Daily Global Insights | Jun 21, 2021 | US News | India News | Global News | Markets

EP 186 | Daily Global Insights | Jun 21, 2021 | US News | India News | Global News | Markets

Sree Iyer: Namaskar, welcome to Daily Global Insights with Sri and Sree, Episode number 186. Today is June 21st, Monday, and here are the news items from the World over. We start with the United States; Biden hails 300 million vaccines shot in 150 days and says that more needs to be done. White House, though is unlikely to meet, its goal of 70% vaccinated with one dose at least by July 4th. Sridharji, Why the slow down now?

Sridhar Chityala: There is reluctance on the part of some of the Americans to be vaccinated, I think that’s cause there’s plenty of vaccines, plenty of distribution points. I have to say, it has been, the execution has been almost flawless, the rollout of the vaccine, they progressively rolled out. So it’s just a reluctance of the people to be vaccinated just as the reluctance of the people to wear the masks.

Sree Iyer: Mayhem ensues as Antifa converges on Western Conservative Summit in Denver, Colorado. So now Antifa is going after all these conventions where there could be conservative party meetings. So there is anarchy on one side. There is an attempt to destroy property. This is a new dimension; it seems to have acquired, sir.

Sridhar Chityala:  I think what we are witnessing are provocative, deliberate and intentional acts of putting pressure threats and coercive tactics. This is one of the reasons probably is if you all know a gentleman by the name Andy Ngo who writes extensively in Epoch times and other magazines, he has been a vocal critic of Antifa BLM, these moments, he has covered quite extensively. So a whole lot of people who are at this event so they express their displeasure, we have seen this even during the last September- October last year during the Trump campaigns. How they stopped and heckled the Republican voters from getting into stadiums etc., so, this is a tactic how long this will be sustained one never knows. This is probably one of the reasons why they want all the police force has to be defunded and deactivated. In some states, it’s not the case everywhere. But in some states, this lawlessness seems to be prevalent.

Sree Iyer: In the city of San Francisco. There is a Walgreens on the post and Fell Street. This is right in the downtown of San Francisco. This is a video that is doing the rounds on Twitter and other social media where you can see somebody stealing stuff from the store. He has a bike, he has biked into the store, he just picked it up and putting it in a black garbage bag. And then when the security tries to stop him, he elbows him and he just drives off and it turns out that up to $900 of theft, the police don’t want to even take a look at it. Please let that sink in. Is this what we are headed for in the future? I am really, really concerned, as a citizen of the United States. I don’t know about you, sir.

Let’s go on to the next one, which is equally bad, Portland Police Union blames officials who demonized cops for mass riots squad, resignation. So, looks like a riot squad in Toto has resigned now.

Sridhar Chityala:  Some key members, one person was indicted, it’s a number which is ranges from 50-100, which effectively when you have riots they send the squad in from a disbursement point of view and the police that’s what you call as the enforcement part of it. One of the people was indicted in Portland so that in turn result in the Mass resignation of people, which is to say, we are doing our job. And if we have done something wrong, you can punish just as what happens as part of the normal legal process. But, if we went to be indicted, while, we’re doing a job, then, I don’t think we should be doing, so, let people that do what they need to do. So, there is a growing resentment, even in some states, I have heard Marshals expressing discontent and dissent at the way that governments are enacting programs, which discourages people from enforcement of Law.

Sree Iyer: Biden is diverting funds from American to give hotel rooms to illegal aliens, alleged House Republicans. Again, viewers, we have been saying this for a while now, so a lot of taxpayer money is being diverted to House illegal Aliens who probably are, you know, now spread all across the country and it’s going to be almost impossible to assume that they don’t get the permission to stay in the country to deport afterwards. This whole thing is really regrettable, I don’t know sir what are your thoughts? Is this going to take a bigger form and shape? Will the Democrats in Congress also joined them at least those whose elections are on the line?

