On the last Sunday of the year, it is worth reflecting on what a momentous year it has been.
Demonetisation is the least of the events which shaped the year. The first woman president of Brazil was impeached and replaced. The same fate is about to visit Park Geun-hye, the woman president of South Korea. British Prime Minister David Cameron lost the referendum and did the honourable thing. He resigned as prime minister and as member of parliament. Theresa May became the second woman prime minister of the UK after a properly organised succession battle. Then, on 11/9, as the Americans would call it, Donald Trump surprised America and the world by getting elected as president.
What a topsy-turvy world that led to. He had said he might challenge the verdict but the Democrats cried foul instead. The losers declared the electoral system unfair after the result while until then it was Trump who called it rigged. When Trump proposed friendship with Russia, it was the foreign policy establishment which insisted that the Cold War enmity be kept alive. Trump took the courtesy call from the president of Taiwan and again the establishment cried foul. And he was being polite to a woman which he is not supposed to be!
The Syrian war continued to take its toll. Aleppo was destroyed with primitive violence (albeit with modern weapons). The UN as usual proved totally ineffective. No nation feels any obligation to follow the UN resolutions, copious though they are. Even so it will take many more slaughters before Bashar al-Assad (Syrian president) has had his fill. He will be unscathed and no one will try him for violation of human rights. Nor will Russia suffer as it is the key to peace in Syria as and when it comes.
The international order maintained by allies US and UK for 70 years since 1945 has totally collapsed. America got bogged down in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Again. It is obvious that Pax Americana has ended. It lasted fewer years than Pax Britannica did in the Nineteenth Century. No wonder Trump wants to ‘Make America Great Again’.
It is touching how in the middle of this anarchy, India goes on trying to have the Jaish-e-Mohammed declared a terrorist outfit by the UN. What difference would it make to the JeM or its likely victims in India whether the UN agrees or not? The world is no longer ruled by law. India has to deal with terrorism as part of its conflict with Pakistan’s two armies, one regular and other jihadi. Just surgical strikes will not be enough.
The only logic in the coming decades will be of power. Not just military power but even cyber power as Russia has shown by hacking the emails of Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Forty years ago the Republicans broke open the locks of the offices of the DNC and the resulting Watergate scandal led to the impeachment of president Nixon. Now you can hack from a distance safely. One can only hope India has its cyber warriors ready. It should take the initiative.
It will be a world in which brains will matter as much as physical or material strength. India has those but it also needs friends. When will Modi call Trump?
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