New Year Speech 2020 – Global Economy & Nuclear Status

January 26, 2020

New Year Speech 2020 –
Global Economy & Nuclear Status 
Padmini Arhant

Dear Citizens of the world,

Happy New Year!

The relevant topics are global economy and nuclear status.

I begin with a reminder that the actions and decisions in the past have led to the present and upon no acknowledgment to this effect or efforts to remedy the erroneous and egregious indulgence would continue to be the future that is neither desirable nor feasible.

I share my thoughts and concerns over current events and developments along with status quo maintained over a century that has long been affecting humanity in the emerging and developing economies in the world. The idea of supremacy prompting dominance over population in the nations forced to remain weak and vulnerable allowing major powers having gained such status from illegal invasion and colonization exploiting those nations natural resources and human capital prolonged until today through military interventions and direct economic control via free market and free trade agreements disproportionately benefitting the multinational corporations of the western world.

When free market economy was floated under globalization luring developing nations to facilitate foreign investments, the governments of the emerging and developing nations accommodating and implementing the foreign direct investments (FDI) fail to protect the domestic environment having impact in formal and informal sectors largely comprising retail industry, small and medium enterprise (SME) together with other sectors in the economy. The emerging and developing nations’ agricultural,  farming, cattle raising, animal husbandry increasingly compromised for industrialization in addition to foreign corporation like Monsanto exerting aggressive influence over governments not barring displacements upon those states farming community resistance to any harmful products yielding massive losses in harvest and crop reduction. These issues largely ignored thus far despite validity in farmers’ suggestions for appropriate measure suitable to those nation’s climate and economic conditions. The foreign direct investment upon meeting relevant employment, environment and necessary arrangements on safety and security of local work force as well as impart training in the respective industry would be viable to boost economic growth. However, the emerging and developing nations invitation to FDI should only be in areas of economy lacking in that technology, industrial know-how and engineering to preserve the generic aspects of the domestic economy.

Unfortunately, the globalization has enabled Multinational Corporations (MNC) monopoly of international markets against the idea and essence of free market economy aiding fair competition and consumer options in pricing, quality and other determining factors contributing to profitability.  There is no doubt that market economy is the way for constructive and steady growth provided equal opportunity and healthy environment for all businesses to compete effectively without having to submerge or submit to bigger enterprise and conglomerate’s vigorous mergers and acquisitions prevalent in proportion to financial and market capitalization. The contemporary trend endangers free flow of economic activities and innovations subject to major corporate discretionary and privileged status. Notwithstanding the macro management of the economy under few multinationals in different sectors of the economy whether energy, finance, banking, defense, aviation, health care, technology…among the prominent players holding the key to economic prospects not necessarily shared across the spectrum or letting mega profits to trickle down to the bottom.

As a result, the major corporate i.e. bigwigs’ clout over politics through campaign financing, bidding on candidacy and outright oligarchy governance undermining democracy and electoral process besides stymieing judiciary, environment rules and regulations and labor laws are customary practice. Capitalism left to benefit all competing in the domestic and global market would lead to desperately required universal growth and development.

In contrast, Capitalist socialism granting financial bailouts at ordinary taxpayers expense, financial scandals and frauds committed in some economies with offenders absconding from their country of origin never to return due to severe banking and financial mismanagement exacerbating economic woes and gross negligence in the misuse of public funds in the banking industry.

The worst is multibillion dollars mega corporations enjoying special status from political lobbying for tax breaks end up paying zero taxes and often subsidies meant for boosting job growth and productivity are utilized in enhancing top 1% personal wealth while the rest are bereft of any benefits within corporate structure and in the economy. The anti trust laws curbing too big to control in the economic sector are necessary for systematic capital flow, goods and services that would be precursor in all fronts and inflation in particular without having to artificially adjust prime rate on lending and borrowing to control inflation or stagflation experienced by some emerging and developing economies in the fading positive growth affecting aggregate output and current account deficit.

