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Not a Usual “Trump Blunder” Rather US has Used a Cleverly Manipulated Strategy in Iran

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There is a little doubt that the recent move by Washington have already started having short term impacts in the Middle East but there are many other aspects which should not be forgotten and they might compensate for those short-term mishaps in the region.

Limited Menu of options for Tehran

Although Iran has started using its options of warfare in the region against US troops it has to be noted that it has a very limited scope of options available presently. It does have the warfare tools but present circumstances are such that Tehran is in no position to use them up to their maximum plausible extent. Washington seems to have taken a clear advantage of the crisis that Iran has been facing after the decision that White House took to revoke the Nuclear Deal with Iran in mid of 2018. Given the fact that Iran is suffering from domestic crisis and its citizens are echoing the democratic values inside the country, for US it could have been no better time to make an attempt to destabilize the Foreign policy aspects of Tehran. Soleimani, as an influential leader in the region, had an ability to easily gameplay the political affairs of other neighbouring countries and thereby increasing a probability of “Iran Friendly” region but after his assassination the vacuum created by him would not be filled sooner. In this context, Iran’s ability to persuade its neighbours in its favour during any possible conflict with US in future has also got a severe blow.

The options which Iran could have used are harming US bases in its nearby borders – which it has already done by blowing US bases in Iraq; using a covert warfare against Washington troops and officials – which yet again has been used when US embassy in Iraq came directly into attack from one of the radical military organisation known to have links with Tehran – the Hezbollah; it could also continue going against the provisions of Nuclear Deal up to an extent but not completely – because of segregation that it might face, in a worst case scenario, from other partners of Trade Deal which are also essentially members of European Union. Simultaneously considering the Syria problem and its own domestic issues, it is highly unlikely that Iran at this moment would like to have an excessive influence of Kremlin beyond a particular limit.

Also given the global slowdown; US Congress’ opinion in the further tussle with Iran; Tehran’s own economic issues;  and a regional political instability in Middle East, a full-fledged war is a hypothetical situation which is highly unlikely to take place in near future. So, Tehran, even after having a potential to compete US up to some extent wouldn’t be able to do so in the present global order.

Iran’s Domestic Problems

Presently Iran is stuck into its own domestic problems which revolve around its political and economic spectrum. After the Iranian Revolution of 1980s, the realities have changed when it comes to Iranian politics and its various important components. A complete contrast can easily be observed in the country. In the early years, there was more of a single party system having only Islamic Republican Party and more than half of the representatives belonged to one particular section of the society – the clerics. More profoundly, the electorates or the people weren’t literate enough, the media was not free from the state influence, and overall a much more conservative and non-vocal society was there.

Presently there’s a multi-party system in the country having a much more educated group of electorates which occasionally raises its voice on various issues, there’s no more unlimited censorship on the media and women participation in the parliament has also seen a growth.

Given the economic slowdown in the country after the US imposed the sanctions in 2019 on the countries importing the oil and other natural resources from Tehran and failure of JCPOA in long term to create employment among the youth of the country backed by the changed political reality has created a domestic turmoil in the country. People have come out on the streets and have shown their anger to the decision makers by raising their concerns of unemployment amid the economic backlash that country has been going through. Furthermore, the issues of corruption and shutting down the protesters by present regime have just escalated the turmoil.

In this situation where the regime was going through its domestic crisis, it faced a severe disadvantage of having a lack of public support and thereby giving an optimum chance to Washington to strike on its another stronger branch – the military. Now by striking the military and assassinating Iran’s one of the most prominent military leader since decades, it has left Iran in a situation where it is shaken from both within inside – by internal challenges as well as from outside – by loss of a military leader thereby affecting its influence in the region as well as in the direct warfare.

Middle East without US is Not Possible at the Moment

Thinking of Middle East, presently, without US involvement would be immature. The region has always been high on the political instability having a constant tussle among the regional players. Trump, for his political motivations, might have had announced his will to free the region from US military but the policy makers in the Washington themselves are aware that leaving Middle East in the an era which has marked the chaos of political instability could be a major risk and certainly couldn’t be afforded as it would directly or indirectly lead to the regional tussle as well as hurdle in the global imports and exports of the trade of oil, petroleum, and other natural resources. Given this, Trump has yet again got an excuse to maintain US’s presence in the region as well as countering his political opponents for not fulfilling the election promise which he had made.

The Economy that US would like to Excel

The core benefit that Trump would be getting from this warfare with Iran – which is quite far away from a direct full-fledged war – is the economic boost for US and simultaneous exponential economic loss for Tehran. Since 2018, world has seen a complete flip in an overall picture of Washington’s net import and export of oil and other natural resources. This initially had created a conundrum for the OPEC countries and their respective policies. Now Trump is using it as a covert warfare weapon against Iran in the given circumstances. In September 2019, the US exported 140,000 bpd more total crude oil and petroleum products than it imported; and total exports exceeded imports by 550,000 bpd in October. Also, the expected estimate for the same in 2020 is 13.2 billion bpd.

