Could Obama be a one term president?

It is premature to make any such predictions at this stage of political season. Having said that, the signs are not good for this administration. In case the much touted health care overhaul goes down the drain, Barack Obama might be in a serious trouble for the mid-term congressional elections next year. This presidency is going to be judged on the basis of the economy at the time of the reckoning! Yesterday on Fareed Zakaria GPS, Nouriel Roubini, Mort Zuckerman and Niall Ferguson were all very pessimistic about the short-term future of the US economy. Barack Obama has failed to show any understanding of the complex situation of not only the American economy but also the world at large. The United States needed economically a very savvy president at this stage of the game. The social agenda of a classical liberal like Barack Obama is not what the country is looking for.

Internationally, the Obama administration is promoting disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and global warming. These are important issues but not at this time. Barack Obama should be talking about economy, economy and economy. Translation, fast-tract the Doha Round of trade negotiations, some kind of global agreement in G-20 summit and an agreement on energy demand and supply. A stable energy supply and price could quickly translate into a stable financial environment. These are important global issues and would impact the US economy in a short, medium and long term. Seeking friendship with the Muslim world, finding a solution to the Afghanistan War and other non-economic issues can move along at a much easier speed. What could destroy this presidency is an absolute ignorance of the world situation by this very talented team. This is a very different and complex world. Nobody should wish this young president to fail!

Iran is unlikely to plunge into a civil war

The fight in Iran is between Islam v/s Islam, it is a family feud. The west and the rest of the world is nothing more than silent spectators. Their values are in line with the rest of the Muslim world but not with the world. Neither side is either progressive or conservative, they are both fundamentally theocratic. To dignify any party in Iran as conservative is an insult to the English vocabulary. A conservative thinking is seeped in tradition and culture and highly introvert. Conservatives are neither flashy nor vocal, it goes against their grain. The turbanned mullahs of Iran are old and greedy dictators who would use any excuse to stay in power. Period! The current dispute is not amongst the two presidential candidates, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Mir Hossein Mousavi, it is a challenge from the former president Hashemi Rafsanjani to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Both are old and ambitious and consummate politicians. This feud is not going to be settled on the streets of Tehran but behind the veils of Islam. Stay tuned for a prolonged engagement!

The people of Pakistan are victims too!

Ordinary people in Pakistan are as helpless as the free citizens of India. We can not get rid of our corrupt politicians similarly Pakistanis can not get rid of their obsessive military dictators. The armed forces of Pakistan have ruled their country ever since the partition of India. The military generals of Pakistan have done a fantastic job of their public relations with the United States, China and a large section of the Muslim world. With the rise of India as a regional economic power, many Pakistanis have started to understand their own dilemma. Middle-class Pakistanis want good relations with India but not at the cost of their nationalistic pride. Can you really blame them? The military junta in Pakistan is acutely aware of this ambivalence in Pakistani people and has exploited this for their own survival. The dumb Indian politician has helped these brutal dictators by playing into their hands. Just THINK about it!

Given the ‘catch-22′ situation, who is in a position to change the dynamics? The simple answer is ‘Corporate India’. This time the Lashkar-e-Toiba has made a fatal error of judgment. By literally invading Taj Mahal hotel, they have hurt India Inc, the only viable entity in India to force a change. The Indian industry is bound to push ‘Corporate America’ to work on their politicians for a decisive action. Despite the lofty pronouncements of the incoming American administration, USIBC (United States India Business Council) would lobby hard to punish the terrorists inside Pakistan. Only the United States of America has the means to strike inside Pakistan and take out Lashkar-e-Toiba and Dawood Ibrahim. This would mean direct conflict with the Pakistani Military and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) in the short run but peace and progress in the long run. Do you think President-elect Obama has the stomach for that? This is going to be the new ‘Iraq’ for the Obama administration!

George W Bush is no bumbling idiot…

President George W Bush is not a very well liked politician these days, but he certainly is not a bumbling idiot either. American bilateral relations with China and India have never been better. These two countries account for 35% of the world population. In other words, United States is interacting with more people in this world than in it’s entire history. Put it another way, President Bush has brought more people in the world’s main-stream than any US President ever! Boy! This would make me sound like a hard core Republican. Unfortunately, this is a painful fact that can not be denied. George Bush’s initiative in Africa is absolutely unprecedented, and even the democrats acknowledge that. President Clinton was far more diplomatic when he talked to China, India and Russia. George Bush is much more direct and uninhibited. He has a folksy style of talking to his counter parts in China and India, but their leaders understand his transparent heart. On the flip side, he has botched up the relationship with Putin and Russia. History would judge him accordingly.

Iraq War would define George W Bush’s presidency but he can not tell the truth to the people of his country or the world. It would be a diplomatic calamity. He knows that and his administration understands that. Only he has to carry the burden quietly and that is the role of a US President. My understanding of the Iraq War is that soon after September 11, 2001, the US intelligence reports indicated the Saudi Arabia’s hand behind the funding of ‘Islamic Militants’. It was unthinkable to go after Saudi Arabia directly for two reasons. First, it would have inflamed the entire ‘Muslim World’ and second, it might have disrupted the energy supplies to the entire world. The prudent thing was to find a large footprint close the Saudi Arabia and create permanent bases to keep Saudis under surveillance. Iraq was an easier choice compared to Iran or any other large country close to Saudi Arabia. The next President of the United States would have to spend a lot of time learning from President Bush and not make the same mistake that George Bush himself made – ignoring Clinton.

Saudi Arabia should remain a bigger concern to the world, compared to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan or the entire Indian sub-continent. Every sundry terrorist organization in the world is directly or indirectly being funded by ‘Saudi Petro-dollars’. There are under-world conduits like Dawood Ibrahim, sitting pretty in Karachi, Pakistan and bank-rolling Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir. Where do you think the money is coming from? Some people paddle the theory that it is the Narco-Drug-Nexus that is pumping in the money. If that was the case, America would have taken care of it. The problem is that atleast the Indo-US intelligence has finally figured out that it is Saudi Arabia money that is funding all large scale insurgencies. Be it Iran-Iraq border, Afghanistan-Pakistan border or even India -Pakistan border, it is the ‘Wahhabi Saudi Face’ that is behind all Islamic-terror. Sooner or later, the US and the rest of the world would have to go into Saudi Arabia and dismantle the ‘Wahhabi Terror’ network. That day the Iraq War would look like a minor law and order problem. I wonder if the next president of the United States of America would have the balls to even contemplate such a scenario! I very much doubt it!


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