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A trial of the Taliban criminals must occur before we leave

Alexander Athos

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Without a trial of the Taliban criminals, both Afghanistan and the failed nuclear state of Pakistan will be exposed to the resurgence of their evil rule and malign global influence.

 

 Islamo-fascism poisons not only physically but also mentally. Taliban criminals must be put on trial.

Some elements within the Taliban have committed terrible crimes and those men who committed those crimes must be held to account before NATO-ISAF leave. It is unlikely that justice will be served by having the trials proceed in Afghanistan and in any case there is talk of a blanket amnesty by the Afghan government.

However while the International community is there they need to see that justice is done.

“The Taliban pounded on the door just before midnight, demanding that Aisha, 18, be punished for running away from her husband’s house. They dragged her to a mountain clearing near her village in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, ignoring her protests that her in-laws had been abusive, that she had no choice but to escape. Shivering in the cold air and blinded by the flashlights trained on her by her husband’s family, she faced her spouse and accuser.

Her in-laws treated her like a slave, Aisha pleaded. They beat her. If she hadn’t run away, she would have died. Her judge, a local Taliban commander, was unmoved. Later, he would tell Aisha’s uncle that she had to be made an example of lest other girls in the village try to do the same thing. The commander gave his verdict, and men moved in to deliver the punishment. Aisha’s brother-in-law held her down while her husband pulled out a knife. First he sliced off her ears. Then he started on her nose. Aisha passed out from the pain but awoke soon after, choking on her own blood. The men had left her on the mountainside to die.” {Time 29 Jul 2010]

Crimes against women like disfigurement, assault, starvation, “ rape, , sexual slavery, forced marriage, ethnic cleansing, the use of women to spread terror, particularly terror by threats of violence against women and/or their families…are crimes against humanity” [http://www.iccwomen.org/wigjdraft1/Archives/oldWCGJ/resources/cahreport.htm ]

What sickness of mind would allow or justify the Taliban’s execution by public hanging of a 7 year old boy which they did in Helmand province 2 years ago because they said he was a ‘spy’.

“I don’t think there’s a crime bigger than that, that even the most inhuman forces on earth can commit,” Hamid Karzai said . “A 7-year-old boy cannot be a spy. A 7-year-old boy cannot be anything but a 7-year-old boy” [NY Daily News 10 June 2010]

At the same time another Islam fascist fanatic detonated a suicide bomb at a wedding because there were Afghan police officers in the party. 40 Muslims were killed many of them small children another 77 were injured.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1285508/Taliban-execute-boy-seven-accused-spy.html

There are elements within Afghanistan that seek to grant a blanket general amnesty to all Taliban ‘fighters’ in an effort to promote reconciliation. This is a grave mistake. Fascists (whether Nazi’s or the Salafi/Deobondi-Takfiri-Jihadi kind) cannot be appeased nor rehabilitated. Giving them immunity only encourages even more outrageous acts of inhumanity because they know they are unaccountable. (When the democracies failed to stand up to the Fascists over Czechoslovakia it only emboldened them to commence wars of aggression against the rest of Europe and the slaughter of millions). Many parties and civil rights groups in Afghanistan oppose amnesty for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Taliban because it condones their extremism which is toxic for the Afghan society if it is to move forward.

The Islamo-fascists (both local Taliban, Pakistani Taliban and Arab Salafi-Takfiri Jihadi insurgents) have committed 75% of all civilian casualties in the Afghan War [see: UN Security Council reports as well as The Afghan Justice Project reports ] and continue to beat, poison and intimidate the ordinary Afghan people. Following on bombings in marketplaces, the Islamo Fascists also target schools.

Just this week in the Afghan province of Takhar the Taliban sprayed poison on 125 girls and three teachers, causing them to vomit and lose consciousness. This follows earlier equally horrific poisonings and killings including an incident in April in the same province when 170 women and girls were hospitalized when the Islamo- fascists poisoned their well because they refused to stop attending school and educating girls. Attacking girls and teachers who dare teach them has become a common tactic for the Taliban along with suicide bombings. Everyone must submit to their ideology or face the consequences.

