Saturday, March 24, 2007

Iran, Cricket and another week of madness

The last one has been a crazy week - one of confusion and pessimism. The optimist, there are a few of these still left, had nothing to show for his side this week, or so I think.

Let me recount the top events this week:

1. Violence in Iraq continued. A rocket launches near the site where UN Secy General was speaking, and Ba Ki Moon gives half-a-second TV representation of how the war in Iraq continues to unsettle the world. Iraq's Deputy PM gets hurt in a bomb blast, probably initiated by one his bodyguards. People die, more American soldiers go in, and the US Congress pushes for a timeline for troops withdrawal which Prez Bush promises to veto. Tellingly, the person who was seen bring down Saddam Hussein's statue 4 years earlier told the world media that the occupation has been worse than life under Saddam. A vietnam veteran told BBC that after the congress resolution, the war started sounded ominously like 'Nam. And, Prez Bush, clearly running out of ideas and time, said nothing!

2. Iran continued to work on their nuclear capability. When UN decided to take firmer action, they captured few British Soldiers and American Marines to divert attention. If anyone gained from American activities in last few years, it was, indeed, Iran. The world media wrongly assumes that Iran would want, for their own interests, stability in the Middle East. Wrong, I would say, because Iran has its own regional ambition, and stability, under american control, does not help it at all. They, and their Iraqi Shia allies, successfully did what Ronald Reagan wanted to do in reverse - use Saddam Hussein to destabilise the region. So, if Reagan pushed Saddam to keep Iran busy, Iran has pushed America to keep themselves busy and bogged down in Iraq, undermine the Saudi influence in the region and give a window of opportunity to Iran to attain the regional influence they always aspired for.

3. Bob Woolmer was murdered, quite obviously for money reasons. The game, indeed, remains corrupt, though no one will admit this in public. Cricket has become the game of scandals and match fixes, with every major team, player and board being involved in it. Woolmer's death now should bring attention from more serious law enforcers than just the game's governing body [which is corrupt in itself] because it is becoming too dangerous, and it is becoming difficult to keep it away from public eye. Someone will now spill the beans.

4. Gordon Brown presented his 11th budget and reminded his audience that only one man - William Gladstone - has presented so many budgets [he did 12], and by the time Gladstone was presenting his 11th, he was also the Prime Minister. The obvious suggestion was that it is time. The less obvious implication is that he may also choose to present his 12th, by holding both No. 10 and 11 at the same time next year. He also did some tinkering on taxes, and did nothing for anyone other than the bureaucrats. His long term vision for Britain, it seems, is a Britain of pen pushers, an anti-entrepreneurial, stagnating society, much in opposition to the 'Opportunity Society' that Tony Blair talks about. One is bound to feel sad for Blair, a brilliant man, who chose his own undoing in Iraq [Would anyone compare him with Anthony Eden?]

5. India continued its rumbling journey towards industrialisation, with more chaos, more violence and clearer display of administrative incompetence. Rahul Gandhi started asserting himself, but he sounded more like his uncle, impatient and arrogant, than his father, humble and visionary. Time, of course, changes people, as it did to Rajiv, but one has to wait and see.

So, this is more or less it. Not much gleamour of hope, I am afraid.

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