Sridhar Chityala:  Look at this stage as things, stand there seems to be very little descent from the Democrats. You have seen it in the most recently passed two bills is a good amount of money was stuck inside for sending overseas. There’s a good chunk of money that was set aside for repatriation settlement of illegal. Now they’re called legally aspiring citizens crossing borders. We have seen buses, we have seen centres, we have seen them being airported using airports being ferried to different cities. We are seeing crimes. We have seen them coming in with no vaccines. We have seen some instances of vaccine prioritization. There is also an agency that’s been appointed to basically look after and administer, the process of locating them in hotels and paying the hotel bills etc., So the question is, this whole infrastructure bill is stuck because of three specific issues. One is climate, second is the amount of money that is set aside for the surge that is happening. And the third is some amount of money that is going overseas. You know, I don’t want to repeat the same names. The infrastructure itself is 549 billion dollars. They were generous to stretch it to about 1 trillion, whereas the proposal on the table is two-point, one, two, five trillion. So you can imagine the amount of money, forget the 2.125 trillion. So, you can imagine the amount of money, forget the 1,2,3,4 stimulus, look at the amount of money that is being thrown out. So it’s very, very sad, but there seems to be no dissent coming out.

Sree Iyer: American Airlines is cancelling hundreds of flights through mid-July due to labour, shortages. We had mentioned this before, people don’t want to come out and work and Sridharji, this is now playing out in real life.

Sridhar Chityala:  It is. I think that the labour shortage is secured. Basically, people don’t want to come and work some especially those who are you know there’s a lot of logistics staff who work, probably they are all receiving very healthy and employment benefits which means without much work, you can receive money. If you happen to be in some of the states where there is unemployment, the benefit still is received from the federal grants and extended some of the states have said, they will not be receiving and offering it. Then, on the contrary, they’re going to offer incentives to re-join work.

Sree Iyer: And now, let’s take a look at Global News, the Biden Administration and its international partners must wake up and rethink negotiations with Iran, Israel’s New Prime Minister Naftali Bennet said on Monday. So no action is bringing to heat up a new government in place in Israel. But in terms of foreign policy little has changed, hasn’t it?

Sridhar Chityala:  Nothing has changed. I think that Naftali will slowly assert his right, is far more stringent in terms of Law and Order and the enforcement is concerned. So I think that he is telling the Biden administration, hey, you know, can you smell the food, if you can’t smell the food, you better wake up because the reason is and get the nostrils going because this is going to pose an existential threat to the state of Israel.

Sree Iyer: Viewers, should we call Naftali Israel’s Yogi? Give us your thoughts on the comments section and let us know because it all points to a more extreme, right? More right-wing person, now, assuming the Helms of the government in Israel will see.

Israel’s outgoing president Reuven Rivlin will be meeting President Biden at the White House on the 28th of June and will highlight the enduring partnership between Israel and the US. Sir, Israel is a full-fledged democracy just like the United States and India and there’s going to be a change in the President also and that’s what is playing out now, but the president is like a figurehead, isn’t he?

Sridhar Chityala:  He is a figurehead, it’s just more, Naftali is probably tied up with Coalition and his very small team focused on the domestic policies. He is also likely to meet the president of the United States but the prime minister is you know, he’s busy with attending, the domestic matters. Also, he’s on a razor-thin majority seat of one. So all his focus is around preserving the government and maybe his prime ministership for few more days, that seems to be his priority and he will meet the president in due course. So I think that’s rightly said that this is ceremonial but also probably is bringing a message from Naftali and the people of Israel.

Sree Iyer: Israeli Defence Forces destroy Syrian Outpost used by Hezbollah, 150 Metres from the border. The first strike under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. So there is action going on again, on some of these Hezbollah units. For our view is sake, so, there was a problem in Gaza which is completely under Israeli occupation, it’s part of Israel, let’s put it that way, so, is West Bank. Now, this is a slightly different area, Isn’t it in Syria?

