அரசியல் பிரச்சாரத்தின் ஆதாரக் கோட்பாடு

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அரசியல் பிரச்சாரத்தின் ஆதாரக் கோட்பாடு.

'' நீதி, மதம், அரசியல், சமுதாயம் சம்பந்தமான எல்லாவித சொல்லடுக்குகளுக்கும் பிரகடனங்களுக்கும் வாக்குறுதிகளுக்கும் பின்னே ஏதாவதொரு வர்க்கத்தின் நலன்கள் ஒழிந்து நிற்பதைக் கண்டுகொள்ள மக்கள் தெரிந்துகொள்ளாத வரையில் அரசியலில் அவர்கள் முட்டாள்தனமான ஏமாளிகளாகவும் தம்மைத் தாமே ஏமாற்றிக்கொள்வோராகவும் இருந்தனர், எப்போதும் இருப்பார்கள். பழைய ஏற்பாடு ஒவ்வொன்றும் எவ்வளவுதான் காட்டு மிராண்டித் தனமாகவும் அழுகிப் போனதாகவும் தோன்றிய போதிலும் ஏதாவது ஒரு ஆளும்வர்க்கத்தின் சக்தியைக் கொண்டு அது நிலைநிறுத்தப்பட்டு வருகிறது. சீர்திருத்தங்கள், அபிவிருத்திகள் ஆகியவற்றின் ஆதரவாளர்கள் இதை உணராத வரையில் பழைய அமைப்பு முறையின் பாதுகாவலர்கள் அவர்களை என்றென்றும் முட்டாளாக்கிக் கொண்டே இருப்பார்கள். இந்த வர்க்கங்களின் எதிர்ப்பைத் தகர்த்து ஒழிப்பதற்கு ஒரே ஒரு வழிதான் உண்டு. அது என்ன?

பழைமையைத் துடைத்தெறியவும் புதுமையைச் சிருக்ஷ்டிக்கவும் திறன் பெற்றவையும், சமுதாயத்தில் தாங்கள் வகிக்கும் ஸ்தானத்தின் காரணமாக அப்படிச் சிருக்ஷ்டித்துக் தீரவேண்டிய நிர்ப்பந்தத்திலிருக்கிறவையுமான சக்திகளை, நம்மைச் சூழ்ந்துள்ள இதே சமுதாயத்துக்குள்ளேயே நாம் கண்டுபிடித்து, அந்தச் சக்திகளுக்கு ஞானமூட்டிப் போராட்டத்துக்கு ஸ்தாபன ரீதியாகத் திரட்ட வேண்டும். இது ஒன்றேதான் வழி. ''

மாமேதை தோழர் லெனின்
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Sunday, 31 December 2017

Israel Should be Suspended from the UN Until It Complies with UNSCR 2334



Israel Should be Suspended from the UN Until It Complies with UNSCR 2334
By Hans Stehling
Global Research, December 28, 2017

Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 was adopted on 23 December 2016. It concerns the Israeli settlements in “Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem”. The resolution passed in a 14–0 vote by members of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC). Four members with United Nations Security Council veto power, China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom, voted for the resolution, but the United States abstained.

The resolution states that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity”. It demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

It was the first UNSC resolution to pass regarding Israel and the Palestine territories since 2009, and the first to address the issue of Israeli settlements with such specificity since Resolution 465 in 1980.

While the resolution did not include any sanction or coercive measure and was adopted under the non-binding Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter, Israeli newspaper Haaretz stated it “may have serious ramifications for Israel in general and specifically for the settlement enterprise” in the medium-to-long term.

The immediate effect is to place the state of Israel outside the International Community of Nations as confirmed by the UN General Assembly last week.

The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly during a rare emergency meeting 21 December 2017 to ask nations not to establish diplomatic missions in the historic city of Jerusalem, as delegates warned that the recent decision by the United States to do so risked igniting a religious war across the already turbulent Middle East and even beyond.

By a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 9 against, with 35 abstentions, the Assembly adopted the resolution “Status of Jerusalem”, by which it declared “null and void” any actions intended to alter Jerusalem’s character, status or demographic composition. Calling on all States to refrain from establishing embassies in the Holy City, it also demanded that they comply with all relevant Security Council resolutions and work to reverse the “negative trends” imperilling a two‑State resolution of the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict.

UNSCR 2334 confirms the territorial rights of Palestinians including the status of East Jerusalem and is endorsed by 128 major nations of the world.

Israel ignores this international condemnation at its own cost.

The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Hans Stehling, Global Research, 2017

Video: Military and Political Trends of 2017 that Will Shape 2018

 Global Trends 2017

Video: Military and Political Trends of 2017 that Will Shape 2018
By South Front
Global Research, December 31, 2017

2017 presented the world with a number of crises, among which were the continued wars in the Middle Ease and the spread of terrorism, the humanitarian crises in Africa and Asia, the rising military tensions over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, and the militarization of both the South China Sea and eastern Europe. Throughout the past year regional and global powers have repeatedly been on the verge of open military conflict, any of which may yet still lead to large regional wars.

In the Middle East the war on ISIS, the Iran nuclear deal, the crisis in Lebanon, and Israeli-Arab tensions took center stage.

By the end of the year, the self-proclaimed caliphate of ISIS had fully collapsed in both Syria and Iraq. Thanks to the efforts of the alliance between Syria, Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah, along with the Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition, this group was driven out from almost all of the areas it had held in the two countries.  ISIS has lost control of such strategic locations as Mosul, al-Qaim, Raqqah, al-Tabqah, Deir Ezzor, al-Mayadin, al-Bukamal, as-Sukhna, Deir Hafer, Maskanah, and al-Resafa.

ISIS, in form of a terrorist state, does not exist more. However, this does not mean that Syria and Iraq will face calm soon. There are still lots of ISIS sleeper cells and former ISIS supporters in these countries, a Syrian al-Qaeda branch (now known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham) controls Idlib, and the Kurdish-Arab tensions are smoldering in northern Syria and Iraq. These issues cannot be ignored and will become an important part of the post-ISIS standoff in the region.

Now, Russia, the US, Turkey, Iran and Syria are increasing their diplomatic activity in order to find a way, which could allow work to start on developing a final political settlement of the crisis. They all have objective limits to their influence on the ground and some contradictory goals. This complicates the situation, especially amid a lack of strategic vision from the US which, according even to American experts, has no long-term strategy for Syria. The US elites and their Israeli and Saudi counterparts are especially dissatisfied with the strengthened position of Hezbollah and Iran.

Following the defeat of ISIS, the US-led bloc began attempting to use those areas of Syria held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces to limit the influence of the Damascus government and its Iranian and Russian allies.

Another flash point in this conflict lies within the province of Idlib, now mostly controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Within the framework of the agreements reached by Syria, Iran, Russia, and Turkey in the Astana format, a de-escalation zone should now have been established in this area. However, this is hardly possible while Hayat Tahrir al-Sham remains the main powerbroker in this location.

Despite the defeat of ISIS and the partial withdrawal of Russian forces, Syria will remain a battleground in this regional military and geo-political standoff in 2018. Militarily, the Iranian-Russian-Syrian alliance will continue to focus its efforts on reducing the influence of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in the province of Iblib.  These efforts will include launching a series of limited military operations against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and further developing counter-insurgency efforts against ISIS. On the diplomatic stage, the different sides will continue to work on developing a political solution to the crisis.

Meanwhile, the United States finds itself in a complicated situation: on the one hand, it cannot officially accept Assad’s government as a participant in the negotiations, while on the other hand the US has scant leverage to influence the situation. Thus, the White House will try to increase its efforts to divide Syria through supporting the separatist intentions of the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as well as the armed ‘opposition’ groups in the region.

The goal of such a strategy is to build a ‘de-facto’ independent entity within Syria. Additionally, the US could make either direct or proxy attempts to assassinate Assad and his inner circle.

Iran will likely further strengthen its influence within Iraq after establishing a land route linking Teheran, Baghdad, Damascus, and Beirut. This so-called ‘Shia Crescent’ will become reality despite stiff opposition from both Israel and its allies. Watch for Washington to play the Kurdish card to counter Iran’s growing influence in both Iraq and Syria.

Ahmed al-Asadi

In addition, the US could also attempt to split the ranks of the Popular Mobilization Units by separating individual groups from the larger organization. Such an action could be done with the use of mass bribes, as was done with some generals of the Iraqi Armed Forces during the Iraq War.

The military victory over ISIS in Syria dramatically escalated tensions between Israel and the Iranian-backed forces of Hezbollah.

At present time, Israel’s top political leadership is in the state of outright hysteria regarding the Lebanese movement.  Senior Israeli officials have repeatedly claimed that Israel will not allow Hezbollah and Iran to concentrate its forces in border areas and to expand their influence in the region, particularly in Syria and Lebanon.

The already difficult situation in southern Lebanon and Syria was further complicated by the series of events, which contributed to the growing tensions in the region in November and early December. It started with a resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri announced from Saudi Arabia on November 7, continued with Saudi accusations of military aggression through missile supplies to Yemen against Iran and rose to a new level on December 6 when US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital sparking further escalation. Some experts also said Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US are conspiring to start a new war in the region. In this light, a series of military exercises, including the biggest one “The Light of Dagan”, was described as a part of the preparations for armed aggression against Lebanon.

The recent developments in the Middle East, including the nearing end of the conflict in Syria and the growing influence and military capabilities of Hezbollah, have changed the political situation in Lebanon. Hezbollah units de-facto fulfil functions of the presidential guard. Lebanese special services and the special services of Hezbollah are deeply integrated. Hezbollah’s victories in Syria and humanitarian activities in Lebanon increased the movement’s popularity among people.

Tel Aviv believes that the growing influence of Hezbollah and Iran in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and Lebanon, is a critical challenge to its national security. The key issue is that Israeli military analysts understand that Hezbollah is now much more powerful than it was in 2006. Now, Hezbollah is a strong, experienced, military organization, tens of thousands troops strong, which has the needed forces and facilities to oppose a possible Israeli ground invasion in Lebanon.

Iran has also strengthened its positions in the region over the last ten years. It has reinforced its air defense with the Russian-made S-300 systems, strengthened its armed forces and got combat experience in Syria and other local conflicts. Tehran also strengthened its ideological positions among the Shia and even Sunni population which lives in the region.

Considering these circumstances, initial expert opinions indicate that Israel would decide to participate in a large-scale conflict in Lebanon only in the case of some extraordinary event. However, the growing Arab-Israeli tensions and the tense Israeli-Hezbollah relationship are moving this extraordinary event ever closer.

