Knowledge Enhancer 2 –Bolton’s tirade and Kerala flood’s effect on Tyre makers
Knowledge Enhancer 2 ..
Out-Trumping Trump — Bolton pours scorn on the ICC
Trump won the election on an “America First’ platform. So, it is no wonder that he has castigated the multi-national organizations like the NATO, WTO, EU, UN, as being too accommodative of other nations’ positions, and running counter to America’s interests. Even bilateral trade treaties with America’s best friends have been torn apart ignoring the enormous resentment such one-sided action causes among the country’s traditional allies.
Now, John Bolton has entered the fray to attack the International Criminal Court at the Hague. This U.N-mandated body has a panel of very eminent legal experts as judges drawn from all over the world. Despite its many constraints, it has done commendable work in bringing to justice despots and oppressors from Cambodia to the Central African Republic.
In a recent outburst, Bolton declared that the ICC was already a defunct body, and its ‘mis-adventure’ to try American soldiers who have committed grave human rights abuses in Afghanistan and elsewhere will be resisted by the American government tooth and nail. To underscore his utter abhorrence for the ICC, he said that neither its judges, nor its officials will be allowed to enter the country. He even went on to say that their properties and bank balances will be frozen for having ‘challenged’ the sovereignty of the mighty United States. The American government reserves such drastic punitive action against vile despots or its sworn enemies. That a venerable institution like the ICC has drawn such wrath from the National Security Advisor of the most powerful democracy of the world speaks volumes about the severe distortion of strategic thinking under Trump’s rule. Bolton has been emboldened by his boss’s dismissive attitude towards almost all international organizations.
Bolton asserts that America has a robust legal system that will not spare any errant soldier violating law while on foreign duty. But, looking back one can’t ignore how American soldiers conducted themselves in Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The torture of Abu Ghraib prisoners in Iraq shook the conscience of the world, but the perpetrators sitting in Pentagon and the White House didn’t face justice. Only a handful of low rank U.S. soldiers were given prison sentences of a few years. Their bosses went scot-free.
Bolton needs to realize that America’s standing in the global stage will go up sharply if it treats its own citizens, high or low, with the same severity for their transgressions in a foreign land during war duty.
One of the reasons why the U.S. won the Iraq war, but has since lost its control to Iran is this single factor. People of Iraq knew their liberator – the United States – will never treat them with dignity. So, they slowly embraced Iran, the Shia-majority country with historical animosity against America.
It is not that all Americans are Boltons. In fact, a vast number of Americans deeply regret the way their soldiers go berserk during their military duty. Many American soldiers, from the low to the highest level, also are filled with remorse to recall instances of unforgivable misconduct of their comrades in battlefield. So, painting the whole of America with the same brush of culpability is not fair.
ICC has many shortcomings, but it has great moral stature too. Countries approach it for their grievances. In some way, ICC preempts bloody conflicts and wars. Bolton needs to act in a way so that this august body is bolstered, not bulldozed.
The aftermath of the Kerala flood –how the Rubber industry takes the beating ..
It is common knowledge that the deluge in Kerala devastated coffee, tea, and rubber plantations. As a result, the targeted production of 7 lakh tones in the year 2018 will surely be missed.
Kerala supplies nearly 80% of India’s natural rubber – a vital ingredient for tyres of heavy duty automobiles. With the Kerala rubber production looking bleak, the tyre manufacturers are a worried lot. To compound their anxiety, the Rupee seems to be in inexorable decline. This makes import of natural rubber a costly alternative. This apart, buying natural rubber in ‘spot’ market is always costlier than going through the long-term planned procurement route.
The demand of heavy duty vehicles is on the upswing spiking the demand for tyres. But, with severe supply constraints, the tyre companies are in a quandary. What should have been a boom period, has turned out to be quite worrying for them.
Curiously, rubber import is allowed to enter the country only through two ports – the Chennai Port, and the JNPTin Mumbai. Transporting the rubber to the factories thus entails more cost.
Overall, the Kerala flood and the falling Rupee have brought a cup-full of worries for the tyre industry.