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The Rohingyas: another baleful example of ethnic cleansing

The international media is paying considerable attention to the stories of bedraggled men, women and children fleeing their homes in the Rakhine province of Myanmar to seek shelter in next door Bangladesh. In the past few weeks, almost four hundred thousand Rohingyas- an ethnic minority- appear to have been...

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Locking horns on the Korean Peninsula

The United States and North Korea have a long and bitter history of antagonism which was largely a reflection of the Cold War rivalries enveloping the United States and the Soviet Union on a global level. The violent conflict in the Korean Peninsula from 1950 to 1953 resulted in...

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Trump’s Last Hurrah?

It appears that during his seven months stint in office, President Trump has little to show for what may be called foreign policy successes. He has repeated a number of times that he wants to make “America great again” but appears to have taken a contrarian path to achieving...

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US-North Korea Contretemps

It was almost inevitable that the longstanding antagonism between the United States and North Korea would come to a head sooner rather than later, in the early days of the Trump presidency. Many people do not realize that the Korean War is not over. The year 1953 only represents...

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More Trumpery

Dictionary meaning of trumpery: 1. Showy but worthless finery, bric-a-brac. 2. Nonsense; rubbish. 3. Deception; trickery; fraud. “Trumpery” is a strongly pejorative word. Some American politicians in the past have used similar language to describe the persona of Donald John Trump. Let me hasten to explain myself: I have...

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Donald Trump’s Stormy Beginning

Almost a month has passed since Donald Trump assumed the presidency. American presidents are usually allowed a honeymoon period of the first 100 days of office when criticism of their actions is generally muted. However, so bitter and vitriolic was the Trump-Clinton election campaign that the animus against Trump...

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Seven No Trumps

January 20th, 2017 Seven No Trumps For those who are familiar with the cerebral game of bridge, seven no trumps signifies that the two partners have bid and won the maximum of all thirteen tricks while their opponents have managed none. It is a heady if rare triumph. Having...

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P5 Plus 1 — Iran Nuclear Accord

Until the very last minute, the outcome of one of the most tortuous diplomatic negotiations of recent times — the P5 plus 1 – Iran nuclear accord — was far from certain. Still, it is an important but interim step. The framework agreement has now to be put on...

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Attack on Karachi Airport by Violent Extremists

Below is my blog carried by the Huffington Post on 6/11/2014 on the above subject: One of the unpleasant byproducts of the so-called War on Terror launched by the Bush Administration in October 2001 following 9/11 to root out al-Qaeda and the Taliban regime supporting it, was its blow-back...

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Release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban Custody

Below is my blog carried by the Huffington Post on 6/5/2014 on the above subject: The surprise visit of President Obama to the Bagram military base outside Kabul on May 25 was followed in quick succession by the release by the Taliban of the American soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl...

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Thoughts on India’s New Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Below is my blog carried by the Huffington Post on 5/29/2014 on the above subject: The fact that a tea-seller’s son who sold cups of tea at a railway station has become India’s Prime Minister with a thumping majority, is indicative of a sea change in Indian politics. Modi,...

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Saudi Arabia Versus Iran

This is from my blog carried by the Huffington Post on 5/16/2014. The media has recently reported an overture by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal to his Iranian counterpart Jawad Zarif to visit Riyadh. While the gesture may represent a tentative thaw in the often frosty relationship between the...

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The Politics of Judicial Repression in Egypt

This is from my blog carried by the Huffington Post on 4/30/2014 According to a recent op-ed in the New York Times, the government in Egypt was “out of control” when one of its judges sentenced more than 680 people to death in a mass trial that lasted only...

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US Pivot to Asia

This is from my blog carried by the Huffington Post on 4/23/2014 The term “Pivot to Asia”, which has almost become a household word, was first used by then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in fall 2011. However, global events and the U.S. reaction to them have more or less...