Nonetheless, Israel will continue local acts of aggression conducting artillery and air strike on positions and infrastructure of Hezbollah in Syria and maybe in Lebanon. Israeli special forces will conduct operations aimed at eliminating top Hezbollah members and destroying the movement’s infrastructure in Lebanon and Syria. Saudi Arabia will likely support these Israeli actions. It is widely known that Riyadh would rather use a proxy and engage in clandestine warfare.

All these took place amid the developing crisis in Saudi Arabia where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had launched a large-scale purge among the top officials, influential businesspersons and princes under the pretext of combating corruption. According to the experts, the move is aimed at consolidating the power of the crown prince and his father, King Salman. In general, the kingdom is seeking to shift its vector of development and to become a more secular state. In 5-10 years, it can even abandon Wahhabism as the official ideology. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is involved in an unsuccessful conflict in Yemen and a diplomatic crisis with Qatar. This situation fuels tensions and a competition for resources among the Saudi clans. As a result, the Saudi regime and the Saudi state in general, are now, in a weak position.

These are the key reasons why Saudi Arabia prefers to avoid an open participation in new conflicts. Additionally, there is always a chance, that for example of conflict in Lebanon, the main combat actions could be moved to the Saudi territory.

Russia and Iran are also not interested in this “big new war” as well because such a conflict in the Middle East will pose a direct threat to their national security.

During the coming year we can expect to see both Israel and Saudi Arabia continuing their diplomatic and military efforts to deter Iran and Hezbollah.

Riyadh will continue its efforts to turn Yemen into a puppet state, but is unlike to achieve any notable successes, leaving the Houthis and their missile arsenal as a constant threat to Saudi Arabia.

Israel and Saudi Arabia will also continue their building of a broad anti-Iranian coalition, with the support of the Trump administration, while Israeli forces will continue conducting their limited military operations against Hezbollah targets in Syria and Lebanon. In general, the chances of a new regional conflict will remain high.

In this already unstable environment, the current US policy remains as one of the key destabilizing factors in the region. The recent US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as the hostility towards the Iranian nuclear deal continue to fuel tensions between the Israeli-Saudi and the Iranian-Hezbollah blocs.

The current US administration continues with America’s consistent pro-Israeli and anti-Iranian policies in the region, inspiring both Israel and Saudi Arabia to embrace more active policies as well.

As a result of this growing US support, the Israeli military stands ready to implement active military responses to any action taken by Hamas, Hezbollah, or any of the other regional players whom Israel considers a threat to its wide range of national interests.

While the odds are low of the Trump administration being able to abort the Iranian nuclear deal, the mere fact that such attempts continue does little to contribute to peace in the region. The fact remains that Washington fuels the new cold war and perhaps even a potential hot war in the Middle East.

We may expect that during the coming year Iran will continue to increase its influence in the region by using the war in Yemen, and its strengthened positions in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon to counter its opponents. In addition to its military efforts on the ground, Teheran’s main strategic focus will likely be the development of military and economic relations with both China and Russia. During 2018 we may also expect that Iran will pay special attention to the modernization and reformation of its armed forces.

In Egypt, the security situation remains complicated, especially in the North Sinai. Following the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, remnants of the terrorist group have spread across the region with a number of them arriving in the peninsula. While the Egyptian Army and security forces have conducted a number of operations to eradicate terrorist cells in the area, militant activity remains high there, fueled in part by trafficking to Gaza.

In addition to the remnants of ISIS in the North Sinai, Egypt faces continuing challenges along its border with Libya. Following the NATO intervention in that country in 2011, the Libyan government and social structure have been all but destroyed, with multiple factions battling each other for control over both the trafficking and oil business.

The rapidly developing relations between Russia and Egypt have been overshadowed by the more prominent relationships between Russia and Syria, as well as Russia and Iran. Nevertheless, the Russia-Egypt relationship deserves closer scrutiny because, unlike the country’s relations with the other two Middle Eastern powers, it concerns a country that until recently appeared to be  firmly in Western orbit. The abrupt shift of its geopolitical vector toward Eurasia therefore represents a far bigger change for the region than Russia’s successful support of the legitimate Syrian government, or the close relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran, both of which have been on the Western “enemies list” for decades. The reasons for this shift are twofold, and have to do with the way Western powers interact with Middle Eastern powers in the context of a systemic economic crisis, as well as with Russia’s demonstrated attractiveness as an ally.

These events have led to strengthening economic ties and military cooperation between both sides. Recent negotiations to build Egypt’s first nuclear plant, as well as those allowing Russian and Egypt joint use of each other’s air space and military bases are perhaps the most noticeable examples of this cooperation.

With recent rumors of Russia establishing a military base on the coast of the Red Sea, in Sudan, it is easy to conclude that Moscow has become an influential power in the region, with some countries now viewing Russia as an attractive alternative to the US. With its rejection of direct cooperation with Moscow, Washington has weakened its own position in the region.

In the coming year Egypt and other regional powers will move further towards a diversification of their foreign policy partners, with regional elites recognizing that the world has become more multipolar and threats and challenges have taken new forms and greater complexity.

Due to the rapidly developing situation in the region and the failed military coup attempt in July, Erdogan’s Turkey has become a reluctant ally of the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance in the Syrian war. Examples of this, such as the success of the Astana talks on Syria, the Russian-Turkish S-400 deal, and the Turkish-Iranian-Iraqi cooperation to counter the formation of an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq by the Kurdistan Regional Government showcase this changed geo-political landscape.

During 2018, Turkey will remain a key player in the ongoing Syrian crisis, and an ally (if a reluctant one) of the Iranian-Russian-Syrian alliance in the region. Ankara has few options remaining aside from developing its coordination with this bloc.

The current US foreign policy towards northern Syria and Iraq is frankly incoherent, with Turkey (being a NATO member and the most powerful US partner in the Eastern Mediterranean), no longer considering the US as a reliable ally in its strategic planning.

The diplomatic crisis over Qatar, which began in June after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt severed diplomatic relations and imposed sanctions upon the country is yet another development leading to the current balance of power in the region.

The crisis represents the most severe conflict among Gulf Arab states since the end of the Cold War. While these oil-rich, autocratic OPEC members have historically been at the most allies of convenience united by common fears (USSR, Saddam Hussein, Iran, etc.), their mutual mistrust has arguably never escalated to the point of demanding to what amounts to a complete surrender by one of its members.

However, the recent Saudi-led attempts to force Qatar to obey Saudi interests in the region have pushed Doha into the arms of Turkey, Iran, and Russia.

In 2018, the main goal of Qatar will be to normalize relations with the Saudi-led bloc while simultaneously avoiding being forced into making significant concessions to this bloc’s members. Qatari cooperation with Turkey, Iran, and Russia will be a useful card to play in this case. Qatari elites may also search for opportunities to influence internal relations within the Saudi elites.

Throughout 2017, US-Russian diplomatic relations continued to deteriorate with both sides using increasingly strident rhetoric and imposing various measures against each other. Initial hopes and expectations that the election of Donald Trump to the presidency would lead to a détente between the two powers were quickly dashed.

The Trump administration sacrificed its promises to normalize relations with Moscow, and to cooperate more fully in counter-terrorism actions in an attempt to gain a temporary softening of the pressures imposed by its own domestic political opponents. Unfortunately, this attempt to placate this internal  opposition gained nothing for Trump and his administration, and succeeded only in escalating the continued media and diplomatic standoff with Russia.

This internal opposition, which some may describe as the American Deep State, cares little about the true intentions of Trump and his supporters, and continues to keep playing the so-called ‘Russia Card’ as a means of further limiting the freedom of action of the new US president.

US society has become further polarized by racial, ethnic, and political divisions and opposing sides are unlikely to resolve this conflict through negotiation.

Racial and cultural divisions, always present in American society, were further inflamed by the liberal, Clinton camp’s attempts to create discord by playing the race card and demonizing the leaders of the Confederate States. At the same time, a large part of American society has become disappointed with Trump’s domestic and foreign policies, and has become disillusioned with his seeming inability to overcome the resistance of the Deep State.

In 2018 we can expect to see further deterioration in relations between the US and Russia, with both sides remaining involved in a number of crises around the world. The defeat of ISIS will add to the geo-political standoff in the Middle East, while in Ukraine both nations will support opposing sides, with little chances of finding common ground. Another critical factor that will make its appearance in the coming year is the Russian 2018 presidential election and the strong intention of US elites to intervene in Russian internal policy, with the risk of pushing a new Cold War past the brink.

The Latin American situation remains unstable and complicated, with Venezuela remaining as a center of uncertainty. In 2018, the Venezuelan president will struggle to retain power in the midst of continued turmoil in his country.

Unsettling processes are also evident in Russia, which faces ongoing economic problems caused by the increasing pressure of Western imposed sanctions. Russian power elites, allied with foreign powers, have benefited from this situation, and have strengthened their influence. Generally, the Russian state has shown a relatively low degree of economic effectiveness, only partly compensated by its foreign policy successes. These factors can and will complicate Russia’s internal political situation during the upcoming 2018 presidential election.

Ukraine still remains the key flash point in Europe.  The Kiev government, strongly influenced by various radical groups, is unlikely to abide by the terms of the Minsk agreements, as it views Minsk as surrender. Prominent Ukrainian political figures publically admit that these agreements were a trick, meant only to buy time in order to prepare for a military solution to this crisis in the eastern part of the country.

The leadership of the Donetsk and People’s Republics clearly understand this, and have further strengthened their ties to Russia in order to prevent a future attempt by the Kiev government to re-integrate this territory.

The regime in Kiev remains in a very complicated political and economic situation, having been all but abandoned by its US and EU handlers. In an attempt to retain control over their country, the current Ukrainian government will likely try to escalate the situation in Donbass in an attempt to gain more economic, political, and perhaps even military support from the West.

Meanwhile, Washington and Brussels are considering alternatives to President Poroshenko and his government, one of whom is Mikhail Saakashvili, the disgraced former president of Georgia. At this time, the odds of Saakashvili gaining power in 2018 remain high. If he were to gain power it is likely that he would attempt to improve Ukrainian internal and economic policies to strengthen the state and to obtain additional Western support.

It is doubtful that Saakashvili would be able to pursue this attempt to stabilize the country for any length of time, due to his erratic personality. After he realizes the military and economic potentials still possessed by the nation, he would likely attempt a military operation against the self-proclaimed republics of eastern Ukraine and the Russian military forces in Crimea, much as he did in Georgia in 2008. Such a move would likely lead to a large regional conflict in 2019.

In the European Union, we can observe the continued decline of the institutions of the European bureaucracy. Crises such as those we see in Catalonia, as well as the inability of the European leadership to successfully deal with the migration flow from North Africa and the Middle East are clear signs of this continuing decay. In an attempt to control these problems, the EU has intensified attempts to develop a joint security system and to lay the foundation for the creation of a European army. These efforts, however, could come too late.

If the EU is unable to find a way to consolidate its member states in 2018, we can expect to witness further fragmentation in the future.

