Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trump Inauguration; WEF17 & Inequality in India; Killing of LeJ Chief

What tone did President Donald J. Trump set in his inauguration speech on Jan 20, 2017? Can Trump simultaneously take on the US establishment, friends and foes all at the same time? How will he browbeat US businesses to stop offshoring of manufacturing and jobs? How will he "eradicate radical Islamic terrorism" without the help of allies whose armies he says will not be "subsidized" by the United States? How's Trump's rise seen in Pakistan? Will he start trade wars with China and other countries running trade surpluses with the United States? Will he change Washington or will Washington change him?

Why is the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos so concerned about growing economic inequality? Is globalization alone responsible for it? Why is India so unequal with 58.4% of the wealth owned by the top 1% of Indians? Why have the Brexit vote and Trump victory sent shockwaves through the ranks of the owners/investors of global businesses and industries? How will they respond to the powerful backlash against globalization? How is automation affecting the jobs situation? Is it equally responsible for loss of jobs?

Why was the new Laskar e Jhangvi chief Asif Chhotu, like his predecessor Malik Ishaq, killed in a police encounter in Punjab? Was this just another fake encounter? Will it help reduce sectarian carnage in Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with leading Pakistani journalist Zahid Husain and regular panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Trump Phenomenon

America and the Rise of ISIS

London Mayor Sadiq Khan's Election

Trump Policies

Economic Inequality in India, Pakistan

Economy and Security Situation in Pakistan


Mayraj said...

Outsourcing last effort by manufacturers for more profitable buinesses. First rustbelt in NE caused by manufacturers moving to Midwest, then from there to South.

How come no complaints about that?

How come state and federal government didn't address the downside of that for those "left behind?"

"The region’s early industrial cities lost out first to the fast-industrializing Midwest and then to the cheaper, nonunionized South. At the time, such losses were not treated as a national problem. Today, however, urban shrinkage is drawing the attention of planners, policymakers, and the general public, and is beginning to be addressed.

Riaz Haq said...

The (World Bank) report ( The State of Social Safety Nets 2015) – which identifies India as a “lower middle income group” country – finds that all other BRICS countries, except China, spend a higher proportion of funds on social safety net. Thus, Brazil spends 2.42 per cent, Russia 3.30 per cent, China 0.70 per cent, South Africa 3.51 per cent, and South Africa 3.51 per cent of GDP.
Interestingly, even the two of India’s neighbours – Pakistan and Bangladesh – spend a higher proportion on social safety net, 1.89 per cent and 1.09 per cent.
The report says, “Despite having fewer resources for social safety nets, some lower-income countries allocate considerably more funds than the 1.6 percent average for developing countries”.

Riaz Haq said...

#India has been a post-truth society for years. #Modi #Trump #alternativefacts … via @_TCGlobal

India: home of post-truth politics

That was the global context of post-truth politics and its advent in the West. But as the US and UK wake up to this new era, it’s worth noting that the world’s largest democracy has been living in a post-truth world for years.

From education to health care and the economy, particularly its slavish obsession with GDP, India can be considered a world leader in post-truth politics.

India’s post-truth era cannot be traced to a single year – its complexities go back generations. But the election of Narendra Modi in 2014 can be marked as a significant inflection point. Ever since, the country has existed under majoritarian rule with widely reported discrimination against minorities.

India’s version of post-truth is different to its Western counterparts due to the country’s socioeconomic status; its per capita nominal income is less than 3% of that of the US (or 4% of that of the UK). Still, post-truth is everywhere in India.

It can be seen in our booming Wall Street but failing main streets, our teacher-less schools and our infrastructure-less villages. We have the ability to influence the world without enjoying good governance or a basic living conditions for so many at home.

Modi’s government has shown how key decisions can be completely divorced from the everyday lives of Indian citizens, but spun to seem like they have been made for their benefit. Nowhere is this more evident than with India’s latest demonetisation drive, which plunged the country into crisis, against the advice of its central bank, and hit poorest people the hardest.

Despite the levels of extreme poverty in India, when it comes to social development, the cult of growth dominates over the development agenda, a trend that Modi has exacerbated, but that started with past governments.