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General Elections in Afghanistan-Possible Portents

This is from my blog carried by the Huffington Post on 4/11/2014 It seems to be the season for general elections. The one in Afghanistan has just concluded; the one in India will take nine days of polling to conclude, while the legislative elections in Indonesia have also been initiated....

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Municipal Elections in Turkey-Victory for Erdogan’s Party

Below is my blog which appeared in the Huffington Post on 3/31/2014: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, head of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has ruled Turkey for the past 12 years which makes him among the longest serving leaders since the establishment of the Turkish Republic...

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Crisis in Ukraine

Below is my blog carried by the Huffington Post on March 4, 2014.  I welcome any comments from my readers. The Sochi Winter Olympics, a magnificent obsession of the inscrutable Russian President Vladimir Putin ended on a high note for him and his countrymen. However, hardly had the Sochi...

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Obama’s Political Nominees for Ambassadorial Positions

Below is my blog that was published in the Huffington Post on February 21, 2014: The United States is the only major country that still nominates non-career persons as its ambassadors to foreign countries. Despite the protestations of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), this practice has continued. In...

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Obama and Karzai Sparring in Afghanistan

Reproduced below is my latest blog on the above subject which was published by the Huffington Post on 2/5/2014. It is hardly a secret that U.S. relations with Afghanistan are at a low ebb, just when the U.S. needs the cooperation and support of the mercurial Afghan President Hamid...

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General Sisi of Egypt to Contest Presidential Elections

Attached is my blog appearing in the Huffington Post on 01/31/2014. Egypt had been subject to considerable unrest following the narrow presidential victory of Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, in the summer of 2012. The Egyptian public became disenchanted with his policies and expressed their disapproval through continuing...

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UN Conference on Syria

Attached is my blog on the above subject which was carried by the Huffington Post on 1/24/2014. The UN sponsored conference on Syria started on schedule at Montreux, Switzerland on January 23. Even a wild-eyed optimist would perhaps admit that it is highly unlikely that the meeting will produce...

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The Iran-West Nuclear Impasse Continues…

Enclosed please see my blog on the above subject which was carried by the Huffington Post on 11/11/2013.   In his play, Julius Caesar, Shakespeare makes Brutus declaim: “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune…” This oft-quoted insight...

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Saudi Arabia Spurns Its UN Security Council Seat

I am reproducing below my blog on the above subject, which was published by the Huffington Post in its issue of October 24, 2013: The annual General Assembly at the UN received the unexpected news that the Saudis had decided not to join the UN Security Council as a...

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President Obama and President Rouhani at the UN

I am reproducing below my blog on the above subject, which was published by the Huffington Post in its issue of September 24, 2013: It is quite understandable that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ever since his election victory last June, has engendered considerable media comment and discussion among official...

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Suspected Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

Yesterday’s reportage from the battlefront brought the terrible news that scores of men, women, and children had died in a suspected chemical attack by Assad’s forces on the outskirts of Damascus. According to the UK based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights which has extensive contacts in Syria, Assad’s troops bombarded...

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Turmoil in Egypt:part III

August 14 2013 will surely stand out as the bloodiest day in Egypt’s turbulent history since the ouster of the long serving octogenarian dictator Hosni Mubarak in early 2011. After a six week standoff between deposed President Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the Army- backed interim civilian government, the latter decided...

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Hassan Rouhani assumes the Presidency of Iran

Hassan Rouhani a moderate Iranian cleric assumed the presidency of Iran on August 4, 2013. He had won the Iranian presidential election last June.  Rouhani took two oaths of office: a private ceremony witnessed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Mohammed Khamenei and the public ceremony in the Iranian parliament before the Iranian...

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Malala Yousafzai’s global message

On October 9 2012, a group of Pakistani Taliban (as distinct from the Afghan Taliban) stopped a bus ferrying school girls to their school in Swat, northern Pakistan. Their target was a couple of school girls but primarily 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai, one of the students on the bus. After...