In Central and Southeastern Asia, the key security problems continue to be militancy and the spread of terrorism. The US and its NATO partners remain unable to deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan – some experts believe that the Taliban is slowly reaching a level of influence in the region which could lead to its recognition as a rightful party in any negotiations involving the US-led bloc. Currently, in some parts of the country, the Taliban even conducts operations against ISIS in order to prevent this group from spreading further.

The historical instability seen on the Pakistani-Indian and the Indian-Chinese borders have long been factors contributing to the general instability in this region. However, all sides have been successful, so far, in avoiding open military conflicts.

In the Philippines, an attempt by ISIS to establish its rule on the island of Mindanao was defeated by the government, who also purged militants who had seized control in the city of Marawi. The ISIS threat has been successfully countered in this nation, at least for the time being.

In 2018, terrorism will remain the key threat for Central and Southeastern Asia. Expect the Taliban to expand its influence further in Afghanistan, as ISIS continues its attempts to establish a larger foothold in the region. Pakistani-Indian and Chinese-Indian tensions will likely remain within the spheres of diplomatic and economic competition, barring any extraordinary and destabilizing events. An additional and notable threat to the stability of the region is the continued flight of ISIS members from Syria and Iraq into Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

China has continued its expansion in the Asian Pacific by turning the South China Sea into an anti-access and area-denial zone controlled by the Chinese military through a network of artificial islands. In addition, Beijing has also expanded its maritime, airlift, and amphibious capabilities, and is actively working to shift the balance of power in the Pacific, a region which it describes as lying within its sphere of influence, through its naval power dominance in the area.

In diplomatic and economic terms, China continues to follow a finely balanced foreign policy, while providing a slight diplomatic support to Russia. This calibrated approach allows Beijing to contest US dominance in some regions, most obviously in the Middle East, while avoiding an open confrontation with its main economic partner.

In addition to the tensions in the South China Sea, North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs have been the center of attention within the international community. North Korea has recently conducted another nuclear test, and has tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, which it claims has the range to reach any target within the mainland United States. Despite the war-like rhetoric of the Trump administration and the imposition of additional sanctions, no progress has been made toward a peaceful resolution, with North Korea only accelerating its efforts to become a fully-fledged nuclear power. In the near future, this situation may pass a turning point, when the US is left with no military options in its conflict with North Korea, and negotiations remain the only solution. Should this situation come about, it will be a blow to both the image of the US as the self-proclaimed world’s policeman, and to the mechanisms of nuclear non-proliferation.

In 2018, China will continue to strengthen its military and diplomatic positions in the region, and become a regional superpower, and well on its way to global dominance as it competes with the US. North Korea will likely continue developing its nuclear and missile programs, and if the US does not invade, which is unlikely, become a fully-fledged nuclear state.

As 2017 comes to a close, it becomes evident that this year, has been a difficult one, for all of mankind. The world trembled over new threats of large-scale regional conflicts and over potential use of the weapons of mass destruction. The year brought considerable escalations between key global players, which created real risks of direct confrontation.

At the same time, 2017 can be coined as the year, when the threat known as ISIS, a proxy terrorist state, was eliminated. It was the year when global powers were compelled to compromise under the most stringent conditions and amid multiple conflicts. International players, capable of rigorous logic and in-depth analysis, will extricate valuable lessons from 2017, which can help make the world safer.

However, experience shows that emotions, poise and ill-conceived projects often triumph over common sense. The result, is a breakdown of pragmatic and balanced approaches of traditional diplomacy. Rudeness and incivility are becoming more common within the spheres of international organizations and in bilateral relations. Ambitions of small elite-based groups force countries and nations, to adopt models of behavior which clearly contradict their interests.

Unfortunately, all of this precludes a bright prognosis for 2018. The world will not become safer. Relationships between major global powers will remain strained at best. Likely, they will deteriorate. The number of small-scale regional conflicts will not decrease. The use of weapons of mass destruction  will remain a real threat within the framework of regional conflicts. Levels of terrorist activity may rise. One can only hope, that this combination of threats and provocations, will lead to a re-assessment of reality and force de-escalation in the subsequent years.

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The original source of this article is South Front
Copyright © South Front, South Front, 2017

2018 இனிய புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துகள்!


‘Int’l community has adopted criminal silence on Kashmiris’ sufferings’

 “The international community should see the truth behind Indian democracy in Jammu Kashmir. Indian forces have gone berserk in Kashmir and are killing humans with impunity but the international community which always champions the cause of human rights is maintaining a criminal silence on this and in fact abetting Indian aggression on innocent Kashmiris.”

Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman-Yasin Malik
‘Int’l community has adopted criminal silence on Kashmiris’ sufferings’

Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 22 2017 12:12AM

Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman today reached Shopian where he addressed a mammoth gathering, expressing solidarity with the family of Ruby Jaan who was killed in forces firing.

 “Yasin Malik along with other JKLF leaders including Noor Muhammad Kalwal, Bashir Ahmad Kashmiri and Javed Ahmad Butt this morning left Srinagar without informing anyone and after evading police barricades and check posts for which he had to walk miles on foot reached Batmoran, Shopian. He straightaway went to the house of martyred woman Ruby Jaan who fell to the bullets of

armed forces recently and the house of slain Tanveer Ahmad. He expressed solidarity with them,” a spokesman of the Front, in a statement today, said.

The spokesman said, “When people of the area heard about the news of Yasin sahib’s arrival, they rushed to the house of martyrs and greeted JKLF chairman and others with enthusiastic slogans in
favor of martyrs, freedom movement and unity.”

After meeting and consoling the bereaved families, Yasin Malik addressed a gathering.

“Martyr Ruby Jaan was slaughtered inside her house and to cover this heinous crime a story of her participating in a protest was cooked up by the killers and their abettors. Martyr Misra Bano of
Younis Handwara was also killed in same manner and she also has left a little daughter behind her. This is how trigger happy forces are killing people,” the spokesman quoted the spokesman as
having said while addressing the gathering. “Killing innocents under the garb of encounters and putting properties to flames and even not sparing dumb cattle is uncovering the brutal face of Indian
democracy in Kashmir. Cries of little Azra, daughter of martyred lady Ruby Jaan is piercing our hearts and soul,” Yasin Malik said. He said, “The international community should see the truth behind Indian democracy in Jammu Kashmir. Indian forces have gone berserk in Kashmir and are killing humans with impunity but the international community which always champions the cause of human rights is maintaining a criminal silence on this and in fact abetting Indian aggression on innocent Kashmiris.”

Asking people to distinguish between friends and enemies, JKLF chairman said, “Indian rulers, their agents in Kashmir including all pro-India politicians, political parties, assembly members and rulers
are directly responsible for these killings because it is these people who are legalizing these killings and providing necessary legal cover to the killers.”

Paying rich tributes to selfless martyrs, JKLF chairman said, “as a nation we are indebted to these great souls.”

Trump to cut aid to countries over UN Jerusalem vote



Donald Trump threatens to cut ‘billions of dollars’ in aid to countries over UN Jerusalem vote
December 21, 2017 by Graeme MacKay

Donald Trump has threatened to withhold billions of dollars in aid from those nations which criticise his controversial decision to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In a raising of the stakes over the US’s move to recognise Jerusalem and shift its embassy there – something long requested by Israel and their conservative supporters in the US – Mr Trump said he could penalise those countries that voted against the move at the UN.

Previously, the US’s UN Ambassador Niki Haley had warned the US would would be “taking names” of any countries who supported a resolution criticising Washington’s actions. A vote is scheduled to take place on Thursday after the US on Monday vetoed a vote by the UN Security Council that would have demanded Mr Trump reverse his decision.

The Associated Press said Mr Haley had written to most of the 193 UN members states warning of possible retaliation. She said the President was taking the matter personally.

Speaking to members of his cabinet on Wednesday, Mr Trump said he liked what Ms Haley had spelled out. “For all these nations, they take our money and then vote against us. They take hundreds of millions of dollars, even billions of dollars and then they vote against us,” Mr Trump said.

 (Source: The Independent)
---------------
Trump threatens to cut aid to U.N. members over Jerusalem vote
Roberta Rampton, Michelle Nichols

WASHINGTON/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favor of a draft United Nations resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

The 193-member U.N. General Assembly will hold a rare emergency special session on Thursday - at the request of Arab and Muslim countries - to vote on a draft resolution, which the United States vetoed on Monday in the 15-member U.N. Security Council.

The remaining 14 Security Council members voted in favor of the Egyptian-drafted resolution, which did not specifically mention the United States or Trump but which expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, in a letter to dozens of U.N. states on Tuesday seen by Reuters, warned that Trump had asked her to “report back on those countries who voted against us.”

She bluntly echoed that call in a Twitter post: “The U.S. will be taking names.”

Several senior diplomats said Haley’s warning was unlikely to change many votes in the General Assembly, where such direct, public threats are rare. Some diplomats brushed off the warning as more likely aimed at impressing U.S. voters.

According to figures from the U.S. government’s aid agency USAID, in 2016 the United States provided some $13 billion in economic and military assistance to countries in sub-Saharan Africa and $1.6 billion to states in East Asia and Oceania.

It provided some $13 billion to countries in the Middle East and North Africa, $6.7 billion to countries in South and Central Asia, $1.5 billion to states in Europe and Eurasia and $2.2 billion to Western Hemisphere countries, according to USAID.

Miroslav Lajcak, president of the General Assembly, declined to comment on Trump’s remarks, but added: “It’s the right and responsibility of member states to express their views.”

A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also declined to comment on Trump’s remarks on Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump excuses reporters after his remarks to them at the start of a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
“I like the message that Nikki sent yesterday at the United Nations, for all those nations that take our money and then they vote against us at the Security Council, or they vote against us potentially at the assembly,” Trump said.

‘BULLYING’

Trump abruptly reversed decades of U.S. policy this month when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, generating outrage from Palestinians and the Arab world and concern among Washington’s Western allies.

He also plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The draft U.N. resolution calls on all countries to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

A senior diplomat from a Muslim country, speaking on condition of anonymity, said of Haley’s letter: “States resort to such blatant bullying only when they know they do not have a moral or legal argument to convince others.”

Responding directly to that comment on Twitter, Haley said: “Actually it is when a country is tired of being taken for granted.”

A senior Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, described Haley’s letter as “poor tactics” at the United Nations “but pretty good for Haley 2020 or Haley 2024,” referring to speculation that Haley might run for higher office.

“She’s not going to win any votes in the General Assembly or the Security Council, but she is going to win some votes in the U.S. population,” the Western diplomat said.

A senior European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, agreed Haley was unlikely to sway many U.N. states.

“We are missing some leadership here from the U.S. and this type of letter is definitely not helping to establish U.S. leadership in the Middle East peace process,” the diplomat said.

Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there. Palestinians want the capital of an independent Palestinian state to be in the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed in a move never recognized internationally.

“The first name that she should write down is Bolivia,” Bolivia’s U.N. Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz said of Haley’s message. “We regret the arrogance and disrespect to the sovereign decision of member states and to multilateralism.”

Reporting by Roberta Rampton; writing by Doina Chiacu; editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Trump’s Tax Cuts Are the Biggest Wealth Grab in Modern History

Trump’s Tax Cuts Are the Biggest Wealth Grab in Modern History

By JOSH HOXIE November 3, 2017

On Nov. 2, Republicans in Congress finally released the details for their tax plan. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a massive overhaul of the tax code and spending priorities—and nothing short of a boon to the very wealthy at the expense of everyone else.

I’m old enough to remember way back to Nov. 1, when CBS released a poll showing most Americans wanted to see the wealthiest households and biggest corporations pay more, not less, in taxes. This is in sync with poll data from Gallup, collected year after year since 1992, that shows a solid majority of Americans believe the wealthy pay too little in taxes.

Given such overwhelming support for raising, not cutting, taxes on the wealthy, it makes sense that President Donald Trump and his allies in Congress would present their tax plan as benefiting the middle class rather than the rich. It’s about “people who are low- and middle-income,” says House Speaker Paul Ryan, “not about people who are really high-income earners getting a break.” Trump has even claimed “the rich will not be gaining at all with this plan.”

Unfortunately, those are bald-faced lies.

The plan includes weakening and then eliminating the federal estate tax, a levy paid only by the wealthiest households in the country—it only kicks in on estates worth over $5.5 million for individuals and $11 million for couples.

It also eliminates the alternative minimum tax, which exclusively benefits households with incomes over $200,000. And it drops corporate tax rates to 20%, the overwhelming benefit of which goes to the very wealthy and—contrary to what the president might say—will not create jobs, as a study by my Institute for Policy Studies colleague Sarah Anderson found earlier this year.

The tax plan includes eliminating tax deductions that benefit many middle-class Americans as well. On the chopping block are the state and local tax deduction and the student loan interest deduction, among others.

It was just a week ago that House Republicans passed a budget proposal that paved the way for this tax cut plan. That budget included nearly $6 trillion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, education, and other public services.

Make no mistake, this will hurt. To understand just how much, consider the opportunity cost. The tax plan includes adding $1.5 trillion over 10 years to the national debt, or $150 billion a year that’s not accounted for by increasing revenue elsewhere or cutting spending.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculated that $150 billion would cover doubling Pell Grants for low- and middle-income college students, doubling cancer research funding at the National Institutes of Health, providing child care assistance to six million children, providing opioid addiction treatment to 300,000 people, funding the full backlog of needed maintenance at the National Park Service, and training 3.5 million workers for in-demand jobs—combined.

Instead of doing any of that, the plan proposes shoveling that money over to the already wealthy.

Given such tradeoffs, it’s a wonder this plan has seen the light of day, much less has a significant chance of becoming law. The more we learn about this proposal, the more there is not to like, which is an incentive for Republicans in Congress to pass it before the public understands what’s going on.

Don’t get caught sleeping on the biggest wealth grab in modern history.

Josh Hoxie is director of the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-editor of Inequality.org.

வாராக் கடன்களை வசூலிக்காமல் மக்களின் டெபாசிட் தொகையை குறிவைக்கும் புதிய சட்டம்

 தே.தாமஸ் பிராங்கோ ராஜேந்திர தேவ்
வங்கிகளின் வாராக் கடன்களை வசூலிக்காமல் மக்களின் டெபாசிட் தொகையை குறிவைக்கும் புதிய சட்டம்: 

தொழிற்சங்கத் தலைவர் தாமஸ் பிராங்கோ குற்றச்சாட்டு

நாடாளுமன்றத்தில் மத்திய அரசால் தாக்கல் செய்யப்பட்டுள்ள 2017-ம் ஆண்டின் நிதித் தீர்வு மற்றும் வைப்புத் தொகைக்கான காப்பீட்டுச் சட்ட மசோதா பெரும் சர்ச்சையை ஏற்படுத்தியுள்ளது. இந்திய பொதுத்துறை வங்கிகளை நாசமாக்கும் ஆபத்து மிக்க இந்த மசோதா கைவிடப் பட வேண்டும் என்று வலியுறுத்தி நாடு முழுவதும் தற்போது தீவிர பிரச்சாரம் நடைபெறுகிறது. இவ்வாறு இந்த மசோதாவுக்கு எதிரான பிரச்சாரத்தில் ஈடுபட்டிருப்பவர்களில் ஒருவர் அகில இந்திய வங்கி அதிகாரிகள் கூட்டமைப்பின் பொதுச் செயலாளரான தே.தாமஸ் பிராங்கோ ராஜேந்திர தேவ். இந்த மசோதா தொடர்பாக ஆராய அமைக்கப்பட்டுள்ள நாடாளுமன்ற கூட்டுக் குழு முன்னிலையிலும் ஆஜராகி, மசோதா கைவிடப்பட வேண்டும் என்று வாதாடியிருக்கிறார் பிராங்கோ.

புதிய மசோதா பற்றி ‘தி இந்து’ சார்பில் அவருடன் நடத்திய உரையாடலில் இருந்து..

வி.தேவதாசன்


நிதித் தீர்வு மற்றும் வைப்புத் தொகைக்கான காப்பீட்டுச் சட்ட மசோதாவில் அப்படி என்ன ஆபத்து இருக்கிறது?

இந்திய பொதுத்துறை நிதி நிறுவனங்களைக் காக்க இதுவரை பெயில்-அவுட் என்ற கொள்கை பின்பற்றப்பட்டு வந்தது. இந்தக் கொள்கையின்படி எந்த பொதுத்துறை வங்கியும் திவாலாக, நமது அரசு அனுமதிக்காது. ஒரு வங்கி நலிவடைய நேர்ந்தால், அரசே நிதியுதவி செய்து வங்கியைக் காப்பாற்றும்; இல்லாவிட்டால், வேறொரு வங்கியுடன் இணைக்கப்படும். பாங்க் ஆப் தஞ்சாவூர், பாங்க் ஆப் தமிழ்நாடு, பாங்க் ஆப் கொச்சின் என இதுபோன்ற பல வங்கிகள் பிற பெரிய வங்கிகளுடன் இணைக்கப்பட்டடுள்ளன. இதனால் அந்த வங்கியின் வாடிக்கையாளர்களுக்கோ, வங்கியில் டெபாசிட் செய்தவர்களுக்கோ எந்த பாதிப்பும் ஏற்பட்டதில்லை. அவர்களுக் கான வங்கி சேவை தொடர்ந்து கிடைத்தது.

தற்போதைய புதிய மசோதாவின்படி பெயில்-இன் முறை அமலுக்கு வரும். இனிமேல் நலிவடையும் நிலையில் உள்ள வங்கிகளுக்கு அரசு நிதியுதவி செய்யாது; அந்த வங்கி மேலும் நலிவடைந்து திவாலாக அனுமதிக்கப்படலாம். அந்த நிலையில், அந்த வங்கியை எவ்வாறு நிர்வகிப்பது என்பது பற்றி புதிதாக அமைக்கப்படவுள்ள தீர்வுக் கழகம் முடிவு செய்யும். தற்காலிகமாகவோ, நிரந்தரமாகவோ வேறு அமைப்புகளிடம் அந்த வங்கியின் நிர்வாகம் ஒப்படைக்கப்படும். பெரும்பாலும் தனியார் கைகளுக்குதான் அரசு வங்கி செல்லும். இந்த சூழலில் வங்கியில் டெபாசிட் செய்தவர்களுக்கு முழு தொகையும் கிடைக்காது. ஒரு பகுதி மட்டுமே கிடைக்கும். டெபாசிட் தொகையில் எத்தனை சதவீதம் திருப்பித் தரலாம் என்பதை தீர்வுக் கழகம்தான் தீர்மானிக்கும்.

டெபாசிட்டின் பெரும்பகுதி வங்கியின் முதலீடாக மாற்றப்பட்டு, அதற்கு ஈடான பங்குகள் டெபாசிட்தாரர்களுக்கு வழங்கப்படலாம். ஆக, திவாலாகும் நிலைக்குச் செல்லும் வங்கிகளுக்கு அரசு நிதியுதவி வழங்குவதற்கு பதிலாக, வாடிக்கையாளர்களின் டெபாசிட் தொகை பயன்படுத்தப்படும். இதனால் இந்திய மக்களின் சேமிப்புத் தொகை அபகரிக்கப்படுவதோடு, வங்கிகள் மீதான மக்களின் நம்பிக்கையும் அடியோடு அறுத்தெறியப்படும்.


இந்த மசோதா தொடர்பாக மக்களிடம் வேண்டுமென்றே சிலர் பீதி கிளப்புவதாக நிதியமைச்சர் அருண் ஜேட்லி கூறுகிறாரே?

எங்கள் வாதம் கற்பனையானது அல்ல; வரைவு மசோதாவில் உள்ள ஷரத்துகளின் அடிப்படையிலேயே பேசுகிறோம். பெயில்-இன் முறை; வங்கிகள் திவாலாக அனுமதிக்கலாம்; வாடிக்கையாளர்களின் டெபாசிட் தொகையைக் கொண்டு வங்கியை நிர்வகிக்கலாம்; டெபாசிட் தொகை வாடிக்கையாளர்களுக்கு முழுமையாகக் கிடைக்காது என்பது உள்ளிட்ட பாதிப்புகள் மசோதாவின் ஷரத்துகளில் மிகத் தெளிவாக விவரிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன.

எந்தெந்த ஷரத்துகளில் என்ன கூறப்பட்டுள்ளது என்பதையும், அதில் உள்ள ஆபத்துகளையும்தான் கூறுகிறோம். அதேபோல, குறிப்பிட்ட அந்த ஷரத்தில் அப்படி ஆபத்தான எந்த அம்சமும் இல்லை என்று நிதியமைச்சரும், மற்றவர்களும் விளக்க வேண்டும். ஆனால், ஆபத்து இல்லை என்று பொதுவாக மறுக்கிறார்களே தவிர, குறிப்பிட்ட ஆபத்தான ஷரத்துகள் பற்றி விளக்கம் தர அவர்கள் தயாராக இல்லை.

அச்சமூட்டும் ஷரத்துகள் பற்றி கூற முடியுமா?

