Category Archives: US

India promises to prop up Karzai

Karzai seeks India as a bulwark against Pakistani and Talibani pressure in Afghanistan.  He an Manmohan recently signed an agreement whereby India would provide “support” to the Afghan security forces.

They are also attempting to resuscitate dialogue with Iran.  They aim to create a trade route between the two countries over Iranian soil, given that a much shorter route over Pakistani territory will never see the light of day.

The Pakistanis are incensed at the notion of an Indian military presence in Afghanistan, which they view as their backyard.  The Karzai trip will probably end another tentative rapprochement between India and Pakistan.  India can expect Pakistan to respond asymmetrically, through more terror strikes.

The US, too, will be unhappy, because these actions will work against the diplomatic and economic isolation of Iran, which is a critical part of US (and Israeli) foreign policy.

China will be watching with interest.

M. K. Bhadrakumar’s full analysis is here.


Pakistan is the enemy

The latest from Christopher Hitchens at Slate.  Nothing new, but acerbic and well-written as always.  The Indian intelligence agencies are probably dealing in smug “I told you so”s right now.


Huawei in the US

The Chinese equipment manufacturer is doing its best to crack global markets.  They now have operations in the US, Europe, India, Vietnam, Mexico and a bunch of other countries.  As with any Chinese company, they carry a lot of baggage.  They face regular accusations of undermining national security and of being a Trojan horse for the Chinese government.

Economically, however, they have been successful, having built a brand with a reputation for cheap, but quality products.  Business Week has an interesting piece on how the company has grown its operations in the US, its missteps and its attempts to woo the US political machine.  One key element of their strategy is transparency: they allow regulators to study their products with a fine-toothed comb.  Another element is to hire an international workforce: to smoother fears about Chinese domination as well as to navigate tricky cultural straits.


A Bubble pops in Hedge Fund land?

“Standard and Poor’s downgrade of American sovereign debt from the highest, triple-A rating may be the silliest pretext for a stock market crash in world history. America is the only big industrial country in the world that will have more taxpayers rather than fewer when a newly-issued 30-year bond matures.

<SNIP>

The bubble that has popped here is not American government debt, but the overstretched and overpromised hedge fund industry. It’s impossible to tell how long the liquidation will continue. But the stock market today does not run off fumes as in the dot-com days of the 1990s, nor off the phony profits of ultra-levered financial companies as in the 2000s. Corporate America is flush with cash, financially sound, and making better money than ever before (Italics mine).

For that reason, I consider this a liquidity event like 1987 rather than a true crisis like 2008 (with a $6 trillion shock to household balance sheets and the evaporation of bank equity). It’s not the end of the world. It’s just the end of the hedge fund industry. ”

More here.