Saturday, April 28, 2012

Washed out leadership?

"Together, these three trends – a loss of economic and physical autonomy, the diffusion of information technology, and slower growth against a backdrop of larger and older populations – will create enormous political challenges in virtually every country. Demands are mounting at the same time as the ability of governments to satisfy them is diminishing. The leaders who will take power after this year’s transitions will confront this fundamental reality.

Leaders will also have to confront the byproducts of increased nationalism, populism, and, in some cases, extremism. Hostility to immigration and economic protectionism, already visible, can be projected to increase. 

These developments within countries will make more difficult the challenge of generating global consensus on how to meet threats beyond borders: as governing successfully at home becomes more difficult, so will governing abroad. For citizens and leaders alike, tough times lie ahead."

Question is - are there any leaders who are frank enough to share these constraints on national leadership with their own people. We know answers and sadly but predictably those are negative. If one listens to Hollende and other French Politicians, we know they are all busy in setting up French People for the 'downfall'. If you listen to Romney, he is promising 'moon' - tax cuts while still not cutting government expenses but rather to increase those. 

May be Obama has not been so openly lying with Americans yet, but he is not exemplifying himself by talking straight with Americans too. Any American President who refuses to put forward a credible deficit reducing plan is simply not so serious. Agreed, President Obama might have done good enough job to put we Americans on a recovery path; howsoever lukewarm that recovery is. But once that is set in motion, people would be more and more interested in 'protecting these gains'; which means expecting Government to 'manage the deficit'. So far it seems that President Obama is 'loosing on this lesson' and is not showing dexterity enough to tackle these expectations of Americans.

Does it mean we are staring at generation of Politicians who are simply skipping telling truth to their own people? Unfortunately, that seems to be the case.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

European Austerity - Will the Tide Turn now?

With UK in double dip and a Socialist still on track to unseat a sitting Conservative President in France; no wonder Merkel is on defense. Just may be, finally common Europeans are 'seeing through' the non-sense of one sided austerity while ignoring growth inputs.

To be sure, Europe still needs to loosen up stringent labor laws. But above all, what it needs is not lurching to extreme - as like in UK where Cameroon Government gave tax breaks to rich during recession while Hollande is waging a jihad against rich with draconian 75% taxes. Monetary easing, partial resource transfer from few remaining rich Europeans (like Germany & Dutch) to rest of European Economies in recession, targeted public spending and simultaneous loosening of rules and regulations; all that is needed to bring growth back. 

It is European Politicians who are missing to strike the balance and apply specific remedies needed in each national economy. They are simply not truthful and honest about what is needed to do, no different than our politicians back home.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Defense Spending

"But it is hard to square Dempsey's description of a world with sharply lower barriers to military power with his defense of the administration's strategic guidance and budget."

GOP has been attempting to clobber Obama and Democrats on this one - decrease in Defense Spending as per the last Debt Ceiling Accord. Paul Ryan does not believe Dempsey. GOP simply believes that the first and only job of Government is to fight a war (to protect assets of rich). Fortunately, American Public is with Democrats in reducing military commitments and GOP is unlikely to get any traction on increasing defense spending.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

USA and Latin America

"I'm not sure the next summit will even be possible," 

That is how far USA has fallen from grace in Latin America. What the prostitution scandal shows is given an opportunity Americans - common Americans - would find it hard to resist exploitation of flesh, drugs and market of Latin America. Add to it, isolation of President Obama in legalizing drugs. It is easy to understand in an election year President Obama cannot simply back legalization of drugs which basically shifts the burden of drug war from producers to consumers i.e. those Americans who are addicts and the American System which sustains this consumption.

It is possible that in his second term Obama would back admission of Cuba in OAS. But in an election year - that is hard and hence complete isolation of USA & Canada on that. Traditionally conservative and pro-USA Chile might come along USA in this regard; but by and large most countries in Americas want Cuba to be in. And reality is more 'good is likely' to come by Cuba joining OAS rather than being a pawn of China. But Conservatives in USA are unlikely to understand any of this. Practically they would go for division of Americas between a group of USA, Canada, Columbia (though even it backed Cuba admission) & Chile (where the conservative president is loosing the altitude fast) and rest of the countries in another group led by behemoth Brazil. Ironically, Paul Ryans of GOP would strike a chord with Brazilian President when she complains about Bernanke Fed monetary easing. Except that, countries of Americas are likely to find that Romney Administration will be not be any easy to deal with. All that means is the way American Politics is structured today, America is simply incapable of stopping its waning influence in Americas.

Monday, April 09, 2012


David Brooks did a reasonable job in describing Economy I and II. But when he started to draw political constituencies based on that he forgot a simple fact that the most important part of Economy I (export oriented American Industry) is High Tech Industry and all that is deep blue. Silicon Valley is predominantly Democratic, same so with Austin in Texas or Raleigh in North Carolina. That is the peril of 'being a cheap ideologue' trying to twist facts to prove some nonsensical political theorem. So grossly wrong.

Truth is political leanings are mixed over both Economy I and II. Raw Politics, lust of power for the sake of power, trumps lot of time underlying economic realities. With heightened polity like America where elections are like clockwork, deep rooted political division almost seems inevitable. Leadership in this era is:
- not to allow this divisiveness go beyond a limit and
- from time to time achieve agreement over a specific topic to make some critical advances in lives of Americans.

Obama may be bit ok on the first part, but still drawing blank on the second whereas Romney and GOP are nowhere near on both accounts. They are still stuck on 'trash'.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Jobs of Cars

“Design must be functional and functionality must be translated into visual aesthetics, without any reliance on gimmicks that have to be explained,” he said.

Sounds like Steve Jobs of Automobile Era.