in the vitally strategic Indian Ocean Region (IOR), upgrading the Quad grouping talks to ministerial level through direct talks with visiting U.S. president would accentuate the Indo-U.S. collaborate to serve as answer the hegemony nature of the Chinese military machine.

Pranay Kumar Shome

Pranay Kumar Shome is currently pursuing a BA in Political Science with specialization in International Relations from Jadavpur University. Pranay's research interests include the Middle East and West Asia, especially India’s West Asia foreign policy.

Linguistic Diversity of Sri Lanka: A Boon, not Bane

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Sri Lanka’s new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa recently stated that media freedom will not be hindered under his administration. Speaking to the heads of media institutions at a meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat, he reiterated on the role of media to promote the international image of the country. Against the backdrop of attention drawn to the right to freedom of expression, it is important to focus on a series of vandalism of Tamil street name boards at multiple locations by unidentified persons in the immediate aftermath of the 2019 November presidential election.

The Sinhalese constitute the majority ethnic group in Sri Lanka whose native language is Sinhala. Contrastingly, the Tamil-speaking ethnic Tamil community lives predominantly in the Northern and Eastern provinces. A close examination of Sri Lanka’s past language policies reveals that discriminatory legislation continuously spurred ethnic divides. For example, the implementation of the Sinhala Only Act of 1956 was a watershed moment that marked the beginning of a linguistic power struggle between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. Even though the Tamil Language (Special Provisions) Act of 1958 subsequently declared Tamil as a medium of instruction, it largely failed to appeal to Tamil sensibilities. Moreover, the introduction of the word ‘Sri’ in Sinhalese script to vehicle number plates in the 1950s was another rude shock to the Tamils who were grappling with the then government’s myopic attitudes to linguistic inclusivity. In such a scenario, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) gained momentum claiming to address Tamil grievances which were militarily defeated by security forces in 2009.

Dishani Senaratne

Dishani Senaratne’s latest non-profit initiative Writing Doves seeks to enhance intercultural understanding among young learners in Sri Lanka through trilingual narratives. She is also a published poet and short story writer.

Hezbollah Now Most Prominent Threat to U.S.

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After the killing of Iran’s Qassem Soleimani, the loudest voice (after Ayatollah Khamenei) threatening the United States is from Hezbollah. The secretary-general of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, in a public speech, said the U.S. military in the Middle East would pay a steep price for the killing of Soleimani, warning that American soldiers would return home in coffins. Nasrallah even said responding to the killing was not only Iran’s responsibility but the responsibility of its allies too. Founded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in 1982, Hezbollah is a critical part of Iranian foreign policy. Some analysts even believe that it’s an extension of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and they take direct orders from Tehran.

Taking revenge for the Soleimani killing is not just about pleasing Iran it is a personal loss too. As the primary architect of Iran’s strategic efforts to promote its expansion and undermine U.S. influence, Soleimani was particularly beloved by Hezbollah. One thing is also evident that Hezbollah doesn’t make empty threats. It has killed the highest number of Americans after Al-Qaeda. In October 1983, Hezbollah carried out a suicide bombing that killed hundreds of U.S. servicemen in Beirut.

Manish Rai is a geopolitical analyst and columnist for the Middle East and Af-Pak region and the editor of geopolitical news agency ViewsAround (VA). He has done reporting from Jordon, Iran, and Afghanistan. His work has been quoted in the British Parliament.

Should Hassan Nasrallah be Worried after Soleimani Assassination?

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The assassination of Iran’s Qassem Soleimani might be the most important planning done this year to eliminate an anti-American militant leader. Qassem Soleimani had directly threatened U.S. interests in the region. Supported by various Shia militant groups, he played an active role in the Syrian civil war. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could not have maintained his power without the help of Qassem Soleimani. He and the military wing under his command could organize Shia militant groups throughout Iraq. The Quds Force reached the Syrian border with Israel.

