Racism in America; Coronavirus in Pakistan; China in Ladakh

Is the killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis Police Officer symptomatic of a deeper problem in American society? Is the Trump phenomenon the result of ingrained racism in America? Is racism rooted in America's original sin of slavery?  Is it time to openly acknowledge and address it? Is it time for greater social change beyond the emancipation proclamation of 1860s and the civil rights legislation of 1960s? Is wide participation of white American protesters in recent marches a clear call for action by top leadership in the White House and the US Congress?

George Floyd Memorialized By Pakistani Truck Artist Haider Ali

What is the status and the trajectory of coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan? How widespread are the infections? What does COVID19 and antibodies testing tell us? Is easing of lockdown justified? How long a lockdown can Pakistan's poor afford? What is the alternative? Can mandatory face mask slow down the spread? Is there a right balance between lives and livelihoods?

Why is India so isolated? Have Modi's actions contributed to Chinese aggressive response in Ladakh? Did revocation of article 370 provoke China? Where does America stand on the situation in Ladakh? Will Trump before his offer to mediate between India and China? Is the current China-India standoff an opportunity for Pakistan like the one in 1962 when the Indian military was on the run? Can Pakistan take advantage of it?

Despardes with Faraz Darvesh host discusses these questions with Raza Rumi, Misbah Azam and Riaz Haq.


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Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel


Riaz Haq said…
#Texas A&M Study: Face #Masks Critical In Preventing Spread Of #COVID19. Researchers estimate that the measure prevented more than 66,000 infections in New York City #NYC in less than a month. #coronavirus https://today.tamu.edu/2020/06/12/texas-am-study-face-masks-critical-in-preventing-spread-of-covid-19/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=SocialWarfare_&utm_campaign

A study by a team of researchers led by a Texas A&M University professor has found that not wearing a face mask dramatically increases a person’s chances of being infected by the COVID-19 virus.

Renyi Zhang, Texas A&M Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and the Harold J. Haynes Chair in the College of Geosciences, and colleagues from the University of Texas, the University of California-San Diego and the California Institute of Technology have had their work published in the current issue of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

The team examined the chances of COVID-19 infection and how the virus is easily passed from person to person. Comparing trends and mitigation procedures in China, Italy and New York City, the researchers found that using a face mask reduced the number of infections by more than 78,000 in Italy from April 6-May 9 and by over 66,000 in New York City from April 17-May 9.

“Our results clearly show that airborne transmission via respiratory aerosols represents the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19,” Zhang said. “By analyzing the pandemic trends without face-covering using the statistical method and by projecting the trend, we calculated that over 66,000 infections were prevented by using a face mask in little over a month in New York City. We conclude that wearing a face mask in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent inter-human transmission.

“This inexpensive practice, in conjunction with social distancing and other procedures, is the most likely opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. Our work also highlights that sound science is essential in decision-making for the current and future public health pandemics.”

One of the paper’s co-authors, Mario Molina, is a professor at the University of California-San Diego and a co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his role in understanding the threat to the Earth’s ozone layer of man-made halocarbon gases.

“Our study establishes very clearly that using a face mask is not only useful to prevent infected coughing droplets from reaching uninfected persons, but is also crucial for these uninfected persons to avoid breathing the minute atmospheric particles (aerosols) that infected people emit when talking and that can remain in the atmosphere tens of minutes and can travel tens of feet,” Molina said.

Zhang said that many people in China have worn face masks for years, mainly because of the bad air quality of the country.

“So people there are sort of used to this,” he said. “Mandated face-covering helped China in containing the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Zhang said the results should send a clear message to people worldwide – wearing a face mask is essential in fighting the virus.

“Our work suggests that the failure in containing the propagation of COVID-19 pandemic worldwide is largely attributed to the unrecognized importance of airborne virus transmission,” he said. “Social-distancing and washing our hands must continue, but that’s not sufficient enough protection. Wearing a face mask as well as practicing good hand hygiene and social distancing will greatly reduce the chances of anyone contracting the COVID-19 virus.”

