Effect Of The Pandemic On The Balance Of Power Between Nations?

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

~ John Donne.

I personally believe that the Pandemic itself will not have any effect on the balance of power between nations but, the period during which the pandemic came into being and affected lives, saw many developments that certainly will.

Let me list the events that I think were/are important for the world’s future in terms of Balance Of Power, henceforth BOP, between nations.

The first and most important, in my view, development was the breakdown in relations between the USA and China. The impact of this breakdown will unfold over the next few years with devastating effect on both economies till offsetting alternatives are found by both. That this period also saw the very nasty last year of the POTUS 45’s term which has changed the USA for ever and its future as an economic power is likely to face very strong winds though militarily little is likely to change.

The next was BREXIT. I strongly believe that this is a major development which will affect the BOP within Europe and may even hasten other exits from the union. Britain is likely to come out of it relatively unscathed but, will have to redraw its relationships with the countries of the Commonwealth, which in turn will impact many of them particularly India. British nationals of South Asian origin will have to rethink their loyalties and this is likely to be a major game changer in the sub continent.

The next in line is the military confrontation between China and India during almost the whole year which has broken their relationship and its impact economically is likely to affect China more than India.

Breakdown of relationship between China and Australia is another factor that will have serious impact in the global economic order during the rest of this decade. This coinciding with the strengthening of the Quad alliance has sent strong signals to China which is likely to react in unpredictable ways.

The crackdown in Hong Kong by China has already started to see exodus of highly qualified professionals and companies from the island and this is likely to impact the Chinese economy in unpredictable ways.

The Islamic world has been rent with violence since before the pandemic and if anything it has only increased during the last year. Oil based economies of the ME states have suffered and it has affected countries like Pakistan and India which send labour there. Quite how the Middle East will come out of the present strong winds of electric vehicles will impact the Islamic world and Muslim populations of the whole world which will overshadow any impact that the pandemic might have had.

Lastly, the latest developments in Mayanmar and Nepal do not bode well for the region as a whole. Quite how that plays out is yet to be seen and how China will play its cards there will give some indications of the shift in the BOP in the region.

All in all, the decade offers interesting ring side seats for people like me with nothing better to do than to read a number of news papers every day and speculate. While it will be interesting, I do not foresee any major shifts in the BOP during the decade. If anything, some polarisation will take place but, it will have little effect on the BOP.

This is my contribution to this week’s Friday 8 On 1 blog post topic. The other seven bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Maria. Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman , Srinivas and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Shackman. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Eating The Indian Sun.

During winters many Indians  sit in their gardens in the sunlight to get some warmth in their ageing bones. This is called Dhoop Khana in Hindi which translates to ‘eating the sun’.
My GP had recently suggested that I sit in the sun for some time every day to get some Vitamin D which I do every afternoon when we get some sunlight in our verandah. The photo above was taken by an amused well wisher recently during one such session when I was musing over matters of great import while warming my ancient bones.  Pleas click on the image for a larger resolution if you wish to see how lost I was!

The point of this post however is not to show off my musing skills or to talk about my ancient bones but, to talk about something else.

In one of my earlier posts, I had written about our garden abutting a major avenue of our neighbourhood where I get to see many morning exercisers. Those early morning observations however are vastly different in quality as, the overall silence is not broken except for the chirping of birds.

During my afternoon sessions at the verandah however, the quality is different as, for some strange reason our mock picket fence abutting the road seems to attract many people to stop and converse on their mobile phones or, sometimes even to each other. The latter incidents can be quite tense as often major quarrels take place and I have had to shout to get the characters involved to take their quarrels elsewhere.

While I do appreciate the two wheeler drivers who stop to take phone calls instead of talking while riding, why choose the spot just outside our garden baffles me.  Similarly, quarrelling on the road while may be justified, why choose that particular spot is too.

Do such baffling disturbances trouble you too?

Old Ways.

I am currently unable to pay for any shopping done online as I am going through a problem with my bank’s net banking service due to my telephone number not being able to receive OTPs from them. This matter will take a few days to resolve and till it does I would not be able to use the internet banking service.

In the meanwhile, thanks to modern targeted marketing I came across an online bookshop offering some books on Indian Spiritual matters. I decided to buy two books to see how good they are and completed all the formalities till I came to the payment section. I then remembered about my current internet banking problem and gave up the exercise without concluding the transaction online.

This happened yesterday and this morning I was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from the online books shop wanting to know why I did not complete the transaction.

On explaining the problem of online payment that I was currently facing, the lady offered to send me the books on Cash On Delivery basis but, that would cost more as the courier companies charged collection charges at the time of delivery.

I then suggested to the lady that she sends the books by VPP and she was stumped. I had to explain what it was and she said that it was the first time that she was hearing about it. I asked her if she was a very young person and she said yes and I understood the reason for her not knowing about VPP.

In any case, she was reluctant to use the VPP system as it  perhaps would mean going to the local post office whereas the courier companies collected from their office. I reluctantly agreed to her sending on COD basis.

The world has changed. People like me need to find ways to adjust to new ways!  Including COD instead of VPP at extra cost.

Have you had any such experiences?

Morning Solitude.

As my regular readers know, I wake up around 4.30 am every day, perform a set of exercises, meditate and then I venture out of my bedroom.

The first thing that I do is to make myself a mug of ginger tea. I carry this to our verandah overlooking our garden and sit on a chair facing the garden and the road beyond it. A cat that has adopted us comes around asking for her morning breakfast which is given to her and she contentedly sits around till something else distracts her.

Strangely enough, she resembles a coon about which you can read here.

I take about half an hour there while it is still dark. I watch the morning walkers, joggers and others on their way to work or whatever and sometimes, some passing acquaintance will stop to exchange some pleasantries.

This morning respite sets the tone for the rest of the day for me and it is something that I look forward to every night before I fall asleep.

What is your morning routine?

The Post Card.

With WhatsApp under pressure because of their recent message about accepting their new terms of privacy, many jokes are doing the rounds, mostly and appropriately perhaps, in WhatsApp and here is one that came my way from three different sources.
My response to one which was copy pasted for the others was “Absolutely. My father from the old school, used to add my degrees after my name: BA MBA. The postman asked my wife once what that surname meant!

My nephew overheard this and started calling me Bamba Mama.”

And that response from me reminded me of another post that I had written in this blog.

So, the postcard makes another appearance in my life. Here is the another one that was preceded by another to which there is a link in the post itself.

Note: In Indian languages relatives have specific names unlike the umbrella uncle and aunt in English.  Mama is specific for the brother of one’s mother.  In this instance, my nephew is my sister’s son.

Cooking Undhiyu The Traditional Way.

Nick had this to say in his comments on my blog post Winter Speciality Food:. “I wonder if other dishes would benefit from being cooked “under a warm winter sun in an open field on a farm”? In fact Wikipedia tells me that “the dish is traditionally cooked upside down underground in earthen pots”. Sounds a bit tricky! But your Undhiyu looks delicious, however it was cooked!”

I thought that the best way to learn the process which I have seen a few times, is to share this video with my readers.