The Quds Corps is the representative of the promotion of a revolutionary perspective of Shia Islam having anti-Israel and anti-American nature beyond Iran’s borders. Qassem Soleimani’s daughter, Zeinab Soleimani, stated after the death of her father: “Uncle Nasrallah will avenge my father’s murder.” She mentioned Hassan Nasrallah, the Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary-General. He has had a significant role in the power balance of Lebanon since the 1980s. Cooperation dating back decades between Hassan Nasrallah and Qassem Soleimani raises the question whether Hassan Nasrallah should be worried about his life.

Nozhan is an author and political analyst. He has written a book entitled, 'Islamic Parties and the laicist perspective of Turkey,' as well as several articles about the Middle East and Iran in Iranian newspapers, including Shargh, Etemaad, Roozegar, and Bahar. He is a Political Philosophy's Student (PhD) in institute for Social and Cultural Studies Ministry of Science, Research & Technology of Iran.

Climate Change Means Lifestyle Change

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I would like to announce the publication of a book, which deals with the world’s failure to adequately address the existential danger of catastrophic climate change. The book consists mainly of book chapters and articles that I have previously published, although a considerable amount of new material has been added. It can be freely downloaded and circulated from the following link.

Greta Thunberg’s speeches at Davos, 2020

John Scales Avery

John Scales Avery was born in 1933 in Lebanon, where his father was Professor of Anatomy at the American University of Beirut. He received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles, both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. In 1969 he founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and he served as its Managing Editor until 1980. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization between 1988 and 1997, and as Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs between 1990 and the present.

ABBOTT Supply Chain’s Weakest Links

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“It’s not rocket science, it’s more like razor blades and simply getting more packets of them to the customer.”

“Who’s on First?” pretty much describes ABBOTT’s supply chain management when it comes to assessing their FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring system.

James Carlini is a strategist for mission critical networks, technology, and intelligent infrastructure. Since 1986, he has been president of Carlini and Associates. Besides being an author, keynote speaker, and strategic consultant on large mission critical networks including the planning and design for the Chicago 911 center, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trading floor networks, and the international network for GLOBEX, he has served as an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University.

Bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir Acknowledges that it was an Artificial State

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On the 31st of October 2019, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories. This move reversed a critical step taken by the British in 1846. Interestingly, reactions from Jammu and Leh, have been construed to be ‘popular support’ for the move. A similar mistake of misinterpreting ‘popular support’ was committed in 1947, when the state, quite naturally, broke. In order to understand this, it is important to contextualize the complexity of the political aspirations of the people belonging to all regions and the circumstances that led to the creation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Creation of an Unnatural State

Naveed Ahmad

Naveed Ahmad is currently working as a Legal Research Fellow in New Delhi.

A Plague On Both Your Houses

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“Like war, impeachment is hell.” – Ken Starr

As Democrats desperately try to keep impeachment alive in the Senate, Trump is reportedly already planning a flamboyant season finale episode to end this latest impeachment drama with a theatrical flourish.

Munr Kazmir is the founder of American International School System, Entrepreneur, Vice President of the American Jewish Congress, humanitarian and philanthropist.

Brooke Bell

Brooke Bell is an assistant to Dr. Munr Kazmir.

India and Israel Partnership is Comprehensive and Strategic: Israel Envoy to India

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Dr. Ron Malka is the Israeli ambassador to India. In an interview, he speaks about Indo-Israel relations.

The following interview was conducted via email and has been lightly edited.

Manish Rai is a geopolitical analyst and columnist for the Middle East and Af-Pak region and the editor of geopolitical news agency ViewsAround (VA). He has done reporting from Jordon, Iran, and Afghanistan. His work has been quoted in the British Parliament.

Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei Breaks the First Rule of Ruling

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While Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani was being educated at one of the best colleges in England, he should have paid a little more attention to the British monarchy.

More specifically, he should have paid attention to some of the values that have kept the ruling Royal family firmly ruling through more social upheavals than most can imagine.

Munr Kazmir is the founder of American International School System, Entrepreneur, Vice President of the American Jewish Congress, humanitarian and philanthropist.

Brooke Bell

Brooke Bell is an assistant to Dr. Munr Kazmir.

