Q: Who, what and where to watch in 2021?

January 27, 2021

Kompf. No one will be watching the US in 2021. Because as far as Biden is concerned his plate will be full with non stop servings of Covid 19. You could even say his hands are tied for the rest of the term. Besides what you need to appreciate is this, while Trump is out of the picture. The damage he has inflicted on the US reputationally is long term. And it is conceivable certain aspects of the relationship between the US and their reliable allies such as Singapore will never go back to pre Trump status. Because it is not simply Trump’s mercurial temperament that has spooked many of the US reliable allies, it is the fact that the checks and balances which were supposed to rein in the powers of the office of the President simply did not work as they were supposed to allow Trump to run amok. So this spooks many of the reliable allies of the US….if they are not wary of thid, then they have no business being in foreign policy.

The second factor Kompf why very few eyes will be trained on Biden and the US in 2021 is because the US is a waning superpower. its a dying star. It does not weild the same level of influence or prestige as it used to. And to be fair to Trump. This has nothing to do with him and more to do with ill conceived foreign policy of his predecessors like Bush senior and junior, Clinton and Obama. For the last thirty years, the foreign policy of the US has lacked coherence and as a consequence she has haemorrhaged credibility and influence in virtually every theater ranging from the Middle East to the Pacific and Asia. China on the other hand has stepped into this foreign policy no man’s land,

Chinese president Xi Jinping has signalled for the very first time recently – China is prepared to take the lead in shaping the “new world order” and that implies safeguarding international security, this puts China in stark contrast to the US “America First” policy. So while the US is looking inwards, China for the very first time feels it is secure and has the good will to push a bold go-economic agenda (interruption by Kompf, script deleted).

Q: You mentioned that China feels secure. Can you elaborate more on this, are you referring to economic or military assurance here?

A: I think both. As I said Trump has inflicted long term damage on the US and while he has neglected foreign policy, other actors have surreptitiously moved in to fill up the power vacuum. We see this in Syria, Libya, Yemen most clearly, where Russia is now a dominant player that is blunting Turkey and Saudi geo-military proxies. In the Persian gulf the Israelis have been much more aggressive in pursuing their own anti nuclear agenda against Iran and in the South China seas, the Chinese are starting to be much more muscular by projecting their new carrier fleet into the Indian ocean. As for their land based assets, the Chinese have occupied Western Himalayas. So all these is the consequence of US neglecting to forge a coherent foreign policy regionally and globally.

Q: Do you see Modi responding to the emerging Chinese military threat in the Indian Ocean?

A: No. Modi has stirred the proverbial hornets nest. He has decided to lock horns with the farmers Union in India. To my understanding there are three sacroscants that cannot be touched in India for various reasons that are too long to explain here. The first is cows. Nehru tried to ban cows from City roads despite passing a pheltora of by laws he failed, so did Indira Gandhi and after that her son. Even MGR failed to stop the cow. The second thing, is onions. No politician has mucked with that crop and ever got reelected. It is worse that the curse of Tutankhamen. Don’t believe go and fact check. And the third is the farmers Union that has been mythologized even in the Bhagavad-Gita. So these are very powerful folklore forces and theyre controlled by influential oligarchs such as the chettiars thru the Mawari Guilds. Modi will be stuck with two feet in solid concrete trying to get out of the mess with the farmers for the whole of 2021. I really don’t see him getting out of that mess to deal with the bigger mess that is India, such as Chinese troop encroachments into Western Himalayas, the sectarian powderkeg of Jammu and Kashmir or even the irreconcilable differences within his Hindu fascist Pracharak movement.

Q: You mentioned that Xi Jinping has signalled a willingness to play a more significant role in foreign policy, where do you see the first moves of this new Chinese global agenda?

A: That’s a good question Kompf and it’s one that we have been focusing on – I think many will focus on what is currently unfolding in Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt and it involves water politics, specifically river resources which will be the 2021 hot spot. This is one area that many will be looking at to determine how China goes about resolving diplomatically such a potentially explosive resource related impasse. And it’s impact is far reaching as ultimately it affects the Nile and as such affects 1.5 billion people. Traditionally as far as East Africa is concerned the French has weilded a lot of influence, but they like the US are waning stars and power has devolved to the Chinese, so this is something to watch very carefully Kompf.

Q: What, who and where do you see happening in Malaysia? Recently Mahathir mentioned many are critical of Emergency Rule, but they dare not speak out for fear of reprisals.

A: I see the continuation of Emergency rule for the whole year of 2021. Beyond that you have to ask me then. As for the great Malaysian political saga, I don’t think there will be much happening in 2021. As for Mahathir’s comment I don’t think it is reflective of the prevailing sentiment. Most Malaysians are fatigued, jaded and indifferent to the never ending political intrigues and this has been exacerbated by Covid. Had Mahathir done a good job as the PM in 2018, we wouldn’t even be in this mess. So all they really want to do is to pay their bills for 2021 and not end up getting their cars and fridges repossessed because they can’t make the payments. I think the only reset happening here is most Malaysians want to get back to the basics of eeking a living what they call euphemistically as ‘cari makan.’

If there’s anyone trending in radar it’s probably the former Youth and Sports minister Syed Saddiq. Because he has a very creative plan to mobilise the youths in Malaysia to be a coherent political force. To me this is a very bold idea, not only politically, but ideologically and organizationally and demographically as well and he’s definitely a man to watch in 2021. Simply because if we look at Thailand, young people can do many things and they should not be underestimated.

Q: What, Who and where do you see at home…Singapore?

A: It’s definitely got to be Pokemon. You know Kompf after the lockdown. Because I don’t take well to being cooped up like a battery chicken. I don’t mind running wild in the streets of Singapore playing Pokemon go.

Q: I do apologise George. But I have a feeling either you or the ASDF are holding out. I would really appreciate if you could give me a candid answer to my last question. As I believe many of our regular readers deserve to know.

inght tA: I am sorry Kompf. If I came across as playful and indifferent. Yes. You are right. What, Who and Where do I see happening in Singapore 2021 is not a person or even place as much as the tale of two cities Kompf. Currently in Singapore there exist two competing views concerning what the future would be – the first is what I term the classicist viewpoint, who subscribe to the belief this pandemic is really just a gigantic fly in the ointment and once everyone is vaccinated life as we know will simply resume again. The other view. I term the revisionist. Those who believe that this pandemic is likely to drag on and as such it even has the capacity to alter our DNA on how we have traditionally seen the world. The revisionist do not believe that life will return the way it used to be. They believe that many set pieces that used to feature in work, life and play will go thru a revolution as a consequence of how this pandemic ultimately rewires our brain.

Now listen carefully Kompf. Because I will only say this once. After that I will remain silent. The who, where and when event in Singapore 2021 is there are not enough revisionist within government. And this has to be a source of worry. Because they don’t seem to understand that things will not be the same again even after the virus is long gone and forgotten. The problem with Singapore is its really only streamlined to function optimally in a globalised world, but that construct of the world is disintegrating. To me events such as Brexit and Trump and Boris et al merely presages a far more disturbing trend that all have the effect of relegating Globalization to the doldrums and instead heralds a new age of insularity and irrationality. So these are just some of the sentiments that has been sharpened by Covid.

eoComing back to my point Kompf. There are not enough revisithonist and my fear is if that is the case, then Singapore will be in big trouble. Because I do not believe the way forward after Covid, if there is such a thing as the day after is to do the same thing. That I do not believe Kompf. I believe, we need to go the other way and do that other thing.

Switch over to our New Improved WhatsApp subscription feed where you will get thought provoking articles on the go in a convenient and easy to read format. Subscribe today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: