Monday, August 25, 2014

Thuggery of Imran Khan

The scheme is fairly straight forward - once you fail to win elections outright (which Imran Khan failed in 2013 Pakistani elections) claim that it was fraud, argue that ruling government has no legitimacy, then bring frenzied crowds on streets (how hard it is to exhort few thousands on streets?) and essentially bring riots to de-legitimize duly elected government. 

One cannot compare this with Arab Spring. At least folks there were revolting against dictators. Here in Pakistan Imran Khan is railing against an elected government. In Ukraine, folks revolted against Russian Imperialism and after that they did elect the President by an outright majority. In Egypt, Army eventually moved against incompetent government of Muslim Brotherhood Morsi; though it was democratically elected.

What is not clear is whether one can blame Nawaz Sharif government for all that ails in Pakistan. In that sense Imran's charge that it is all Sharif government's problem is hard to accept. It is so because, it is guaranteed that tomorrow even if Imran Khan becomes Pakistani Prime Minister (not that another opposition figure Quadri will easily back him); Pakistan's problems will not be solved. 

One has to understand, no government can run when only 1% or so people are paying tax while rest of the Pakistan simply pilling on freebies. On top of it Imran Khan is exhorting Pakistan to stop paying taxes and utility bills! Pakistan is  ruled by a feudal system where huge land holding landlords and their crony business partners are controlling all of Pakistani Economy. Pakistan does not have any cushion like Saudi Ghawar Oil Field nor North Field Gas like Qatar to roll out 'totally on government tab' lifestyle to most in the society. Imran Khan himself is the poster child of such a feudal mentality. Never proven in the field of business nor has led any constructive political movement; he behaves as someone who cannot overcome the lust of 'power'. He is the prominent 'mud thrower, rabble rouser' of Pakistan. Sure Nawaz Sharif is a land lord too, but at least he has ran a successful business empire providing jobs to many Pakistanis. Apart from defeating India and England on their home grounds to win Cricket Test Match Series first time for Pakistan in 1987 and then lifting World Cup in 1992, Imran Khan does not have any worthwhile achievements under his belt which can help common Pakistanis. He was responsible for killing of innocent Pakistanis just because allegedly someone flushed Kuran in a toilet and otherwise is essentially a 'play boy Pathan' charming ladies all over the world. 

One suspects that as PM Nawaz Sharif entertains a sensible policy of peace with India and against Talibans in Pakistan; many powerful Pakistanis would see that as an attempt to correct the fundamental 'imbalance of Pakistani State': substantial resources going to Army instead of development for common and poor Pakistanis. And that is the danger that disgruntled Army may side with Imran Khan. Clearly Imran Khan is aiming for such an implicit backing and that is why he is playing increasingly with fire. Hardly any of these developments are helpful for Pakistan.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Iraq's Future

A person close to 'happenings in Iraq' over a decade has appropriately warned that indeed this may be Iraq's last chance. Two positive developments are coming right on time:

- finally Iraqi and Peshmarga fighters are making progress against Jihadis.

But we all know these are just few small things before lot of right things need to happen for peace to return. Given that, it is an appropriate time to appraise the whole notion of Iraq as a country. The country was drawn arbitrarily by colonialists is obvious. On top of it, each of the main three ethnic groups - Kurds, Shiite and Sunnis have suffered genocide scale suffering from other groups (except possibly Kurds who might not have inflicted suffering on other sects on the scale by which other groups did to Kurds) making it harder to 'forgive and reconcile'. Iraq did not experience continuity of its political institutions with a peaceful transfer of power in all these decades; essentially robbing Iraqi people a vehicle with which these groups would have overcome deep chasms. 

I believe the premise for Obama Administration for any further involvement should be that Iraq as it has been might not survive. What America and Iraq's neighbors should strive towards is a plan where these 3 groups can practically live in their regions as semi-sovereign entities and as they build upon the regional co-operation, as it works and as it delivers to subjects of these 3 regions; it will have a well laid path to achieve further integration. In other words, if Iraqi themselves start answering the question "do they want to live together" in more affirmative manner, these groups and regions would embark upon further integration.

