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

 

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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.

 

 

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.

Sean Spicer And His Spicy Six Months In The White House

 

And it is official, ladies and gentlemen. Sean Spicer has resigned.

Kudos to those who called it, and surprise for those who woke up in the morning to find that the White House Press Secretary resigned.

Sean Spicer, who found himself in a lot of news for the past six months, finally decided to resign when Donald Trump decided to make Anthony Scaramucci the White House Communications Director.

Sean Spicer had argued against the decision several times, according to leaks. However, instead of taking a step back and reconsidering his decision, Trump went forward and appointed Scaramucci as his communications director.

 

Long story short, Sean was not amused. So he resigned, bringing his spicy six months in the office to an end.

 

The foremost reason for his resignation in my opinion would be the fact he was not on the right page with the rest of the administration.

It has been exemplified by some events in the past.

The main reason Trump hired Sean Spicer on the advice of Reince Priebus, the Chief of Staff. Otherwise, Trump notes, he wouldn’t have even hired Spicer.

Spicer’s Six spicy months in the office have proven to take a toll on how the Trump administration has been perceived by the general public. After all, the Press Secretary is supposed to answer the media on behalf of the President.

He made insensitive remarks about the Holocaust, told a reporter to stop shaking her head, attacked the media for accurately reporting the inauguration crowd, wrongly used a PEW study to support Trump’s claim about non-citizen voting, said that the President called immigration action a ‘ban’ because of the media, and also used a salad dressing analogy to defend the White House.

And it were these remarks that drew laughs, tears of frustration, and certain ‘forehead smacking’ moments from the American public.

Each of the mentioned remarks by Spicer were completely ridiculous and nonsensical. Each of them refused to take proven historical facts, statistics, and raw data into account. Each of those statements ignored everything wrong with the Trump administration and attacked the media on the role they were supposed to play in the first place.

It’s not Trump, however, who has to breathe a sigh of relief as this only complicates the situation further.

Sean Spicer has distanced himself from the sinking administration. Now, Trump must try to convince the public that the members of the White House are on the right page (which, by Spicer’s resignation, has been proven false). And since Scaramucci and Preibus aren’t exactly best buddies, this situation has only just started. It shows signs of getting worse. Since Trump has taken charge, there have been eight instances where it is obvious that his own people disagree sometimes with the President, or have resigned or been fired.

The most notable example of such a discrepancy between members is that of the firing of Preet Bharara who had been promised his job by the President. The other 46 attorneys had quietly resigned.

Previously, Sally Yates had been fired by Trump for not supporting Trump on his travel ban, and she had also drawn much attention to the confused then NSA, Michael Flynn.

And now, Sean Spicer.

This is just proof that the Trump administration is confused. Rather than making laws and ensuring welfare, they seem to be protecting themselves in this plethora of controversies.

Well, at least Sean Spicer didn’t stick around in this sinking ship.