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Ipsita Shome
Tuesday , May 31, 2011

Refuting Lieven's asserts of an apologetic Pak

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Anatol Lieven is a professor in the War Studies department of King's College, London, and author of the book Pakistan: A Hard Country, among many other reputable holdings. His views on counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency feats are highly recognized; his journalistic exposure in Western and Central Asia makes him a credible commentator of the geographical volatility touching base there. However, Mr Lieven's recent proclamations justifying, and somewhat defending, Pakistan's appalling state of affairs bruises his tenacity and veracity as an analyst, triggering multiple egg-and-hen wringers.(Anatol Lieven's latest column & speech) Most of the attention paid to Pakistan in the past few weeks had to do with the obvious: powerful elements in the Pakistani national security establishment protecting bin Laden and helping him evade the colossal US hunt for him. There are only few questions left in the open: was this protection campaign conducted....

Tuesday , May 03, 2011

Pakistan: An Absent State

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The late Al-Qaeda chief's hideout was a $1-million mansion in Abbottabad in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, not a menial cave on the rugged terrains of the Afghanistan border. But tracking the recent brouhaha, what exactly was Pakistan's involvement in operation Geronimo? Clearly the manoeuvre was no more than a US surgical raid with US Apache attack choppers, US Navy commandos and the CIA. Pakistan has acknowledged Osama bin Laden had a "support system" in the country, but asserted that the government was unaware of his presence on its soil. But then that is diplomatic doublespeak. Let's dig further. What did Pakistan do? Osama bin Laden's Bilal town residence is barely 2 hours from Islamabad by road, just 35 miles outside the capital, in a sprawling upscale neighbourhood in Abbottabad, home to retired army officials. Going by logistics and Pakistan's vested interest in cropping its defence machinery in....

Thursday , April 21, 2011

With the power vested in you

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I didn't know Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros personally. Nor did I jump on the Libyan Armageddon to understand the stretch of what is going on there. But like many others who didn't know them or hardly know about their work, my heart is wrenched at the thought of their premature demise - the repugnant truth of the war zone. Barring Hetherington and Hondros, there are at least 18 journalists missing or detained, and their fate is, well, uncertain right now. I will not ponder on the monotone of the brutality of the battlefield, the Unnecessary called War. That has been done by scholars and philosophers time and over again. But, sincere contemplation is needed when it comes to our understanding of the necessity of information - or as my journalist friend Alex Lobov puts it 'the ridiculous nature of our market economy & superficial society where journalists who put....

Saturday , April 09, 2011

Anna Hazare and the misguided measures

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When I thought Anna Hazare was on the edge of absurdity, there came the Government of India, swinging its bag of colloquy, diving into an arbitrary negotiation and ending the constitutional modus operandi. Kapil Sibal indulging into 'talks' with Hazare's accomplices and struggling to find consensus goes on to prove how the 'elected representatives' of the government itself are no more a believer in the system of the law than the 'outraged' citizenry who have no idea what the Jan Lokpal Bill is all about (except that it meets anti-corruption demands, perhaps). Governance and public administration has never seen such shades of cringe worthy precedence; fitting in ease to be held ransom by a galore of activists and weakening the entire concept of central authority and legislature. However, amidst all this inanity, it is to be noted that the necessity of stronger laws and modified institutions is a top....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Will you be my valentine?

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It is a yearly norm. I lock myself up with rented movies, adequate music and superfluous food to avoid the hurly-burly of Valentine's Day. Not that I dislike the concept of love, lust or diabetic treacle. Just the idea of excessive everything makes me jittery. Nevertheless, to compensate the smug glow put up on d-day - here I am, with a Valentine's wish-list and a little less gawkiness (the substrate of a typical nerd). Seven (sinfully) is a rather favourite number and the choices will be in set in descending order. The personalities picked are public figures and living. So, no scope of featuring the righteousness of the Mahatma or the valour of Winston Churchill. An undiplomatic attempt at something I was never good at. Bear with me. 7. George Clooney: A populist pick with reasons more than just his brazen handsomeness and mirror-cracking personality. This....

