India - The floundering colossus
In sports as in politics, dominance means more than just winning. It implies an inherent ambition, drive and will to compete. India’s embarrassing performance in Olympic history reflects what bewilders the country at large, from incompetence to corruption – and beyond.
In order to come to grips with shifts in international relations, analysts tend to rely on handy labels to facilitate their discourse. Yet overreliance on conceptual categories often belies the manifold nature of the entities being analyzed.
If India is to live up to its potential, it needs to address a slew of political and structural issues that are not only putting the brakes on its recent growth, but may even cause it to fall apart, jeopardizing a crucial region already fraught with instability.
Two analysts, one Indian and one Chinese, assess why India remains behind China. Can the answer lie in their different political approaches?
So far India has been playing a supportive role in global fora and has not been a strong proponent of any particular position, with perhaps the exception of an International Monetary Fund reform.
If the world slips into chaos, India, the perennial underachiever, will be able to embrace the disarray better than other nations. The key lies in her ability to make sense where there appears to be none.
Turbulent times in civil aviation
While the EU struggles to implement a growth pact, its airlines must deal with what amounts to a new tax on carbon emissions generated by planes, thereby dampening its competitiveness in these dire times.
Even though the economy is experiencing turbulence, air travel is increasing. The rise of emerging markets and the growth of intra-continental travel, however, are having an impact on what kind
of planes will be in demand.
Recent EU rules for the aviation industry have had an impact on the continent’s airlines. It is a fiercely competitive market, and the results so far have been increased mergers and a host of new entrants.
In the beginning of the economic crisis many thought the serious damage would be limited to Iceland. Four years later, the rest of Europe is suffering and Iceland seems to be out of danger.
When the economy in Iceland collapsed, the response was brazen: leave investors in the lurch and renege on all obligations. While cynics may see the benefits of such an approach, one can be thankful that most troubled governments are loath to emulate such a model.
Throughout the financial crisis, Canada has managed relatively well. To a large degree, its handling of its own debt crisis in the mid-1990s and the policy frameworks it has put in place over time have allowed it to not only weather the storm, but even come out stronger.
The UK’s economic policy is at a crossroads. The role of its financial sector has been reassessed, and while recommended changes in the banking system have been applauded by the EU, Britain is as cool as ever to closer ties with the Continent.
Since Hugo Chavez was first elected in 1998, much of Venezuela, or at least its poor, has fallen under the spell of a cult of personality. Even the fight for his life is inseparable from his politics.
As Chavez battles cancer, all of Venezuela will be affected by its leader’s health. His impact and the force of his personality has been such that any measure of absence will be fraught with instability.
In the year since South Sudan became independent, it has faced a barrage of obstacles. The war-torn country is still a stranger to peace, and even its oil wealth risks poisoning the fragile newborn state.
Wracked by intermittent civil war for decades, Somalia still festers. Its troubles are now spreading to neighboring Kenya.
The Chinese and American economies have evolved a symbiotic relationship that has made each indispensible to the other. Now Europe and Africa need to develop a similar relationship.
All businesses are vulnerable to weather and climatic conditions. Adaptation is imperative. As businesses adapt, an array of opportunities open up.