பெயில்-இன் முறை பற்றி மசோதாவின் 32-வது ஷரத்திலும், 4-வது அட்டவணையில் உள்ள 48-வது ஷரத்திலும் விவரிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. நலிவடையும் வங்கிகளுக்கு நிதியுதவி அளித்து பாதுகாக்கத் தேவையில்லை என்றும், அத்தகைய வங்கிகளை திவாலாக விட்டுவிடலாம் என்பது பற்றியும் 13-வது ஷரத்தில் கூறப்பட்டுள்ளது. தீர்வுக் கழகத்தின் வானளாவிய அதிகாரம் பற்றியும், தீர்வுக் கழகத்தின் முடிவை எதிர்த்து எந்த நீதிமன்றத்திலும் மேல்முறையீடுகூட செய்ய முடியாது என்பது பற்றியும் 65-வது ஷரத்தில் கூறப்பட்டுள்ளது. இத்தகைய ஷரத்துகளில் கூறப்பட்டிருக்கும் அம்சங்கள் மற்றும் அவற்றின் ஆபத்துகள் பற்றித்தான் எங்களது அச்சத்தை, கவலையை வெளிப்படுத்துகிறோமே தவிர, கற்பனையாக நாங்கள் எதையும் கூறவில்லை.

ஒருவர் எவ்வளவு டெபாசிட் செய்தாலும், வங்கி திவாலானால் அவருக்கு ரூ.1 லட்சம் மட்டுமே திரும்பக் கிடைக்கும் என்றுதான் ஏற்கெனவே இருக்கும் சட்டத்திலேயே உள்ளது. அப்படியிருக்க, தற்போதைய மசோதாவால் என்ன ஆபத்து வரப்போகிறது?

ஏற்கெனவே உள்ள சட்டத்தின்படி அதிகபட்சம் ரூ.1 லட்சம் மட்டுமே கிடைக்கும் என்பது உண்மைதான். 1961-ம் ஆண்டில் வைப்புத் தொகை காப்பீடு மற்றும் கடன் உத்தரவாதக் கழகச் சட்டம் கொண்டுவந்தபோது, வங்கி திவாலானால் அதிகபட்சம் ரூ.5 ஆயிரம் மட்டுமே கிடைக்கும் என்ற நிலை இருந்தது. பின்னர் இந்த காப்பீட்டுத் தொகை படிப்படியாக உயர்த்தப்பட்டு தற்போது ரூ.1 லட்சம் என்ற அளவை எட்டியுள்ளது.

ஆனால், அந்த சட்டம் கொண்டு வரப்பட்ட 1961-ம் ஆண்டுமுதல், சில கூட்டுறவு வங்கிகள் தவிர, எந்த வங்கியையும் நமது அரசு திவாலாக விட்டதில்லை. மக்கள் தங்கள் டெபாசிட் தொகையை இழக்க நேரிட்டது இல்லை என்பதே உண்மை. டெபாசிட்தாரர்கள் இழப்பீடு கோராத காரணத்தால், வைப்புத் தொகை காப்பீடு மற்றும் கடன் உத்தரவாதக் கழகத்தில் செலுத்தப்படும் பிரீமியம் தொகை வளர்ச்சியடைந்து அந்தக் காப்பீட்டுக் கழகம் தற்போது பெரும் லாபத்தில் இயங்கிக் கொண்டிருக்கிறது என்பதும் உண்மை.

மக்களின் டெபாசிட் தொகைக்கு இதுவரை ஆபத்து வராதபோது, இனிமேல் எப்படி வரும்?

ஏற்கெனவே கூறியபடி, இதுநாள் வரை பெயில்-அவுட் முறை பின்பற்றப்பட்டது. எவ்வளவு பெரிய நெருக்கடிகள் ஏற்பட்டாலும் எந்த வங்கியையும் திவாலாக விடாமல் பாதுகாக்க வேண்டும் என்பது அரசின் கொள்கை யாக இருந்தது. அதனால் வங்கிகளும் திவாலாகவில்லை; மக்களின் சேமிப்புக்கும் ஆபத்து வரவில்லை.

ஆனால் இப்போதைய மசோதா சட்டமானால், பெயில்-இன் முறை நடைமுறைக்கு வரும். இதன்படி, மிக லாபகரமாக இயங்கி வரக்கூடிய பாரத ஸ்டேட் வங்கி உட்பட எந்த பொதுத்துறை வங்கியையும் திவாலாக விடலாம்; அதில் அரசு தலையிடத் தேவையில்லை என அரசின் கொள்கையும், நிலைப்பாடும் மாறுகிறது. இதனால் ஏராளமான பொதுத்துறை வங்கிகள் நலிவடையும் நிலைக்கு கொண்டு செல்லப்பட்டு, தனியார் கைகளுக்கு மாற்றப்படும். பொதுமக்களின் சேமிப்பு அபகரிக்கப்படும்.

கொடுத்த கடனைத் திருப்பி வசூலிக்காத வங்கிகள் மற்றும் அதனால் பல்லாயிரம் கோடியாகப் பெருகும் வாராக் கடன். இதை தடுத்து, வங்கி நிர்வாகத்தை செம்மைப்படுத்தவே இந்த சீர்திருத்த நடவடிக்கைகள் என்று கூறப்படுகிறதே?

வங்கி செயல்பாடுகள் பற்றியும், வாராக் கடன்கள் பற்றியும் ஒரு மாயத் தோற்றம் பலரது மனதில் உருவாக்கப்பட்டிருக்கிறது. வங்கி நிர்வாகம் என்றவுடனேயே மயிலாப்பூரிலோ, மணப்பாறையிலோ நாம் பார்க்கும் வங்கிக் கிளையும், அங்குள்ள மேலாளர்களும், கிளர்க்குகளும்தான் மக்களின் மனத்திரையில் தோன்றுகின்றனர். அவர்கள்தான் வங்கிப் பணத்தை கோடிக்கணக்கில் கடன் கொடுத்து, திரும்ப வசூலிக்காமல் வங்கிகளை நஷ்டப்படுத்துவது போன்ற தோற்றம் உருவாக்கப்படுகிறது. நாம் பார்க்கும் இதுபோன்ற வங்கிகளுக்கு லட்சக்கணக்கிலோ அல்லது சில கோடிகள் வரை மட்டுமே கடன் கொடுக்கும் அதிகாரம் உள்ளது. அவ்வாறு ஏழைகளுக்கும், நடுத்தர மக்களுக்கும் இவர்கள் கொடுக்கும் கடனில் 95 சதவீதத்துக்கும் மேல் திரும்ப வசூலித்து விடுகின்றனர்.

சாதாரண கிளைகளில் ஏழைகளுக்கு, விவசாயிகளுக்கு, சிறுதொழில்புரிவோருக்கு, நடுத்தர வர்க்கத்தினருக்கு தொழில்புரியவும், வீடு கட்டவும், வாகனங்கள் வாங்கவும் கொடுக்கப்படும் கடன் தொகை திரும்ப வந்துவிடுகிறது. வங்கிகளின் இயக்குநர்கள், நிதியமைச்சக உயர் அதிகாரிகள் மட்டத்தில் முடிவு செய்யப்பட்டு, அவர்களது பரிந்துரையின்பேரில் பணக்கார தனியார் தொழில் நிறுவனங்களுக்கு கொடுக்கும் பல்லாயிரம் கோடி ரூபாய் கடன்தான் திரும்ப வசூலிக்கப்படுவது இல்லை. அதனால்தான் வங்கிகளின் வாராக்கடன் இந்த அளவுக்கு பெருகியுள்ளது.

ரிசர்வ் வங்கியே வெளியிட்ட புள்ளிவிவரங்களின்படி, மொத்த வாராக் கடனில் பெரும் கார்ப்பரேட் நிறுவனங்களுக்கு கொடுத்த கடன் தொகை மட்டும் 88.4 சதவீதம். மற்ற அனைத்து தரப்புகளிடம் இருந்து வெறும் 11.6 சதவீதம் மட்டுமே வரவேண்டியுள்ளது. ஆக, கார்ப்பரேட் நிறுவனங்களுக்கு கொடுத்த பல்லாயிரம் கோடி ரூபாய் கடனை திருப்பி வசூலிக்க உறுதியான நடவடிக்கை எடுப்பதற்கு பதிலாக, வாராக்கடன் பிரச்சினைக்கு தீர்வு காணவே புதிய மசோதா என்பது வெறும் கண்துடைப்பான வாதம்.

அப்படியானால், மத்திய அரசு இத்தகைய முடிவுக்கு வர என்ன காரணம்?

2008-ம் ஆண்டு அமெரிக்காவில் ஏற்பட்ட பொருளாதார நெருக்கடியின்போது அந்த நாட்டில் 452 வங்கிகள் திவாலாகின. அந்த வங்கிகளைக் காப்பாற்ற அமெரிக்க அரசால் முடியவில்லை. அதன் பிறகு, நலிவடையும் வங்கிகள் விவகாரத்தில் அரசு தலையிடுவதில்லை என்றும், அந்தந்த வங்கிகளே அதனைப் பார்த்துக்கொள்ள வேண்டும் என்றும் அமெரிக்கா முடிவெடுத்தது. இவ்வாறு நலிவடையும் வங்கிகளை தனியார் கைகளுக்கு மாற்றுவதற்காக ஒரு வாரியமும் உருவாக்கப்பட்டது. அமெரிக்கா மட்டுமின்றி ஜி-7 நாடுகள் அனைத்தும் இந்த வாரியத்தில் உறுப்பினராகி, தங்கள் நாடுகளில் இந்த கொள்கைகளை அமல்படுத்தத் தொடங்கின.

வங்கிகள் அனைத்தையும் தனியார்மயமாக்க வேண்டும் என்ற கொள்கைகளைக் கொண்ட உலக வங்கி, சர்வதேச நிதியம் போன்ற அமைப்புகளும் பின்னர் இந்த வாரியத்தில் உறுப்பினர்களாக சேர்க்கப்பட்டன. அதன் பிறகு இந்தியா உள்ளிட்ட ஜி-20 நாடுகளும் உறுப்பினர்கள் ஆனார்கள். அந்தக் கொள்கையின் அடிப்படையிலேயே இந்தியாவில் உள்ள அனைத்து வங்கிகளையும் தனியார் வசம் மாற்றும் நோக்கில் தற்போது இந்த புதிய மசோதா அறிமுகப்படுத்தப்பட்டுள்ளது.

‘பிரதமர் மோடி எந்த சீர்திருத்த நடவடிக்கை எடுத்தாலும், அதை எதிர்க்க வேண்டும் என்ற நோக்கில் இங்கு பிரச்சாரம் நடக்கிறது. அந்த பிரச்சாரங்களை மக்கள் ஏற்காததாலேயே, அடுத்தடுத்த தேர்தல்களில் பாஜக தொடர்ந்து வெற்றிகளைக் குவிக்கிறது’ என்று கூறப்படுவது பற்றி..