OPEC countries are mostly from Middle East and the political instability in the region clearly implies the hurdles in the exports of oil, petroleum and shale giving direct benefit in the trade and exports of these resources to the US. Moreover, the already imposed US sanctions on the countries importing the resources from Iran backed by the fact that deadline of May 2020 for exemptions of sanctions to those countries like India which didn’t face sanctions at first place will further reduce Iranian market of export of resources and giving a clear edge to US in near future.

Thus, it would be very much incorrect to perceive the killing of military leader of Iran mainly as a mistake of White House. Trump might have a history of doing blunders but this time he has played cleverly in the region. It would be noteworthy to have a look at future implications and how Iran – after suffering few major blows – finds a way to deal with the situation which presently is not in its favour and in future too is moderately likely to be reinforced on the US side unless a major mistake is committed by Washington.

Jaimin Parikh is a diplomatic researcher currently engaged with European Institute of Policy Research and Human Rights. He is also serving as an Expert Reviewer with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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Americas

Coronavirus is Trump’s most important electoral rival

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The Earth is intertwined with space in various group, ethnic, religious, national, and other forms. National spaces within countries are the most important phenomena shaping the geographic space of the Earth. These spaces have been divided into more than 200 countries in the form of different democratic and non-democratic political systems as dominant spaces in different forms. Citizens in each of these countries, especially in democratic countries, are struggling to elect people to serve as political directors of the President and Prime Minister and representatives of the political space in order to organize the best program for ordering the country. Although sometimes in the specific geographical environment and the shortcomings of how people vote, they have a profound effect on the way of some candidates vote, but with the transition to calm and a return to calm, the geography and timing of citizens’ responsibilities and duties expects the President-elect, Prime Minister, etc, not only to work well in that constituency-based environment, such as economic problems, but also in all areas able to manage and advance geographic space as an active and powerful actor. As a matter of fact, any lack of planning in various areas, especially in security issues, would be a disadvantage not only for citizens but also as an impediment to sending political leaders to space.

In the meantime, the current conditions on the global space caused by the coronavirus in various ways have targeted the security of geographical spaces and citizens. Citizens expect their managers to have the best strategy and plan to control and cope with the crisis. There are two types of clashes between politicians. There are a group of real politicians who, with their systematic and scientific minds, understand the situation and try to enter the country with the least challenge and cross the geographical space of their country with the least difficulty, the least social and cultural harm. Among them is the German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, who, as a real politician based on understanding the situation, responded quickly, removing the country’s geographical space from a passive confrontation with coronavirus and preventing strategy, to a large extent control these issues and problems within the country.

On the other hand, some politicians who are not real and have been able to enter into the political management of space in various forms of bargaining, surfing, etc. in the face of coronavirus, have taken the most passive plan and strategy in the form of denial, failure and seriousness. And so they have taken their geographic space to crisis. In the meantime, it is worth mentioning the US president Trump who dealt with cronavirus unintentionally and led the country into a crisis. With this kind of confrontation with Trump, coronavirus (of course, among other things) no longer seems to have any hope of an upcoming election.

Overall, we hope that citizens in different countries will opt for real politicians, because the wrong choices based on looks, decorations, fleeting needs, etc. will not only regulate the geographical space of their lives, but also will cause widespread mismanagement and even shaping, it will provide them with a life of insecurity. In today’s complex global conditions we need real politicians not politician players in the local, national, regional and even global arena. In this way, this vast interconnected can be organized and provided security and peace for its citizens.

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Americas

Covid-19: Why the US is hit so hard?

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Negative approach, delayed actions, and wrong policies resulted in making the US the most hard-hit country in the world. With confirmed cases 104,256, the US has surpassed the rest of the world. The second highest cases were reported 86,498 in Italy and third 81,394 in China. Italy is a country with the highest number of deaths 9,134, Spain5, 138, and China 3,295.

Globally, the confirmed Coronavirus cases have reached 597,501, and deaths 27,371. The figure kept on increasing rapidly over time. This figure is not close to facts, as the number of tests conducted are very much limited. Even it is beyond the capacity of the Developed World to test each suspect individually, no way to talk about the developing world and underdeveloped countries. It has already entered into a horrible threat to humankind.

Although the Trump Administration has taken good initiative now, but the delay has caused enormous damage already. In time decisions and right policies might have saved a lot. 2 Trillion Dollars package is a very positive step, and other measures are Encouraging. The US is one of the largest economies, the wealthiest nation, and most developed and advanced in Science & Technology. The US can overcome the epidemic. Just have to bear a high cost only.

The Chinese government and Chinese people have been brave as they took on this formidable task. Since the beginning, they fought against the outbreak, put people’s life and health first. They acted according to the overall principle of shoring up confidence, strengthening unity, ensuring science-based control and treatment, and imposed targeted measures. China mobilized the whole nation, set up collective control and treatment mechanisms, and acted with openness and transparency.  China has put up a strenuous struggle and made tremendous sacrifices. Now the situation in China is moving steadily in a positive direction with very few new cases and deaths.