The dichotomy of India’s current post-truth experience was nicely summed up by Arun Shourie, an influential former minister from Modi’s own party. He disagrees with the prime minister, just as many Republicans share sharp differences of opinion with President Trump.

Shourie said the policies of the current administration were equal to his predecessors’ policies, plus a cow.

...there is an argument to be made that the US and the UK have been living in denial of facts and evidence for years. In 2003, after all, both the countries went to war in Iraq over the false notion that Saddam Hussein was harbouring weapons of mass destruction.
Major social change does not happen within the space of a year. Yet, to a large number of observers around the world, the “post-truth” phenomenon seemed to emerge from nowhere in 2016.

Two key events of 2016 shaped our understanding of the post-truth world: one was in June, when Britain voted in favour of leaving the European Union. The other was in November, when political maverick Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States of America. Trump’s administration spent the third day of his presidency speaking of “alternative facts”, and making false claims about the size of the crowds that had attended his inauguration.

For the rest of the world, the importance of both Trump and Brexit can best be gauged by understanding that they happened in the USA and in the UK. The UK was the key driving force of the world from the 19th century until the second world war, the US has been ever since. The US and the UK often have shared a similar point of view on many global geopolitical developments, as strategic allies or by virtue of their “special relationship”.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #PPP #Zardari's Million($) ‘invitation’ to #Trump’s inaugural.

“eight premier access tickets to a black-tie inaugural ball attended by President Trump, Vice President Pence and their wives” to Zardari and his delegation. My guess, unless proven wrong, is that Zardari became a ‘donor’ and coughed up the one million dollars to Trump. Make no mistake, Zardari too knows the art of the deal. He was confident the gambit would pay in two ways. First, to show off to everyone that he alone was “invited” by President Trump, so listen up people, including the Establishment, not to mess with him. Second, to make Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif eat his heart out that Trump had ignored him, despite President-Elect Trump calling Nawaz Sharif “terrific,” and his countrymen “fantastic.” So impressed was Trump with Pakistan and its prime minister, that he offered to be “ready and willing to play any role that you [Nawaz Sharif] wants me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems.”

Fast forward to January 2017. Accompanied by Sherry Rehman once again, the PPP leader was present at Donald Trump’s black-tie, candle-lit pre-inaugural dinner in Washington, DC. Did Sherry, as Zardari’s alpha-spokesperson, compliment the ‘dashing’ Donald about his hair puff or orange tan or his charming smile in a bid to open channels for her leader? Did Zardari in his usual gratuitously gushing way, as he did with Sarah Palin, stick out his hand and say “Hello Handsome?”

In America, where I live, the new kid around the White House block is called ‘Alternative Facts.’ The inventor of this phrase is the unflappable Kellyanne Conway, a mistress of spin who tricked most rural Americans into voting for Trump. Elevated to Counsellor Conway, she coined this instant catchphrase last Sunday when she called her president’s claims about a ‘massive’ inaugural crowd size “alternative facts.” In a flash, she rubbished the traditional media that reported a smaller crowd size compared to President Obama’s 2009 inauguration. With her coronation of ‘Alternative Facts,’ today, they sit on the throne in the lap of King Donald whose 140 character Tweets are now the Proclamation of Truth. Period.

A frenzied America is rushing to buy George Orwell’s bestseller 1984 first published in 1949. It is a classic tale of dystopian society where truth is compromised with false facts in a fog of ‘newspeak.’ The book reportedly has topped the best-seller list of Amazon.

Let me then offer an ‘alternate fact’ to the “invitation” story trumpeted by the PPP. Asif Zardari, during his swashbuckling days, chose to live in ‘self-exile’ at the swanky Trump Tower in Manhattan. His wife Benazir Bhutto and their young children lived in Dubai. Perhaps, Donald Trump and Zardari hit it off during that time, who knows? Perhaps, they became fast friends, who knows? Perhaps, their eternal friendship was the result of Zardari receiving a special invitation to his inauguration and the accompanying hoopla, who knows? But one thing everyone knows for sure is that The Donald will never give anything for free — selling is his blood sport.

Riaz Haq said...

#US State Dept's John Kirby Disappoints #Indian Reporter on #Balochistan. #India #Pakistan via @YouTube