தேர்தல்களில் பெறும் வெற்றிகளால் மட்டுமே, பணமதிப்பு நீக்கம் போன்ற தவறான பொருளாதார நடவடிக்கைகளுக்கு மக்கள் நற்சான்று வழங்கிவிட்டதாகக் கூற முடியாது. இதுபோன்ற நடவடிக்கைகளின் பாதிப்புகள் மக்களுக்கு முழுமையாக தெரியவர இன்னும் அவகாசம் தேவைப்படலாம். பணமதிப்பு நீக்கம் போன்ற நடவடிக்கைகளைவிட, தற்போதைய நிதித் தீர்வு மற்றும் வைப்புத் தொகை காப்பீட்டுச் சட்ட மசோதா மக்களிடம் உடனடி தாக்கத்தை ஏற்படுத்தக்கூடியது.

வங்கிகளில் சேமிப்பு வைத்திருப்பவர்களில் மிகப் பெரும்பாலானோர் நடுத்தர வர்க்கத்தினர். தாங்கள் வாழ்நாள் முழுவதும் உழைத்து சேமித்த தொகைக்கு ஆபத்து என்றால் அதை நடுத்தர வர்க்கத்தினர் ஏற்றுக்கொள்ள மாட்டார்கள். எஸ்பிஐ உட்பட பல வங்கிகளில் உள்ள தங்கள் டெபாசிட் தொகையை மக்கள் இப்போதே வேகமாக எடுக்கத் தொடங்கியுள்ளனர். ஆகவே, பிற பொருளாதார நடவடிக்கைகள் போல, இந்த மசோதாவை அவ்வளவு எளிதில் நிறைவேற்றி, நடைமுறைப்படுத்தி விட முடியாது. மக்களிடம் எழும் பெரும் எதிர்ப்பின் காரணமாக இந்த மசோதா நிச்சயம் கைவிடப்படும் என்ற நம்பிக்கை உள்ளது.

புதிய மசோதாவால் என்ன ஆபத்து?

வெளிப்படைத்தன்மை இல்லாத, உள்நோக்கம் கொண்ட மசோதா இது. தற்போது உள்ள சட்டத்தின்படி வங்கிகளை திவாலாக விடுவதும், அத்தகைய நிலை ஏற்பட்டால் தனியார்வசம் அந்த வங்கியை ஒப்படைப்பது என்பதும் எளிதானது அல்ல. தனியாருக்கு கொடுக்க வேண்டுமானால் நாடாளுமன்றத்தில் விவாதம் நடத்தப்பட்டு, ஒப்புதல் பெற வேண்டும்.

ஆனால், தற்போதைய மசோதாவின்படி அமைக்கப்படவுள்ள தீர்வுக் கழகம், நலிவடையும் வங்கியை தனியாரிடமோ, மற்றவர்களிடமோ ஒப்படைத்துவிட்டு, அந்த தகவலை மட்டும் நாடாளுமன்றத்துக்கு தெரிவித்தால் போதும். மேலும், வங்கிகளை திவாலாக அனுமதிக்கலாம் என்று கூறுவதன் மூலம், லாபத்தில் இயங்கும் வங்கிகளின் பணத்தை கார்ப்பரேட் நிறுவனங்களுக்கு பெருமளவில் கடனாகக் கொடுத்துவிட்டு, அதை முறையாக வசூலிக்காமல், வாராக் கடன் அளவைப் பெருக்கி, வங்கியை நஷ்டப்படுத்தி, இறுதியாக தனியார் கார்ப ்பரேட் வசம், வங்கி நிர்வாகத்தை ஒப்படைத்துவிட வேண்டும் என்ற உள்நோக்கத்துடன் இந்த மசோதா கொண்டு வரப்பட்டுள்ளது என்பதுதான் எங்கள் பிரதான குற்றச்சாட்டு.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

UN General Assembly rejects Trump's Jerusalem move

UN General Assembly rejects Trump's Jerusalem move


A resounding majority of United Nations member states has defied unprecedented threats by the US to declare President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital "null and void".

The non-binding resolution was approved at a UN General Assembly emergency meeting on Thursday with 128 votes in favour and nine against, while 35 countries abstained.

It passed despite intimidation by Trump, who had threatened on Wednesday to eliminate financial aid to member states who would vote against his decision, while Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, had  warned  that she would be "taking names" of those countries.

Shortly after the vote, Palestinian leaders called the vote a victory for Palestine and thanked the UN member states that rejected Trump's unilateral move "despite all the pressure exerted on them".

"This decision reaffirms once again that the just Palestinian cause enjoys the support of international community, and no decisions made by any side could change the reality, that Jerusalem is an occupied territory under international law," Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement.

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, condemned Washington's decision but said the UN vote showed respect for the rule of law.

"It's a day of shame to those who stood shoulder to shoulder with the occupation and settlements against international law," he said.

"But we appreciate very much that the majority of the international community decided, in spite of the threats and intimidation of the US, to stand tall with wisdom, far-sightedness, international law and the rule of law - and not the rule of the jungle."

Mevlut Cavusoglu, foreign minister of Turkey, a co-sponsor of the resolution, said on Twitter that "dignity and sovereignty are not for sale".

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, also welcomed the result of the vote on Twitter,  calling it "a resounding global NO to Trump regime's thuggish intimidation" at the UN.

For his part, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had earlier called the UN a "house of lies", condemned the "preposterous" vote and thanked Trump for his stance on Jerusalem. 

"I do appreciate the fact that a growing number of countries refused to participate in this theatre of the absurd," he said in a televised statement.

"So I appreciate that, and especially I want to again express our thanks to President Trump and Ambassador Haley, for their stalwart defence of Israel and their stalwart defence of the truth."

'Great humiliation'

The session on Thursday at the 193-member body was held at the request of Arab and Muslim countries after the US vetoed the same measure in the Security Council on Monday.

The US was outnumbered 14 to 1 in that vote.

While the Security Council's five permanent members - the US, Britain, France, China and Russia - had veto power on Monday's vote, there are no vetoes at the General Assembly.

Similar to the Egyptian-drafted text that was blocked by Washington on Monday, the draft resolution approved on Thursday did not mention the US by name but expressed "deep regret at recent 
decisions" concerning Jerusalem's status.

Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst, called the result of the General Assembly vote a "great humiliation for the US".

Bishara said that most UN member states that voted in favour of the draft resolution did not necessarily do so to back the Palestinians but to support "international legality".

"They voted for what they saw as a violation of international law," he said.

"The resolution starts by naming several UN Security Council resolutions, where the US either voted for or abstained, saying that Israel cannot annex East Jerusalem; that Israel cannot export its own 
population to East Jerusalem; that Israel cannot continue with the settlement building in East Jerusalem and so on," added Bishara.

"All in all, 128 countries voted for international law."

Embassy move

In addition to recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Trump announced on December 6 that the US would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

No country currently has its embassy in the city, which is home to holy religious sites and has particular significance for Muslims, Christians and Jews.

The US decision triggered a series of protests in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as major international cities - from Jakarta, through Istanbul, to Rabat.

The status of Jerusalem has long remained a sensitive topic and one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

After occupying the city's eastern part in the 1967 War, Israel annexed the territory. In 1980, it proclaimed it as its "eternal, undivided capital."

The Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, however, see East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

They have warned that any change to the status quo would mean the end of the peace process premised on a two-state solution.

Thursday's vote was reminiscent of a session in 2012, when an overwhelming majority backed Palestine's upgrade in the UN to non-member state status.

In that vote, some 138 countries supported the upgrade, while nine - including the US, Israel, Canada and several South Pacific countries - voted against.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

The separatist movement has achieved a majority in Catalan parliament

SPAIN
Pro-independence parties claim victory in Catalan election
By
Alice Cuddy last updated: 21/12/2017

The separatist movement has achieved a majority in parliament, while the pro-unity Ciutadans are the largest single party

Victory for the Catalan republic”.
"Catalan Republic has beaten the monarchy."
"Article 155 is dead".
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont's Junts per Catalunya party.


 Pro-independence parties claim victory in Catalan election
Pro-independence parties have declared victory in Catalonia's regional elections, while the unionist Ciudadanos has become the largest single party in parliament.

With almost all of the votes counted, the three leading separatist parties celebrated gaining a majority in parliament.

"Article 155 is dead," said deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont's Junts per Catalunya party.

Speaking from Brussels, Puidgemont - who referred to himself as the president of Catalonia - declared that the Catalan Republic has "beaten the monarchy."

He also warned that Europe should "take note" of the result, and that "any solution not taking the people into account won't work."

Elecciones en Cataluña

The separatist politician, who is living in self-imposed exile in Belgium, said he will hold a press conference on Friday (December 22) about the results.

Marta Rovira of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (the Republican Left of Catalonia), said the "citizens have voted so the government in exile is able to come back."

But the pro-independence parties weren't the only ones celebrating.

Unionist Ciudadanos celebrated its victory as the largest single party in the parliament.

"It is the first time we've ever won - 1.1 million Catalans have voted for us," the party's leader, Ines Arrimadas, told a jubilant crowd.

"The majority of people in Catalonia feel Catalan, Spanish and European," she added.

In less celebratory scenes, Partit Popular leader Xaview Garcia Albiol said Catalonia "is going to lose because of this result."

The results came after a closely-watched regional election that pitted pro-independence parties against those who want Catalonia to remain a semi-autonomous region of Spain.

The vote was called by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in late October, when Spain's central government took control of Catalonia and sacked its government.

The move followed an independence referendum, which was deemed illegal by Madrid, and a subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

Turnout for the vote reached a record 81 percent, marking a major increase from the 74 percent recorded in the 2015 election.

Source: Euro News

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

2G Spectrum Scam Case Verdict : A Raja, M Kanimozhi Acquitted

 2G Spectrum Scam Case Verdict Live Updates: A Raja, M Kanimozhi Acquitted

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court will give its verdict today on whether former Telecom Minister A Raja was behind the 2G scam, believed to be India's biggest ever scam, which came to light six years ago.

Mr Raja is accused of allocating airwaves and licenses for cellphone networks in exchange for kickbacks and causing the state a loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore. A Raja who was from Tamil Nadu-based regional party - DMK, has, however, denied allegations of corruption and said the decisions were taken after apprising then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and were based on inputs from DoT, other Cabinet Ministers and the then Solicitor General. Several other politicians and executives of some of the top telecom companies, are named in the case. M Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi -- is also an accused in the case.


Dec 21, 2017 

A special court acquitted on Thursday all accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam cases on Thursday, deciding the fate of former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi among others.

Special CBI judge O P Saini gave judgements in separate cases lodged by the CBI and the ED in the infamous scam that rocked the UPA government.

The scam relates to the granting of 2G spectrum licence allocations in 2007-08 which caused, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore.

The trial in 2G spectrum scam case started six years ago in 2011 after the court had framed charges against 17 accused in the CBI’s case for the offences which entails punishment ranging from six
months in life imprisonment.

