Stories about Vietnam

“The people’s poet is your balladeer”: Revisiting Habib Jalib’s tribute to Ho Chi Minh on his 130th birthday

In 1954 Vietnamese rebels gave the French army a tremendous beating at their supposedly invulnerable base in Dien Bien Phu. After a century of conquering colonies, France had to exit Vietnam in a hurry, and it was then the United States’ turn to enter the region. It is indeed quite unbelievable that the self-proclaimed “greatest country in the world” also suffered a humiliating defeat in this tiny, poorly armed country populated by many who lived below the poverty line at the time. A peasant of slow gait and few words led both of these exploits. His name was Ho Chi Minh, born 130 years ...

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How will Covid-19 impact global value chains?

Despite the numerous supply-chain disruptions experienced due to environmental catastrophes in the last decade — including the eruption of a volcano in Iceland, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami etc. — most well established companies were still caught off guard by Covid-19 and unprepared to adapt accordingly. But coronavirus is not the first, nor will it be the last, major disruptor of global value chains. Organisations around the world have fabricated a global value chain that runs on outsourcing and thin margins (mostly in China), and the coronavirus has exposed just how fragile this process is. As Covid-19 jolts the world economy, it is quite possible ...

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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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Trump’s imperial arrogance will have disastrous ramifications

The spectre of war is haunting the Middle East. In the American diplomatic and military circles, there’s only a single line of discussion: how is Iran going to retaliate? The question has moved a little further from ‘if’, and the reason for that is Donald Trump’s addiction to late night news punditry which leaves him with a mad whirlwind of emotions, especially if it has anything to do with a perceived slight aimed at either him or the military prowess of the United States (US). On December 27th, an American contractor was killed because of rocket attacks at a military ...

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As Asian economies take centre stage, how can Pakistan cash in?

The economic map of Asia is changing at a fast pace, shaped by trade disputes between the United States (US) and its trading partners, and by commercial developments in Asia, especially in China. The Trump administration is using tariffs, and the threat of higher tariffs, to leverage its bargaining positions and extract trade concessions through negotiations with China.  While policymakers in the US and China are struggling to come up with a joint communique, business executives are going to the drawing board to decide what to do next.  A key decision for these businesses is what to do with ...

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Remembering Pakistan’s sacrifices for securing Europe’s freedom

In the November of 1989, ordinary Germans began physically tearing down the Berlin Wall whilst the soldiers of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) stood by doing nothing. Throughout Europe, communist regimes that had been imposed on largely non-consenting populations were falling. The global media remarked that all of this happened without a shot being fired, the exception being Romania where two shots were fired — one into the head of the dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu, and one into that of his wife. However, this seemingly neat and tidy story of how communism fell in Europe is rather illusory, because throughout the 1980s, there was ...

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Why Israel is pushing for Pakistan and India to go to war

On February 27th, Israeli news publication Haaretz reported that India’s Air Force had used Israeli-made bombs in its recent Line of Control (LoC) violation against Pakistan, citing local news websites which had been briefed by Indian security sources. The reports allege that ‘five Mirage jets armed with Israeli-made Spice 2000 smart missiles attacked what New Delhi says was a terrorist training camp’ in Pakistan. While quietly hidden by the mainstream media, it actually transpires that Israel is a key weapons supplier to the Indian Army, with its current relationship estimated at approximately a billion dollars each year. In fact, India has ...

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Is Venezuela the new Afghanistan?

Three days ago, the first United Nations (UN) rapporteur to visit Venezuela in 21 years told British media outlet The Independent that US sanctions on Venezuela are illegal and bordering on “crimes against humanity” under international law. No one in the international media will say it, but sanctions are always the precursor to war. Never mind Washington’s barbaric sanctions on pre-2003 Iraq, which are estimated to have killed 1.7 million Iraqi civilians, including 500,000 children. Not many people acknowledge this fact, but before the Pearl Harbour attack during World War II, the US had targeted Japan’s rapidly developing economy heavily with economic sanctions, forcing Japan to respond ...

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#SahiwalEncounter: Is that all we are now, “human shields” and “collateral damage”?

I don’t intend for it to sound sensational, but there were four bullets in a 13-year-old child’s body that were paid for by our tax money. This would be an appropriate time to question our security policies. Four people were recently shot dead by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) personnel on a highway in the Sahiwal district. The incident resulted in the deaths of the driver and three members of a family, including both parents who have left behind three orphaned children. Counter Terrorism Deptt (CTD) opens fire on a car in Sahiwal and kills 4 people while 3 kids miraculously survive. ...

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Travelling the world amongst the roaring sea: Memories of a Pakistani sailor

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Aspiring for a career and finally achieving employment is a blessing for anyone. When I was young, my dream, like many other kids, was to roam around the world, to see far off places and to experience different cultures. One practical way to achieve my goal was to join the Merchant Marine. At a young age of 17, when one is full of hope and ambition, I finally had the selection letter tucked gleefully in my pocket after a gruelling selection process. It was a pleasant February afternoon in 1974 when I joined the ...

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