The study was funded by the Robert A. Welch Foundation.
Riaz Haq said…
Wrong to "link Beijing’s moves along the LAC to a broader policy of Chinese aggression. In fact, there are indications that China is responding in part to U.S.-backed Indian unilateral measures made last year" #Kashmir #Ladakh #India #China #US #Pakistan https://nationalinterest.org/feature/crisis-brewing-between-india-and-china-time-there-big-difference-162860

Last August, the Indian government revoked the nominal autonomy of the broader Jammu and Kashmir region, annexing the disputed region which had the status of a state according to the Indian constitution. New Delhi then divided the former “state” into two separate territories: “Jammu and Kashmir” and “Ladakh,” the latter being both the location of recent Chinese ingresses and home to territory claimed by Beijing. Earlier this month, Chinese scholar Wang Shida, writing on the state-run China Economic Net website, seemed to tie India’s annexation of Kashmir to the recent LAC activity, arguing that New Delhi “forced China into the Kashmir dispute” and “dramatically increased the difficulty in resolving the border issue between China and India.” As Wang notes, Beijing’s official response to New Delhi’s Kashmir moves was indeed quite strong—though many observers seemed to interpret them as merely symbolic measures to placate ally Islamabad.

Indeed, it appears that both New Delhi and Washington have severely miscalculated how Beijing would respond to the annexation of Kashmir last year. While many U.S. analysts viewed New Delhi’s moves as an attempt to formalize the status quo, they ignored statements by Indian officials, including Interior Minister Amit Shah, suggesting that India would extend its writ to portions of Kashmir under the control of China and Pakistan. Additionally, the United States, and the State Department, in particular, offered its tacit endorsement of India’s annexation of Kashmir, suggesting that the move could promote economic prosperity in the area and deflecting congressional scrutiny over the draconian lockdown imposed by India over the region. And while President Donald Trump offered on several occasions to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, the bureaucracy, including the then-top U.S. diplomat for South Asia, Alice Wells, consistently sought to water down that offer.
Riaz Haq said…
Why #India-#China Border Conflict Is Music to #Pakistan’s Ears. Alarming because these 3 are heavily-armed #nuclear countries with the ability to inflict great damage to one another if their border differences are not managed properly. #Ladakh #Kashmir https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/india-china-border-conflict-kashmir-issue-benefits-to-pakistan-belt-and-road-cpec-projects

As I see it, there were two triggers for China’s recent move in Ladakh – a) local and b) geo-political. And both of these have ramifications for Pakistan.

While one of the reasons for Chinese military moves in Ladakh is a local issue, that is, India’s decision to build a feeder branch of the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi (DSDBO) road, the potential geo-strategic ramifications of the outcome of this clash have wide regional implications.

But if China is able to retain control of Patrol Point 14 (PP14), which dominates the heights overlooking the DSDBO road, then it would have a massive strategic and operational advantage over India. Having the military upper hand, it wouldn’t take much for China to cut-off the DSDBO road at a time of its choosing.


One shouldn’t forget that although the Sino-Indian armed clashes in the last few weeks have been quasi-medieval in their style, India has suffered its greatest losses since Kargil in 1999.

Not only will these necessary military reinforcements cost India heavily in personnel and treasure, but it also means that the diversion of these military assets will reduce India’s force capability to make any military move – were it so inclined – into Pakistan’s ‘Azad Kashmir’ and Gilgit-Baltistan. That would be good news for Pakistan.
As far as China (and Pakistan) is concerned, J&K remains ‘disputed territory’. And China has a particular interest in Ladakh given that it has historical claims over parts of it.

But what must have really irritated President Xi Jinping is Indian Home Minister Amit Shah’s ‘vow to take back Aksai Chin’, territory that India lost to China in their brief but very bloody 1962 war.

So China’s move on Ladakh has put on ice Prime Minister Modi’s plan to integrate J&K into the Indian union. By annexing J&K – a disputed territory as reaffirmed in numerous UN Security Council resolutions – PM Modi has put Kashmir back on the international radar, and has brought China into the picture. These are two outcomes that Pakistan would welcome heartily.

PM Modi Must Strike Balance Between De-Escalating & Not Appearing to Kowtow to the Enemy
Prime Minister Modi will be under massive pressure to do something, or at least to be seen to be doing something, to respond to China’s belligerence – particularly after he stated that the “… the sacrifice of our jawans will not be in vain.”

Having said that, there’s no appetite for either side to escalate what is still a low-level clash.

The fact that the foreign ministers of India and China have talked over the phone is proof of that. PM Modi also knows that in any military confrontation with China, India would not do well at all. So he needs to get the right balance between de-escalating and not looking like he’s backed down in front of the enemy.

‘Protection’ For CPEC & BRI
So all in all, there’s absolutely no doubt that the big winner of this Sino-Indian clash is Pakistan.

Whether Pakistan had foreknowledge that China was going to make this move is really a moot point now.

China’s military move in Ladakh provides potential protection for its China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) assets that run through Gilgit-Baltistan, and it neutralises India’s opposition to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) going through Gilgit-Baltistan.

In other words, as far as Beijing is concerned, New Delhi’s opposition to CPEC going through Pakistan-administered-Kashmir is now merely academic. This would all be welcome news for Pakistan and the top brass in Rawalpindi.
Riaz Haq said…
#BoycottChina? Who hurts more? #China’s exports to #India account for just 2% of #Chinese total exports. 30% of India’s #automobile components, 80% of #Pharmaceutical active ingredients, 50% of #bicycle parts come from China. https://thewire.in/trade/china-goods-boycott-atmanirbhar-bharat via @thewire_in

Trade figures suggest that India is the biggest importer of Chinese consumer goods. India imports almost seven times more from China than it exports to it. India has huge trade deficit with China – its largest with any country. In 2018-19, India’s exports to China were mere $16.7 billion, while imports were $70.3 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $53.6 billion.

It needs to be acknowledged that China’s exports to India account for only 2% of its total exports, so even if Indians boycott all the goods imported from China, it will not make as big an impact on China. Data also suggests that China is India’s largest trading partner, but the trade is heavily skewed in favour of China. Thus initiating a trade war when Indian manufacturing ability is limited is not going to favour India.

The range of goods that we import from China is massive: consumer durables such as electronic goods, smartphones, industrial goods, vehicles, solar cells, and essential pharmaceutical products including tuberculosis and leprosy drugs and antibiotics, among many others.

In 2017-18, almost 60% of India’s import requirements of electrical and electronic equipment was met by China. In our smartphone industry, out of the five bestselling phone brands in India, four are Chinese – Xiaomi, Vivo, Realme and Oppo. These four brands combined dominate over 60% of the smartphone market in India. On the other hand, 30% of India’s automobile components are met from China and about 90% of the country’s toy market is occupied by Chinese products. Similarly, 50% of the demand in the country’s bicycle market is met by imports in which China has a large share. Thus, some of the key sectors of the Indian economy are critically dependent on China.

Also read: Ahead of Border Talks With China, India Still Unclear of Reason Behind Troops Stand-Off

Talking of Chinese investments in our tech space, investments have seen a massive spike in recent times. A report published by Gateway House, a think-tank associated with the Indian Council on Global Relations, estimates $4 billion of Chinese tech investment in Indian startups. The Alibaba Group alone has strategic investments in Big Basket ($250 million), Paytm.com ($400 million), Paytm Mall ($150 million), Zomato ($200 million) and Snapdeal ($700 million).

Similarly, another Chinese group, Tencent Holdings, has investment in Indian firms like Byju’s ($50 million), Dream11 ($150 million), Flipkart ($300 million), Hike Messenger ($150 million), Ola ($500 million) and Swiggy ($500 million). Additionally, these Chinese firms are not the sole owner of these platforms. Many Indian and non-Chinese investors hold majority control in most of these companies, making it difficult to classify them as Chinese or non-Chinese. These insights negate any immediate ideas of rhetorical boycott calls without acknowledging the associated benefits India reaps from this relationship.

Trade data also goes on to demonstrate that India exports less to China (mainly raw materials) and imports more (mainly electronics and other manufactured goods which are in high demand). Statistics reveal that India’s pharma sector has critical dependence on Chinese imports used in drugs manufacturing.

India’s potential to manufacture hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), which was in a great demand recently as a possible cure for COVID-19, greatly depends on the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), or the raw materials used in the manufacture of these medicines or formulations. China is one of the leading producers and sellers of APIs, raising an alarm for us before we boycott Chinese products.
Riaz Haq said…
Most of #India’s #startups rely on #Chinese #vc money. What will happen to them if #BoycottChina succeeds??? #Modi #BJP #Ladakh #Galvan

Riaz Haq said…
China: leading trade partner; contribute to 18 percent of India’s imports


(India's) Import dependency on China for a range of raw materials (APIs, basic chemicals, agro-intermediates) and critical components (Auto, Durables, Capital goods) is skewed. To give a flavour, out of the respective imports, 20 percent of the auto components and 70 percent of electronic components come from China. Similarly, 45 percent of consumer durables, 70 percent of APIs and 40 percent of leather goods imported are from China.


Trade figures suggest that India is the biggest importer of Chinese consumer goods. India imports almost seven times more from China than it exports to it. India has huge trade deficit with China – its largest with any country. In 2018-19, India’s exports to China were mere $16.7 billion, while imports were $70.3 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $53.6 billion.