This fascist tactic of extreme violence (just like the ongoing bombings in Iraq and throughout AF-PAK) to intimidate the population to force their rule has to be met with justice and not bullets.

Isalmo-fascism poisons not only physical wells but much worse ‘the well-springs of the mind’ of the poor people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The terror they bring forces the population into subjugation mentally, physically and spiritually to the fascist tyranny.

Some think by NATO and its allies training the Afghan army and leaving the country everything will be all right. It won’t be. It has nothing to do with Non-Muslim soldiers leaving ‘Muslim’ lands. The Islamo-fascists are not Muslims just as Hitler’s devotees were not Christians; they are fanatics who inflict any cruelty and commit any crime to advance their politico-social agenda of subjugation of society to their ideology of hate.

Indeed it is likely that the Islamo-fascists will again attempt to gain control of the country by bombs, violence, threats and intimidation of the population, the majority of whom are Muslims no less than they do on the Pakistan side of the border.

The leadership and ideologues of Islamo-fascists in AF-PAK have committed and continue to commit crimes against humanity no less heinous than the Nazis between 1935 and 1945 and they do so against Muslims as well as people of other faiths.

Before NATO-ISAF leaves they must arrest and put on trial in the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court all those leaders including ideologues in Pakistan who created the Taliban as accessories (and insist that Pakistan Government deliver them over notwithstanding the opposition that will come from ISI). If he hadn’t committed suicide (which he did at the same time he killed his own 6 children) should Goebbels have escaped Nuremberg trials just because he used his tongue instead of a rifle to lead the Nazi state to disenfranchise, enslave and murder millions of people in 10 short years?

If these criminals are not brought to justice now, when NATO-ISAF leaves, what do you think the  Islamo-fascists will do? Of course they will together with their masters in Pakistan and beyond, reassert their terrible oppression mentally and physically over the people of Afghanistan as well as continuing to do so in Pakistan.

The fledgling army of Afghanistan will be ill equipped ideologically and sociologically to deal with the organized and extremely well financed Islamo-fascist machine orchestrated from within and without Afghanistan.

Drone attacks are not the answer against this evil because it too is an instrument of brutality in that many innocent people are sometimes killed and wounded and more importantly there is no trial to assert what is right and punish that which is wrong.

The Taliban criminality, (no less than the Einzatsgruppen criminality in imposing the Nazi ideology in Eastern Europe in World War II), has to  now be judged in open international court so the people can see that justice exists and have the strength to fight the Taliban darkness with the light of God and  a decent civil society free from the violence and barbarity of brainless fascist thugs whether they wear boots or sandals because both trample basic human rights underfoot and cover truth in the blood of innocents.

The people of AF-PAK deserve a ‘Kandahar’ Nuremberg style trial against the barbaric crimes of the Taliban which cannot be left unpunished if they are to be stopped.

In addition (just as they should be supported in our homelands when they speak out against similar Islamo- fascism), true religious leaders in AF-PAK have to be supported and protected when they come out and welcome the fact that those members of the Taliban who committed crimes against humanity are judged and condemned. Normative values of universal justice must be supported or the people will not be strong enough to stand against the rise again of the surge of the Islamo- fascists.

It must be dealt with by justice so that Afghanistan has at least a chance to steer away from the edge of madness again not just for the sake of the women and children but also our collective global security. You cannot leave the wasp nest in tact if you don’t want to be stung again.

NATO-ASAF have sacrificed too many men to leave the wells of AF-PAK poisoned.

NATO-ASAF may have cleaned up most of the top leadership of Al Qaeda (which is unfortunately just the tip of the Islamo-Fascist iceberg) but they have largely lost the war to the insurgent’s masters. They have failed because they have just been fighting the foot soldier insurgents (many of whom are not even Afghani) and have not gone after their masters. As with Vietnam, the allies had to fight with one hand tied behind their back and you cannot win a war that way. However not all is lost if the source of the enemy’s power is neutralized and that is the doctrine of Islamo-Fascism itself and the crimes against humanity it encourages (indeed demands) their devotees commit.

Without a trial of the Taliban criminals, both Afghanistan and the failed nuclear state of Pakistan will be exposed to the resurgence of their evil rule and malign global influence.