Tuesday , February 01, 2011

A fighter's fight and a few more clauses

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The scenes were surreal. The spirit indomitable. Fire streamed through the streets of Egypt as the world watched the war cry for coup d'état. President Hosni Mubarak's army stood by tanks covered with anti-Mubarak graffiti - 'Down with Mubarak. Down with the despot. Down with the traitor. Pharaoh out of Egypt.' When asked how they could let the protestors scribble anti-regime slogans on their tanks, a soldier genially replied - 'These are written by the people. These are the views of the people.' The US is watching from a distance. Not meddling too much, lest it ends up being considered accountable for the widespread authoritarianism in Islamic statehoods. Egypt was the first Arab country to join a peace treaty with Israel - the 1979 pact brokered by the Carter administration - and thus an important ally of the US. Also worth attention is Egypt's military forces, the 10th-largest army....

Friday , January 21, 2011

Hu's Gates-way?

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The United States has been intimidated, embarrassed and bruised. All that in one single go. Ask Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates, if you may. Or perhaps Hu Jintao, who had an unbelievable tongue-in-cheek moment in communist China. Gates repeatedly enquires about the unreported first flight test of the country's new fighter jet, and a room full of bureaucrats maintain pin-drop silence. Mortified 'American' responds later, "I've had concerns about this over time and frankly it's one of the reasons I attach importance to a dialogue between the two sides that includes both civilians and militaries." When almost half the world knew about the official J-20 flight testing courtesy popular portals and military analysts, the US experts' posed to be nonchalantly clueless. 'Civilian' Hu Jintao asserting no knowledge whatsoever about this certified act, despite his chairmanship at the country's Central Military Commission, is undeniably fascinating but not too compound....

Friday , December 17, 2010

About time politicians schooled themselves

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The Devil's Dictionary is a satirical reference book written by Ambrose Bierce. The book offers reinterpretations of terms in English language, lampooning cant and political doublespeak. Stopped at the word 'responsibility'(for the sheer pragmatism invoked in it) - "A detachabale burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one's neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star." Thinking on similar obverse, it appeared that 'accountability' is the nearest cousin to 'responsibility' - gurgling up a motion of "I don't know" or "I have nothing to do with this" - it is just another expression of eschew. This phenomenon of avoidance and refusal to liability reflexes is widely observed among the hounds of power and the substrates of the same. Politicos and the pseudo ultraists, to be precise. With a Caspian Sea of "Trust me. I will....

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Of the concentric called scam

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One scam after another. So many, that we tend to miss it when a day passes by without popular media coverage of corruptives. Fellow tweeter Rohit Pradhan (@Retributions) jokingly tweeted yesterday - "As an Indian it hurts my pride and self-esteem that no scam features my name. Can we all collectively do a twitter scam?" I wonder whether our country's public is becoming immune to corruption and lack of probity in public life. The dangers are there for all of us to see. The London 'Economist' observed many years ago that Emperor Akbar would've been very happy to see the current state of affairs in India (21st Century) as we are following the Mughal system of administration - everything is forbidden unless it has a permit leaflet attached to it; pay the price of bribery and get anything done. The ringlet of Indian administrative functionaries is multidimensional.....

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Transacted transactions: The Indo-US joint

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Remember the team that accompanied George Bush Jr. on his visit to India in 2006? It was relatively different from the one Barack Obama has opted for, and quite understandably so. The focus during President Bush's tenure was strictly on the civil nuclear agreement - no sidetrack transactions in play. But with Obama it has struck a new chord or so says the ever-sure news agencies.Out-of-the-blue the US is anticipated to be highly interested in the Indian business market and the thus adjunct of the American Commerce Council. Tweeting on an analogous subject I questioned about the participation of ERMs (Electronic Resource Management) via authorized US corporations, if at all. To which my friend on twitter Anthony Mitchell (Masters of Public Policy from Rutgers University and currently working as an IT executive), shot enthused observations and segmented details. Furthermore, in an in depth conversation off the public forum, the....


More about Ipsita Shome

Ipsita Shome, student by day and writer for the rest, has taken to her passion way before she had anticipated. Writes on issues ranging from politics to social identities; her pieces are already creating opinion among opinion-makers. Ipsita wishes to study politics, its attributes and may be, even take that up as a career.



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