It needs to be acknowledged that China’s exports to India account for only 2% of its total exports, so even if Indians boycott all the goods imported from China, it will not make as big an impact on China. Data also suggests that China is India’s largest trading partner, but the trade is heavily skewed in favour of China. Thus initiating a trade war when Indian manufacturing ability is limited is not going to favour India.

Riaz Haq said…
“In the long term, China’s upper hand militarily in the Ladakh region will make it easier for it to protect its CPEC assets in Pakistan-administered Kashmir if India ever decides to make a military incursion into that area" #China #India #Pakistan #CPEC https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3090758/why-pakistan-big-factor-chinas-border-clashes-india?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=share_widget&utm_campaign=3090758

For China, there are big economic interests at stake.
Pakistan-administered Kashmir is the site of key elements of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a series of infrastructure projects in Pakistan funded by Chinese bank loans. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has called the CPEC a “flagship project” of China’s broader Belt and Road Initiative.
India has been vocal about its opposition to the CPEC, with Modi using bilateral meetings at forums like the G20 and official state visits to China to tell Xi that the CPEC’s inclusion of Kashmir is a threat to India’s national sovereignty.
Rakisits said that protecting CPEC was a top priority for China.
“In the long term, China’s upper hand militarily in the Ladakh region will make it easier for it to protect its CPEC assets in Pakistan-administered Kashmir if India ever decides to make a military incursion into that area,” he said.
And that has not gone unnoticed in India.
“Indian forces responsible for manning the Line of Control with Pakistan have already been diverted to reinforce India’s border with China,” said Rajesh Rajagopalan, a professor of international politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
Rajagopalan said that with Pakistan and China flanking India-ruled Kashmir on either side, India had long been worried about the threat of a coordinated strategy between its two neighbours.
“The Indian military has long had concerns about a Sino-Pakistan axis and the possibility of having to fight a two-front war,” he said.
Riaz Haq said…
After #India’s Skirmish With #China, Is #Pakistan Next? Looking to reinvigorate support at home, #Modi could pick a fight with his country’s traditional enemy. #Kashmir #Ladakh #GalwanValley #kargil #Siachen #LAC #LOC https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/06/29/india-skirmish-china-modi-pick-fight-pakistan/

So what exactly does the dust-up with China have to do with Pakistan’s relationship with India? In short, there are five reasons why this month’s Himalayan standoff increases the likelihood of a fresh India-Pakistan crisis.

First: India’s muted response to China in the aftermath of the Galwan Valley skirmish has raised difficult logistical questions and reputational concerns about New Delhi’s much-touted role as counterweight to ----

Yet hostile encounters with China in both 2017 and again this year have underscored for Indian policymakers the need to get along with Beijing if only to sustain a mutually feasible cohabitation; informal summits such as those in 2018 and 2019 were driven by this strategic necessity. In the aftermath of the most recent crisis, corps commander-level talks and diplomatic negotiations between Beijing and New Delhi mean India is likely to prioritize a minimum-working engagement with China over an unambiguous geopolitical rivalry that would come with fully partnering with the United States. Meanwhile, the political compulsion to demonstrate military capability—especially in the face of a conventional balance of forces that has shifted in China’s favor—may impel India to look elsewhere to offset suggestions of strategic impotency. If military capabilities drive policy choices, then the theater with Pakistan is a suitable foil for perceived Indian weaknesses compared to China.

Second, since coming to power in 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has demonstrated both a willingness and a capability to deliver on nationalistic pledges at home, especially when his government’s ability to deliver on the economic front has hit snags. Although India has seen its GDP growth fall to its lowest rate in the last 11 years, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sought to consolidate its political base by doubling down on its nationalistic pledges—from revoking the special status for Jammu and Kashmir (disputed between India and Pakistan since 1947) to building a Hindu temple to the god Ram on a disputed holy site where the Babri Masjid once stood.

Research shows that leaders looking to divert attention tend to target traditional enemies and enduring rivals (as conflict against such persistent adversaries is most likely to promote in-group solidarity), and diversionary conflicts are particularly likely to take the form of territorial disputes. Since the controversial measures in Kashmir last year, India’s politicians have systematically upped the bilateral ante with Pakistan by declaring intent to “secure” the Pakistani administrative areas of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. ----

Ordinarily, such statements might be put down to cheap talk—except, in this case, the BJP’s own track record of follow-through suggests these threats should be taken seriously. Operationally, the Indian Army has begun to set up artillery strikes deep into Kashmiri villages to launch long-distance fire into Pakistan-administered territory. In May, after months of deliberation, the India Meteorological Department began to list several areas on the Pakistani side of the border, in its own internal weather reports—an unprecedented development.