The problem in the current political process seems to be a-priori commitment needed from everyone that Iraq as is must be maintained. Rather, the goal should be to arrive an arrangement where different groups are able to live more peacefully and are able to chart their future - either individually or collectively.

What could be such an arrangement then? For a starter, each group will have to own its security arrangement - Peshmarga defending Kurdistan area while Shiites defending from Baghdad to all the way Basra either through Shiite dominated current Iraqi Army or even their own Shiite militias. Sunnis are already demanding essentially guarantees from America in order to pick up arms against IS. Needless to say America will have to nurture Sunni Security abilities while working with Europe to strengthen Kurds. American involvement in building Shiite Security capabilities in forms of training and support to Iraqi Army (I am taking current remaining Iraqi Army as proxy to Shiite Security force) will need to continue.

Once autonomous financial sources are identified and security responsibilities are delegated to their own means, rest of the things for these 3 regions could be lot shared as it is in today's Iraq - same currency, same central bank, shared water resources and free movement of goods, people and capital. It should be relatively straight forward as well to agree for a common law for commercial purposes. Apart from these common interests, each region can decide its own social policy. In foreign affairs, all these 3 regions will still have to speak in one single voice.

The fundamental issues in any such arrangement are:
- How do you finance a stable and prosperous Anbar / Sunni region? (Oil fields near Basra and in southern Iraq are established sources for Shiite region while newly acquired oil fields in addition to existing ones would provide necessary backing to a semi-sovereign Kurdish state.)
- How do you address antagonism of an Iranian vessel state of Shiite southern Iraq against any Sunni mini-state carved out of western Iraq? (Shiite centered around Southern Iraq no doubt will become a vessel state of Iran. Let it be. Iran will realize soon that it hardly changes its current isolation with rest of the world nor strategic influence of America & West get any diminished as Sunni province and Kurds will continue to side with America.) 
- How do you ensure that these 3 mini-states talk in one single voice in foreign affairs? Shiite would sure like to tow the line of Iran while Kurds would like to increase co-operation with Germany and EU (as like Turkey).

Question is how insurmountable these issues are. Agreed that undertaking 'armchair cartography like colonialist' is easy; but given the history of last decade - around trillion dollars spent and thousands of lives lost - starting from a minimalist position might be lot prudent for American and rest of the world.*


(*) - It is a moot point, how much co-operative Russia will be in this endeavor. In the end, Sunni mini-state carved out of Iraq will likely coalesce with substantial part of Syria. Essentially we are talking territory controlled by Jihadists today - except that instead of a caliphate it is a modern mini-state in a loose federation called Iraq. That means Syrian territory loss for Assad - Russia's allay. And that could be a reason why Russia might not come on board with this 3 mini-states plan.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Iraq - America's Familiar Nemesis

I can understand the 'rosy picture' Matt Yeglesias paints of President Obama's Foreign Policy; but I think there is more to that than a simple cherry Liberal reading.

We cannot keep aside a failure here to anticipate that Iraq would not hold itself together under the disastrous leadership of Nouri al-Maliki once Americans left Iraq. Regardless, President Obama owes to Americans to articulate dangers of fragmented Iraq under the influence of Jihadis. May be President Obama was caught up too much in fulfilling his campaign argument of 'winding down the dumb war'. Indeed, Iraq war was the dumb war, no doubt about that; but what was required then was to forewarn Americans that we had had 'broken just too much pottery in the barn' so as America would receive a call back to intervene. Candidate Barack Obama got enamored in his 'peacenik' rhetoric so much that he did not find it politically correct to mention all these hard choices.

Given all that, what is needed from this President is to 'condition' Americans for a greater involvement than what is today. It is a good start that President made it clear out of the gate that this could be a longer term engagement.

Will there be then the danger of 'American boots on the ground'? Sure, that danger persists. The only way such a danger would go away is when Americans know that the job is done. For that, one has to define the 'end goal' and strategic road map to achieve those goals. That is where Obama Administration has a task cut out for them as the Administration is yet to articulate any such strategic plans.

