Memories of Ukraine – Posted on February 27, 2022

“As I am writing to you now, a siren is going off telling everybody to go down in the basement. It all still seems unreal and crazy,” wrote my friend and former colleague who now lives in Lviv with her family. She wrote this message on Friday, February 25. Lviv is a...

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The Return of the Native

Thoughts on The Return of the Native A British immigrant reluctantly decides to escape the tumult of Trump’s America By Rebecca Mead The New Yorker, August 20, 2018...

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Opinion Pieces at the News International Pakistan

A deep divide – Published August 17, 2023

In recent years much has been written about the deep political divisions that exist in the US. Suspected causes range from changing demographics to proliferation of social media and along with it the rapid spread of opinions, some not backed up by facts, and lack of civil discourse.

Donald Trump, for example, to this day continues to assert he won the 2020 elections, and a majority of Republican voters continue to support his assertion.

The intensity of emotions behind each group’s convictions has reached a point where having a civil dialogue about political and cultural issues has become near impossible. However, recently I ventured into such a discussion with an old friend who resides at a very different place than myself on the political spectrum. Read more…


America prepares for election 2024 – Published August 4, 2023

The next American presidential elections are more than 15 months away, but political activities are already picking up. President Biden has announced his candidacy for reelection. On the Republican Party side there are at least 14 candidates in the field. The front runner is again Donald Trump, based on opinion polling.

It is likely the presidential elections in 2024 will be a rerun of the 2020 contest. Most Americans are not too excited about this prospect. While Biden has done a remarkable job of delivering on his campaign promises even with a razor-thin majority in Congress, even many Democrats are not excited about this aging leader running again. He presents himself as agile and up to the task, but he appears frail and occasionally age-related missteps are showing up. Biden is 82 years old and if elected will be 86 when he concludes a second term. Read more…


The war goes on – Published July 19, 2023

The Nato member summit has just concluded in Vilnius, Lithuania. This was the first meeting since Finland was admitted to the alliance. After blocking the entry of Sweden, Turkey finally relented, and Sweden is expected to join later this year, bringing the total number of member countries to 32.

As expected, the war in Ukraine was the primary topic of discussion, hence Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was an invited guest. Despite pressure from Zelensky, Ukraine was not invited to formally join the alliance. The Nato charter requires all member countries to come to the defence of any member country that is attacked. Considering the ongoing invasion by Russia, US President Biden astutely rejected Ukraine’s pleas for immediate membership, saying “This would bring us into a direct war with Russia, something we want to avoid”. Read more…


Modi and the press – Published July 6, 2023

Towards the end of his recent visit to the US, Indian Prime Minister Modi and President Joe Biden held a joint press conference. Two reporters were invited to ask questions, among them Sabrina Siddiqui, who covers the Biden presidency for the Wall Street Journal.

A few months ago, Ms Siddiqui was in the limelight as one of two reporters invited to accompany the president’s entourage on his visit to Kyiv. Prior to joining the Wall Street Journal, Ms Siddiqui reported for prominent British newspaper The Guardian. She has also been a commentator on major news channels such as CNN, MSNBC, and Sky News. Read more…


Rule of law – Published June 22, 2023

On June 13, Donald Trump appeared in federal court and pleaded not guilty to all 37 charges leveled against him for putting national security secrets at risk and obstructing investigations.

A few days earlier, a grand jury had indicted him for the above crimes. The proceedings will now move to a jury trial which may take several months to conclude. In the meantime, Trump is a declared candidate and front runner for the Republican Party’s nomination for US president in 2024. Read more …


What makes the US exceptional? Published June 9, 2023

Late last month Henry Kissinger celebrated his 100th birthday. Kissinger of course served as US national security adviser and secretary of state under presidents Nixon and Ford.It is said nobody alive has more experience of international affairs. He played key roles in important global events – the Vietnam war, the Israeli-Arab war in the 1970s, and the opening up to China when the US brought the communist regime out of the shadows and onto the global stage; just to cite a few examples.

Even today Mr Kissinger remains a widely respected – and reviled – figure in the world of geopolitics. Many senior American presidents, politicians, and presidential candidates of both parties have sought his advice as they devised their approaches to global affairs.During his active years in diplomacy Mr Kissinger became known for his pursuit of what has come to be called ‘realpolitik’, defined as a realistic and pragmatic approach to conducting diplomatic affairs and more broadly relations with other nations. Read more…


Turkish Surprise – Published May 25, 2023

On May 14, the Turkish nation voted for their president as well as for their parliament. This was the most closely watched Turkish election in living memory.

Sitting at the juncture of the Middle East, Asia and Europe, Turkey has taken on a pivotal role in geopolitics. While Turkey is a member of the Nato alliance, many recent decisions of incumbent President Erdogan have greatly irked its Western allies such as acquisition of Russian anti-missile systems and blocking Sweden’s entrance into Nato due to differences on acceptance of Kurdish exiles who now reside in Sweden. Read more…


Electoral Autocracy – Published May 11, 2023

In recent years the world has started to see a reversal of the trend towards democratization. While the contrast between democracies and dictatorships has always been there and is fairly clear, a new trend has started to now emerge.

Several countries are now being labeled as ‘electoral autocracies.’ These are countries where leaders are chosen through an electoral process, but the executive branch exercises such unilateral control over the judiciary, and even mass media and the legislature, that they cannot really be termed a true democracy. Read more…


American Economy – Published April 27, 2023

In the spring of 2020, with the onset of a global pandemic, the US economy suffered a severe shock along with the economies of much of the industrial West. The stock market experienced a rapid collapse and tens of millions of jobs were lost within months.

The US government under former president Trump, followed by the Biden administration, feared the worst and spent trillions of dollars stimulating the economy, supporting both businesses as well as households. Surprisingly, the economy and the stock market recovered rapidly and within a few years all the jobs that were lost were recovered. Read more…


Alternate Universes – Published April 11, 2023

“The whole world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” This is a quote ascribed to Saint Augustine, the fourth century Christian saint of North African origin.

I recently went on a weeklong trip to Egypt along with two friends, and what an education it was. We visited Cairo, Aswan, Luxor and Alexandria, and stopped at some small towns as well. Seeing these places with highly knowledgeable guides, one had to marvel at the accomplishments of the ancient Egyptians.

The engineering accomplishments of the pyramid builders are well known – the largest of them containing a million blocks of stones each weighing a ton or more. Stones brought over from hundreds of miles away and somehow lifted into place. Tunnels inside the pyramids lead to burial chambers of the Pharaohs. Accomplished 5000 years ago before perhaps even the invention of the wheel. Read more…


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