Third, while tempers and temperatures arguably cool on the Sino-Indian front, memories of a short but tense air duel between India and Pakistan last February are still fresh in both Islamabad and New Delhi. While Pakistan shot down an aging, Soviet-era Indian MiG-21 Bison and captured and returned an Indian pilot in the dogfight, India claimed it had downed a Pakistani F-16. The air duel over Kashmir quickly escalated into a war of narratives: Pakistan rejected India’s allegations and asserted it had lost no jets.
Riaz Haq said…

#India’s poor politico-strategic choices. #Modi is in a bind after major blunders in #Kashmir. #Ladakh #Galwan #China #Pakistan https://www.thefridaytimes.com/indias-poor-politico-strategic-choices/

Recently, some in the Indian commentariat have begun talking about India facing a two-and-half front conflict situation. Strictly speaking, this is not new. We first heard the phrase in June 2017, just days before the Doklam standoff between India and China.

It was a comment by then-Indian army chief, now Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat. Rawat was speaking to the media. “The Indian Army is fully ready for a two-and-a-half front (China, Pakistan and internal security requirements simultaneously) war,” he was quoted as saying. He also talked about the 17 Mountain Strike Corps being raised from the scratch, as he put it. This Corps is meant specifically for offensive operations against China.

At the time his statement drew many comments in India. Most analysts looked at India’s previous conflicts and determined that politico-military objectives are best gained when a state can focus on a single threat and neutralise it. Two or more fronts, even for a strong state, can be problematic. Resources, both in men and war materials, get divided; logistics can become a nightmare; focus is lost in planning for more than one front at the tactical, theatre and strategic levels; diplomatic space is shrunk when a state is fighting more than one adversary and so on.

Three years from Rawat’s June 2017 statement, India thinks it faces the same situation again. The difference is that unlike the Doklam standoff, the current Sino-India face-off in Eastern Ladakh’s high-altitude barren heights and valleys has drawn blood, Indian blood, while the Chinese army sits comfortably on its gains. India is in a quandary. Despite Rawat’s boast, India doesn’t have many military options against China, not just in a land war scenario but also, as explained in detail by Pravin Sawhney, a former Indian army officer and now Editor of Force Magazine, across the full spectrum of military conflict.

At the Line of Control against Pakistan Army, ceasefire violations continue, however. That said, here too the Indian Army and more notably Indian Air Force know since February 27, 2019, that a misadventure would be costly. It would have been costlier on that morning if the Pakistan Air Force strike package, under directions from the government, had not shown restraint. PAF dominated the skies and controlled communications. Such was the confusion that the air defence unit near Srinagar shot down an Indian Air Force Mi-17 V-5 helicopter belonging to the Srinagar-based No 154 Helicopter Unit. That fratricidal action was even worse than losing a MiG to PAF.

Corollary: the China front is a militarily hopeless situation for India; the Pakistan front is a costly venture. As for Rawat’s half front, the internal security situation, people in the Occupied and now illegally annexed Jammu and Kashmir despise India to the last man and child. Despite a lockdown since August 5, 2019 and incarcerating thousands across jails in India, India has failed to break the spirit of Kashmiris. That front is already lost, unless Rawat, now at the top of the military pecking order as CDS, thinks that killing, maiming, arresting and torturing Kashmiris is a benchmark of success.

India’s trade volume with China stands at USD86 billion with much greater potential. It could have a peaceful South Asia and trade relations with Pakistan and beyond if it decided to work with Pakistan and China in a cooperative rather than a conflictual framework. But no, it won’t do that. After making poor choices it would double down on them, giving Rawat his misplaced two-and-half-front conflict scenario. If that is not stupid, I don’t know what is.
Riaz Haq said…
Need for Anti-#India Coalition in #SouthAsia! Ex Mukti Bahini Fighter Zainal Abedin: “Trusting India was a grave mistake by the Bengali Muslims as the act" #Bangladesh #Bhutan #Nepal #Pakistan #SriLanka #China #Kashmir #Modi http://telegraphnepal.com/the-need-for-anti-india-coalition/

Riaz Haq said…
The need for Anti-India Coalition!

