At this moment of transition, what construct does one place on the outgoing Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s participation in the cloak-and-dagger meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu in the mega city of Neom being built on the Red Sea?
The fragility of the agreement is transparent in the pulls and counter pulls that have obviously gone into the headline. There is unbridgeable distance on the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s role, for instance. The Taliban will not talk to Ghani whom they describe quite brazenly as a US “toady”.
Who knows an oil and gas rich Israel may in the future be nice to a people it has been particularly nasty with: the Palestinians. The credit for affecting a change of heart will go to a GCC country which will, to that extent, have helped weaken the Iran-Nasrallah ticket in the region.
Tayyip Erdogan who restarted “Namaz” at Hagia Sophia, has come out, all guns blazing as an unabashed Brother. His clash with Sisi, the oppressor or Brothers in Egypt, will cut the ground from under Sisi’s feet. That clash has to be avoided by forces which, alas, are these days preoccupied with issues of their own survival.
After his mishandling of Syria, misreading of Europe, the US and Russia, his popularity in serious question, Erdogan has fallen back on the oldest trick in the politician’s book – religious extremism. “Look”, he will address Islamists, “like Mehmet, the conqueror, I have restored for your supplications a great mosque.”
By not moving out of the way, the Nehru-Gandhi family is holding up political movement, a churning, shuffling by which the regional parties will have a stake in an accommodative central unit which is not obsessed with the unrealistic desire to revive “on its own”.
The hawkishness which informs the current chorus, “India of 2021 is not the India of 1962”, ignores the accompanying truth: China of 2021 is not the China of 1962. It is challenging the United States.
“Globalization” may not have been part of the discourse 45 years ago when Indira Gandhi shelved civil liberties after declaring the Emergency but it is not possible to sketch that bleak episode on a wide enough canvas without touching such disparate points on the world atlas as Latin America and India’s cow belt.