The court says the prosecution has miserably failed to prove the case against all accused.
All accused are acquitted in the case.

US National Security Strategy- 2017, indicates shift in US view of India

 Firstpost

Donald Trump's National Security Strategy indicates shift in US view of India and Pakistan over two years
Karan Pradhan Dec, 19 2017

The National Security Strategy (NSS) of the United States of America was released on Monday. This 60-odd-page document, the first of its sort by the Donald Trump administration, seeks to outline the US' internal and external challenges and lay out a roadmap for the year ahead. According to the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Department Reorganisation Act of 1986, the publishing of the NSS is meant to be an annual affair. However, barring Ronald Reagan, no president has produced a new NSS every year. In fact, the eight-year tenure of Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, only saw two such reports being published. And while these documents rarely translate fully into policy, they are indicative of Washington's mindset and shall be examined accordingly.

Getting back to the 2017 edition, there are a number of a notable features of Trump's 'strategy of principled realism that is guided by outcomes, not ideology', like the absence of anything relating to climate change — the document instead dwells on the merits of fossil fuels — and a suspicious view of China and Russia. Most relevant to South Asia, however, are the references to India and Pakistan, particularly when seen as an evolution of how Obama's NSS of 2015 viewed both countries.



On India

In the 2015 iteration of this text, India found itself mentioned six times — half of which referred to the growing bilateral relationship, something that blossomed during the Obama presidency and has the potential to go even further under Trump.

Stating that the US was "primed to unlock the potential of (its) relationship with India", the document listed that there were several areas of strategic and economic convergence — "particularly in the areas of security, energy, and the environment" and the "rebalance to Asia and the Pacific". It went on to add that the US recognised the effect "India's potential" would have on the future of major power relations. Further, along with supporting India's role as a regional security provider, the document backed its "its expanded participation in critical regional institutions".

The most palpable theme to emerge was that Washington saw 'potential' in New Delhi, but largely saw India as a work-in-progress rather than the finished article.

Flash-forward to 2017 and Trump's NSS paints India in a very different light: "We welcome India’s emergence as a leading global power and stronger strategic and defence partner," it proclaims and adds that the US will "support its leadership role in Indian Ocean security and throughout the broader region".

For starters and from the language used, it would appear that the US now sees India as less of a work-in-progress and slightly more as an almost-finished article.

The NSS goes on to state, "We will expand our defence and security cooperation with India, a Major Defence Partner of the United States, and support India’s growing relationships throughout the region" and "We will seek to increase quadrilateral cooperation with Japan, Australia, and India." And finally, "...we will encourage India to increase its economic assistance in the region."

And having seen India as an almost-finished article and made all the right noises (see: leading global power), it's time for the country to make itself useful. The allusion to quadrilateral cooperation and India's 'growing relationships throughout the region' can be seen as a thinly-veiled reference to the country's role in the US' China strategy. And the bit about economic assistance is unmistakably linked to Afghanistan. More on this shortly.

Donald Trump speaks on national security in Washington on Monday. APDonald Trump speaks on national security in Washington on Monday. AP

On Pakistan

* "We will also work with the countries of the region, including Pakistan, to mitigate the threat from terrorism and to support a viable peace and reconciliation process to end the violence in Afghanistan and improve regional stability."
* "(W)e will continue to work with both India and Pakistan to promote strategic stability, combat terrorism, and advance regional economic integration in South and Central Asia."

These were the only two references to Pakistan in Obama's NSS of 2015 and it's not entirely unthinkable to imagine that Pakistan was still seen — if one goes by the document — as one among a set of countries that could be relied upon to bring about peace to the region. Not, it must be added, as a country responsible for instability or for fostering terrorists.

The NSS of 2017, however, is a very different story. So much so, that it had Pakistani NSA Nasser Khan Janjua up in arms and led to him alleging that the US was showing preferential treatment to India.

But what was it that raised his hackles?

The very first mention of the country refers to the threat from "militants operating from within Pakistan" and the very final one to the fact that the US will "insist that Pakistan take decisive action against militant and terrorist groups operating from its soil". The US, the document adds, seeks "a Pakistan that is not engaged in destabilising behaviour". It goes on to add that Washington will press Islamabad "to intensify its counterterrorism efforts" and promises that trade and investment relations will be built "as security improves and as Pakistan demonstrates that it will assist the United States in our counterterrorism goals".

Finally, the document flags a potential India-Pakistan "military conflict that could lead to a nuclear exchange" as an area of grave concern and urges Islamabad "to continue demonstrating that it is a responsible steward of its nuclear assets".

If it wasn't just the insinuations against Pakistan, with which Page 50 of the NSS 2017 is replete, that got Janjua's goat, it's quite likely it was the tone of the statements about the country that did. It appears to be, in equal parts, an admonishment and a threat. Accusing Pakistan of being engaged in 'destabilising behaviour', warning it against being irresponsible with its nukes and 'insisting' that it cracks down on terrorists (something, it is implied, Pakistan has shown no inclination to do so far) and challenging it to show continued responsibility with nukes comes across like a school matron disciplining an errant child. The part about the desire to build trade and investment ties can be read as a threat because the wording of the text implies that this won't happen unless security improves and Pakistan 'demonstrates' that it will be part of the counterterrorism effort.

Contrasting the glowing references to India with the nearly-damning ones to Pakistan goes some way in showing just why Janjua reacted the way he did.

Trump's National Security Strategy dwelt on Russia and China, but its references to India and Pakistan were instructive. APTrump's National Security Strategy dwelt on Russia and China, but its references to India and Pakistan were instructive. AP

So what to make of all this?

The Trump administration — and more specifically, the man at the helm of it — has been talking tough on Pakistan ever since it took over in January this year. For instance, in August, when the US approved a $255-million aid package for Pakistan (having provided nearly $33 billion since 2002), Trump said, "We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond... We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson added, "We’re going to be conditioning our support for Pakistan and our relationship with them on them delivering results in this area."

With that in mind, it's unsurprising to see the sort of language used in various public utterances manifest itself on the pages of the NSS. For the near future, it looks like this public war of words between Islamabad and Washington will continue... largely in the press. Trump or a member of his Cabinet will fire off a salvo at Pakistan. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif or Janjua or someone else will return fire. Frostiness will reign supreme and then a bilateral visit by a secretary or minister will smooth things over until the next salvo. Will this iteration of the NSS make a difference to Pakistan's relationship with terrorism emanating from its own soil? Hard to be certain, but for now, it seems rather unlikely.

What all this means for India is very different. It would be easy for New Delhi to thumb its nose at China — that took a bit of stick in the NSS — and pat itself on the back about how mighty it has become on the world stage that even the US acknowledges its majesty and gives it the proverbial bhaav. Unfortunately, it looks like the reality is very far removed from this interpretation.

Admittedly, Trump — or his NSS at the very least — acknowledges India as a leader and a partner. However, the lines about India that follow and a cursory reading of the rest of the document indicate that there are three clear areas (and one slightly fuzzy one) in which the US now needs India:

First, as a part of the US strategy to counter China: The references to leadership in the region, New Delhi's growing relationships in the region and quadrilateral cooperation make this part very clear. Washington is wary of Beijing's growing clout and using New Delhi as its 'guy on the inside' will ostensibly help the US 'contain' China, particularly in the South China Sea, without getting its own hands too dirty.

Second, as a part of the US strategy to curb terrorism emanating from Pakistan: All that talk of regional and global leadership when read alongside the lines on Pakistan indicate that the US is not too pleased with Pakistan. And by demonstrating this state of displeasure while talking up India — all publicly, the document gives the impression that Washington has picked a side. In doing so, the effort could be to embolden India to carry on with its actions against Pakistan. Once again, this would save the US the effort of actually getting its hands dirty.

Third, the allusion to India's economic assistance in the region clearly refers to Afghanistan: New Delhi and Kabul share cordial, if not outright warm, relations and Washington is not unaware. The US drawdown from Afghanistan has been a nightmare that keeps on giving (grief, that is) and costing American taxpayers millions every year. What better way than to pull out of yet another botched endgame in that country than by getting a willing neighbour to foot the bill?

And the fuzzy fourth, three references to the India-US defence partnership in a document that is fairly critical of Russia, could hint at Trump's willingness to take Moscow (New Delhi's largest source of arms imports over the years) out of the game by striking better defence deals with India. Despite still having a great deal of warmth and positivity, the India-Russia relationship is at its lowest point since Independence. Could the US be planning to replace Russia in India's mind space? Perhaps, but it's far too early to even contemplate the remotest notion of all that.

Of course, there is the fact that India is obviously not going to unquestioningly and obediently follow the US' instructions on foreign policy. But, the NSS is a good indicator of the roles Washington sees other countries playing. To sum it all up, it's true that there's been a major shift in the way the US perceives of India — Washington sees New Delhi as a far more useful player in its game than ever before. It is still too premature and extreme to use the word 'pawn' just yet.

Published Date: Dec 19, 2017 Firstpost
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ENB Link
US National Security Strategy Document

ENB Document - US National Security Strategy 2017

Transcript:Trump’s National Security Speech

Transcript:Trump’s National Security Speech
Donald Trump delivers remarks on the National Security Strategy at the Ronald Reagan Building on Monday [Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

Transcript:Trump’s National Security Speech
18 Dec 2017

The following is a White House transcript of US President Donald Trump's speech on Monday on his administration's national security strategy:

We're here today to discuss matters of vital importance to us all: America's security, prosperity, and standing in the world. I want to talk about where we've been, where we are now, and, finally, our
strategy for where we are going in the years ahead.

Over the past 11 months, I have travelled tens of thousands of miles to visit 13 countries. I have met with more than 100 world leaders. I have carried America's message to a grand hall in Saudi Arabia, a great square in Warsaw, to the General Assembly of the United Nations, and to the seat of democracy on the Korean Peninsula. Everywhere I travelled, it was my highest privilege and greatest honour to represent the American people.

Throughout our history, the American people have always been the true source of American greatness. Our people have promoted our culture and promoted our values. Americans have fought and sacrificed on the battlefields all over the world. We have liberated captive nations, transformed former enemies into the best of friends, and lifted entire regions of the planet from poverty to prosperity.

Because of our people, America has been among the greatest forces for peace and justice in the history of the world. The American people are generous. You are determined, you are brave, you are
strong, and you are wise. 

When the American people speak, all of us should listen. And just over one year ago, you spoke loud and you spoke clear. On November 8, 2016, you voted to make America great again. You embraced new leadership and very new strategies, and also a glorious new hope. That is why we are here today.

But to seize the opportunities of the future, we must first understand the failures of the past. For many years, our citizens watched as Washington politicians presided over one disappointment after another. Too many of our leaders - so many who forgot whose voices they were to respect and whose interests they were supposed to defend - our leaders in Washington negotiated disastrous trade deals that brought massive profits to many foreign nations, but sent thousands of American factories, and millions of American jobs, to those other countries.