By N. P. Upadhyaya, Kathmandu:

Mohammad Zainal Abedin, an American researcher, author and former Mukti Bahini guerrilla leader at a think tank seminar held in Islamabad recently wherein the Bangladeshi researcher admitted that “trusting India was a grave mistake by the Bengali Muslims as the act, adds Zainal Abedin, converted East Pakistan into Bangladesh, which later became an Indian proxy state”.


The visionary Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the early 1070s had very rightly predicted that the emergence of Bangladesh in South Asia would be the second “Pakistan” for the Indian regime.

Prime Minister Bhutto was speaking correct.

Recalled late J. N. Dixit, former Indian foreign Secretary in his famous voluminous book “My South Block Years” that when the Pakistani Prime Minister Bhutto landed in Dhaka on an official visit, he as the Indian Ambassador posted then in Dhaka too went to greet PM Bhutto at the International Airport as per a normal diplomatic practice.

On his way back to office of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka from the Airport, writes J. N. Dixit, his car was hit by several worn and tattered shoes thrown by Bangladeshi nationals who had lined up in the Dhaka streets to greet the Pakistani Prime Minister Bhutto.

Dixit says that somehow or the other he saved his life. The hatred against India had right begun after the emergence of Bangladesh? This has some meaning.

So this is what has been penned by the diplomat of a country which made all the needed efforts for the bifurcation of Pakistan which gave birth to a new nation in South Asia-Bangladesh.

Dixit’s puzzle is logical in that the Indian diplomat must have in his mind that the common Bangladeshi nationals should have lauded the kind assistance/sponsorship of India for their country’s birth, however, that was not forthcoming which is what the veteran Indian diplomat experienced himself.
Riaz Haq said…
Man Making #Racist Comments To #Asian Family On Viral Video Identified As #SanFrancisco #Tech CEO Michael Lofthouse. He’s heard shouting: “Trump’s gonna f— you..You f—— need to leave! You f—— Asian piece of s—-“ #Trump #racism #covid19 CBS San Francisco


A man who seen in a viral video delivering vulgar and racist comments toward an Asian family celebrating a birthday at a restaurant in Carmel Valley has been identified by multiple publications as a San Francisco tech CEO.

The video originally posted on Instagram shows a man cursing and gesturing with his middle finger at the family at the Bernardus Lodge and Spa’s Lucia restaurant.

The woman who posted the video told KION the incident happened as her family was celebrating her aunt’s birthday on the Fourth of July and that man was insulting and harassing her family with racist language, saying, “F— you Asians,” “Go back to whatever f—— Asian country you’re from” and “You don’t belong here.”

The video starts with the woman asking the man sitting one table over to repeat what he had just said to them. The man stares at the camera for a few seconds, then extends his middle finger and says, “This is what I say.”

The man then says, “Trump’s gonna f— you,” as he stood up to leave, followed by “You f—— need to leave! You f—— Asian piece of s—!” A server then immediately yells at him “No, you do not talk to our guests like that. Get out of here,” the waitress could be heard saying in the video.

Multiple publications identified the man in the video as Michael Lofthouse, CEO of San Francisco cloud computing firm Solid8. A message to the company asking for a statement has not been returned.
Riaz Haq said…
What started as #Asian pivot for #America is now a full-blown containment strategy to check #China's power by "supporting India’s efforts to pose military dilemmas for China....." #India #Pakistan #CPEC #Asia https://www.dawn.com/news/1596983

The opening line (of "Rising to the China Challenge" report) declares: “The United States and China are locked in strategic competition over the future of the Indo-Pacific” and then goes on to paint a stark contrast between America’s “free and open” vision and the “closed and illiberal” future that the report sees China as envisioning. It then goes on to state that “managing the China challenge” should be the topmost priority of US foreign policy and that doing so will carry economic costs for Americans and require sacrifice and trade-offs. This makes it clear that the coming decade will be shaped by the US-China confrontation, with all the turmoil and scheming that this entails.

There’s a lot in the report that is meant to alarm or goad US policymakers into action, in keeping with the standard policy of exaggerating threats in order to justify a massive response. To summarise, the report warns that “China is poised to surpass the United States in gross domestic product, while racing ahead to gain technological advantage in key areas such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and genomics,” and that the US response must then be to compete in the domains of “economics, technology, diplomacy, ideology, governance, and human capital”. Which pretty much covers all bases.

