Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: World

Downgrade of US Treasury Bonds

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) downgraded the rating of US Treasury Bonds from AAA to AA+ on 5/8/2011 (In India and some other countries 6/8/2011) and that shocked many. It is the first downgrade since 1917. The downgrade followed wrangling in US Congress over raising debt limit, which used to be a routine matter, from 14.3 trillion dollars. Since 1960 USA had raised debt limit 78 times without any problem but this time it was different. S&P stood out from Moody’s and Fitch which continued with AAA rating. Treasury Department criticized S&P. S&P justified its decision and said that if matters did not improve further downgrade to AA was possible.

China criticized USA and called for a new global reserve currency. China has US Treasury Bonds of more than one trillion dollars and foreign exchange reserves of more than three trillion dollars. China had not allowed yuan to appreciate to keep its exports to USA cheap. It has itself to blame. India and many other countries have done like China. For them the unthinkable has happened.

The downgrade should have happened in 2008 when the crash occurred and USA went on giving bailouts of billions of dollars. AIG alone had bailout of 163 billion dollars.

Many people blame Tea Party members in Republican Party for the prolonged negotiations. Tea stands for Taxes Enough Already and those members stood by their commitment to oppose new taxes. Deficit reduction is a problem but there was a solution in 2010 when Bush-era tax exemptions were to expire. Barack Obama wanted tax exemptions to continue for people with annual income upto 250000 dollars and the rich to pay taxes. Republicans did not agree. They wanted the rich to be exempt. So Barack Obama extended the exemptions to all for two years.

Some months back China and Russia had entered into an agreement to use each other’s currencies in mutual trade. Eurozone is in trouble and so euro is not desirable as global reserve currency. Following the example of China and Russia is an option for many countries.

NATO and regime change

In December 2010 demonstrations began in various Arab countries. Someone at that time questioned why they were taking place. He felt some people were behind those demonstrations. In Tunisia the president resigned. In 2011 Tahrir Square in Cairo made news. USA wanted Hosni Mubarak to quit. He quit. USA talked of democracy. Many said revolutions were sweeping Arab countries. Protests continued in many countries but the leaders held on. Bahrain demolished Pearl Square or roundabout. Saudi Arabia sent its army to Bahrain. In Yemen the leader held on.

Demonstrations began in Libya. It seemed Muammar Gaddafi will flee or that was the impression given by some people. That did not happen and there was civil war. Gaddafi held on and took back territories held by rebels. Arab League wanted a no-fly zone. UN authorized a no-fly zone. The resolution was worded in such a way that any country could interpret it in anyway. Russia, China, Brazil, India and one more member of Security Council abstained on the vote on resolution.

NATO took the task to enforce no-fly zone. France recognized the rebel government. Libya was bombed. Arab countries were aghast. They had not asked for bombing of Libya.

France, UK and USA want regime change in Libya. They say Gaddafi has killed his own people. NATO did nothing when dictators killed their own people in Sudan or Burma. In USA there is opposition to involvement in Libya. USA is involved in Afghanistan and Iraq, it has budget deficit and other problems and people don’t want involvement in a country where the future is not clear. Someone said the rebels are shouting jihadi slogans and not God Save America. There is talk of Muslim Brotherhood gaining strength in Egypt. Jihadis taking over Arab countries, some of them USA allies, is a possibility which many Americans detest.

NATO countries have not talked of regime change in Bahrain, Syria or Yemen. Rulers of Bahrain and Yemen do not seem to be in a mood to oblige USA. Arab countries know what happened in Iran when the Shah was deposed. Many in USA know that and do not want hostile governments to take over Arab countries.

Now it is known that people who led demonstrations had training in USA. Groups like Freedom House, National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute had trained those leaders. Arab governments will not be happy about such things.

US court and India

A US court in New York has issued summons to Kamal Nath to appear before it to answer charges of involvement in killing Sikhs in 1984 in a suit filed by Sikhs for Justice. The group has charged Congress with attacks on Sikhs. Why Kamal Nath is summoned and why not Sajjan Kumar or Jagdish Tytler is not known. H. K. L. Bhagat, known for his role in killing Sikhs, is dead.

US courts do not have jurisdiction over India. If they claim to have jurisdiction over India on some principle it is time for India to reciprocate. Suits must be filed against Americans in Indian courts. George H. W. Bush, William Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and others must be summoned for killings of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places.

Many riots have taken place in India and most of the times victims have not got justice. Many victims of Sikh terrorism did not get justice. That does not mean other countries can try Indians for crimes committed in India.

Who are members of Sikhs for Justice? Why did they file a case in New York? Why did the court admit the case?

In Guantanamo Bay prisoners are held for years without trial.

Courts should not overstep their jurisdiction. Otherwise there will be anarchy.

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