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More fundraisers given important ambassadorial assignments

I’ve written on this subject before, but I could not resist putting pen to paper once again after reading the headline “Barack Obama insults Britain again with a shameless nomination of top donor as US Ambassador to London.” The article by journalist Nile Gardner appeared recently in The Telegraph,...

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Turmoil in Egypt: Part II

Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson had proclaimed some time ago that “a week is a long time in politics”. How true his observation was has been borne out by what is happening in Egypt, the most populous and most important Arab country in the Middle East. It was...

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Violent turmoil in Egypt

Egypt has experienced heady times in the past two years. Hosny Mubarak an octogenarian dictator who had ruled Egypt with an iron hand for three decades was toppled in 2011 by widespread street protests. The Egyptian people young and old shedding their fear of the fearsome Mubarak security apparatus, basked in...

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Treason Trial for General Musharraf?

Media reports quote newly installed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as stating that his government intended to press treason charges against former President General Pervez Musharraf, who is currently under house arrest in his villa just outside Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. Mr. Sharif has indicated that he would consult with all...

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Hassan Rouhani-President-elect of Iran

In a crowded field of eight “approved” candidates, approved that is by a vetting body called the Guardian Council, Hassan Rouhani a moderate pragmatist made a surprisingly strong showing in the recent Iranian presidential elections. He will assume his office at the beginning of August. Rouhani garnered over 50%...

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Reshuffling of Obama’s national security team

The departure of Thomas Donilon President Obama’s National Security Advisor was not a surprise as he had earlier indicated his intention to leave his position sometime this year. He had maintained a low profile during his two years plus assignment, but had apparently discharged his duties competently. It was Donilon who...

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Discord in Turkey

The recent and continuing outbreak of discord in Turkey must have taken many members of the commentariat by surprise. Given the upheavals in a number of its neighbors, Turkey appeared in refreshing contrast to be almost a paragon of stability and prosperity. The Justice and Development Party also frequently referred to by it’s Turkish...

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The Syrian quagmire-one way out

At this stage it is difficult to hazard a plausible scenario for the end game in Syria. A disquieting and I hope utterly unacceptable precedent is from next door Lebanon, where a similar civil war dragged on for 15 long years (1975-1990).I was a witness to this war because...

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Chinese Prime Minister visits India- 5-22-2013

The recently installed Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang paid a three day visit to India which concluded today. It was significant that Li chose India for his first foreign visit. He was to visit Pakistan immediately after his visit while his Indian counterpart is embarking on a visit to...

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General Elections in Pakistan-what these portend

Official and media circles have generally taken a positive view of the recently concluded general elections in Pakistan. This is the first time in Pakistan’s 65-year history that power has been transferred peacefully from one elected government, which completed it’s five year term to it’s successor without the government...

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Reflections on Syria

Some commentators say “Syria is not Iraq”. I presume they mean that the US should not shrink from being proactive on Syria, on the side of the rebels, because of the debacle in Iraq. These pundits therefore urge the US to intervene openly in Syria by supporting the rebel groups fighting Bashar’s regime. My...

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India-China border flap

India and China have a long disputed border, which led to war between the two in 1962. India was soundly defeated by the Chinese, who had advanced a good distance into Indian territory, but withdrew unilaterally to what they considered their frontier with India. Since that time, the two...

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More on Terrorism at Boston

Not surprisingly, both the mainstream and social media has been replete with comment on the two Chechen brothers who, through their dastardly act, transformed the finish line of the Boston Marathon into an arena of blood and gore. The interesting fact that emerges is that the perpetrators neither tried...

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Terrorism at the Boston Marathon

That such an iconic event as the Boston Marathon should have had such a terrible ending is condemnable. Three persons, including an 8-year-old boy, who were innocent bystanders, have lost their lives; many have lost their lower limbs; and a large number have been injured, some seriously. The psychological...