The report notes that the US has an advantage in the number of regional allies and partners it has, such as Australia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand, and notably mentions India a total of 31 times. By contrast, the only mention of Pakistan is a hyphenated one, occurring in the context of the Indo-Pakistan border. And that brings us to exactly what the US intends to do for India in military terms with the aim of propping it up as a regional counterweight to China. In the report’s own language, this entails “supporting India’s efforts to pose military dilemmas for China, thereby providing low-cost means to complicate the ability of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to concentrate … on US strongholds in East Asia and the Western Pacific”, noting that while India “has the potential to contribute as a military counterweight to China”, its “structural impediments and resource constraints” have hampered it.

The report then spends a good amount of space on how to remove those impediments and relieve those constraints. It envisions an India armed with super and hypersonic anti-ship missiles along with the targeting systems needed to maximise the potential of these weapons. It also proposes making it easier for India to build and/or acquire more cutting-edge attack submarines. There is a focus on improving Indian military transportation infrastructure, allowing it to better redeploy forces on short notice. More crucially, it emphasises making “major investments in [Indian] electronic warfare, cyber offence and counterspace systems”, thus changing the Indian army’s approach from “territorial defence” to multi-domain dominance.

Interestingly, it also proposes turning a blind eye to Indian acquisitions of Russian defence technology so as to not corner Russia or inconvenience India. In that context, the report also proposes “removing barriers” to assistance to allied countries, which in this case means turning a blind eye to growing authoritarianism and Hindutva-led fascism in India. After all, principles are nice to have, but not at the expense of power. As for us, we know that while India may acquire capabilities against China, those capabilities will be first used against us. Will we be forced into a camp or can deft diplomacy reap us some benefits? Either way, things are about to get interesting, once again.

Riaz Haq said…
#US declassifies its strategy to use “a strong India” to “counterbalance China". It assumes India is already able to “counter border provocations by China.” It was developed in 2018, well before #China's PLA routed #India's military in #Ladakh. @TRTWorld https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/us-declassifies-its-strategy-to-use-india-against-china-43296

India features prominently in US strategic plans for the region. Specifically, the strategy seeks to build a “quadrilateral security framework with India, Japan, Australia” and the US. The four-cornered strategy wants to use “a strong India” to “counterbalance China.”

This comes after pointing out that India is already able to “counter border provocations by China.” It should be noted that the strategy was passed before India-China skirmishes in the Doklam region.

Interestingly, the strategy makes no mention of Pakistan at all in spite of its close ties to China. It further defines a key need to “accelerate India’s rise and capacity to serve as a net provider of security and Major Defense Partner; solidify an enduring strategic partnership with India underpinned by a strong Indian military able to effectively collaborate with the United States and our partners in the region to address shared interests.”

Riaz Haq said…
From Hindustan Times:

#China reiterates support for #Pakistan in its dispute over #Kashmir with #India, saying it opposes any unilateral action which could complicate the situation. #Article370 #Modi #BJP #Hindutva #Ladakh https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/china-reiterates-support-to-pakistan-on-kashmir-101627148536956.html

China on Saturday reiterated its support to Pakistan on its dispute over Kashmir with India, saying it opposes any unilateral action which could complicate the situation in the Indian union territory at the centre of the conflict between New Delhi and Islamabad.

The situation in Kashmir was among several issues, likely topped by the death of nine Chinese personnel in a bomb blast in Dasu in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan earlier this month, discussed at a meeting between Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi and Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held in Chengdu in southwest China on Saturday.


“The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the deteriorating situation in Jammu & Kashmir, including its concerns, position and current urgent issues,” a China-Pakistan joint statement issued after the meeting said.

The joint statement was first posted on the Pakistan foreign ministry website.

“The Chinese side reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left over from history between India and Pakistan, which is an objective fact, and that the dispute should be resolved peacefully and properly through the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation,” the statement said.

China and Pakistan had voiced their strong opposition after the state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in August, 2019.

“Both sides underscored that a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia was in the common interest of all countries. Both sides agreed on the need to settle disputes and issues in the region through dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” the statement said.

China also reiterated its “…firm support to Pakistan in safeguarding its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence…”.

India had earlier rejected the reference to Kashmir by China and Pakistan, saying: “The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India and we expect the parties concerned not to interfere in matters that are internal affairs of India.”


Qureshi and the head of Pakistan’s ISI chief, Faiz Hameed had rushed to China on Friday a week after the attack in Dasu.

Their visit has been linked to Islamabad’s efforts to assuage “iron brother” China that it will do more to protect Beijing’s wide-ranging interests, projects and Chinese personnel in Pakistan.

Remains of the nine Chinese personnel killed in the attack were returned to China in a chartered flight on Friday, hours after the two top Pakistani officials landed here for talks.