NATO-ISAF UNAMA still have the opportunity to redeem something out of the resources and sacrifices that have been poured into the region over the last ten years and leave a positive legacy for the people (not the least of whom are the poor women and girls) and an abiding security assurance for our homelands.

That legacy will not come with bullets, drone attacks or wishful thinking that the Afghan Army won’t be turned into an instrument of terror by the Islamo fascists when they return to power but with justice.

This will then give ordinary people in Afghanistan (including the Afghan Army) and also the suffering Muslims in Pakistan the moral and spiritual courage to face Islamo-Fascists when they come (and they surely will come) and clean out the poison from their wells and rebuild their society on foundations based on true Islam, human dignity for all peoples of all faiths including women and children.

Athos

June 2012

 http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-06-10/news/27066837_1_suicide-bomber-helmand-taliban

 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/10/world/asia/10afghanistan.html?_r=1

 http://www.afghanistanjusticeproject.org/

 http://www.scribd.com/doc/36261386/The-Taliban-s-Crimes-Against-Humanity-and-the-Women-of-Afghanistan

Alexander Athos is a writer and businessman.He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts (European History) Personal background Alexander was christened Orthodox brought up Catholic and now Evangelical Christian with an acceptance of the best in Christian tradition and a respect for genuine people of faith from other cultures. Political inclinations: Christian intellectual who has an eclectic predisposition to understanding global and national political and social trends and seeking to influence them for good by thoughtful and persuasive discourse.

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South Asia

Can India Balance Between Beijing and Washington?

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On October 10, 2018, a Senior Chinese Diplomat in India underscored the need for New Delhi and Beijing to work jointly, in order to counter the policy of trade protectionism, being promoted by US President, Donald Trump.

It would be pertinent to point out, that US  had imposed tariffs estimated at 200 Billion USD in September 2018, Beijing imposed tariffs on 60 Billion USD of US imports as a retaliatory measure, and US threatened to impose further tariffs. Interestingly, US trade deficit vis-à-vis China reached 34.1 Billion USD for the month of September (in August 2018, it was 31 Billion USD). Critics of Trump point to this increasing trade deficit vis-à-vis China as a reiteration of the fact, that Trump’s economic policies are not working.

Ji Rong, Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India said that tariffs will be detrimental for both India and China and given the fact that both are engines of economic growth it is important for both to work together.

The Chinese diplomat’s statement came at an interesting time. US President, Donald Trump on October 2, also referred to India as ‘tariff king’. Even though the India-US strategic relationship has witnessed a significant upswing, yet the US President has repeatedly referred to India imposing high tariffs on US exports to India (specifically Harley Davidson motorcyles).

It also came days after, after India signed a deal with Russia (October 5, 2018) for the purchase of 5 S-400 Air Defence system, during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Chinese envoy’s statement also came days before India attended the China dominated Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Significantly, India and China also began a joint training programme for Afghan Diplomats on October 15, 2018 (which would last till October 26, 2018).

Trilateral cooperation between India, China and Afghanistan was one of the main thrust areas of the Wuhan Summit, between Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and Indian PM, Narendra Modi, and this is one of the key initiatives in this direction.

There are a number of factors, which have resulted in New Delhi and Beijing seeking to reset their relationship. The first is difference between New Delhi and Washington on economic ties between the former and Iran and Russia. Washington has given mixed signals with regard to granting India exemptions from Countering America Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

US ambiguity on providing waivers to India

While sections of the US establishment, especially Jim Mattis, Defence Secretary and Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo have been fervently backing a waiver to India, there are those who oppose any sort of waiver even to India. NSA John Bolton has been warning US allies like India, that there will be no exemption or waiver from US sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector. On October 4th, Bolton while briefing the press said:

“This is not the Obama administration … is my message to them (the importers),

Trump himself has not been clear on providing India a waiver, when asked about this issue, he said India would  know soon about the US decision (Trump has the authority to provide a Presidential waiver to India from the deal with Russia). A State Department Spokesperson also stated, that the US was carefully watching S-400 agreement with Russia, as well as India’s decision to import oil from Iran, and such steps were ‘not helpful’. With the US President being excessively transactionalist, it is tough to predict his final decision, and with growing differences between him and Mattis, one of the ardent advocates of waivers for India, it remains to be seen as to which camp will prevail.