Our leaders engaged in nation-building abroad, while they failed to build up and replenish our nation at home. They undercut and shortchanged our men and women in uniform with inadequate resources, unstable funding, and unclear missions. They failed to insist that our often very wealthy allies pay their fair share for defence, putting a massive and unfair burden on the US taxpayer and our great US military.

They neglected a nuclear menace in North Korea; made a disastrous, weak, and incomprehensibly bad deal with Iran; and allowed terrorists such as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) to gain
control of vast parts of territory all across the Middle East.

They put American energy under lock and key. They imposed punishing regulations and crippling taxes. They surrendered our sovereignty to foreign bureaucrats in faraway and distant capitals.

And over the profound objections of the American people, our politicians left our borders wide open. Millions of immigrants entered illegally. Millions more were admitted into our country without the
proper vetting needed to protect our security and our economy. Leaders in Washington imposed on the country an immigration policy that Americans never voted for, never asked for, and never approved - a policy where the wrong people are allowed into our country and the right people are rejected. American citizens, as usual, have been left to bear the cost and to pick up the tab.

On top of everything else, our leaders drifted from American principles. They lost sight of America's destiny. And they lost their belief in American greatness. As a result, our citizens lost something as
well. The people lost confidence in their government and, eventually, even lost confidence in their future.

But last year, all of that began to change. The American people rejected the failures of the past. You rediscovered your voice and reclaimed ownership of this nation and its destiny.

On January 20th, 2017, I stood on the steps of the Capitol to herald the day the people became the rulers of their nation again. Thank you. Now, less than one year later, I am proud to report that the
entire world has heard the news and has already seen the signs. America is coming back, and America is coming back strong.

Upon my inauguration, I announced that the United States would return to a simple principle: The first duty of our government is to serve its citizens, many of whom have been forgotten. But they are
not forgotten any more. With every decision and every action, we are now putting America first.

We are rebuilding our nation, our confidence, and our standing in the world. We have moved swiftly to confront our challenges, and we have confronted them head-on.

We are once again investing in our defence - almost $700bn, a record, this coming year. We are demanding extraordinary strength, which will hopefully lead to long and extraordinary peace. We are
giving our courageous military men and women the support they need and so dearly deserve.

We have withdrawn the United States from job-killing deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the very expensive and unfair Paris Climate Accord. And on our trip to Asia last month, I announced that we will no longer tolerate trading abuse.

We have established strict new vetting procedures to keep terrorists out of the United States, and our vetting is getting tougher each month.

To counter Iran and block its path to a nuclear weapon, I sanctioned the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its support of terrorism, and I declined to certify the Iran Deal to Congress.

Following my trip to the Middle East, the Gulf states and other Muslim-majority nations joined together to fight radical Islamist ideology and terrorist financing. We have dealt ISIS one devastating
defeat after another. The coalition to defeat ISIS has now recaptured almost 100 percent of the land once held by these terrorists in Iraq and Syria. Great job. Great job. Really good. Thank you. Thank you. We have a great military. We're now chasing them wherever they flee, and we will not let them into the United States.

In Afghanistan, our troops are no longer undermined by artificial timelines, and we no longer tell our enemies of our plans. We are beginning to see results on the battlefield. And we have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They
have to help.

Our efforts to strengthen the NATO Alliance set the stage for significant increases in member contributions, with tens of billions of dollars more pouring in because I would not allow member states to be delinquent in the payment while we guarantee their safety and are willing to fight wars for them. We have made clear that countries that are immensely wealthy should reimburse the United States for the cost of defending them. This is a major departure from the past, but a fair and necessary one - necessary for our country, necessary for our taxpayer, necessary for our own thought process.

Our campaign of maximum pressure on the North Korean regime has resulted in the toughest-ever sanctions. We have united our allies in an unprecedented effort to isolate North Korea. However, there is much more work to do. America and its allies will take all necessary steps to achieve a denuclearisation and ensure that this regime cannot threaten the world. Thank you. This situation
should have been taken care of long before I got into office, when it was much easier to handle. But it will be taken care of. We have no choice.

At home, we are keeping our promises and liberating the American economy. We have created more than two million jobs since the election. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. The stock market is at
an all-time high and, just a little while ago, hit yet another all-time high - the 85th time since my election. 

We have cut 22 regulations for every one new regulation, the most in the history of our country. We have unlocked America's vast energy resources.

As the world watches - and the world is indeed watching - we are days away from passing historic tax cuts for American families and businesses. It will be the biggest tax cut and tax reform in the history of our country. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

And we are seeing the response we fully expected. Economic growth has topped three percent for two quarters in a row. GDP growth, which is way ahead of schedule under my administration, will be one of America's truly greatest weapons.

Optimism has surged. Confidence has returned. With this new confidence, we are also bringing back clarity to our thinking. We are reasserting these fundamental truths:

A nation without borders is not a nation.

A nation that does not protect prosperity at home cannot protect its interests abroad.

A nation that is not prepared to win a war is a nation not capable of preventing a war.

A nation that is not proud of its history cannot be confident in its future.

And a nation that is not certain of its values cannot summon the will to defend them.

Today, grounded in these truths, we are presenting to the world our new national security strategy. Based on my direction, this document has been in development for over a year. It has the endorsement of my entire Cabinet.

Our new strategy is based on a principled realism, guided by our vital national interests, and rooted in our timeless values.

This strategy recognises that, whether we like it or not, we are engaged in a new era of competition. We accept that vigorous military, economic, and political contests are now playing out all around
the world.

We face rogue regimes that threaten the United States and our allies. We face terrorist organisations, transnational criminal networks, and others who spread violence and evil around the globe.

We also face rival powers, Russia and China, that seek to challenge American influence, values, and wealth. We will attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries, but in a manner that always protects our national interest.

As an example, yesterday I received a call from President Putin of Russia thanking our country for the intelligence that our CIA was able to provide them concerning a major terrorist attack planned in
St Petersburg, where many people, perhaps in the thousands, could have been killed. They were able to apprehend these terrorists before the event, with no loss of life. And that's a great thing, and the way it's supposed to work. That is the way it's supposed to work.

But while we seek such opportunities of cooperation, we will stand up for ourselves, and we will stand up for our country like we have never stood up before. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

We know that American success is not a foregone conclusion. It must be earned and it must be won. Our rivals are tough, they're tenacious, and committed to the long term. But so are we.

To succeed, we must integrate every dimension of our national strength, and we must compete with every instrument of our national power.

Under the Trump administration, America is gaining wealth, leading to enhanced power -- faster than anyone thought - with $6 trillion more in the stock market alone since the election -- $6 trillion.

With the strategy I am announcing today, we are declaring that America is in the game and America is going to win. Thank you.

Our strategy advances four vital national interests. First, we must protect the American people, the homeland, and our great American way of life. This strategy recognises that we cannot secure our
nation if we do not secure our borders. So for the first time ever, American strategy now includes a serious plan to defend our homeland. It calls for the construction of a wall on our southern border;
ending chain migration and the horrible visa and lottery programs; closing loopholes that undermine enforcement; and strongly supporting our Border Patrol agents, ICE officers, and Homeland
Security personnel.

In addition, our strategy calls for us to confront, discredit, and defeat radical Islamic terrorism and ideology and to prevent it from spreading into the United States. And we will develop new ways to
counter those who use new domains, such as cyber and social media, to attack our nation or threaten our society.

The second pillar of our strategy is to promote American prosperity. For the first time, American strategy recognizes that economic security is national security. Economic vitality, growth, and
prosperity at home is absolutely necessary for American power and influence abroad. Any nation that trades away its prosperity for security will end up losing both.

That is why this national security strategy emphasises, more than any before, the critical steps we must take to ensure the prosperity of our nation for a long, long time to come.

It calls for cutting taxes and rolling back unnecessary regulations. It calls for trade based on the principles of fairness and reciprocity. It calls for firm action against unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft. And it calls for new steps to protect our national security industrial and innovation base.

The strategy proposes a complete rebuilding of American infrastructure - our roads, bridges, airports, waterways, and communications infrastructure. And it embraces a future of American energy
dominance and self-sufficiency.

The third pillar of our strategy is to preserve peace through strength. We recognise that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unrivalled power is the most certain means of defence. For this reason, our strategy breaks from the damaging defence sequester. We're going to get rid of that. 

It calls for a total modernisation of our military, and reversing previous decisions to shrink our armed forces - even as threats to national security grew. It calls for streamlining acquisition, eliminating bloated bureaucracy, and massively building up our military, which has the fundamental side benefit of creating millions and millions of jobs.

This strategy includes plans to counter modern threats, such as cyber and electromagnetic attacks. It recognises space as a competitive domain and calls for multi-layered missile defence. This strategy outlines important steps to address new forms of conflict such as economic and political aggression.

And our strategy emphasises strengthening alliances to cope with these threats. It recognises that our strength is magnified by allies who share principles - and our principles - and shoulder their fair share of responsibility for our common security.

Fourth and finally, our strategy is to advance American influence in the world, but this begins with building up our wealth and power at home.

America will lead again. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but we will champion the values without apology. We want strong alliances and partnerships based on cooperation and
reciprocity. We will make new partnerships with those who share our goals, and make common interests into a common cause. We will not allow inflexible ideology to become an obsolete and
obstacle to peace.

We will pursue the vision we have carried around the world over this past year - a vision of strong, sovereign, and independent nations that respect their citizens and respect their neighbours; nations
that thrive in commerce and cooperation, rooted in their histories and branching out toward their destinies.

That is the future we wish for this world, and that is the future we seek in America.

With this strategy, we are calling for a great reawakening of America, a resurgence of confidence, and a rebirth of patriotism, prosperity, and pride.

And we are returning to the wisdom of our founders. In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign. What we have built here in America is precious and unique. In all of
history, never before has freedom reigned, the rule of law prevailed, and the people thrived as we have here for nearly 250 years.

We must love and defend it. We must guard it with vigilance and spirit, and, if necessary, like so many before us, with our very lives. And we declare that our will is renewed, our future is regained, and our dreams are restored.

Every American has a role to play in this grand national effort. And today, I invite every citizen to take their part in our vital mission. Together, our task is to strengthen our families, to build up our
communities, to serve our citizens, and to celebrate American greatness as a shining example to the world.

As long as we are proud - and very proud - of who we are, how we got here, and what we are fighting for to preserve, we will not fail.

If we do all of this, if we rediscover our resolve and commit ourselves to compete and win again, then together we will leave our children and our grandchildren a nation that is stronger, better, freer, prouder, and, yes, an America that is greater than ever before.

God bless you. Thank you very much. Thank you.