“The Pakistan side conveyed its profound condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families, emphasised that the sacrifices of Chinese nationals would not be in vain, and that China-Pakistan partnership would emerge stronger through this test,” the joint statement said.
Riaz Haq said…
Opinion | Ukraine news coverage exposes racist biases in Western media - The Washington Post


By H.A. Hellyer
February 28, 2022 at 12:42 p.m. EST

H.A. Hellyer, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar, is a senior fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and Cambridge University.

“This double standard is so evident in how we as Westerners engage in intl relations…we dehumanize non-White populations, diminishing their importance, and that leads to one thing: the degrading of their right to live in dignity.”


“This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades,” Charlie D’Agata, a CBS correspondent in Kyiv, told his colleagues back in the studio. “You know, this is a relatively civilized, relatively European — I have to choose those words carefully, too — city where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen.”

Putin’s criminal invasion of Ukraine has generated an inspiring wave of solidarity around the world, but for many — especially non-White observers — it has been impossible to tune out the racist biases in Western media and politics.

D’Agata’s comments generated a swift backlash — and he was quick to apologize — but he was hardly the only one. A commentator on a French news program said, “We’re not talking about Syrians fleeing bombs of the Syrian regime backed by Putin; we’re talking about Europeans leaving in cars that look like ours to save their lives.” On the BBC, a former deputy prosecutor general of Ukraine declared, “It’s very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blond hair ... being killed every day.” Even an Al Jazeera anchor said, “These are not obviously refugees trying to get away from areas in the Middle East,” while an ITV News reporter said, “Now the unthinkable has happened to them, and this is not a developing, Third World nation; this is Europe.”

British pundit Daniel Hannan joined the chorus in the Telegraph. “They seem so like us. That is what makes it so shocking. War is no longer something visited upon impoverished and remote populations. It can happen to anyone,” he wrote.

The implication for anyone reading or watching — particularly anyone with ties to a nation that has also seen foreign intervention, conflict, sanctions and mass migration — is clear: It’s much worse when White Europeans suffer than when it’s Arabs or other non-White people. Yemenis, Iraqis, Nigerians, Libyans, Afghans, Palestinians, Syrians, Hondurans — well, they are used to it.

The insults went beyond media coverage. A French politician said Ukrainian refugees represent “high-quality immigration.” The Bulgarian prime minister said Ukrainian refugees are “intelligent, they are educated. ... This is not the refugee wave we have been used to, people we were not sure about their identity, people with unclear pasts, who could have been even terrorists.”

It’s as if, in our anger and horror at the scenes of Russia’s aggression, we are incapable of recognizing a simple fact: We’ve seen this before.

A Vanity Fair special correspondent denied precisely that in a tweet: “This is arguably the first war we’ve seen (actually seen in real-time) take place in the age of social media, and all of these heart-wrenching images make Russia look utterly terrible.”

The tweet was erased — like the experiences of many who have documented the horrors of war in recent decades on social media and beyond.

Putin’s military also intervened ferociously in Syria, backing a murderous regime. That war unleashed a level of mass death, suffering, destruction and displacement not yet seen in Ukraine — but the West’s response was far less empathetic. The same can be said of the U.S. invasions and military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq; the catastrophic Saudi-led war in Yemen; the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians.
Riaz Haq said…
After India vows to wrest back PoK, China vows to help Pakistan protect sovereigntyXi asked Sharif to ensure security of the Chinese in Pakistan, and agreed to advance CPEC with greater efficiency

Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/national/after-india-vows-to-wrest-back-pok-china-vows-to-help-pakistan-protect-sovereignty-1158871.html

“China will continue to firmly support Pakistan in safeguarding its sovereignty, territorial integrity, development interests and dignity, and in achieving unity, stability, development and prosperity,” Xi told Sharif, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese government.


After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in August 2019 initiated the process to strip J&K of its special status and to reorganize the erstwhile state into two Union Territories, China had joined Pakistan to oppose New Delhi’s move and run an an international campaign against India. China also stepped up its aggression along the disputed boundary with India in eastern Ladakh in April-May 2020, resulting in a military stand-off, which has not been fully resolved yet.


India has been opposed to the CPEC, a flagship project of the BRI, as it passes through its territories illegally occupied by Pakistan. Just a day before the Xi-Sharif meeting, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday tacitly reiterated New Delhi’s concerns, stating that connectivity projects should be carried out respecting the sovereignty of the nations. India also stayed away from the BRI perceived as China’s bid to expand its geostrategic influence.

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