US protectionism and New Delhi’s discomfort

Differences between Washington and New Delhi don’t end on the latter’s economic ties with Tehran and Moscow. India has on numerous occasions stated, that while strengthening strategic ties with the US, it was concerned about the Trump administration’s economic policies. This was clearly evident from the Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s speech at the SCO Meet (October 12, 2018) held at Dushanbe, Tajikistan where she pitched for an open global trading order. Said Swaraj:

“We have all benefited from globalization. We must further develop our trade and investment cooperation. We support an open, stable international trade regime based on centrality of the World Trade Organization,”

Even if one to look beyond Trump’s unpredictability, there is scope for synergies between New Delhi and Beijing in terms of economic sphere and some crucial connectivity projects.

Economic Opportunities

For long, trade has been skewed in favour of China, and this is a growing concern for India. Trade deficit between India and China has risen from 51.1 Billion USD in 2016-2017 to 62.9 Billion in 2017-2018 (a rise of over 20 percent).

The imposition of US tariffs has opened up opportunities for China importing certain commodities from India. This includes commodities like soybeans and rapeseed meal. In a seminar held at the Indian embassy in Beijing in September 2018, this issue was discussed and one on one meetings between potential importers (China) and sellers (India) was held. India urged China to remove the ban which had imposed on the import of rape meal seeds in 2011.

Connectivity and Afghanistan

Another area where there is immense scope for cooperation between India and China is big ticket connectivity projects. During his India visit, Uzbekistan President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev invited India to participate in a rail project connecting Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has welcomed this proposal, saying that this would strengthen cooperation between China and India in Afghanistan. India-China cooperation on this project is very much in sync with the China-India Plus Model proposed by China at the BRICS Summit in July 2018.

India and China can also work jointly for capacity building in Afghanistan. New Delhi has already been involved in providing assistance to Afghanistan in institution building and disaster management, and if Beijing and New Delhi join hands this could make for a fruitful partnership. The India-China joint training program for Afghan diplomats is a significant move in this direction. India and China can also look at joint scholarships to Afghan students where they can spend part of their time in China and the remaining time in India.

Both India and New Delhi for any meaningful cooperation in Afghanistan can not be risk averse, and will have to shed their hesitation. Beijing for instance has opted for a very limited ‘capacity building’ , where it will work with India in Afghanistan. While Kabul had expected that both sides will invest in a significant infrastructure project, Beijing with an eye on its ally Islamabad’s sensitivities opted for a low profile project.

Conclusion

New Delhi should not be too predictable in it’s dealings with Washington DC, and has to do a fine balancing act between Beijing and Washington DC. While on certain strategic issues are synergies between India and the US, on crucial economic and geo-political issues, there are serious differences, and India’s ties with Beijing are crucial in this context. New Delhi and Beijing should seek to expand economic ties, and the latter should give more market access to Indian goods. Apart from this, both countries should work closely on connectivity projects. If both sides build trust, the sky is the limit but it will require pragmatism from both sides. Beijing should not allow the Pakistani deep state to dictate it’s links with India (especially in the context of cooperation in Afghanistan). New Delhi on its part, should not make any one issue a sticking point in its complex but very important relationship with Beijing.

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South Asia

The “Neo-Cold War” in the Indian Ocean Region

Kagusthan Ariaratnam

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Addressing an event last week at London’s Oxford University, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said some people are seeing “imaginary Chinese Naval bases in Sri Lanka. Whereas the Hambantota Port (in southern Sri Lanka) is a commercial joint venture between our Ports Authority and China Merchants – a company listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.”

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has denied US’ claims that China might build a “forward military base” at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port which has been leased out to Beijing by Colombo. Sri Lanka failed to pay a Chinese loan of $1.4 billion and had to lease the China-developed port to Beijing for 99 years. Both New Delhi and Washington had in the past expressed concerns that Beijing could use the harbor for military purposes.