It is a straight forward 'sale' to American Public that to defend Erbil and Yazidis, America is getting involved. That is the easy part - Kurds are allies worth to defend (remember how they were slaughtered by Saddam upon taking up arms against him on cues from America?) and humanitarian crisis of Yazidis is obivious where an American intervention can make clear difference. However, think tomorrow when Jihadis - IS - determine that there is no point taking on Erbil and Kurds and turn their attention back to Shiite community near Baghdada. Imagine thousands of Shiite population is surrounded by Jihadis and incompetent al-Maliki's forces are unable to defend. Will there be any choice for America apart from being 'al-Maliki's Air Force' to avoid yet another genocide? That is the quagmire America has got into. Obviously this is not the contingency Commander-in-Chief would like to say publicly. But then Publicly it might be required to say that 'unless Iraq puts in place an inclusive government' (preferably without al-Maliki)  that region is going to see 'one genocide after another'. President Obama has said that he does not want to be Iraqi Air Force and politicians sympathetic to Administration are saying so too. What is needed is President in a sense talks this truth to Iraqi People directly and finds an occasion to demonstrate that 'he walks the talk' without coming across as a by-standing observer to a genocide(*).

President Obama has got himself in a bind in some sense. He argued correctly that a sovereign Iraq in 2008 did not want American boots on ground and that left no choice for him apart from pulling out all American troops from Iraq. That sovereignty argument is equally constraining him today in demanding removal of al-Maliki explicitly. It is all going to be behind  the screen diplomacy and using all leverages at disposal, more so as America gains leverage by defending Iraqis beholden by Jihadis and by defending Erbil, Baghdad; that Obama Administration has to bring in political change needed to stop further deterioration in Iraq. That is the skill Obama Administration has to bring to the table to minimize America's exposure in Iraq. Otherwise, many decades would pass and we will still have American military presence in that part of the world.

(*) Hillary Clinton is charging that President Obama essentially standing as an observer for the genocide in Syria as well as unfolding national security challenge there. But as many observers have pointed out, why would America take arms against Assad right now when he is battling our longer term true enemy - Jihadis i.e. IS? May be there was a window before Islamic Jihadis came into the picture. But still for Hillary to come out swinging against Obama before November 2014 elections is no good. That is neither helpful for her candidacy, Obama Base is still large and significant, nor helpful to Democratic candidates on the ballot. Any ways, Hillary is more near to "bomb-bomb, bang-bang, shoot-shoot" gang of Lindsay Graham- John McCain than middle of the road Obama Liberals. After all she did find herself at home in committing the original harakiri of sending in USA troops to topple Saddam ....What all that means is Hillary needs to trade waters very carefully here. She has lot of baggage, including not achieving anything substantive when she was Sec. of State, and we all know that "cowboy strategy" is still disastrous compared to "don't do stupid stuff". 

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Israel - Where America's Balance is Questioned

"Now give me that annual $3 billion, another $225 million for the Iron Dome, and shut the f*** up."

-- Andrew Sullivan, The Dish

Essentially that is how Netanyahu has been screwing around John Kerry and Obama Administration. First, he had the gall to come on USA Television in the midst of American Presidential Election and openly try to tilt the balance to Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Next, whenever Sec. John Kerry tried to avoid innocent deaths of Gaza women and children; Kerry was criticized as if he was sleeping with Terrorists. Since when having a conscience and trying to save lives of innocent people has been a sin?

Next, we have a Congress where every American Politician is falling over each other to pour cash into Israel's coffers. These Republicans in Congress would pinch every penny when it comes to spending money on Americans. They cannot borrow money (emergency funding is nothing but increasing debt) for Americans, but Israel - no problem! 

Everyone knows why Bibi is so gaga at this point. Overwhelmingly Israeli's back his initiative against Hamas. Clearly Hamas deserves it. Any organization which cowardly puts their own innocent women and children in harm's way as a way of politics is fundamentally wrong headed. That Europeans are the vocal voice in the generated outrage is a proof of Hamas strategy here. (Add to that American Politicians blindly back Israel makes it relatively easy for Europeans to place their bet on the opposite site. After all 'Tony Blair as the lap dog of Bush' caricature should be deeply ingrained in minds of Europeans. Add to all that - substantial presence of Islamic population in Europe.)

