Views Digest

December, 2013

  • 6 December

    Interfaith Monologues

    Abrahamic religions have a patrimony of persecution. Over millennia, Judaism has been persecuted by history, Christianity by the Romans, and Islam by Samuel Huntington. Victimisation has been not simply the cost of difference. It has been the price exacted for faith.   The 20th century has seen a change that would have been unthinkable 100 years ago. Religionists have moved …

  • 6 December

    Mandela for the Ages

    Without Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s apartheid nightmare eventually would have come to an end. Its enforcers were beyond the civilized pale, and the world’s patience with them had run out. But, without Mandela’s towering moral and political leadership, the transition would have been long, ugly, and bloody beyond measure.   One Afrikaner leader, F.W. De Klerk, came to understand – …

  • 5 December

    Obama’s Undocumented Uncle Spared from Deportation

    Onyango Obama, President Obama’s undocumented uncle, ducked deportation Tuesday (Nov 3), when a federal immigration judge allowed him to remain in the U.S. legally. Obama, 68, has been living in the U.S. for fifty years, but a 2011 drunk driving charge attracted the attention of immigration officials, who have been instructed by President Obama to prioritize criminal deportations. The president’s …

  • 5 December

    India’s Troubled Soldiers

    A string of incidents involving indiscipline and insubordination in the Indian armed forces has set off alarm bells in India’s defense establishment. Since May last year, there have been at least four violent clashes between officers and jawans (soldiers) of the Indian army. Two of these occurred over a span of five days last month.   On October 10, jawans of …

  • 5 December

    Why India is Wary of Bangladesh’s Opposition?

    Bangladesh is set to go to the polls on January 5, 2014 to elect its 10th Parliament amid a protracted political crisis. The Opposition combine has initiated a new wave of violent agitation to undo what it calls a “unilateral election.” However, it is unlikely that the Election Commission will cancel the polls it has announced to meet the nation’s …

  • 5 December

    Understanding Pakistan’s New Top Soldier

      As his closest professional confidante, the choice of Chief of the General Staff (CGS) is usually a strong indicator of the Army Chief’s preference for a successor.  Passing him over for CGS for (than) Lt General Rashad Mahmood. Kayani appointed Lt General Haroon Aslam as Chief of Logistics Services (CLS). Junior to Rashad, (than) Lt Gen Raheel Sharif was …

  • 4 December

    Afghanistan-US Long-term Partnership: What’s at Stake?

    With President Karzai’s persistence in his refusal to sign the bilateral security agreement between Afghanistan and the US, the opponents of the agreement are finding a louder voice in opposing the much crucial security agreement between Kabul and Washington. In recent weeks, as the standoff over a timely signing of the security pact has continued, the militant groups have lauded …

  • 4 December

    Achieving Constitutional Reform in Myanmar

    The creation this summer of the 109-member Constitutional Review Joint Committee, tasked with submitting recommendations for possible amendments by years end, is the first concrete step to reform the much criticized Constitution of Myanmar. The majority of commentary by the opposition and outside observers is centered on marginalizing the political role of the military, specifically its representation in Parliament and in the executive; the …

  • 4 December

    Indo-Iran Relations: Sauce for the Goose, But Not the Gander

    Earlier this year, I asked a senior American diplomat why India and the United States differed fundamentally in their vision of Iran and its place in the world. He blunted my leading question, suggested that both countries were on the same page as far as sanctions were concerned, and began reeling off measures India had taken to reduce Iranian crude …

  • 3 December

    Bhutan’s Drying Orchards Worry Farmers

    This used to be the time of the year in Bhutan that put smile on the face of mandarin farmers, the time of the year when they could earn some cash to score their dreams – of sending their kids to schools and colleges, of upping their material gratification as they liked it.   Mandarin was the gold that Bhutanese …