Sunday, September 27, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
India, in order to face this kind of conflict, needs to evolve a new strategic doctrine covering our nation's long term security, foreign affairs and economic policy. We cannot, cannot, afford to look at any of these policies in isolation any longer, any more. We need to know what our interests are, very clearly - that's the first step to evolving a doctrine. As Henry Kissinger had said "There are no permanent friends or foes in diplomacy, only permanent interests."
Sunday, September 13, 2009
"Delhi people", a term, which is a term interchangeably used for North Indians, are arrogant, flashy, have an attitude and are ostentatious...
Delhi is a brash, uncouth, unfriendly, inhospitable city
Delhi neither has a culture nor a "character"
Delhi hides its dark underbelly
Friday, September 11, 2009
Sad but true, the world has indeed changed in these 8 years.
America's reaction, or as some may say over-reaction, post 9/11 has resulted in America's popularity plummeting the world over, except for a handful of countries.
Was Bush wrong? I really don't think he had a choice. He had to act, act really fast. The war in Afghanistan was largely justified, though I did have reservations on Iraq. Afghanistan was a global nuisance, but Iraq was a fairly safe and secular state under Saddam (though he wasn't quite a saint either).
America's plunging popularity has been evident in Pew Research Center's Pew Global Attitudes Project. America's "Favourability Rating" as Pew calls it has gone down considerably from 2000 to 2009. It is obvious that the decline would be substantial in the Islamic world, the Pew report confirms that. But what is surprising is the decline in the likes of Canada and Britain.
Something surely went wrong.
But on the other hand, America's popularity in India gives us some clues, some learning's. America has seen a steady but increasing popularity here.
The lesson is obvious. It is an issue of brute force vs. soft power.
The Islamic world thinks that it has been at the "receiving end" for long now. American allies like Canada and Britain which had supported the American brute force saw their economy falter. Their people saw their governments fighting America's war, under coercion etc. etc. which led to the decline in popularity.
On the other hand, in India, America exercised a kind of soft power. The American dream is something that India understands very well because we ourselves share similar dreams and aspirations. Outsourcing from America, H1B, etc. gave the Indian dream its wings. Hollywood has made significant inroads in India, not only through cable and satellite, but also through piracy - it is not uncommon to find peddlers selling Hollywood releases all over the country for a mere Rs. 50 - 100. Piracy in software also contributed to the growth and enhancement of IT skills in India - tell which small town computer institute here doesn't use pirated software? This in turn, opened a whole new world of economic possibilities. It may sound trivial, but American brands like Coke, Pepsi, McDonald's, etc. were the best ambassadors of America's soft power here.
America's soft power worked in India. Pew's numbers show that.
And that is a lesson for America. Influencing the world through soft power doesn't make enemies , brute force does, creating a spiral of war and destruction, as we have seen. Soft power, on the other hand, can prevent a 9/11-like situation.
Obama is perhaps trying to reorient the brute force into soft power. But I fear, he might swing to the other end of the spectrum and become completely soft and pliable. Closure of Guantanamo is one such example, which was covered in my earlier blog, Old Wine, New Bottle...
So time will tell whether America learns its lessons or not.....
Saturday, September 5, 2009
First I was dying to finish high school and start college
And then I was dying to finish college and start working
Then I was dying to marry and have children
And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough so I could go back to work
But then i was dying to retire
I am dying.........
And suddenly I realized I forgot to live
Please don't let this happen in life
Appreciate your current situation and enjoy each day against all the odds
To make money we lose health and then to restore our health we lose our money....
We live as if we are never going to die!
Friday, September 4, 2009
Today Harish punished his 4-year old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box.
Nevertheless, the little girl brought the birthday gift to her father the next morning and said, "Happy Birthday Papa, this is for you." He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found the box was empty.
He yelled at her, "Don't you know that when you give someone a present, there's supposed to be something inside it?"
The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, "Oh, Daddy, it is not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Papa."
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness. It is told that the man kept that gold box by his bed for years and whenever he was discouraged, he would takeout an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.
In a very real sense, each of us as humans have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, friends, family and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Happy, yet simple!!!
The cock with an attitude!
Waiting for work?
The Sam Dune desert camp
Sunset at Pokharan
Adieu Dear Ganpati!
A pup in the sky?