The problem with the current Israeli approach is they are engaging with Palestinians in a way by diminishing viability of any future Palestinian state. I am talking about relentless expansion and settlements by Israel in West Bank. Imagine if Israel would have continued the current 'tough approach' but at the same time had not undertaken settlements in West Bank and had conveyed to the whole word about its willingness to entertain Palestinian state on that land as and when it thinks conditions are right. What Palestinians and rest of the world would see is an Israel which is perfectly alert about its security needs, non-compromising with Hamas and other terrorists while keeping the option of West Bank for Palestinian State. At that point Israel could even demand that West of Jordan river Israel would not be hostage to any other security apparatus except their own even though it might allow a Palestinian state in some certain sense; if not fully sovereign. Point is not that the entire peace process be sorted right now. Point is "don't destroy viable options for Palestinian state" unilaterally. Because when 'all hopes' are gone for a people, sense of morality for folks with their backs on wall is very different than what is conducive to solve the problem. Again no-one is justifying Hamas or no-one is denying Israel's right for current military reprisal of Hamas (though obviously Israel made mistakes in that); but one is talking about Israel conducting affairs in principled manners so as it retains a moral high ground without compromising its security. As a result it would retain 'edge over Hamas' in the global court of public opinion.

Every time Israeli foreign policy is subject to wishes of extreme ideologues on Right, every time American Politicians sign a blank check to Israel; we are collectively taking one step forward towards an apartheid regime in Middle East. American Political Class essentially becomes an enabler here as they ignore a more balanced approach. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Political Slug-fest - House Republican Style

What a timing! All six years these Republicans blamed Obama for Economy and now that Economy is showing some strength, of course they are not going to give any credit to Obama. Instead they are on their way for 'impeachment'!

It is hard to believe House GOP's words that they would not 'impeach' Obama. Think when GOP would capture Senate and keep House, which is what is most likely, in November 2014. They will perceive that as wind on their back and will proceed to impeach Obama. Especially, if by then Obama has undertaken executive orders on Immigration.

In some sense, GOP knows that on Immigration, they are in bind as Obama will unleash executive actions. So all this drama of law suite, precursor to impeachment, is GOP's noisy attempt to drown impeding executive actions on Immigration. For Obama, sticking to his plan and not hesitating on Immigration will be a good policy and good politics even though few speculate about negative electoral impacts of such executive actions.

J. Bernstein scoffs any talk of extreme polarization in American Politics. He does not see anything wrong there. I would agree with him in some sense, as scorched earth politics by political opponents is nothing new in contemporary democracies. Next, then he asks what institutional reforms can be done so these things can be changed? Model for me is Indian Elections - even though victor would get 30 to 40% of votes, decisive majority is awarded and that makes a room for the victor, essentially a blank check. Let Tea Party rule America for a while - may be this country needs to experience how myopic - rich favoring, gold standard demanding, zero deficit - policies of Tea Party are. May be unless this country has experienced disaster policies of Republican Party and experienced catastrophic economic down turn due to those policies; we Americans would not come to senses what non-sense GOP is talking. In other words, all this 'checks-and-balances' in American System are not serving America well. It is a slow bleed, no progress, everyone unhappy situation today in America.

And what are the ways by which such a decisive mandate will be awarded to the victor in American system? Essentially adopting contemporary Californian system: 
- independent citizen's committee to draw electoral districts (both at Federal and State level) and

That is one path to whip up something useful out of political slug-fests. Today these slug-fests do not produce anything useful for Americans.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

France: Business First

As expected reports are reaching that after all, Europe will not be able to put any meaningful deterrence to Putin's Russia. Case in point is French sale and delivery of helicopter carrier to Russia. Given events of last week, supplying more sophisticated weapons to Russia defies common sense. But that is exactly what seems to be happening when across the political spectrum, French Political class seems to back delivery of weapons to Russia. It is typical of France to 'kill entrepreneurship' by 70% taxes and then to come back to hold some paltry employment by selling weapons to rogue states - wow, that is some Socialism!

