Friday, July 30, 2010

Global Political Instability - Is Mars to be Blamed?

It seems we are living in crazy times.
Is it a mere coincidence that some of the biggest (or rather surprising) victors of the war of the ballot, the world over, are today down in the dumps.
Let's begin with India. Manmohan Singh was my personal favourite to lead India in last year's general elections, especially after he championed the nuclear deal and did some plain speak on the pit of hell, Pakistan. But then, after his surprise re-election, he bungled on Baluchistan, at Sharm-el-Sheikh, lost his way on inflation and his cabinet ministers today look like squabbling toddlers. Post the Sharm-el-Sheikh fiasco, Manmohan Singh looked like a guy who was very unsure of himself, extremely under confident. This is leading from one personal failure to another - talks with Pakistan being a very big, big mistake.
Barack Obama stormed into office in early 2009 riding high on a popularity wave. Well intentioned he is, I don't doubt that a bit, but his presidency is characterised by long winding spiels (they get you the Nobel Peace Prize, don't they?) with little action to follow. Within the United States, he did have a few successes on healthcare and financial regulation, but he somehow has a confused policy on Iraq and the Af-Pak region. He has tried appease the rogues of the world - China, Pakistan, North Korea, while rubbing allies like Israel and India the wrong way. Little wonder that his popularity has evaporated and approval ratings have sunk to 49% today. And the Wikileaks episode surely does not help. And now news is coming in that the Republicans are gaining ground, surely.
Nicolas Sarkozy crushed Ségolène Royal but the latest corruption scandal involving illegal election funding from the heiress of L'Oreal, Liliane Bettencourt does not help matters. His differences with Angela Merkel on the economic revival of Europe threaten the stability of the European Union. Virility with Carla Bruni is one thing, but sustaining credibility is a different ball game altogether. Hope Sarkozy realises that!
Japan's Yukio Hatoyama lead the DPJ to a decisive victory over the LDP (Indians could liken the LDP to the Congress of Japan, with over 54 years of rule?), but he too lost his way with financial scandals and his inability to keep the promise of closing an American military base in Okinawa. His unpopularity forced the DPJ to ask him to step down.
The land Down Under, Australia, isn't immune to the contagion. Kevin Rudd who was known for his infamous "orgasm with China" speech should have known orgasms do not last long, the same holds true for popularity. His popularity dipped considerably on a climate change legislation and the proposal to tax super-normal profits from mineral extraction. He ultimately had to be eased out only to be replaced by Wales born Julia Gillard, in what was called a bloodless coup by the press. It is believed that after his resignation, Rudd wept on ABC Radio. What an abrupt end to his orgasm!

What is it that is going wrong?

Perhaps, it is something as freakish as what astrology buffs in India would say - Mars has entered their planetary charts? or "कुंडली में मंगल प्रवेश कर चूका है!!!!!"

However freakish it may be, it is surely quite unsettling to see a grand political instability at the world stage.

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