Though market economy is a better system in creating and generating new independent concepts and methods in different areas of the economy, the public funding and national revenues from taxes and  consumer spending must be invested back in citizens lives such as universal health care, free education, retirement savings, social security benefits and unemployment benefits to alleviate poverty and preventable disease. Additionally, small business loans for marginalized segments, women, army veterans and physically challenged citizens to live a life with dignity deserves government attention and action. The public funds should also cater for infrastructure starting with proper roads, highways, bridges, railways etc. in the wide angle. At the municipal level in the developing nations and emerging economies, the sewage system eliminating manual cleaning designated to the so-called lower caste demography eg. in India under archaic caste hierarchy is long overdue. The modern techniques providing the operatives proper gear safeguarding them from health hazards and other environment pollutions is the least expected from local governments and authorities responsible for safety and healthy working conditions in society.

The other aspects in the economy are fair trade over free trade long been debated without any movement in that direction. The latest initial agreement reached between United States and China might be welcome among businesses with manufacturing and assembly base in China like consumer goods and electronics laying prolonged uncertainties to minimal effect. China’s currency (yuan) management either in devaluation or futures market and foreign currency options trading…are a trade advantage for the nation positioned as manufacturing hub in the global economy. The most favored nation (MFN) status with United States and World Trade Organization (WTO) membership are undeniably advantageous to China in clinching trade deals with nations near and far. This has been the major factor among other favorable means for China’s exponential rise as economic power in the past two to three decades.

China is also one of major creditors of United States and Eu together with Africa, the Far East and other developing nations like Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal…in the Indian sub-continent. The policy continues to undermine economic conditions especially for the developing nations unable to match China’s voracity in gaining market share with diverse techniques and strategies not always conforming to global trend.

There is an immediate requirement for balanced trade opportunities among all nations to maintain economic stability and sustainability in the global economy alleviating the debt burden on economies expected to succumb to extraordinary financial constraints and debt servicing denying them prospects for economic improvement. The economic packages and financial deals to bail out economies in EU and China’s debtors are far from invigorating growth with less or no focus on stimulus instead centered on privatization of state owned companies and public assets like telecommunication and utilities, national ports takeover for example the Hambantota maritime port in Sri Lanka and draining national reserves towards debt payments in the current economic setting. These are some of the anomalies behind growing economic disparity and stagnancy in the developing nations’ situation.

Furthermore, the financial assistance from IMF and World Bank bind developing nations’ economy in debt cycle burdening the present and future taxpayers in enormous sovereign debt with no hope of revival reflected in the economic health of nations in Africa, South and South East Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Again, EU and European Central Bank (ECB) funded economies yet to recover from 2007 global economic recession primarily due to austerity tied to funding without any incentives for simultaneous growth requiring investments to create and retain jobs, industrial expansion and trade facilities in the macroeconomic scale.

Monetary aid from international financial authorities subject economies to stringent criteria to reduce fiscal deficit targeting loan repayments and financial commitments invariably stunting economic growth and productivity. The developing nations fall victims to such financial deals leaving the population in poverty and vast majority struggling to make ends meet with no structural planning and programs to jumpstart economy.

While the lending process aggravate debt accumulation on developing nations in particular, the other dimension drowning economies is illegal economic sanctions aimed at only non-western nations to oblige major western powers stipulations having never experienced the slow painful death inflicted on people of these states depriving them of food, medicines, vital goods and services for survival.

Western powers together with UN Security Council P5+1 imposed economic sanctions is by far brutal warfare waged against the citizens of any country under the pretext of punishing governments, leaderships or military wing declining western terms and conditions favoring western prospects and influence transforming the state sovereignty to vassal statehood. No western nation subject to economic sanctions or their leaderships authorizing illegal warfare, drone strikes and terror sponsoring that have been carried out throughout history and more so in the past decade up until now ever investigated for gross human rights violations and war crimes that has been tried on non-western heads of the state and their representatives from Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

UNSC economic sanctions premised on human rights violations, political rights and especially nuclear activities are loosely and arbitrarily justified against non-western nations including military actions to further enhance P5+1 economic opportunities and strategic dominance in those regions conforming to P5+1 legacy on invasion, occupation and territorial annexation continuing unabated until today.

