Sunday, December 1, 2013

Personal Perspectives on Current Events II

A Philosophical reflection from India

The present political persona of India Narendra Modi BJP chosen Prime Ministerial candidate declares that Constitution is his Holy Book, national development his only Prayer and that India Government’s religion has to be “India First”. Election rhetoric or not, the statements do stand out in contrast to Bhutan’s political philosophy of pleasing India our Holy policy; Power our only Prayer and DPT constitutional development grants or PDP gewog development grants official bribes to promote “Party First” religion.

Bright spots for Middle East (Iran and Syria Talks)

1. Iran and America have taken the first necessary steps to co-exist peacefully. Western media is saturated with western power claims that Iran buckled due to impact of Sanctions. It is true that Iran is having economic problems but almost every nation has the same economic problem be it America or India or France. In spite of Sanctions, Iran continues to influence events in Middle East and her nuclear program had progressed steadily. The 5 Permanent UN Security Members and Germany have now tacitly recognized the right of Iran to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. America has agreed to release Iranian money frozen in Western Bank accounts.

In my opinion the nuclear Talk was successful because America has decided to engage itself with the real world situation. Mecca may be in Saudi Arabia but the spirit of Islam prevails in Iran. Israel may have been at one time a successful surgical Striker and war Strategist but Hezbollah held its ground when Israel tried to root it out from Southern Lebanon. Iran nourishes Hamas and Hezbollah.

Saudi Arabia and Israel do not fear a nuclear Iran. They are afraid of Iran’s influence, wealth and unity. And America is wary of Chinese and Russian influence in Iran. I am particularly happy with America’s new regional politics of realism. It will be good for all. America has helped Bhutan with the Jaffa refugee problems thus giving new dignified life to refugees and easing international pressure on Bhutan. America is in position to improve everyone’s life if she chooses to pursue a world policy of unbiased leadership.

2. It has already been decided that Syrian Peace Talk will be held in January, 2014. This is again a positive approach by America. There is every possibility of scaling down the hostility in Syria. Bhutan will have no direct benefit from successful Syria or Iran Talks but peace in Middle East will surely impact the price of crude oil especially with the prospect of lifting sanction on Iranian oil export. So Bhutan too will indirectly benefit through cheaper petroleum products.

Bhutan Government’s 100 days.

The first 100 days idea originates from the American Administration. Generally a new President is given a hundred days of honey moon administration by the media and critics. There is not much to say about the People’s Democratic Party 100 days in power. However, the 100 units of free electricity for rural Bhutan is Pure Blessing. It is not a political ruse for popularity. It is an authentic consideration for well-deserving hard working poor rural families. It is a blissful way of sharing a national resource with poorest of the poor. In other matters, I wish the Government had not panicked so much over the delay of fund release from India. Panic leads to surrender but Bhutan does not seem to have much to surrender or offer except our say in our internal or external affairs. It never occurred to me at the onset of Bhutanese Democracy that Democracy for Bhutanese meant more say by India in Bhutanese national affairs. Maybe we could revert to Mono-Cracy where we had elected members in Royal Advisory Council and National Assembly and the Monarch firmly and courageously guided Bhutan’s entry into United Nations to assert Bhutan’s Sovereignty.

The Proposed Pay Raise for Bhutan Civil Servants.

I hope everyone gets a good pay raise including the Ministers. I recall reading in Kuensel the anxieties of a Pay Commission member expressing worries over the economy, rupee crisis and impact on corporations because of pay raise. This member left nothing for the King and the Prime Minister to do. I thought Pay Commission is to look into the quantum of pay raise for all civil servants and other Government budgeted personnel including politicians and local leaders. And leave the issue of economic problems, rupee shortages etc to the Cabinet and the King. And let DHI, Private Sector take care of their responsibilities when it comes to the issue of salary in corporations and other business entities.

Thailand: A Kingdom in Crisis Again

Bhutan has very friendly relation with Thailand. In fact our national sovereignty has been strengthened with Druk Air flying directly to Bangkok. Therefore, one does feel sorry for the instability of Democracy in Thailand. There really seems to be a power struggle between the ambitions of the established hierarchy and the democratic vision of majority of voters. This time the army is offering to meditate and not dictate as it did during Thaksin’s time. But meditation could be a passive form of persuasion to compel Government to give into the demands of the protestors. Hard luck Democracy!

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