Sunday, December 03, 2006

Opinionated, Not So Anonymous

Fareed Zakaria wrote a piece two weeks ago which basically said that while the US has been busy with the Middle East, they have forgotten that Asia is THE place for economic business. And while they settle fights between the Sunnis and Shias in the backstreets of Baghdad there is opportunity lost. Basically his point was that things are happening all over the world but the US is way too pre-occupied with the Middle East. And just like the British lost their hold over the world because they got too caught up in colonial squabbles and didn’t see the larger picture, the US is at the same risk. Thomas Friedman makes the same point, but his argument is different. He says that America’s dependence on oil is the reason it is so inextricably linked to the Middle East, and unless it changes its energy needs- and develop alternate energy- it will go down with the region. Both valid points, and here’s what is of notice. Rhetoric concerning US involvement in Iraq has been gradually changing. Even the critics of the war could not go all out and cite all the reasons the US should not be there in the first place-- because they would be attacked by the Republicans as not supporting the troops. But slowly things are changing- the army itself is letting out information that Iraq is a total mess and the civil war is not going anywhere. And suddenly, views about why the US needs to get out of Iraq are getting smart. They are no longer about Bush and his incompetence- they are about what America is missing out on because it is there, be it economic opportunities with other countries or the need to focus on alternate energy fuels.

The thing about working for the editorial department of a newspaper is you start getting attuned to editorial positions. I don’t mean this in this insidious way, but most organizations (as we are well aware of) do have opinions about certain issues. That is reflected in the editorial of the paper- for example, Delhi sealing: IE thought it was a good idea. Oil prices going down (courtesy Murli Deora and Sonia Gandhi) IE thinks the market should set the price, not politicians. Because now if the price needs to go up, it will become a political problem. Yadayadayada.

All these positions make me question mine- I’m getting very impressed with Yechury and some of the ideas from the Left. But I’m not a Lefty yet (Boss- don’t worry, you know I’m a capitalist with socialist ideals). But I think taking a stand on issues is fantastic- and I’m able to make my own analysis now because I am actually in the political hub of the country [which makes this shift to India very successful so far].

But I think its good to remember what Keynes said--- I change my opinion when the facts change. What do you do sir?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting... well, ive worked for a newspaper and its true that it gives you a serious smack upside the head and exposure to the world, but you gotta make sure that it doesnt colour your own world view, learn and form your own opinions.

as far as the iraq war goes: I think that saying that "they are no longer about Bush and his incompetence- they are about what America is missing out on because it is there, be it economic opportunities with other countries or the need to focus on alternate energy fuels." is a little cold. Dont get me wrong, logically its a good thing sure, but we cant forget and let go the facts that the Americans have screwed west asia up so badly that itll take ages to heal up and that Bush is an idiot of the first order.
Leaving for economic instead of humanitarian reasons is slefish and heartless and those Americans that didnt object because they were afraid of the republicans shows (pardon the lang) a serious lack of balls! and it shows what shallow beings the americans(which a very large majority specially in the midwest) really are.

Sorry to go off on a rant, but sometimes it just comes out on certain topics.

Cheers and keep writing.

mahima said...

yeah. this blog actually shows up on my facebook too and ppl have been nitpicking abt this arguement. ure prob the most rational of them all- (and after all its zakarias article) but i agree.

when i read it- esp the line that ive quoted 'while we're settling fights b/w the sunnis and shiias' i was thinking the same thing... u bastards.. now the middle east (at least to the intellectuals such as Z) is getting tedious... and they no longer bash bush... theyre trying out new arguments for not caring abt what happens in iraq... hes got a new one out too- praising kissinger and how we never realised how tough it was to actually leave vietnam... its like whatttever.

but at the same time, its great (for me) that i can see the intellectual honesty (or dishonesty, as is this case) and see how these arguements develop over time. i like picking up on this stuff. thanks for reading ;)

Anonymous said...

havent been to ur facebook, but since it was on ur hi5 (back when i used it) and you told me to drop by, i figured "what the hey.."

you have my thanks for thinkin im so rational, most people just look at me like im not real, dont mind, thats their problem.

Honestly, i really dislike bush and have issues with most americans (as you may have guessed) but i dont generalise and there is a lot of good there too. The prob is that the majority is so afraid all the time and its not their fault either. in its own way theyre like the people in Huxleys "brave new world"(love it btw!) and in "V for vendetta" where they live in this bubble and dont see the world outside it and are made to be so afraid that they cant think straight.

as far as Mr. Z goes, well in all honesty the guys a really good writer, but hes a retrospective writer and that kills my opinion of him... read a couple of the newsweek pieces that were written when he was on leave and you can FEEL the difference.

Youre mostly right though in a lot of ways, and its fun readin your blog when i get the chance.. a pleasant change from the mindless blather that you find on some... keep writin, and ill drop you a line when i get back into town ;)

cheers..

Anonymous said...

thanks Dude, fine fine, "the mindless blather", okay i get it!, i know where the insult's headed...oh man, thought you were my friend!...oh, ok, hehe!... :) Mahima, even I actually come here to get a fix on things...but i wander off often without a trace of a comment! But will ya do me a favour? There's a blog linked to mine, The Bigger Picture. Do read the stuff, its one of our HT's old cool man's archives on defence. Its pretty neat and maybe right up your street. Cheers there...

mahima said...

will take a look. how about linking mine too?!! never hurts to have more people drop by!

Anonymous said...

Jerry my man, insulting thou was never the intent. Without your blog, I wouldnt have half as much fun blogging!

And Mahima, apologies for takin up space here once again, next time will make sure its productive and pertinent =)

Cheers...

Anonymous said...

of course! be delighted to, Mahima. I know I dont make sense on my blog, or at least i try not to (you see the whole time everyone's seems to be trying tooo hard, so well here's my corner where you dont push things much around). but do drop in a comment once in a while, it'll be really nice.
aha! so Dude now you're mocking my blog, by the 'fun' bit of it man. is that so?

Anonymous said...

i cant win...

Aye Davanita said...

I like.

Over-exposure is not always good thing -in my experience that is. Unfortunately you do run the risk of de-sensitizing yourself. As a fairly emotional being, I find even the darn'd-est things to be fairly inspirational, sometimes motivating me to achieve what I otherwise may not. And to lose that would be a shame.

I'm not sure about your statement "I'm a capitalist with socialist ideals" - you know that doesn't work, or perhaps it is the eternal, internal conflict you enjoy(?) Its good to challenge yourself - a little like playing chess with yourself. A little schistzo- if you ask me - haha!

As far as the topic of discussion above, Fareed Zakaria is a reporter as far as I'm concerned. He would be a good history teacher but I wouldn't take any lessons on "strategy" from him. He's great at identifying past events and their impact on current events but its his inability to look forward and comment on it that really annoys me. It always seems that he's offering a criticism of the past and the present without a recommendation/solution for the future. The mere ability to organize and articulate 20/20 is not worthy of the glory he seems to get. But that ability is required - I agree.

Nonetheless and needless to say - glad you're enjoying your work in Delhi and looking forward to your potential contribution on and off the field ;-)

Anonymous said...

see? davanita shares my opinion that though Fareed is REALLY good, he's basically a retro-head...
what a waste...

Anonymous said...

thank you