In view of the past and present conspicuous bias and partisanship against non-western nations, UNSC P5+1 or unilateral economic sanctions from United States, Israel and any other western and allies enforced sanctions on economic trade and monetary transactions related to commerce is null and void. Reiterating above statement that economic sanctions is a direct warfare against people of those states without providing them a chance to defend or present their position to resolve any issues amicably through diplomacy and direct dialogue at the highest level.

In the absence of similar actions against western nations on persistent numerous violations since economic sanctions became the pattern against non-western nations, the population in these parts of the world unfairly pay the price with their lives, livelihood and future. The economic sanctions freezing trade activities and bank accounts of sovereign nations is illegal and could no longer bind on the basis of selective few members’ discretion to serve their exclusive interests.

In a nutshell, Capitalism could thrive with pertinent oversight on banking and finance together with compliance on environment, employment laws without flouting ethics, stymieing judiciary, general code, ordinance and legal requirements in domestic and foreign domain. Capitalism without corruption and cronyism to dominate politics could lead to stable economic growth and viability.8

On Nuclear matter – Nuclear threats and options unequivocally endanger humanity and the world at large experienced in the past and present century viz. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, toxic agents like napalm used during Vietnam war, nuclear components such as depleted uranium against Iraq, nuclear laden missiles on Syrian Skies in the eight years of war beginning in 2011, US and NATO carpet bombing in Libya on March 19, 2011, deadly chemical and biological warfare continued through terror outfits in the Middle East until now, white phosphorous used against densely populated residential targets in Gaza, Palestine are some of many activities by United States, NATO and Israel with and without UNSC authorization producing scores of casualties and still counting in the war zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Africa.

Then there are short range and Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) that are in possession   of nuclear powers besides nuclear submarines, instruments and projectiles with earth shattering capabilities at momentary notice. United States nuclear proliferation and modernization is the impetus for other nuclear powers to follow suit for nuclear readiness. The poignant factor behind nuclear arms race escalation is republican and democrat administrations in the White House routinely reserve the rights to All options are on the table i.e. not barring the use of nuclear force when dealing with nations deemed adversary that cannot be dismissed as slip of the tongue from the US Highest Office. The targeted nations in this instance are compelled to adopt appropriate measures considering United States trajectory on the use of deadly weapons including nuclear arsenal as enunciated above.

Upon careful objective evaluation of nuclear status in the twenty first century, the nuclear powers with unaccounted stockpiles varying in degree and proportions in addition to huge technological vantage are the existential threat to global peace and security. The lack of transparency among major nuclear powers and their counterparts contributes to further complexity in nuclear armament.

The  (strategic arms reduction treaty) START treaty for example between United States and Russia signed in 2010 and ratified in 2011 bringing the agreement to effect on 5th February 2011. The treaty aimed at Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms was a positive step though compliance on both sides to this effect is not verifiable given the lingering mistrust and ongoing reservations against Russia on the purported meddling in United States Presidential election in 2016.

The current administration proposing trilateral nuclear arms control between United States, Russia and China is valid. Nonetheless, the present administration extending the existing 2011 START treaty between United States and Russia due to expire in 2021 following the ten years timeframe with an option to renew for another five years subject to mutual agreement is critical to contain nuclear arms on all sides until the proposed trilateral treaty materialize and comes into effect.

As for the classification on responsible vs. reckless over nuclear status and nuclear ambitions, those who claim themselves to be responsible proved to be otherwise in the history of mankind and in the use of nuclear materials and arsenals so far. Britain’s trident nuclear programme invested in ballistic missiles and submarines alongside France as a known nuclear power in Europe other than NATO allies maintaining nuclear stock piles as de facto nuclear states are significant in terms of consolidated nuclear might.

