Saturday, October 10, 2009

Empty Peace

I was traveling on a bus, on my way home. The bus was broadcasting ChannelNews Asia, and that was when I first learnt that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize. I scratched my head and searched my mind what President Obama has done over the last 3-5 years that earned him this prize. Frankly, I couldn't think of any. He is a good orator, ran a good Presidential campaign that eventually wrested the White House back into the Democratic Party's hands. He dared to dream and has achieved the highest office in the land, nay, the world.

But what has he done in the cause of peace? Yes, he has turned back many of "less than acceptable" policy approaches of the Bush administration, but that isn't the same as having achieved a lasting peace in some part of the world. Is the world any safer today than it was 2 years ago? Nothing much really has changed. There is still no peace in the Middle East. Iran is still Iran, despite indication of Iran's concession to have its secret nuclear facility inspected. It is not as if Obama initiated the spying and dug up this shaddy happening in Iran's city of Qom. North Korea is still a problem. If not for China's Wen Jiabao, N Korea will still have indicated that it is willing to resume the 6-party talks, with a caveat that required a US concession. The US has still not spoken. Obama is still sending American troops to Afghanistan, and probably backing up Pakistan in its war against the Taliban in its backyard.

So I am still scratching my head thinking of reasons why Obama won the prize.

Or is the Prize is meant to get Obama to come good on the promises that he has made so far? If so, that will be an onerous task. What if he didn't realise his goals and make a difference to world peace, like for example, getting Israel and its neighbours to sign a peace treaty. That was what got Mr Anwar Sadat and Mr Menachem Begin their Nobel Peace prizes. Will the Swedish Academy take back the prize if Obama failed, despite his best efforts?

I think it would probably be prudent for Obama to reject this accolade at this time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Legitimizing a regime

What use is there for a recount of the ballots in Iran's just concluded Presidential Election? Will it make a difference when another 10% of the vote is given to the challenger? You don't think those in charge of the recount will allow more than that, right? Mr Ahmadinejad will still 'win'. He will still continue as President, and with even greater legitimacy.

When that happens, the US, Britain, France, and anyone else who cares can't say a thing about fraud at the ballot box. After all, a recount was done according to the wishes of the people, right? Nothing short of divine intervention will do to bring justice to the land.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Government Gun and Gone

It is 3 months since my last entry here. And surprisingly, nothing has changed in Thailand. It is still a mess. After tolerating the Red Shirts for some time now, PM Abhisit's government is cracking the whip. I am almost sorry for PM Abhisit because I think the decision to send out the troops wasn't his, but that he was forced to do so, probably by some others who are effectively pulling the strings.

I agree with the Red Shirts. PM Abhisit's government has never been a legitimate one. It was helped into into power precisely by parties that were behaving like the Red Shirts now. Only, that party committed a crime for which they have not been charged. Thus the Thai government under PM Abhisit has lost all moral authority to govern. It still does not have the legal authority to do so. It can only govern through the barrel of a gun.

PM Abhisit's government is finished.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thai Mess

One can't really fault the present Thai government led by its PM Abhisit Vejjajiva. PM Abhisit is reportely clean and has the support of the throne. He is the leader of the Democrat Party, which before, was the duly elected opposition party, and before Thaksin, formed the Thai government. But that's all there is going for it. The downside is that Abhisit keeps appointing questionable people to his government.

People like Kasit Priromya, who openly supported the PAD's blockade of the Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang Airports in Bangkok. Now, Prapanth Koonmee, who is a member of the protest group in PAD, has been appointed as advisor to the government. All these makes it look as if the PAD's blockade of its International Airport was all but a picnic. No laws were broken, no lives lost. Except that last point is not true. Some people, in a effort to get out of Bangkok, took an overland route. As a result, at least one man died on the road.

To date, I haven't heard that anyone has been prosecuted for the blockade, which cost Thailand an estimated 500 million baht. Certainly not peanuts by any measure. Perhaps the Thai Royal family has volunteered to bear this cost, I don't know. But like I said, that airport blockade is now being treated no more than a wild party. Its organisers, co-organisers and supporters are now being rewarded by the government.

What type of government rules Thailand today?

Friday, January 09, 2009

Glass and stones don't mix

The lesson of Gaza 2009:

Those who live in glass houses should learn not to throw stones.