Stories about america

Assessing the long term impact of COVID-19

Temporary actions and policies during times of crisis become die-hard habits in the post crisis normalcy. People, governments, and corporations adopt certain temporary and desperate measures to deal with the situation at hand but later those half measures become full and achieve a permanence that hardly anyone is able to predict in times of crisis.  When the 2008 financial crisis happened, several companies around the world laid off many employees in order to cut costs. Many went bankrupt. During the crisis, many companies made their employees do more work for the same emolument and the workforce agreed to put up with ...

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Does coronavirus have a parasitic relationship with democratic systems?

“If we had an outbreak somewhere in the United States, do we not then quarantine that part of the country, and how do you then enforce a quarantine? … One option is the use of a military that’s able to plan and move.” The above-mentioned quote, although relevant and relatable in its content, is, in fact, a dated address, given by President George Bush 15 years ago. Since the Avian Flu of the 2000s, thematic concerns within the politics of outbreaks have not evolved a lot. Thus, equating a national health emergency to a state of war is not a semantic ...

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US, China and the peculiar race for the coronavirus vaccine

Usually competition among businesses benefits the consumers, but there are some that actually harm them. For example, there existed a severe competition and rivalry among the various American intelligence agencies before 9/11. The chief rivals were the CIA and the FBI. Both jealously guarded their secret intelligence that they refused to share with the other. Two of the 9/11 terrorists had arrived in Los Angeles in January 2000. The CIA knew of their presence in the country and also knew of their plans to do something nefarious. But it did not share those details with the FBI. We saw ...

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Lessons Pakistan should learn from America amidst the coronavirus panic buying

A few weeks ago, when the coronavirus was largely affecting mainland China, a friend of mine called me from Pakistan and complained about the sudden shortage of face-masks in Pakistan. He said, “We are a completely uncivilised society with no regard for any ethics or morals. You are lucky that you live in a morally upright nation (America).” At the time, I agreed with his assertion and thought that I could easily compare the two societies since I have spent a considerable amount of time in both the countries. Most of my personal as well as professional life was spent in ...

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The scenario for Afghanistan after the US-Taliban deal

The tentative deal signed on February 29, 2020 between the United States (US) and the Afghan Taliban after almost two decades of war hinges on a successful execution of four main points. Firstly, America has to gradually withdraw its troops from Afghanistan over the next 14 months, with 5,600 troops to leave the country within 135 days. Secondly, the Taliban and the Afghan government (which was not a party to the deal) must open direct talks, which will be preceded by the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners currently held by the Afghan government and the release of 1,000 prisoners in Taliban captivity. Thirdly, the Taliban ...

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In conversation with Pervez Hoodbhoy – Part 3: South Asian politics and culture

This conversation with Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy is presented as a three part series. Part 1 covers Pakistan’s education system. Part 2 discusses Pakistan’s language conundrum . Part 3 includes a conversation regarding South Asian politics and culture. ~ South Asian Politics and Culture Hassan Mirza (HM): Was India ever a proper democracy? Pervez Hoodbhoy (PH): India was a secular democracy in its first few decades but, like Pakistan, is now becoming a majoritarian democracy. That’s very dangerous for minorities. There’s a real danger of the two countries becoming mirror copies. For example, last year I arranged a talk by the anti-Modi Indian liberal politician, Mani Shankar Aiyar, at Forman Christian ...

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What does Hafiz Saeed’s arrest mean for Pakistan?

In a recent development, Hafiz Saeed, the head of the proscribed Jamat-ud-Dawah, has been sent to prison for five and a half years by the anti-terrorist court in Lahore. Naturally, this news quickly made it to the the headlines across the globe since Saeed’s name is included in the list of banned terrorists by the United States (US) and United Nations (UN). Saeed is also wanted by India for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. But one cannot understand the impact of Saeed’s arrest if one is unaware of exactly what Saeed has been up to for all these years. Saeed ...

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Why Pakistani-Americans (and all other Americans) should vote for Bernie Sanders

At a time when America finds itself at a crossroads, the importance of a Democratic presidential candidate who can unite the country behind a single message is the need of the hour. Given the political and moral decline America has witnessed under President Donald Trump, the Democrats desperately need to field a candidate who can rise above the divisive politics which have dominated the discourse and appeal to people from various walks of life. Over the course of his political career, Bernie Sanders has made it evident that he is prepared to fight for these very principles and is committed to ensuring a better ...

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Trump’s bullying tactics will not work with Iran

Iran, it seems, is undergoing an internal change – one which neither America nor any other nation can alter; as evidenced by the fact that Faezeh Hashemi, political activist and daughter of one of the founders of Islamic Republic of Iran, stated that, “In my opinion, the collapse of legitimacy has already happened, and only a physical collapse has not happened, and chances are high that this will happen.” Her words echo the tumultuous period Iran has had to endure over the past year due to persistent protests which have taken place against the Iranian regime, and the crackdown which has ...

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Trump’s impeachment acquittal is in Pakistan’s best interest

While many in America lament the increasing likelihood of President Donald Trump being acquitted of all the charges which have been levied against him over the course of the impeachment trial, one could argue that Trump staying in office would actually benefit Pakistan. For years, America had kept Pakistan on a leash, and relations between the Pakistan government and the United States had soured during the Obama administration as a result of what has popularly been referred to as the ‘Obama Doctrine.’ Repeated American drone strikes during Obama’s years in office and an inability on part of our leaders to effectively communicate our national ...

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