In the Middle East, Israel’s operational nuclear weapons achieved as early as 1967 and evidently in possession of active nuclear warheads anywhere from 80 to 400 even exceeding the figure released for Britain around 215 with 120 active war heads is a guarded secret. With no acknowledgment of Israel’s nuclear status or International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections on Israel’s Dimona reactor, the nuclear installation near Negev dessert apparently fall under western explanation on nuclear status in national interest.

At the same time, the western and UNSC economic sanctions against India and Pakistan upon their entry in the nuclear club for similar reasons given the adversarial relations fostered between the two neighbors since India’s partition together with the objection to North Korea’s nuclear capability demonstrated in prolonged economic sanctions and clashes in the Korean Peninsula divide the nuclear issue among western and non-western nuclear states granting the former nuclear rights despite colonial legacy and invasions retained well into the twenty first century. The latter on the other hand are characterized as radical for their nuclear status. Perhaps, the same mindset prevailed when the nuclear South Africa under European rule upon gaining independence from western occupation were forced into denuclearization.

With respect to Iran, the nation as described earlier experimented by western policy in displacing the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh with monarchy represented by then crown Prince Shah Reza Pahlavi prompting Iranian revolution shortly after enabling theocratic governance since then up until now. Iran’s status quo once again is the western and Mideast allies reason for the quest on regime change.

Iran’s authorities emphasized on any nuclear ambition as nuclear deterrence and not nuclear defiance. Iran has been placed under rigorous western demands and nuclear constraints to abandon nuclear program in the backdrop of drastic economic sanctions costing innocent lives with babies and children deprived of food and essentials in semblance to western sanctions against Iraq. Iran’s nuclear activities has been nowhere near the threshold deserving any actions let alone economic sanctions and constant harassment involving recent murder of the Iranian top General Qassem Soleimani to justify western and allies contempt for Iran’s resolve to stay on course.

Unlike Israel and all other nuclear states combined having had no IAEA inspection or monitoring, Iran has been isolated despite Iran remaining committed to non-nuclear status and non-nuclear proliferation, a path that is a tall order for all those nations in the nuclear club carrying out nuclear activities conducting nuclear subterranean tests, overland, under water and wherever possible as their entitlement.

Iran signing Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ironically with P5+1 and EU, the compulsive  nuclear offenders in their own rights proved in the default not by Iran, but chief signatory, the United States withdrawal from the accord. EU members – Germany, Britain and France recent move to place Iran on notice alongside Germany and Russia agreement to maintain pressure on Iran during German Chancellor Angela Merkel latest visit to Russia clearly defines the nuclear status as P5+1 exclusive rights while denying  the nations whom they target incessantly the right to national defense. The reason, the nuclear powers use to justify unjustifiable nuclear armament by them.

Iran is nothing more than a scapegoat for those unable to sustain their illegal economic sanctions and continuous armed skirmishes against the Shia nation.

On North Korea – The Korean affair is a convenient situation for United States permanent military base in South Korea, Japan and Philippines archipelago creating the scenario for North Korea to test missiles in the face of United States troops presence and ongoing contentious military exercise as well as Naval drills on the Yellow Sea. Notwithstanding the usual economic sanctions against North Korea forcing population into starvation for decades in the non-existing changes from the United States position in terms of troop withdrawal or minimizing military intrusion in the Korean Peninsula that led to North Korea’s nuclear status. Above all, the concerted effort to bereave Korean citizens on both sides from long desired Korea reunification is viewed as threat to United States military activities and hegemonic goals.

Additionally, the de facto nuclear states are Germany and other NATO allies in Europe. In the Middle East besides Israel, Saudi Arabia’s nuclear partners are United States and Pakistan positioned to serve Saudi Kingdom’s nuclear offense against foes in the region.

