For friendship between India and Russia
Year 1976, USSR
Sanskar Shrivastava on Wednesday, 25 July 2012
Alinuuza on Tuesday, 24 July 2012
|Benidorm, photo taken by Enrique Domingo|
|Marea Roja, photo taken by Enrique Domingo|
|Mundomar Aquarium, Photo taken by Mike Young|
|Levante beach, photo taken by Carmen Martin|
Svetlana Petrova on Thursday, 19 July 2012
|Drop the Debt bus, photo taken by reds on tour|
The sovereign debt crisis recently made headlines and the issue is still ongoing with the European Union endeavoring to work our strategies to help in improving the finances of the Spanish banks. This debt crisis has made it rather complicated for some countries in the eurozone to re-finance their government debt without the help and support of third parties.
With a view to meet the budget-deficit target for Spain in the very near future, the Prime Minister of Spain has initiated new consumption taxes and spending cuts. But reaching the above-mentioned target is still a far cry, as Spain is presently reeling under the stress of an immensely limp economy along with redundancy at nearly 25%, which is something to worry about.
In addition to the above, considering the fact that some countries are trying desperately to meet the shortfalls in their budget, it is almost impossible to take on the Spanish ten-year bond yields that spiked above seven percent and the Italian bond yields that pushed above six percent. Such high-interest payments along with the reduced tax revenue are saddling the countries with more load than they can carry, so the additional burden of sovereign debt cannot be rolled over in the market, considering the seriousness of the continuing recession in the eurozone.
To add to the troubles, Italian bond yields persistently remain spiked, mainly due to the market belief that its sovereign debt will deteriorate further and so Italy’s efforts to reduce its budget deficit by endeavoring to execute its own austerity measures may prove to be fruitless. The European Unions is being relentlessly pressurized by Spain and Italy to make money available at cheap interest rates.
The woes that Greece faces are further saddened because of the requirement of yet another bailout due to its sovereign debt. And the stark fact remains that its target of budget deficit remains far beyond its reach as it grapples with acute recession and crumpling tax revenues.
Presently, the sovereign debt of Greece stands at just over 500 billion euros; quite a sizeable amount of money that would financially impair the European Union members individually in the event that they would require to do a complete bail-out of Greece. But still, it is not an impossible task.
The sovereign debt of Spain stands at a little over 1.00 trillion euros. The question remains whether the European Union countries can unite to raise enough money to cover this amount. Now if the pressure on Italy intensifies, it could default and see its sovereign debt stand at over 2.7 trillion euros.
So while Greece stands a chance of being bailed out, it looks a bit impossible for Spain, while a certain “No” for Italy to be bailed out by the European Union.
Thus it is very imperative that the European Union gathers itself to get economic growth growing again. Similarly, due care should be taken to guarantee that Spain’s sovereign debt does not touch high magnitudes, because if this happens; i.e., if Spain defaults, it will be impossible to bail out the country’s sovereign debt. And if this happens, it would be the end of Spain and hence the end of the European Union.
That is why it is very important that the sovereign debt crisis is resolved at the earliest.
By Contrarian Investing
Svetlana Petrova on Monday, 16 July 2012
|Supply Trucks, csmonitor.com|
The Recent Politics of the Pakistani Opposition
The Next Steps
What should Pakistan and United States do now in Afghanistan?
- They should join hands to broker a power sharing arrangement in Afghanistan. Different power groups in the country, especially the Taliban and Northern Alliance, are brought on the negotiating table for this exercise.
- Intense and coordinated diplomatic activity shall be required for any meaningful intra-Afghan dialogue. These negotiations will surely be tedious but are needed nevertheless.
- Pakistan must facilitate a Taliban-United States deal to the extent possible. The United States work with Pakistan on this one.
- Both hold a series of meetings in Islamabad to chalk out the contours of a viable endgame in Afghanistan.
- Later, invite other regional players like India, Russia, China, CARs and Iran to contribute their share in
finalising the endgame.
There are a number of things for Pakistan to do immediately:
1. Convince the US that Pakistan knows Afghanistan like no other and therefore must be trusted to play a key role in the endgame. A number of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) are suggested:
a) Renounce the old discredited policy of ‘Strategic Depth’ and ‘a friendly Western border’ propounded by the Pak Army. Most importantly, the Zardari Government must wrest control of the Afghanistan policy from the hands of the military. It must immediately announce a stopping of support for the Haqqani network and the Lashkar-i-Taiba. Pakistan must engage the United States which is counting on it to help convince the Taliban and other groups fighting the Afghan government to halt violence and enter into a political dialogue.
c) Joint efforts with the United States to tackle the Islamic extremist problem.
