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Rashmee Roshan Lall


Trump’s policies won’t make any of us safer

By chance or providence, the United States Republican Party’s formal nomination of its presidential candidate, Donald Trump, came not long after two lone-wolf terrorist attacks in Europe. A week ago, a French Tunisian killed at least 84 people using the most mundane weapon of mass destruction possible – a lorry, which he drove deliberately into meandering crowds along the seafront in Nice.On Monday night, an adolescent in Germany of Afghan or Pakistani origin attacked passengers on a train with an axe and a knife. Both immigrants were said to have been self-radicalised ISIL supporters. Their actions have served as promotional...

The human connection in India’s scramble for Africa

When Indian prime minister Narendra Modi ended his first visit to Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa on Tuesday, the tour was touted as a template for a longer-term bold new relationship. What that relationship might be is partly defined by the economic realities of today. These include slowing Chinese demand for African resources and falling Chinese investment in the continent. There is the World Bank forecast from January, which predicts steady Indian growth of 7.8 per cent and a shortfall in expectations from China at 6.7 per cent.But Mr Modi seemed less concerned with making the economic case for...

Will Britain be unseated from the UN’s top table?

Could Britain’s vote to leave the EU unwittingly force long-overdue change to the UN’s institutional architecture?That question is likely to figure in the private parleys and public posturing of those in the race to become the UN’s ninth secretary general. The world’s new chief diplomat will be expected to be a catalyst, if not the agent of change, when Ban Ki-moon leaves office in December. It’s fair to say his successor will face more pressure to deliver Security Council reform than has happened in a decade — and that may well be down to Brexit.Consider a scenario that has British...

Brexit vote doesn’t foretell a Trump victory

The Brexit result does not mean that Donald Trump is certain to become president of the United States.After Britain’s leave the European Union campaign unexpectedly won the June 23 referendum, the argument has gone as follows: that America and the world has been warned and a Trump triumph in the November 8 election is entirely possible. That the British campaign was almost exactly like Mr Trump’s in that it was fuelled by a sense of grievance, a smirking ignorance, naked xenophobia and a stubborn anti-elitism that gleefully rejected expert opinions, reason and facts. On American television on Tuesday, former British...

What is so unfair about Britain being in the EU?

Nearly a century ago, a well-travelled English writer with a somewhat weary view of Britain’s far-flung empire described nationalism as one of England’s “many spurious gifts to the world". Patriotism, he said, can be defined as a lively sense of collective responsibility but nationalism is a silly cock crowing on its own dunghill.Now that Britain is voting on membership of the European Union, it may be time to ask if the stupid fowl of nationalism has finally awakened in England.How else to read the cacophony of the leave campaign? It adopted exclusivist logic and an extremist tone that appeared to...

Only atonement can make the US complete

America’s five-month primary election season formally ended on Tuesday, but a new, brutally serious phase had already begun with the weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. It was the deadliest such incident in US history and was perpetrated by an American-born-and-bred Muslim man of Afghan ethnicity who may have been both mentally disturbed and self-radicalised. Unsurprisingly, the tragedy was cynically seized by the Republican Party’s presidential hopeful Donald Trump as a chance to hammer his Islamophobic ideas for keeping America safe.In this new phase of the presidential election campaign, then, the old worries about Mr Trump’s candidature continue. There are...

US-India relations are missing a certain spice

Narendra Modi made his fourth trip to the United States as India’s prime minister this week, a personal triumph of sorts for a politician once denied an American visa on the grounds that his record in regional government was pockmarked by violations of religions freedom. Mr Modi failed to stop a series of deadly riots against Muslims.But however much the publicity-savvy prime minister’s team spins his seventh meeting in two years with Barack Obama and his Wednesday address to a joint session of the US Congress, this moment is not really about Mr Modi. Mostly, it revolves around China, or...

In our age of distrust, who do you have faith in?

In this age of distrust, amateurism and automation are supposed to be the only things that are authentic any more.Proof of this trend is the rise of amateur politicians – Donald Trump being the most prominent but not the only example – and the ongoing machinations over Facebook’s use of human judgment rather than algorithms to deliver news stories.There is a striking synthesis between the choruses hailing amateur politicians and algorithms. The non-career politician has a tendency to promote broad, truth-distorting narratives. The algorithm has the capacity only to count clicks, not to judge content. They feed, and feed off,...

Can Congress ever be relevant in India again?

Yet again, and crucially for the second time in two years, a political obituary is being prepared for India’s grand old party. Congress, 130 years old and the party that led India to independence from British rule, has performed poorly in key state legislature elections. Two years ago, it was routed by prime minister Narendra Modi’s BJP in the general election. The cry has gone up that 21st-century India is becoming, as Mr Modi boldly desired some years ago, a “Congress mukt Bharat" (Congress-free India).That may be an overstatement and it is certainly premature. Admittedly, Congress has just 45 seats...

Racism is a clear and deadly reality in India

India has a problem with racism. It suffers from it. And it practises it. For the second time in less than three months Indian officialdom is scrambling and occasionally backsliding on attempts to explain away the latest attack on Africans – a murderous assault on a 29-year-old Congolese French language-teacher in Delhi. Masonda Ketanda Olivier died.Something similar happened a few months before. In February, there was a mob attack on a Tanzanian student in Bangalore. The young woman was stripped and paraded in front of onlookers. She subsequently accused India of “ingrained racism" as did her country’s envoy. That time,...

What has commerce got to do with government?

Donald Trump constantly mentions his career as a businessman when he calls upon the American people to vote him into the White House. He says he would be better than a politician when it comes to doing “deals", managing America’s balance sheet, “winning" and generally serving as the president of the United States.At the weekend, Mr Trump told CNBC's Squawk Box that US trade deals, especially with China, Mexico and Japan, must be urgently renegotiated. They’re "disastrous", he said, because “we used people who are political hacks". Last year he said that “in many ways, building a great business is...

The West is trapped in a violent Islamophobic cycle

There is a striking asymmetry about two pieces of theatre that end this week in London. Today is the British capital’s mayoral election, after an ugly campaign in which his main rival focused on the Muslim faith of Labour Party candidate Sadiq Khan. And this is the week that London bids a fond farewell to a play that promoted understanding of the Muslims in their midst.The play, Another World, is about the shadowy universe dreamt up by ISIL. Chiefly, it asks why ISIL’s world – brutal, austere and unforgiving, by every deserter’s account – draws young people from around the...