Rather than joining hands for a forceful united European response, nations in Europe are bickering and blaming each other. Each nation is resorting to centuries old tradition of pursuing their own respective corrosive financial interests with Russia while undermining European Unity. America and the world cannot do war with Putin's Russia which is armed to teeth with nukes (same as America). The only chance rest of the world has in forcing Russia to change its policy and behavior is economic sanctions which need two things to work:
- united approach and
- patience for long term.

What Europe is saying is due to their 'short term concerns'; no effective way is available to force alter Russian activities. 

Substantial European history can be read as how Europeans tolerated 'trouble makers' when they should not have in the first place and then how those 'trouble makers' go on rampage to create global havoc. Russian President Putin is precisely fulfilling that role of the trouble maker and once again Europe is failing to demonstrate an effective, resolute response.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Shooting Down Malaysian Airliner

As usual with a caveat that we do not have full details here and opinions expressed are subject to change based on new details. My first impressions are:

- Russian President Putin might not have obviously ordered this attack, but his actions have made it possible. Without the active encouragement to militants in Ukraine and supply of capable weapons, this tragedy would not have happened. Killing of innocent third party people without any provocation - essentially that will be construed as the act of Terrorism or even worse, the act of War. Putin's devil mind is all exposed here - he may not be able to control the tiger he is trying to ride in encouraging militants in Ukraine.

- Pakistani intelligence service ISI supported terrorists to disturb India, but in the end ISI cannot ride the tiger. May be the same things are at play here.

- Regardless of to what an extent culpability of Putin gets established, politically he is on defense. Who wants to be associated with a strong man who mindlessly encourages militant activities to destroy whatever global order we have today?

- Will Obama Critic learn the lesson that 'handing weapons' to resistance forces (Syria) is no joke because any time these weapons land up doing this type of carnage, people inevitably turn on the supplier of those weapons. President Obama's reluctance to provide weapons to various 'resistance forces' all across the globe now looks lot more prudent and valid. (Oh, don't expect Republican to stop criticizing Obama...they will find new reasons.)

- Hillary Clinton was right on dot when she called out Europeans to stop being 'chicken' here and stand up to shenanigans of Putin (is the most powerful lady in the world - Chancellor Merkel - listening?) Very rarely Europe has seen such an open aggressive posture by a dictator after Adolph Hitler. If Europe does not wake up from the bribes of dependencies on "Russian Gas and access to Russian Market" we are potentially talking same mistakes as like in pre-WWII times when Europe tolerated aggression of Hitler. That did not end well, for sure Putin is exhibiting all signs of intransigence of that caliber in these acts.

- Ideally what needs to happen is International Co-operation hunts down those who shot the plane, those are tried in Ukranian court, punished accordingly and weapon supplier of these 'plane shooters' (quite possibly Putin's Russia) compensate families of victims.

- What would happen though? Putin and Russia will deny any culpability in this affair despite mounting evidence, Europeans will make right noises but may not rise to the occasion in opposing Putin's Russia and the world may get even more rudder shock in days to come.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Germany - The Known Super Lord of Soccer Planet

Though Argentina played well, German's were clearly the deserved Team to lift the Cup. They played solid, fluid and good soccer through out the tournament. It is unlikely that anyone in the world except Argentinians will be upset with this result. Argentina should not be so upset though. They played very well in the tournament and even in the final with their performance, they should hold their heads high. 

Overall the Cup was a success for FIFA and Brazil as the host did step up and handled the responsibility very well.

FIFA gets one more solid 'footage' in its cherished history books of global joy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Let True Brazilian Catharsis Begin

Let me be frank - I wished for Brazilian team to lose and I am delighted that the nation got the exact medicine the doctor ordered. Why?

- To start with, the Brazilian team played extremely poor on two occasions - against a talented team like Chile and then again another solid team Columbia. Against Columbia, the Brazilian team was especially vicious and way too much physical, not worthy of a champion. What all that showed is the current Brazilian team has been more of 'gas' than real talent, real skills and real team. They were simply not there. 

