Where do I see the next year – 2008 – going? Well, I must admit, with Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, this year has ended on a rather strange note.
1. I see Pakistan going into further turmoil. Suddenly, Iraq will seem like a tame cousin. Pakistan currently is at a strange point! The ONLY voice against Islamicists – Bhutto – has been quietened. Musharraf is an erstwhile (actually even current, from his complete inaction) sympathizer and patron of the Islamicists and Nawaz Sharif is running alongside the Islamicist parties! So, Pakistan’s politics is between a rock and a hard place! The choices are both bad. Now, I feel given the Islamization of Pakistan’s Army and Musharraf’s unpopularity, the worst thing that can befall that country is any attempt on Musharraf’s life. That would truly put that country in unforeseen crisis.. in fact why just Pakistan.. it would put India (specifically) and the world in a crisis never seen before.
2. In India, BJP – which looked like a spent force.. is back with a bang! While Narender Modi won in Gujarat – despite a stinging campaign by the opposition – spectacularly; the party followed it up with another spectacular win in Himachal Pradesh by winning 41 of 68 Assembly seats in HP. Congress which had won 43 seats in 2003 ended up with 23. What does this say? BJP may gain strength. And most of all, Modi is very clearly the future leader of BJP – Advani as PM candidate notwithstanding – as Karan Thappar clearly notes. There is going to be a polarization of Indian politics – which is good and bad. Bad because it will be due to wrong reasons. Good because Indian democracy is “free-for-all” kinda scenario… everyone is having his or her way and I was fearing the “Third Front” coming on.. the WORST alternative! If there are just two clearly strong alternatives – Modi vs the rest.. One is clear where to go for. As for the track record of “unsecular” credentials are concerned – then in ACTUAL “on the ground” reality.. there is little difference between Sonia camp, Communists and Modi! Honestly! All three have killed thousands in the name of religion with impunity and without remorse! So, despite Karan’s “thoughtful” comments, I consider his projection of Sonia Gandhi as mere ass-suck up! Nothing more! For her guys like Tytler et al are no better than Modi’s friends.. and her hubby was as guilty as Modi is!
Modi is different as in he concentrates on economy as well.. and with a discipline rare in current Indian politics! That is why, despite my objections to Modi’s actions, I would go for him at this stage of Indian polity!
3. Despite the World economic slowdown, the Indian growth will be affected just a fraction. The real estate prices will fall quite a bit as the NRI money is channelled out.
1. This is the year of US elections. If Barrack Obama wins the Democractic nomination, then he is the next US President! No questions on that! I do believe that he will be the 44th US President, although the astrologers are predicting HIllary Clinton to be the one! I just think the time has come for Obama. If he does become the 44th President, then history of the US will change unprecendentedly! The real ramifications of his work will be very apparent in the next 10 years itself – both for Good and the Bad.
2. It will be a milder slow-down that I had expected. The counter systemic reactions will kick in when the downturn starts… so the effect of economic mess will be felt less.
3. Iraq will fester – Democratic President or Republican. It does not matter. US is there to stay there for the next 5 or 10 years.
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