Last two months, China was struggling to overcome epidemic and focused only on its goal to save human lives and eliminate the virus. China ignore all criticism, pressures, and bashing from the outside world and concentrated all energies to fight against Covid-19. China mobilized all national resources, supported by the public, and finally won over the epidemic.

When China was over-engaged in its war against Coronavirus, the US administration was engaged, blaming China, bashing China, criticizing China, and trying to undermine China. Using the derogatory remarks and media was publishing anti-China sentiments in the form of articles or cartoons. Humiliating Chinese nationals in the western world were witnessed. But could not harm China at all. President US administration wasted time unintentionally.

The Trump Administration also failed to help out its allies at the most challenging moment, when Italy, France, UK, Spain were at a very initial stage. If, since the beginning, the US has helped its allies, it might not spread so widely and may not reach the US.

It is true, no single country was prepared for such an awkward situation, and no single country trounce the outbreak. But collectively, it should have been suppressed in Wuhan only. There is a shortage of Masks, Testing Kits, Ventilators, and Sanitizers, etc. If the whole world pooled all possible resources and helped China, the situation must be different today. I think the evacuation of foreigners from China has caused a lot of damage too. The hostility, selfishness, and casual attitude toward China proved wrong.

China is helping many countries, especially the hard-hit countries like Italy, Spain, Iran, etc. China is donating medical supplies, and dispatching medical teams to support the respective government to fight against the epidemic. Chinese proved-experience can be used as guidelines. China is sharing its experience publically with everyone.

Virus is not bias, do not recognize boundaries, race, religion, or ethnicity. Why we discriminate against each other, I believe it is time to think seriously and unite to defeat any epidemic.

 I believe, if the US administration keeps politics aside, and think for humanity, realign its approach and correct its policies, still can recover. Late, but better than never.

The recommendations put forward by the virtual G-20 Summit held on 26 March 2020, are pertinent and can be implemented immediately. I am sure the US congress is full of wise people, either from the opposition or ruling side, may ensure the right steps toward defeating the epidemic globally. 

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Americas

Covid-19 Exposes the Good and the Indifferent

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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Father Giuseppe-Berardelli

The coronavirus crisis has brought out the worst … and the best in people.  Hoarding, panic buying is one result — but who can blame anyone in a country where the president awash in platitudes, has essentially left people to fend for themselves.

There is now a fairer $2 trillion package, with help for individuals and not mostly for businesses, that required the hand of Congress.  With people forced to sit at home, many are not getting paid and need the help.

Amid the chaos and insensitivity of billionaire presidents, there is hope in man’s natural inclination for sacrifice in extremis.  Father Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, died in Lovere, Bergamo, (in the epicenter of the epidemic) early this month.  His parishioners had bought a respirator for him when he was afflicted by the virus, but Father Berardelli, instead of using is for himself, instructed the hospital staff to give it to a younger person.  He was the main priest in the nearby town of Casnigo, where his parishioners applauded from balconies and windows as his coffin was taken for burial.

Italy is now the worst affected country in the world.  As of Thursday night, it has had 80,589 cases and 8215 deaths, the latter more than double anywhere else — China, where the epidemic began, has reported 81,782 cases but far fewer deaths.  Measures taken to stop the spread including gradually strung out lockdown measures taken from February 23 on have not been as effective as hoped.  If the virus is that infectious, is the answer complete lockdown with police patrols to ensure it?

At the other end of the scale from Father Berardelli is the supposed ‘leader of the free world’.  It would have to be a most irresponsible, reprehensible, shamelessly disgraceful and indifferent plutocrat who did not educate himself on an affliction endangering his people.

At his press conferences we see a host of officials huddled close to him, not just to dilute his responsibility, but also violating the social distancing precept being advocated.

Since the early days, Donald Trump has called the virus first a “hoax”, then in control, the epidemic itself “pretty much shut down”, and always adding the platitudinous “it’s going to be fine”.

He has said the cases were “going substantially down,” and then that the virus “would disappear”.  When the virus had spread widely enough to be named a pandemic by the World Health Organization, he claimed he had “always known” about the severity of the threat.  He now says it will be over by Easter.

In times of crisis, the American people rally behind their president.  For example, after the 9/11 attack, President George W. Bush’s ratings were hitting the high 80s to over 90 percent, as the country awaited a response to overcome the crisis.  Yet even then the country did not come to a standstill as it is in many parts at present. Trump’s approval ratings are at his highs — 49 percent (Gallup), 46 percent (Monmouth University) the best in three years. 

The stunning information on coronavirus infections from the John Hopkins University dashboard shows the US now leading the world with more than 86,000 cases.  Then there is Donald Trump.  We cannot go on like this, he said,  “We’ve got to open up,” so the economy can get back on track … meaning business wins hands down over people’s lives in his calculus. 

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