In the Indian sub-continent, nuclear rivals India and Pakistan’s hawkish elements using nuclear threats cannot be discounted. In fact both nations were brought under the brink of nuclear meltdown during western favored Pakistan’s ex-President General Parvez Musharraf in Kargil war in 1999.  

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi having external forces backing i.e. the western, corporate and UNSC support against India’s interest fomenting fundamentalism and polarization to strip India’s secular status, PM Narendra Modi’s frivolous use of nuclear threat during campaign rallies stating India’s nuclear arsenal are not for keepsake or meant to be Diwali festival crackers and that his government under his leadership would not hesitate to exhibit nuclear potency against Pakistan is emulation of his western counterparts favorite rhetoric – All options are on the table against specific adversaries viz. Iran and North Korea.

In light of global nuclear configuration with all nuclear states engaged in relentless nuclear pursuits and augmentation under the guise of containment, they individually and collectively imperil humanity and environment. Some nuclear nations viz. Israel, India, Pakistan…declined to commit to nuclear non-proliferation arguably citing prominent nuclear powers as the trend setters juxtaposed many non-nuclear states including Iran are committed members of nuclear non-proliferation is noteworthy.

The nuclear powers beginning with United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea together with all other de facto and passive members moving towards nuclear disarmament is no longer an option but a necessity and serious responsibility making this world and environment safe and secure for all species now and in the future.

There could be no preferences or prejudice for one against another in this regard. The nuclear policy designed and retained thus far contributing to unfettered unaccounted nuclear arms race is the norm against sensible logical requirement for nuclear free world.

Furthermore, nuclear site containing nuclear stockpiles prone to nuclear accidents like Chernobyl disaster in 1986 under then Soviet Union controlled Ukraine. Similar incidents related to nuclear arms transportation and submarines operation costing lives in the United States and Russia are barely reported in the era of secrecy and opaqueness. Not to mention the nuclear reactor malfunction triggering Fukushima nuclear chaos in Japan in 2011 in the aftermath of tsunami continues to haunt the citizens in Fukushima Prefecture forming the basis for peaceful protests dispersed with violence near Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, India in 2012.

Importantly, nuclear arms possession, maintenance and refurbishment aided in technology and other modern techniques cost a fortune consuming the bulk of national budget even for economically affluent nations let alone the developing and emerging economies viz. Pakistan, North Korea and India dealing with severe economic crisis unnecessarily caught in the predicament to prioritize nuclear defense or offense over economic growth and development. As a matter of fact, the citizens dyeing from hunger, poverty and disease at an alarming rate in all these years in these nations neglected in strengthening unaffordable nuclear capability at the expense of vast majority.

Accordingly, the nuclear powers without exception rising to the occasion in denuclearization program comprising environmentally safe and diligent disposal as well as destruction of nuclear arsenal of all kinds is imperative for global peace and security. The process must be transparent and comprehensive not exclusive utilizing elite and privileged status to evade responsibility and accountability by any nuclear power and their partners having slighted the urgent termination of nuclear activity on all fronts by all again exempting none whosoever.

Expecting Iran and North Korea to renounce nuclear path with other nuclear powers intimidating them with nuclear options against these two nations is a strategy smothered in hypocrisy. Any civilized world and society would recognize the inherent flaws and exemplify such demands through their renunciation of nuclear status for others’ adherence in genuine care for humanity and earth protection.

Finally, the western policy on economic sanctions inflicting pain and death on ordinary lives to provoke the people against the government they target for regime change constitutes a war crime. The economic sanctions and obstruction in trade and commerce to suppress non-western economies from due progress is a serious violation reeking contempt and bias in the otherwise global economy paradigm inhibiting protectionism upon governments focus on improving domestic economy within through tariffs and import duty.

I will be back to discuss other topics such as the role of United Nations as an international organization in contemporary politics, democracy meaning and purpose and environment connected to climate change and treaty.

I appreciate your patience.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant

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