India’s March towards Protectionism

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By choosing not to join the RCEP, India has made it clear that protectionism triumphs over multilateralism when there is significant opposition to a free trade agreement when domestic interests are at stake

RCEP-a cliffhanger for India

Pranay Kumar Shome

Pranay Kumar Shome is currently pursuing a BA in Political Science with specialization in International Relations from Jadavpur University. Pranay's research interests include the Middle East and West Asia, especially India’s West Asia foreign policy.

Bloomberg’s Billion-Dollar Bet

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If you’ve turned on a television recently to cheer your favorite sports team or watch your favorite game show you’ve probably seen a political ad for Mike Bloomberg.

And if you’ve seen one ad for Mike Bloomberg this campaign season, you’ve probably seen at least a dozen by now.

Munr Kazmir is the founder of American International School System, Entrepreneur, Vice President of the American Jewish Congress, humanitarian and philanthropist.

Brooke Bell

Brooke Bell is an assistant to Dr. Munr Kazmir.

Who is Winning Through their Proxy Sponsorships in Yemen: Iran or Saudi Arabia?

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Now entering its fifth year, the brutal civil war between the Saudi-sponsored Hadi factions and Iran-sponsored Houthi rebels has turned Yemen into a humanitarian catastrophe. The Kingdom began indiscriminate airstrikes against Yemen in early 2015, but only when war-groomed Houthis struck two major Saudi oil installations, U.S. policymakers and the global community turned to Yemen, Iran, and the wider issue of proxies. But in retrospect, of the two archrival states involved, what has each one gained and lost with their proxy? Who is really winning?

Saudi Arabia

Tanvi Chauhan

For a female who was born in Asia, grew up in Africa, and currently residing in the United States, an avid zest for traveling and being informed about the global community was anything but natural. I hold a MSIR (with honors) in global studies from Troy University. My thesis subject revolved around proxy sponsorship and affiliations. In this light, I have studied the Middle-East's, Russia's, and United States foreign policies quite closely.

Is Africa Facing an Impending Water War?

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In recent years, several geopolitical and strategic policy recommendations and conditions have been made to address the conundrum facing the Nile riparian states to foster a peaceful co-existence towards an equitable utilization of the Nile waters and to promote cooperative hydrological relations between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan. It’s hard to say whether there has been a dynamic shift in the hydropolitical relations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on resolving the problem of water security under Article (b) of the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) and a consensus on negotiating if not rendering the 1959 Water Agreement as null and void towards the possibility of alternative water-sharing formulae as against the perpetuation of the status quo in the Nile Basin. Though there have been dramatic changes in the political landscapes of all three riparian states, the geopolitical chess games being played now in the Basin region and internationally will define what the future holds in the hydrological relations.

Changes in the political landscape is reflected with a second-term swearing in of President Abdel al-Sisi as the President of Egypt, Abiy Ahmed elected as the prime minister of Ethiopia since and being awarded the Noble Peace Prize for his work in ending the 20-year post-war territorial stalemate between his country and Eritrea after a dramatic exit of former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and in Sudan, and finally, Omar al-Bashir deposed in a coup d’état for what many characterized as a dictatorship, oppression, genocide, and human rights abuses. These are landmark changes in the democratic dispensation of these countries as African countries make progress towards transparency, accountability, good governance, and nation-building, but the hydrological relations between these three riparian states which for the past five years was thawing towards cooperation are at cross-roads pointing more towards conflict between upstream Ethiopia and downstream Egypt, with mid-stream Sudan cautiously juxtaposing towards Ethiopia for its own hydropower interests.

Professor of International Relations and Comparative Politics and Government.

Afghanistan has Changed but the Taliban Hasn’t: Afghan Envoy to India

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The following interview with Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, Tahir Qadiry, was conducted at the Afghanistan embassy in New Delhi.

The conversation was lightly edited for flow.

Manish Rai is a geopolitical analyst and columnist for the Middle East and Af-Pak region and the editor of geopolitical news agency ViewsAround (VA). He has done reporting from Jordon, Iran, and Afghanistan. His work has been quoted in the British Parliament.