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Margaret Thatcher 1926-2013

Even if she had been a mediocre Prime Minister (of which Britain has had a few) Margaret Thatcher would have gone down in history as the first woman Prime Minister of Britain.She also earned the distinction of the longest serving Prime Minister in recent history.The sobriquet “Iron Lady” is...

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Tension in the Korean Peninsula

North and South Korea, separated by the 38th parallel, have had a stormy relationship for nearly six decades. Differences in the political and economic systems could not be starker. South Korea is among the most affluent countries in the world, with a standard of living estimated at thirteen times...

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Obama’s Visit to Israel

Even before he left for his recent visit to Israel (and the occupied West Bank and Jordan), the commentariat had expressed scant hopes for a major initiative emanating from President Obama that would jump start the long deadlocked Israeli-Palestinian talks. The way Obama’s visit was choreographed, it appeared that...

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Cyber warfare: a serious threat to international security

Ever since the advent of the internet age cyber hackers have shown an increasing propensity and technical proficiency to hack into the computer systems of rival governments, corporate entities or individuals. Apart from gaining sensitive information, these hackers have learned to introduce viruses into the computer systems of their...

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US-China relations in the 21st century

Joseph Nye in an Oped published in today’s New York Times has offered the sensible advice to US policy makers not to treat China as an enemy, similar to the policy followed toward the former Soviet Union during the cold war era. The two situations are different. He has...

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U.S. Ambassadorial Appointments

From the emergence of the United States as an independent country, the spoils system has been prominent in how major ambassadorial appointments are made. The Financial Times in a recent article brought out some interesting facts from the 18th century to present times. Nathanial Hawthorne was appointed consul in...

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Senator John Kerry Nominated as the Next Secretary of State

The announcement today that President Obama has nominated John Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton when she steps down presumably fairly soon, would be received by approbation in many quarters in the United States and in the world at large.  A diplomat of eminent pedigree, himself the son of a former...

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The Syrian Imbroglio Continues

It’s almost two years since the Syrian people rose against the autocratic rule of Bashar al-Assad, whose Alawite clan, representing only 11% of this Sunni majority country of around 25 million people, has ruled Syria since his father, Hafiz al-Assad, gained power through a coup in 1970. I was...

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Palestinian Authority Achieves Observer Status at the UN

November 29th is redolent with history in Palestine-Israel relations. It was on that day in November 1947 that the Special Committee on Palestine of the UN General Assembly passed the momentous resolution partitioning British Mandatory Palestine between a Jewish state and a Palestinian Arab state. Israel and the Arabs...

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Uneasy Calm Over Gaza

The final toll of the violent eruption in Gaza, as reported by the media, was 167 Palestinians killed, an indeterminate number injured, versus 6 Israelis killed and an undisclosed number injured. On the Palestinian side, observers estimate that at least half of the fatalities were those of women and...

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Gaza Erupts in Violence

It is the same blood soaked violence in Gaza once again.Israel and Hamas are squaring off in an unequal contest:: indiscrimnate rockets launched from Gaza against Israeli cities and the expected disproportionate response against what Israel calls Hamas militants. Israel has reportedly leveled the building housing the office of...

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The US-Iran Relationship

Considerable excitement was evinced recently by media reports that the US and Iran had agreed to hold bilateral talks on Iran’s nuclear program. The media started calling it “the October surprise” by Obama to ostensibly appear statesman-like before the Presidential election in November. Denials by both Washington and Tehran of...

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Burkina Faso – Niger agreement to go to the ICJ

It was really heartening that Burkina Faso and Niger, two neighboring African countries, have agreed to take their border dispute to the International Court of Justice, a subsidiary body of the UN, to help resolve their conflict. Some years ago, Bahrain and Qatar had taken a similar border dispute...

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US-Iraq – Iran relations

On October 3 2012, the New York Times carried a report on Qassim Suleimani, reportedly a commander of Iran’s paramilitary Quds Force. It called him a “master of chaos,” a sort of high compliment really. Suleimani has been, according to the NYT the mastermind behind two central Iranian foreign...

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