US Pulls Out of Iran Nuclear Deal

It was a long time coming. In all fairness, President Donald Trump did warn us before today.

But we didn’t think he was actually going to do it. Not really.

But it did happen. And when it did, all people could think about was if Iran would start making Nuclear weapons again, violating the very purpose of forming the JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action.

The US President announced that he would, in time, work on another deal concerning Iran’s uranium enrichment policy, something which the JCPOA covered in all manners and forms. He said that Iran would come to the US for another deal.

But the withdrawal is wrong on so many levels.

For one, the USA finds itself isolated on many issues like the Paris Accords, the trilateral trade treaty between Mexico, USA, and Canada, and now the Iranian Nuclear Deal. The Nuclear deal was signed in 2015, when America’s allies joined it to limit the prospects of a Iranian Nuclear program. The US was obviously the most important player in the deal.

And now its withdrawal from the deal will expose it’s policies like a nerve to the rest of the world- on this issue, America’s allies have a different policy. This will prompt some irritation at best.

For another, it is possible that Iran may not want another deal with USA. In that scenario, USA would have to assess its options very carefully. Will it feel comfortable if this deal remains? Moreover, will it be comfortable with the idea that is not a part of a deal which directly restricts the capabilities of its rival? We already know the answer to that, but it prompts another question.

What are the options of the United States of America?

It has restricted itself to only a few options- those of a regime change (which would be disastrous), that of another deal (which is not likely) and that of reverting back to good old sanctions, which the EU and the rest of its allies may not even impose on their part.

None of these options are likely to benefit the US. Oil prices are bound to rise, which would make everyone very unhappy. It’s relationship with its allies may turn a bit bitter. Of course, there’s also the concern about the deal falling out if Iran decides to pull out of the agreement.

This route of not engaging in negotiations and dialogue may not pay off. There is no way that Iran will want another more restrictive deal. The USA is not happy with the current deal.

The most plausible (and better) situation for the deal is that JCPOA will continue without the USA.

The more worrying trend though, is that USA has not honoured its agreements. There is going to be instability if there is a change in government. But international dynamics are such that even a small upset could tip the balance into a haywire situation in which no one knows what’s going to happen next. This is naturally going to do more harm than good to the whole world. Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 4.35.58 PM

 

Advertisements

A Moment of Self-Reflection After Kathua and Unnao

The Kathua and Unnao rape cases have cast light on the way women are treated in India. Only 5-6% of the rape cases are reported in India, and those who do report it have to face humiliation and harassment from those in power. However it is not the crime itself that stops women from reporting it to the police.

It’s the consequences which are placed on the victims shoulders- character assault, and lack of empathy towards these crimes by the policemen themselves.

As we saw in the case of Unnao, police officers refused to file an FIR against the BJP MLA who had been accused of the heinous rape of a 17 year old girl. He later gave an interview, where he tried to imply that he was being falsely implicated, despite there being evidence that he had actually committed the crime.

Soon after the details of this horrific case came out, another rape case made the headlines- that of 8 year old Asifa Bano. Asia was a simple nomadic girl from a Muslim Tribe protected in Jammu and Kashmir’s Constitution. She was merely grazing horses on 10th January, when a man kidnapped her and held her in a temple. Soon thereafter, many more men came and drugged her. After days of torture, she was killed by two stones to the head. Their motive? They wanted to drive out the nomadic community she was from because of a land dispute.

What should have swift justice ensured to Asifa’s family was stopped by giving the crime a communal twist. After all, there were 8 Hindu men who had been arrested after an investigation which Hindu nationalists claim, was biased. Biased, because they were conducted by Muslim men.

In the fray of the protests organised by Jammu Bar Association against filing the chargesheet, Asifa has been forgotten. A senseless protest was attended by members of the ruling Party. Followed by the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, outrage began to reach it’s heights, and then more protests across India were planned.

Soon, after pressure, the BJP ministers who attended the protest resigned. Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence in a conference where he inaugurated a statue of Dr. BR Ambedkar- a staunch supporter of minority rights. The same minority rights were denied to the Bakkarwals, the 60,000 strong community which saw Asifa Bano being raped.

On Sunday, 15th April, I attended a protest in support of Asifa and the woman who was raped in Unnao. The protest raised many demands, although some were dreams at best.

The Women and Children minister also tweeted about the death penalty, until I realised that it wasn’t going to help.