- So to pretend otherwise and to project the aura of invincibility was a way to play on emotions of Brazilian common people. That bubble needed to be burst since Brazilian Football has descended to faking injuries, expressing extravagant emotions on field and in general being more dramatic than warranted on playground. Brazil forgot that people do not watch soccer for Histrionics, but watch soccer for skill, athleticism and sportsmanship.

- As a nation Brazil'a leaders committed the nation to USSR and China model: to proclaim the political superiority, to garner political advantage; deploy sports. When any nation tries to tie the manifest destiny of that nation to successful organization of a global competition and winning that; that nation is essentially trying to take its own people on a ride. We all know when Empires try to entertain and divert their citizens' attention by organizing Gladiator Games, those Empires do not end well. President Lula (my favorite and I still respect for what he did to eradicate Brazilian poverty) displayed hubris when he decided vindication of his achievements was in spending Billions to conduct World Cup and Olympics back to back. He let Brazil to participate in the 'con game' of IOCs and FIFAs of the world who want to spend Billions of tax payer dollars as a tool of political rulers in diverting attention of subjects from the pressing needs and items. That is what has been wrong with Brazil's love affair with Soccer and World Cup extravaganza (thought Brazil did a marvelous job in staging fantastic football through out the competition).

With this humiliation by Germans in Semifinal, hopefully, Brazilians in general will start asking tough questions - why the Soccer Party has been prolonged so long by the rulers, elites and haves of that country? Is it to hide what 'excesses of socialism' inflicting on that country? Why is it that a common Brazilian should look her redemption in bunch of players winning a 90 minutes game and not in actual and concrete improvements in her life?

President Lula had his time, his politics worked then and helped lot of Brazilians in many respects. For President Dilma Rousseff to continue on that path without showing any 'out of box' thinking for changing circumstances was simply ineptitude. (Snubbing an American President for run-of-the-mill-espionage can only take you so far.) We have no idea whether Brazilians would embrace this reality by removing Dilma. But what Brazil can do is to look at life beyond Soccer. And that will be the best legacy of this loss for Brazil

Sunday, July 06, 2014

America at 238th Birthday

No doubt America faces some serious challenges. Nation's birthday is an appropriate time to go over some of these challenges:

- The fiscal situation may be under control and Obama Administration can rightfully claim that it would leave finances of Federal Government in much better shape than what the administration inherited. But long term sustainability of Federal Government finances is still an issue. Long term financial pressures put by Social Security and Medicare are still not addressed, especially starting 2020 onward. True that ObamaCare would help control growth of Medicare and help overall reduce our health expenditure. But still serious reforms are needed in these two entitlement programs if our finances are not to be swamped.

- Substantial number of Americans think that 'government is the problem' and instead of trying to improve governance and government agencies; too many powerful folks in America are busy 'starving the beast'

- Across the board, income and asset inequality is increasing with larger and larger share of wealth creation accruing to super rich.

- Our economic interests are trenchantly misaligned with  what we need to stop global warming: substantial constituency is vested in growth of Carbon based energy sources; namely oil, coal and natural gas sources.

- Fixing our immigration system so as those who might have come illegally in this country but over the years have contributed enough, can claim citizenship. Also we want a system in a place so that neither hoards of kids get lured to our penetrable borders nor we discourage the exact kind of talent this country needs to nurture for its future. 

- Our electioneering rules have been so twisted that Big Money is completely distorting 'will of people' when it comes to representation. Corporations are 'indeed people' with more than one 'vote' in American system!

- The burden of being Global Cop and paying for peace and order all over is becoming unbearable for America. American People are unwilling for any sacrifices in this area whereas Politicians and policy elites are yet to catch up fully with the voter fatigue for such adventures.

- Finally many historical vagaries which leave our Political System unrepresentative in so many ways still remain unresolved: tiny states having same number of senators as huge states like California, House Majority going to a party which actually has less votes than minority, we can have a president who would have lesser votes than his lost rival and Supreme Court justices lording over American life indefinitely while every other government office is term limited.

Question is which one of these challenges American Politics is capable of addressing.