Image courtesy of Google

The USA, China, and India are the major powers playing their key role in the “Neo-Cold War” in Central Asian landmass and the strategic sea lanes of the world in the Indian Ocean where 90% of the world trade is being transported everyday including oil. It is this extension of the shadowy Cold War race that can be viewed as the reason for the recent comment made by the US Vice President Mike Pence that China is using “debt diplomacy” to expand its global footprint and Hambantota “may soon become a forward military base for China’s expanding navy”.

According to some analysts, the deep-water port, which is near a main shipping route between Asia and Europe, is likely to play a major role in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

In his book “Monsoon” Robert D. Kaplan (2010), a senior fellow at the Centre for a New American Security notes the following:

[…] the Indian Ocean will turn into the heart of a new geopolitical map, shifting from a unilateral world power to multilateral power cooperation. This transition is caused by the changing economic and military conditions of the USA, China and India. The Indian Ocean will play a big role in the 21st century’s confrontation for geopolitical power. The greater Indian Ocean region covers an arc of Islam, from the Sahara Desert to the Indonesian archipelago. Its western reaches include Somalia, Yemen, Iran, and Pakistan — constituting a network of dynamic trade as well as a network of global terrorism, piracy, and drug trafficking […]

Two third of the global maritime trade passes through a handful of relatively narrow shipping lanes, among which five geographic “chokepoints” or narrow channels that are gateway to and from Indian ocean: (1) Strait of Hormuz (2) Bab el-Mandab Passage (3) Palk Strait (4) Malacca and Singapore Straits and (5) Sunda Strait.

While Lutz Kleveman (2003), argues that the Central Asia is increasingly becoming the most important geostrategic region for the future commodities, Michael Richardson (2004) on the other hand explains that the global economy depends on the free flow of shipping through the strategic international straits, waterways, and canals in the Indian Ocean.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA)  report published in 2017, “world chokepoints for maritime transit of oil are a critical part of global energy security. About 63% of the world’s oil production moves on maritime routes. The Strait of Hormuz and the Strait of Malacca are the world’s most important strategic chokepoints by volume of oil transit” (p.1). These channels are critically important to the world trade because so much of it passes through them. For instance, half of the world’s oil production is moved by tankers through these maritime routes. The blockage of a chokepoint, even for a day, can lead to substantial increases in total energy costs and thus these chokepoints are critical part of global energy security.  Hence, whoever control these chockpoints, waterways, and sea routes in the Indian Ocean maritime domain will reshape the region as an emerging global power.

In a recent analysis of globalization and its impact on Central Asia and Indian Ocean region, researcher Daniel Alphonsus (2015), notes that the twists and turns of political, economic and military turbulence were significant to all great players’ grand strategies:

(1) the One Belt, One Road (OBOR), China’s anticipated strategy to increase connectivity and trade between Eurasian nations, a part of which is the future Maritime Silk Road (MSR), aimed at furthering collaboration between south east Asia, Oceania and East Africa; (2) Project Mausam, India’s struggle to reconnect with its ancient trading partners along the Indian Ocean, broadly viewed as its answer to the MSR; and (3) the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor, the USA’s effort to better connect south and south east Asian nations. (p.3)

India the superpower of the subcontinent, has long feared China’s role in building outposts around its periphery. In a recent essay, an Indian commentator Brahma Chellaney wrote that the fusion of China’s economic and military interests “risk turning Sri Lanka into India’s Cuba” – a reference to how the Soviet Union courted Fidel Castro’s Cuba right on the United States’ doorstep. Located at the Indian Ocean’s crossroads gives Sri Lanka the strategic and economic weight in both MSR and Project Mausam plans. MSR highlights Sri Lanka’s position on the east-west sea route, while Project Mausam’s aim to create an “Indian Ocean World” places Sri Lanka at the center of the twenty-first century’s defining economic, strategic and institutional frameworks. Furthermore, alongside the MSR, China is building an energy pipeline through Pakistan to secure Arabian petroleum, which is a measure intended to bypass the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Malacca altogether.