Sentencing rapists isn’t our problem. Convicting them, and making sure that these rapes are even reported to the police is our problem.

Most rapes in India are not even reported, and the ones that do report this crime have to wait for years and years to get justice, if at all there is any.

But there is little that the court can do if it is the police officers who themselves are not willing to lodge a First Incidence Report or FIR.

What then, does a person have the choice to do, other than to try and take her own life, as we saw in the case of Unnao. The problem is that people in power have had too much much to do, and too little to care.

They have used their position to inflict fear into the minds of the people.

And in Kathua, those who were in positions in the government and those who were members of the ruling party were quick to organise a protest to stop the chargesheet from being filed.

The politics did not fail to disgust any of us, and the BJP faced the voices of thousands of angry citizens who were demanding to just see some morality in what the ruling party’s representatives do. Supporting rapists, of course was never morally correct.

But with the way things are going, it seems as if there is no right or wrong. There is only the left, the right, and the centre.

 

What Happened? Inside the Secret China-North Korea Meeting

The United States was quietly picking up the pace of its economy when it suddenly noticed, that it didn’t matter. After the decades of the Cold War, the United States had cemented its place as the leading world power- effectively ending the bipolarity which had existed in the years predating the 1970s.

The USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) had disintegrated, leaving Russia as the only large force to be reckoned with, and that too disappeared when the economy collapsed as a result of the ‘Shock Therapy’ which was the defining factor that destroyed Russia’s economy (it only started picking up in 2000).

And now, none of these two former superpowers are leading. Now, it’s China which is picking up the pace.

Just this week, China held a secret meeting with the reclusive leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. This came despite the fact that Donald Trump had claimed just a few weeks earlier that North Korea had agreed for direct talks with the US. Ahem.

China’s political move was a master move. Secrecy was obviously of the utmost importance. China couldn’t have an official, publicised meeting with a man like Kim Jong Un. The US would scream it’s head off, and as a result of ‘supporting the USA in it’s sanctions and diplomatic isolation war’ against North Korea, China would have been forced to cancel the meeting. Thus ending any forms of communication.

The USA doesn’t want just anyone speaking to North Korea. They’re still the most militarily advanced nation in the world. Their economy is still the largest. They would want to be consulted, at least, before anyone spoke to North Korea. They demand it, not because of logistic reasons, but also because they want to maintain their place as the world’s leader.

But the reality is that China is unstoppable, and the USA is hitting hurdles because it’s being hit by internal problems like the Russia Probe and the hoards of people who leave the administration everyday.

The appointment of the new National Security Advisor John Bolton came as a shock. John Bolton used to represent the US at the United Nations, and also advocated for war against Iran.

He is someone who normally wouldn’t prefer diplomatic talks to war. He is someone who could be dangerous to military regimes like North Korea and the events taking place in the Korean Peninsula could have profound effects on China’s state and influence in Asia.

So, they planned a meeting before John Bolton even took office and thus prevented some tensions. Tensions, which could have hurt China’s stability.

Well done, China.

 

 

The Times Up and the Me Too Movement

2017 was the year of the women who had had enough with sexual assault and objectification.

Somewhere in Hollywood, an aspiring actress now has hope that her voice will be heard. That she won’t just be dismissed because ‘it happens.’

The Times Up movement stemmed from the fact that many actresses out there lost their dignity and their self respect because they decided to pursue a career in acting.

The Me too movement was a movement of this sorts- except it was for women who had already undergone sexual assault in the harsh movie industry.

Hollywood can be  tough place for any person. The high beauty standards set by some women who consider their appearances to be the most important has pushed people to undergo physically changing surgeries. The demands of directors and producers towards actresses to look a certain way and to make or break their careers has led to many lives being thrown down the drain.

Whether it is Kevin Spacey or Harvey Weinstein, the fact is that assault was seen as something natural. People say, well is you want to make it somewhere you’ve got to sacrifice what you love.

But that isn’t true!

You can be strong, beautiful, and dignified in your own self if you want to. Actresses don’t realise that keeping up with the demand of toxic producers, directors, and actors can ruin their life in a heart beat.

You shouldn’t be expected to dress yourself a particular way to make it somewhere. You can make it anywhere if you change the perception of how you get there. You can develop yourself in such a way that producers and directors beg for you to come and be a part of their cast.

It’s all about yourself. It’s all about making yourself so strong, that you are immune to the practices of conventional hollywood. Make a mark or yourself. That’s the only way anyone will get anywhere.