When our Entitlement Program would start biting Federal Finances I think Republicans will be able to 'cut' down it drastically. It would unfairly burden poorer Americans; well, exactly that will be all 'the motivation' for Republicans! That is what their History has been since Reagan and in recent years rise of Paul Ryan, who is even more viciously after poor, confirms GOP ability to use a machete. True, Paul Ryan and his gang in GOP is after welfare spending and is for protecting Entitlement Programs of recent retirees (dominantly older White Americans who are one of the prime constituencies for today's GOP). But the point is, GOP will by hook or crook, cut down entitlement and welfare expenses when needed. The damage will be to poorer people. With no regard whatsoever to increasing inequality, more importantly increasing inequality of opportunity; it is given that as and when American State would go after balancing its finances, it will almost exclusively make American poor to pay more. The misplaced faith in 'trickle down economic policy' and 'rich as job creators' prevents this country in opening up opportunities for poor as well as cushion the blows of economic hardship. America needs investment in physical and social capital, at times clearly by deficit spending, but we are unable and unwilling to take it and that will continue to leave us vulnerable for 'pitch fork'.

President Obama also understands how the unfinished business of regulating Too Big to Fail Banks leave us exposed to 'bubbles and market distortions' even after Frank-Dodd. Those distortions, rich favoring tax policies and CEO Worshiping culture are reasons for continued inequality in this country. But so long as Republicans are 'enthralled by tax cuts for rich and unfettered trickle down economics'; there is less chance for America to stop this 'downward spiral of Capitalism' peacefully, democratically.

Add to that business interests of likes of Koch Brothers fully aligned with Carbon based energy sources. Substantial wealth and employment in states like Texas and Oklahoma come from Carbon based energy sources. No wonder these forces deny 'man made global warming'. Unless and until our politics is ready to take on such conflicts head on, our Politics will not resolve issues we need it to resolve. Add to that Supreme Court allowed Koch Brothers of this country to influence or buy elections as they please. What hope we are supposed to have then that we could tackle the impeding Global Warming through democratic means? President Obama might have done what is possible for him via EPA ruling. But he will be gone in 2 years or so and the question is what would our politics do to address global warming there after? Looks like not much.

One of the most disheartening part of this country's politics is, the very people for whom the politics is lot consequential remain apathetic in many ways. Agreed, that is the failure of leadership in general. But Barack Obama did arose people twice - Americans voted him more with the view of going away from Bush and stopping 'damage and misery' promised by Mitt Romney when he talked '47% of this country are on dole'. Probably that might happen again - America will yet again coalesce behind Hillary, but that will be more because they will be in horror for the 'damage' Senator Cruz, Senator Paul or other Republicans aspirants are promising on poor in the name of 'correcting our ship and encouraging growth'. That is not good. We need positive agenda which will address our problems head-on and not some kind of surrender to ideology, nor voting to the candidate while 'holding our nose' because the other guy (it is always a guy with Republicans) is so nasty.

Beyond ideology, it is 'nativism' and simple pandering to White voters of Caucasian descend; that is what is making Republican Party to stick to its neanderthal views about Immigration. And some Republican pundits advise that passing Immigration bill is no good because overwhelming Hispanic vote would still go to Democrats. Unless Republicans get complete thumping in 2016 due to Hispanic votes (and Dems have done their homework of highlighting how exactly GOP, especially in House,  is not supporting any immigration bill); America is unlikely to see any wiser Immigration policy. 

Next about campaign finance: Congress passing laws to restrict campaign finance is one way to reduce corroding influence of Big Money in our elections. But then again those laws need to be palatable to Conservative Majority in Supreme Court. All that means, unless nation's highest court sees lesser ideologue judges or we get a constitutional amendment; we are stuck with the havoc big money plays in our elections. Such a change in Supreme Court and improvements in our electioneering system; those are kinds of changes which look far uncertain at present and till then our Republic will continue to suffer.

Finally for the global cop role, as more and more Americans see the vanity of American Exceptionalism posture, the state will be eventually able to avoid underwriting entire globe's peace and order without compromising our national security. American voters are ahead here. Question is at what point our politicians in Washington DC would get the clue. Till then the danger of America getting embroiled in one more needless conflict overseas is still there.