- Stop covert CIA activity in Pakistan
- Reach out to the Pakistani Civil Society in a new effort at ‘winning hearts and minds’.
- Acknowledge that some past actions are responsible for a great deal of animosity among the Muslims.
- Support the Palestinian cause and stop Israeli military subjugation and occupation of Palestine.
- Support a final solution of the lingering Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan
- Openly support Pakistan in taking a final and decisive military campaign against terrorist’s hideouts in North Waziristan. Remember the Pakistan Army is exhausted and badly stretched to do this alone.
- Stop threatening Iran over the nuclear issue. Give diplomacy a fuller chance.
- Release the stuck up CSF money to Pakistan.
Sanskar Shrivastava on
|Soviet Car Mod, englishrussia.com|
Sanskar Shrivastava on Friday, 13 July 2012
|Lake Baikal in Winter, Siberia|
photo taken by Jim Linwood
Svetlana Petrova on Thursday, 12 July 2012
At first sight the president seemed to be a perfect vassal of the United States: he sent Romanian troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, allowed deployment of a missile defense site (thus turning Romania into one of the priority targets for Russian nuclear missiles), started verbal attacks against Russia, and advocated American interests at European forums where decisions were made. Under such conditions, many supporters of the Romanian president believe that Basescu’s patronage by the US is stable and will not be subject to any changes. The reality, however, turned out to be different.
General Clark’s visit to Bucharest and the fast replacement of Ambassador Gitenstein prove that Washington has made a decision to support Romania’s USL (Social-Liberal Union) party in the internal political struggle. Despite all of Basescu’s efforts to remain the best vassal of the United States, he ended up in a situation where the decision-makers at the US administration decided to remove him from politics.
The obvious question is: what has he done to upset Americans? There are two possible answers to this question and the answers might not be mutually exclusive.
Traian Basescu failed to become the president who could have won the benevolence of the democratic part of the American elite. The image of “being one of the republicans in Bucharest” turned out to be harmful for his political career. Probably there is another incident which made Washington nervous: Basescu’s visit to the Chinese Embassy earlier this year where, on January 10, the president of Romania decided to participate in the Chinese New Year celebrations. The decision was quite unexpected, since the president had never taken part in such events. Only a couple of Bucharest analysts note the inconsistency between the official version of the visit and the calendar. In 2012, the Chinese New year started on January 23 – two weeks after the official ceremony held in Bucharest. For an outsider the situation was absolutely clear: Basescu needed to discuss something important with Chinese diplomatic representatives and for that reason the New Year was moved two weeks. We can only guess what topics they might have discussed, but one thing is obvious – such discussions can not but cause certain irritation in Washington. Today the situation Basescu has found himself in might be the result of such annoyance.
Another possible explanation which does not exclude the above-mentioned might be Basescu’s behavior abroad. It is well known that superpowers often use their vassals as an exchange coin in their geopolitical operations. At a certain point, Basescu’s behavior abroad started to irritate some geopolitical forces so much that his “getting out of the game” became a topic for discussions at high-level talks. In the context of such operations, global geopolitical forces tend to make mutual concessions on certain regional problems often combining problems which do not have any apparent connection.
It is quite possible that change of regime in Romania – which means removal from the political life not only the president but also the entire team who supported him – is just an exchange coin, a concession in a geopolitical deal which the US made at the international level. Such explanation of the current situation can be proved by the fact that General Clark was sent over there and he actually organized Basescu’s removal in a blitzkrieg and with military accuracy. It looks like Washington needed the urgent resignation of the president, but did not want to leave the process in the hands of local executors.
The steps that USL government will be taking domestically and internationally and the difference between them and what Basescu was doing might be able to somewhat explain the real reasons for his removal. Regardless of that, it is absolutely clear that the policy of Romania will never be the same and Romanian politicians will understand that subservience cannot guarantee security for the future.
Sanskar Shrivastava on Wednesday, 11 July 2012
|Lanzarote, photo taken by|
Robby Van Moor
Lanzarote is the part of Canary Islands, controlled by Spain. Spanish (Castilan) is the major language of the island with a distinct Canary Island accent and some vocabulary which is not found on the Spanish mainland.
|Timanfaya National Park, photo taken by Sylviane Moss|
|Montana Roja, photo taken by Joachim S. Müller|
|Playa de Papagayo, photo taken by CeBepuH|
Sanskar Shrivastava on Monday, 9 July 2012
India and China, since they are being compared with each other have become more aggressive in the competition of spreading their influence in the region. While China projects itself as a world power, India continues to keep its limits within the subcontinent region. Although the world requires India to take leading role in the geopolitics diplomacy, India's response so far has been indifferent. India kept itself away from saying any word on the issue of Syria and Libya.
|Farkhor and Ayni Air Base|