Stories about President Obama

Where did Obama go wrong?

He’s a people’s man, a nice guy, a great ambassador, an honest, straight talking individual who means well and, of course, a committed family man. These are admirable personality traits and virtues but only if one is not the president of the United States of America. Politics is a nasty business and President Obama is no stranger to it. His party was routed in the most devastating manner in the November 4 midterm elections – a clear show of no confidence in the president’s policies that essentially have taken the country one step forward and two steps backward. While the decisive Republican tsunami is a reiteration ...

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Four misconceptions about Narendra Modi

India’s new prime minister is a man of contradictions. He covets foreign investment and embraces globalisation, but he also speaks limited English and harbours hard-line Hindu nationalist views. He is alternately described as a pro-business reformer and an anti-Muslim ideologue. Narendra Modi, who was sworn in on Monday, is a complex figure. Not surprisingly, he is also dogged by many misconceptions. Four in particular are getting a lot of mileage these days. Now is the right time to expose them. 1. Modi has been banned from the US since 2005 Observers routinely claim that Modi has not been allowed to visit America since 2005. Actually, this is not technically true. In ...

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Pakistan beyond Bin Laden

In her most recent article in The New York Times, Carlotta Gall, has shunned the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and military establishment of Pakistan in an attempt at assessing the troublesome relationship between Pakistani institutions and Islamic extremists. The article titled “What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden” explicitly accuses the ISI of harbouring Islamic extremists for its own selfish reasons, with a special mention of Osama bin Laden who she believes had been under the protection of the ISI until he was killed during the raid on his compound in Abbottabad in 2011. Considering the blatancy with which Gall points fingers ...

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Five ways to improve US policy in South Asia in 2014

If there’s one word that defines South Asia in 2014, it’s transition. Elections are scheduled in three countries – Afghanistan, India and a controversial one already held in Bangladesh on January 5. Newly elected governments face their first full year in office in four others – Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan. And hovering over this all is the international troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Amid this change and uncertainty, Washington’s chief objective for South Asia will remain the same – attaining stability. It’s an admittedly ambitious goal in a region cursed by interstate and intrastate tensions alike, and flushes with security threats that range from ...

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President Obama: The only Nobel Laureate guilty of war crimes

It is a champion of human rights, it is a champion of science and technology. It is a champion of arts and humanities. It is the forerunner in world economy and is a central figure in the global power politics that shape the future of nations. It is also guilty of more war crimes than you can imagine. It is probably the only country in the world that lives and breathes paradoxes. It witnessed its people occupying Wall Street but at the same time, keeps denying the Geneva Convention and the International Court of Crimes. When it comes to its own evils ...

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The superpower shuts down

Congratulations to the United States Congress. It has accomplished something that America’s enemies—including al Qaeda—have long wanted to achieve: Bring the government of the world’s sole superpower to a screeching halt. We Washingtonians are used to talking about shutdowns. Several times in recent years, Congressional gridlock has threatened to bring the government to its knees. Yet last-nanosecond deals have always averted disaster. Not this time. The story is sadly simple. Congress can’t agree on how to fund the federal government beyond October 1, the start of the new US fiscal year. In recent days, the Republican Party (goaded by its ultra-conservative Tea ...

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The US war on Afghanistan is over. Syria is the new project

“He has proven instead only his contempt for the United Nations and for all his pledges. By breaking every pledge, by his deceptions and by his cruelties….” You might be thinking that this is an excerpt from an Obama press conference citing the reasons for a strike against Bashar al Assad’s Syria. Yet, these words were spoken by George W Bush at the United Nations on 13 September 2002, and the above quote ends with…, “Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself.” Some things never change. With the UN weapons inspectors pulling out of Syria with the “possible” evidence of chemical attacks, it ...

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Who will end the anti-Muslim discrimination: The White House or the “Right” House?

This is the story of two Washington Iftar dinners. First, the Israeli Ambassador, Michael Oren, invited Muslim leaders to a diplomatic Iftar dinner last week and Imam Antepli of Duke University wondered aloud if the event was meaningful. Then the Obama administration invited Muslim leaders to the White House Iftar dinner and Omid Saifi, the Islamic studies professor from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, called to boycott it. It’s obvious that we, the American Muslims, are struggling to identify the right posture: Boycott, and you sever a diplomatic tie; attend, and you are seen as the “enemy’s” ally. While I empathise with the demands laid out ...

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President Obama’s speech and the continuation of drone strikes

President Obama delivered his much anticipated speech on counter-terrorism at the National Defense University, at Fort McNair in Washington, on Thursday. In the days before the address the focus was mainly expected to be policies governing drone attacks. According to White House officials, the speech would particularly give procedural details explaining the process leading up to decisions to use drones in counter-terrorism. It was also said that the remarks would outline, in detail, this administration’s counter-terrorism policies. Pakistan has had a long and violent relationship with American drones since 2004, the fifth year under the presidency of Pervez Musharraf. According to ...

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Is gun control fair when guns are a part of your culture?

Sitting around in the ICU recently, I struck up a conversation with one of the nurses. We started talking about his new dog that he’s trained not to react to loud abrupt sounds, such as gunfire. He does this at range he shoots at. I expressed interest in what kind of gun he uses being a bit of a self-touted gun enthusiast myself. He then went on to list about 15 guns that he owns, right from an antique short-barrelled musket to an AR-9 rifle, for which he recently bought an ACOG high precision scope! Renewed debate regarding the need for stricter ...

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