Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has arrived in the United States. And how! Last night at Madison Square Garden in New York City he was the center of a $1.5 million rock-concert style event celebrating India. He roundly told the sold-out crowd:
Some say, this is India’s century. India has the potential … The time has come. India is the world’s youngest country and its most ancient culture.
I am not sure exactly what he meant by “youngest country” nor the total significance of reminding us of its “ancient culture” in the context of his hope that the coming century would be India’s. After all he is a politician and we know how politicians of all stripes are given to loose disconnections between words and meaning.
Speaking of which President Obama mentioned on US television yesterday that the strength of ISIS had been “underestimated” by his government and that the capacity of the Iraqi army to fight “misjudged.” I suppose this is as close as we are going to get to him apologizing both for his earlier dismissal of ISIS’ fighting force as “the JV team” and also for his policy of withdrawing all US forces from Iraq without, as he was advised, leaving a residual force of American ground troops behind.
The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergie Lavrov, involved in the disastrous Hillary Clinton “re-set button kerfuffle” in 2009, has announced that it is time for another attempt at resetting US Russian relations. Further, he is of the view that US strategy against ISIS (in its infancy after all) needs a total revamp.
Meanwhile huge pro-democracy demonstrations are taking place in Hong Kong and stubbornly refusing to dissipate under intense police pressure.
Oh, there is a new president in Afghanistan. After months of political fighting following the vote, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was inaugurated as president of Afghanistan on Monday, replacing Hamid Karzai. I wonder how that will turn out. Didn’t the Taliban behead 15 people there just last week?
Speaking of which, at Gleneagles, Scotland the US lost in the Ryder Cup to Europe …. again. Superstar Phil Mickelson chose the post-match team press conference as an appropriate venue to rip into the leadership style and philosophy (maybe even competence) of non-playing team captain, Tom Watson, who was sitting down the table from him. Awkward to say the least. Mickelson seems to believe that leaders make a team. Odd: the US players on the course were whipped by the players of the other team.