A recent study done by a panel of experts and reported by the New York Times reveal that how the power has increasingly shifted towards China from the traditional US led world order in the past five years among small nation states in the region. The critical role played by the strategic sea ports China has been building in the rims of Indian Ocean including Port of Gwadar in Pakistan, Port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka, Port of Kyaukpyu in Myanmar and Port of Chittagong in Bangladesh clearly validates the argument that how these small states are being used as proxies in this power projection.

This ongoing political, economic and military rivalry between these global powers who are seeking sphere of influence in one of the world’s most important geostrategic regions is the beginning of a “Neo-Cold War” that Joseph Troupe refers as the post-Soviet era geopolitical conflict resulting from the multipolar New world order.

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South Asia

IMF bail-out Package and Pakistan

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Pakistan may approach IMF to bail-out the current economic crisis. It is not the first time that Pakistan will knock the doors of IMF. Since 1965, Pakistan has been to IMF 17 times. Almost all of the governments has availed IMF packages. Usually, IMF is a temporary relief and provide oxygen for short time so that the patient may recover and try to be self-sustained. The major role of IMF is to improve the governance or reforms, how the ill-economy of a country may recover quickly and become self-sustained. After having oxygen cylinder for 17 times within 5 decades, Pakistan’s economy could not recover to a stage, where we can be self-sustained and no more looking for IMF again and again. This is a question asked by the common man in Pakistan to their leadership.  People are worried that for how long do we have to run after IMF package? The nation has enjoyed 70 decades of independence and expects to be mature enough to survive under all circumstances without depending on a ventilator.

The immediate impact of decision to approach IMF, is the devaluation of Pakistani Rupees. By depreciating only one rupee to US dollar, our foreign debt increases 95 billion rupees.  Today we witness a depreciation of rupee by 15 approximately (fluctuating), means the increase in foreign debt by 1425 billion rupees. Yet, we have not negotiated with IMF regarding depreciation of Rupees. Usually IMF demand major depreciation but all government understands the implications of sharp devaluation, always try to bargain with IMF to the best of their capacity. I am sure, Government of Pakistan will also negotiate and get the best bargain.

IMF always imposes conditions to generate more revenue and the easiest way to create more income is imposing tax on major commodities including Gas, Electricity and Fuel. Pakistan has already increased the prices of Gas, Electricity and Fuel. It has had direct impact on basic necessities and commodities of life. We can witness a price hike of basic food, consumer items and so on. Except salaries, everything has gone up. While negotiating with IMF formally, we do not know how much tax will be increased and how much burden will be put on the common man.

We believe, our rulers know our capacity and will keep in mind the life of a common man and may not exceed the limit of burden to common man beyond its capacity. We are optimistic that all decisions will be taken in the best interest of the nation.

It is true, that Pakistan has been to IMF so many times, so this might be a justification for the PTI Government to avail IMF package. But, there are people with different approach. They have voted for change and for “Naya” (new) Pakistan. They do not expect from PTI to behave like previous several governments. If PTI uses the logic of previous governments, may not satisfy many people in Pakistan.

Especially, when Pakistan was in a position to take-off economically, we surrendered half way, may not be accepted by many people in Pakistan.

The government has explained that other options like economic assistance from friendly countries was also very expensive, so that they have preferred IMF as more competitive package. I wish, Government may educate public on the comparison of available options, their terms and conditions, their interest rate, their political conditions, etc. There might be something confidential, Government may avoid or hide, one may not mind and understand the sensitivity of some of the issues. But all permissible information on the terms and conditions of all options in comparison, may be placed on Ministry of Finance’s website or any other mode of dissemination of knowledge to its public.

Against the tradition, people of Pakistan have voted Imran Khan, who so ever was given ticket of PTI, public has voted him or her blindly in trust to Imran Khan. A few of his candidates might not be having very high capabilities or very good reputation, but, public has trusted Imran Khan blindly. Imran Khan is the third most popular leader in Pakistan, after Jinnah the father of nation, and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the Former Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1970s.

People of Pakistan have blindly trusted in Imran Khan and possess very high expectations from him. I know, Imran Khan understands it very well. He is honest, brave and visionary leader and I believe he will not disappoint his voters.

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