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.

Xenophobia.

xenophobia
/zɛnəˈfəʊbɪə/
Learn to pronounce
noun
dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.

Recently after the news spread that the Corono Virus should be really called the Chinese virus, right or wrong, many Indians from the North Eastern states who have mongoloid features were subject to abuse in many states within India. When I read this news, I was ashamed of being an Indian but, on reflection felt sad about our education system that does not teach our people about the diversity of our population within the country.

For all practical purposes, India is like Europe rather than any country. It has many ethnic religious, linguistic and cultural groups and also running within each group sub groups, castes etc and unless one has been privileged to visit all the states and interacted with the local people, eaten their cuisine and enjoyed their differences, it is not surprising that such aberrations take place within our own country leave alone, xenophobia against people from other countries.

I can without hesitation say that I am xenophobic when it comes to Pakistanis and the worst experience that I have had while my travels overeseas was to be mistaken for one in the UK. Since both Pakistanis and Indians come essentially from the same genetic pool, they look the same and it is easy to be mistaken for either by ignorant foreigners. If I felt insulted at being mistaken for a Pakistani, I feel flattered that many Pakistanis, in the UK and other countries name their restaurants as Indian eating places to avoid being mistaken for Pakistani establishments! Although rather dated, this explains that phenomenon.

Very often, xenophobia is confused with or combined with racism and I suspect that this topic was suggested after the recent developments in the USA. Having expounded on xenophobia, let me now address the issue of racism. I have personal experience of racism during my travel and it is not something that one would like to experience ever. We in India too are racist in a way. Since our nation is a mosaic there is a definite preference for fairness and aversion for darkness. The following two ads say enough.

That preference and aversion of colour exists is best explained by the inimitable Mohamed Ali first in a video and then by Robert Mugabe in a statement.

 

“Racism will never end as long as white cars are still using black tyres.

Racism will never end if people still use black to symbolise bad luck and white for peace.

Racism will never end if people still wear white clothes to weddings and black clothes to funerals.

Racism will never end as long as those who don’t pay their bills are blacklisted not white listed.

Even when playing snooker, you haven’t won until you’ve sunk the black ball, and the white ball must remain on the table!

But I don’t care, as long as I’m still using white toilet paper to wipe my black ass, I’m happy.”

Here again a complete overhaul of our education system to treat White and Black as opposites and different rather than good and bad may perhaps change attitudes sometime in the future.

In the meanwhile, I have serious doubts that we can eliminate both, at least not in my life time.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Sanjana. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Mom.

It sounds odd that almost all the recent Hindi movies that I have been seeing are women centric and Mom brings up the latest in it. It has been touted as a come back film for Sridevi and if it is so, my reaction is – “Wow, what a comeback!”

Remarkable as she always is, and I have some very nice recollections of her role in English Vinglish, this one brings out the best in her yet. It is not easy portraying a step mother spurned by a step child but Sridevi brings it off with aplomb and verve.

The story, built around a gang rape, very topical now in India, is gripping and the movie speeds along from scene to scene in a very logical and attention holding way.

The other actors, despite their star rating, like Akshay Khanna and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, play rather unusual and perhaps therefore insipid roles. That however only shows up Sridevi’s remarkable histrionic talent , and it is all for the good.

The step daughter’ role played by Sajal Ali is another female role played to perfection.

Excellent direction, cinematography and subdued background music all go to give a very enjoyable and thrilling experience. I strongly recommend the film to those who have not yet seen it.

I am just mystified by the choice of a Pakistani actors for the role of the father and daughter pair. Couldn’t Indian ones be found? Or is there something happening that we mortals do not know about?

Memory Trigger 17: Separated Brothers.

In the good old days of Bollywood films, young boys getting separated during fairs, calamities etc and growing up to be one good guy and one bad guy was quite common.

I could not resist the temptation to write this post today as earlier this morning, I had to do a double take on today’s Hindu newspaper. Two separate articles has two separate photographs of renowned figures.  The experience triggered the memory of the old separated-when-young-brothers films.

The top photograph is that of Mr. Abdul Basit, the outgoing High Commissioner of Pakistan to India.

The bottom photograph is that of Mr. S. S. Mundra Dy. Governor of the Reserve Bank Of India.

Please do not misunderstand.  I am not suggesting that one of them is the good guy and the other guy is the bad guy. 🙂

The resemblance however, is simply too striking not to deserve a mention from me!

Effectiveness 2.

Please re-read my post Effectiveness to refresh your memory before reading the following two links.

The first one that caught my attention was this news item.

I couldn’t believe my eyes and so probed further and found out another older story.

I wonder what Peter Drucker would have said about this man’s effectiveness in achieving his ambition!