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Trump and Netanyahu rule the headlines

US President Trump’s calls to reject immigrants from poor, non-white nations such as Haiti in favour of those from Norway have sparked widespread outrage.

Trump also went on to roil the controversy surrounding the publications of Fire and Fury, a tell-all tale which featured incendiary comments by his former advisor, Steve Bannon. The book included allegations that meetings with Russians were potentially treasonous which led to his financial supporters, Mercer family, publicly cutting him off. Steve Bannon had subsequently expressed regret.

Fear over North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has remained high in America. Local inhabitants of the island of Hawaii received a text message warning them that missiles were inbound forcing the local emergency services to put out another text informing that the earlier message had been sent in error! These incidents reveal America’s apparent unpreparedness for a potential nuclear conflict.

Trump’s decision to cut off $255 million as aid to Pakistan has led to increasing expectations on strategic ‘Indo-Pacific’ partnership. It also reflects a final repudiation of the increasingly acrimonious relationship between Pakistan and America. In spite of the violent rhetoric by Pakistani politicians, the actual impact of this decision, however, has been limited. US officials have stated that the decision to suspend the aid was temporary and it is not unthinkable to resume if a more pro-American leadership were to emerge.

India and America remain at loggerheads over trade retaliatory measures. US claims that India has been failing to meet WTO standards with regard to its manufacture of solar cells.  But India has garnered the support of European Union, Brazil and China at the World Trade Organisation. This might suggest a long-term increase in India’s political clout on the world stage; the UN, after all, had hailed India, alongside China, in their effort to curb climate change (a phenomenon the US government has essentially stated it does not believe in). However, the failure of Western countries, other than America, to support India’s drive for a more equitable agricultural policy, might suggest that the earlier support was an action of convenience, not a recognition of India’s value.

 

India-Israel relations strengthen…

In other diplomatic news, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India has helped gloss over the politically uncomfortable decision of the Indian government to reject Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The visit was met with censure in the Muslim countries as well as in Jammu and Kashmir. Netanyahu’s statement that a single United Nation’s vote would not change the dynamic of the Indian-Israeli relationship was undoubtedly good new s as the Jewish nation is one of India’s key arms supplier. Israel had earlier made a show of force at home, claiming it destroyed an attack tunnel which ran under the Egyptian border.

Britain, by contrast, is immersed in domestic political upheaval. Prime Minister Theresa May’s reshuffle of her cabinet saw the former education secretary quit less than a month after launching a major social mobility initiative, whilst the widely disliked Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt kept his post. Britain’s National Health Service had to cancel thousands of surgeries over the winter due to a lack of funding and lack of personnel. This is only expected to worsen as Brexit draws near. Although the Indian government has pushed for immigration reform in return for trade deals, the British have remained steadfast. This intransigence on immigration, seemingly a hallmark of Prime Minister Theresa May’s ideology, will only weaken Britain’s hand in later trade dealings.

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