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Losers tell all July 30, 2016

Convention mania has gripped all those watching the American election circus across continents as much as across the United States.

Donald Trump had his dooms-day at the Conventions the week before and this week belonged to Hillary Clinton to bask in the glory of being the first American woman to be nominated to contest for the highest office in the country, and well, presumably in the world.

Okay, remember that keynote speech by then state senator Barack Obama at the 2004 DNC convention? Like many pundits, that night I too thought I was looking at a future President. And boy, were we right about that!

And earlier this week I thought I saw something similar happening at the DNC 2016 – Michelle Obama’s rousing speech that, I am sure, had everyone from Bill Clinton to Joe Biden to President Obama and even Hillary Clinton reworking their own speeches to match up if not better it.

Revisiting the historic moment of the young(er) Obama’s speech in Boston that summer, I thought I might as well start accepting a few truths of the present day election cycle that will soon become part of political history.

History as we all know is written by the winners. Don’t lynch me in the public square for saying this but in varying degrees I would give the benefit of the doubt to even such losers as Hitler. A cursory Google search throws up questions like: ‘How did Hitler really die?’ or ‘Did Hitler really die in that bunker?’ proving my point in the very ambiguity of the widely accepted ‘fact’ that Hitler committed suicide.

So coming back to today’s leading contenders for US Presidency, they have already made history for being the first ever woman and the first ever ‘outsider’ to have reached this close to the White House.

The many supporters of Trump will agree that if he loses, history may not be kind to this maverick billionaire who has bulldozed his way to the frontlines through sheer money power and more accurately, a false ego power.

He has been for years, and continues to be the butt of vicious liberal media jokes; therefore, win or lose, one can only imagine what it would be like for the Trumps in the years to come.

So for the record, I would grant it to this man for challenging status quos in a way that Hillary Clinton can never do. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be foolhardy if only to be able to say: “I don’t like your face” to whichever Chinese Premiere you are dealing with for pig-headedly keeping their currency undervalued.

And why fuss about Trump’s overtures to Russia? C’mon, everyone thought it was cute when in 1988 President Reagan put his arm around Gorbachev in Moscow’s Red Square and told a group of Russians nearby, “I’m glad we are standing here together like this.”

For better or worse – perhaps only worse – Trump will shake up the political and diplomatic world, and turn the world economy topsy-turvy. And if we don’t ask ourselves the questions: ‘At whose cost?’ or ‘For whose benefit?’ we might after all be able to let Trump have his spot in the annals of history

I don’t like this guy Trump. Never did. But hey, I won’t wait for the winners to tell all, I’ll be my own chronicler.

 

Srirekha Chakravarty

 

 

 

 

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China’s Olympic power August 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — srirekha @ 1:16 am
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The London Olympics came to a glorious end and most athletes have gone home to rousing heroes’ welcome. India this year, has found much cause for celebration – its Olympians brought home six medals, the highest number ever in its history of Olympic participation.

For a cynic, that’s hardly achievement coming from a country of 1.2 billion people, which like an analyst said, is one medal for every 20 million Indians. Economists see it differently though. For them, not just the six medals, but the very number of participants in the games, is an indicator of the country’s economic progress.

It sure is. Indians are realizing that they can actually now afford to pursue their talents and hone them to be internationally competitive by demanding the right facilities and resources. As heartening as the changing economic circumstance and mindsets is – and as we pat the backs of our medal winners and shower them with monetary incentives – the fact remains that it’s far from enough.

I’m not going to sermonize over the whys of India’s woeful lack of sporting talent, because in the absence of intrigue over the reasons any analysis would lead to either finding faults or excuses. So it’s not India that I am intrigued by. It is China.

What is it that China does – given the same challenges of region and population – that it could rise to the level of going almost neck to neck with the US in the medal tally and at times even challenging the supremacy of the Americans, merely in the span of two Olympics. China has left the likes of Russia, UK, Canada and Australia, traditionally sports-dominant nations, far behind in terms of final medal intake.

Is China’s performance at the Olympics an indicator of its economic power? It proved its might when it hosted the most spectacular of Olympic events in 2008. 2012 was a reiteration of that economic statement and I wouldn’t be surprised if it outdoes the United States in 2016.

But there is more to China than just economics. It has to be national pride. Counter that, anyone?