 

Trudeau and India

Canada is a peaceful nation which prides itself on accepting many Sikh migrants from India.

On the surface, this seems like a very good policy to have- include everyone, and anyone.

However, the effects of such a policy have strained the relations between Canada and India. India does not support the Khalistan Movement- because it enriches on the sovereign characteristic of our country’s territory.

However, Canada is full of such people who do support the Khalistan movement. Some of them, are also in Ministerial Positions. Canada’s stand has always been that of supporting India, however, the actions and words of a few people from the Canadian Government has often been at an opposition.

India has been wary of this.

This is why there was such a huge cry about how the Prime Minister of India did not extend the same courtesy of a hug at the airport to Justin Trudeau, unlike some of the other greetings he has given to other leaders.

The fact is that Trudeau is in a conflicting position- please the people back at home, or please India.

The solution for India was simple- follow simple diplomatic protocol.

The solution for Canada?

Simple: Go along with it.

Trudeau is stuck, and the sticky gum is going to take over if he doesn’t address this problem soon. The Khalistan Movement receives a lot of donations from people in Canada. One way to show something to India is to crack down hard on these people.

The other solution is simple as well- let this simmer down, and continue preaching peace.

 

UNYCC 2018

As an international relations fanatic, I was extremely excited to know that I had been selected to attend the Young Changemakers Conclave.

I knew that there were a lot of famous keynote speakers at that event. Some of them were Justin Trudeau, Rupi Kaur, and Dia Mirza.

UNYCC 2018 was a lifetime experience because I could see my inspiration speaking some meters from me. It was certainly an experience I would never forget.

Justin Trudeau was introduced by his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau who is just as fantastic as her husband. They raised important issues such as gender equity, wage gaps, and also social barriers for deprived sections of society.

I was in awe of how he was able to captivate the audience. His charisma and the way of conduct appealed to everyone inside the stadium. His speech was riddled with personal experiences and his time in India as well.

Perhaps the most important of all was, however, the fact that Justin Trudeau seemed so relatable. Part of that is because of his age, and his ideals. He represents what the youth all over the world wants- change. And that is what he preached in his speech.

He advised us change the perceptions of society and bring about real change because we are the only ones who could do so.

The other speakers- especially Rupi Kaur and Dia Mirza, had really outshone themselves. Rupi Kaur, with her verses and the trance she sang her poems in coupled with Dia Mirza’s personality made the event a truly memorable one.

Children’s Rights

All people have human rights.

 

And just like all people over the age of 18, children too have special rights. Rights are the measures granted to an individual so that he or she can reach their full potential and be treated fairly.

 

One can argue that children aren’t intellectual enough to be granted rights, and that they lack the means to make their own decisions at a young age, and therefore, parents are to have maximum flexibility while making a decision about the welfare of their child. But, it does not go to say, that children don’t have any rights at all, and are the subject of parents’ mercy till they are 18 and able to exercise broader rights such as their political right to vote.

 

Today, the world is a dangerous place. With gender inequality and the decreasing value of female children, disabled children, and orphaned children, it is important to protect the future generation from the horrors of the world.

 

Children, like all other adults have some rights related to personal liberties and collective liberties. Some of the most basic rights of a child are Freedom to live, freedom of expression, liberty of opinion and thought, as well as freedom of association with any religion.

 

While these rights and liberties are absolute, they can be restricted. A child is a bright light when he or she enters the world, and to preserve this light, they need to be protected until a certain age.

 

However, many people have misused the ideal of restriction. A child is meant to be nurtured and cared for. In India, however, many children undergo parental pressure and abuse in the name of listening to the orders of superiors. It is an emotional scar to do so to a child and leaves the child psychologically troubled. In severe cases, it may lead to depression and detachment from the world.

 

To protect children does not mean to impose jail-like conditions on them in hopes that they will become more disciplined. Therefore, every right a child should have is a right against abuse and pressure.

 

Highlighting the need to bring up children in a happy and sustainable environment, every child should have the right to equal and basic facilities in order to pursue the various aspirations they have in mind.

 

To ignore equality of every child would be to legitimize the discrimination that children from certain groups are facing.

 

In light of all the above-mentioned rights, it is fair to say that a child is human like everyone else, and thus deserves similar rights. After all, children are the proof that innocence still exists in the world, and should this be tarnished, it will be the darkest time in the history of the world.

 

Don’t you agree?