Sridhar Chityala:  Yeah, it’s a Syrian border which is where the other surges happen, and sometimes more often than not the other Rockets fire, that’s the Hezbollah from the Lebanese side and the Syrian side and both Lebanon and Syria have taken punitive hits from Israel, it is that border post which is right adjacent to not too far outside of the perimeter of Israel, which took the hit and I think you know, Neftali is delivering the message, which is to say, we are coming after you around whichever the points of vulnerability. As far as Israel is concerned, will make sure that those vulnerabilities are addressed.

Sree Iyer: Taiwan withdraws seven officials from Hong Kong citing unfavourable circumstances. So now, we know that Hong Kong is becoming or being forcibly merged into mainland China. And now we are beginning to see the reverberations of such a move. Isn’t it?

Sridhar Chityala:  I think that there are not many details but the Taiwan Incited, these seven personal who do the liaison and other types of work in Hong Kong, by way of coordination, their life was made very difficult because right now Hong Kong is fully under the control of the CCP. The Hong Kong Council, the re-elected council, there are no Democratic members. So, virtual Chinese usurp. No wonder that they are receiving problems and Taiwan says goodbye, I have enough countries to work with and let me see how I will deal with China and Hong Kong in due course, but I don’t want any of my people suffering.

Sree Iyer: An interesting development that the top Chinese nuclear power expert has committed suicide. So what do you think happened?

Sridhar Chityala:  Doctor Zhang Jian is a 58-year-old nuclear Scientist, he is a professor. He has deputy principal or vice-principal status at the Harbin Engineering University or HEU as it is called. The HEU is associate with a number of nuclear research and nuclear programs, Doctor Zhang is also a CCP member. There are lots of things that have been coming out which says that there is close coordination with the PLA and possibly the weaponization program. All you can say is the details are not known and murder is ruled out and there is no suspicion. He just went up to the top of a building and decided to maybe, you know, parachute his way or, non-parachute his way and he fell down and he died. This is the official report. But when you add lots of things, under the overarching circumstances, as well as the connectivity one, can assume that you know that there is some pressure collusion, whatever it is that It is coming out and the investigating officers are not given a reason for suicide, but when you look at all the work that is going on, in HEU plus its connectivity to the PLA, you can draw your own inference based on what you have also seen with the Wuhan Institute of virology or you know what we call the Wuhan Lab is one more episode.

Sree Iyer: The Chinese regime says that the Wuhan lab scientist should be given Nobel Prize. The noble committee who knows, they may have members in the committee too, nobody knows.

Sridhar Chityala:  Well, I will not be surprised because say you know China as I said you know is now upping the ante in terms of all the stuff that is coming out against them around this Covid or Wuhan lab. So now you know what better way CCP to stand up and make a public statement we should be, you know, thanking the Wuhan Lab scientists and maybe they deserve a Nobel Prize because all these vaccines are coming out because you know, of the work that we have done. So that could be, you know, they are posturing or position, you know, notwithstanding the fact it has caused damage of immense proportions.

Sree Iyer: Biden-Putin summit puts pressure on China, experts opine. I’m hearing two stories from this Summit meeting, Sridharji. One side says that China is feeling the pressure and it was mouthing off here and there the usual stuff. On the other side, I’m also hearing that after the meeting Biden government has imposed even more sanctions on Russia. Which part is true or is that there is truth on both sides.

Sridhar Chityala: First, and foremost sanctions continue. That’s the truth. Sanctions against Russia continue but sanctions have not yielded results against Russia. That’s equally true. Now, Jake Sullivan came out and said, ‘Biden didn’t give an inch. He may not have communicated but we were at the meeting, he did not concede an inch. That’s the government position which probably is true. Whereas Putin stole the show. This is what happens in a democracy. He was given a free platform. He was given an NPC interview, so he went and blasted before you could meet. ‘Why this Summit? It is unnecessary. It’s unimportant. It is not timely. It’s not relevant. What is my view? Biden is just being fake. His macho image is incorrect, so he’s trying to make more than what he is himself and we know how to deal with him.’ So when you have this type of projection coming out and when a platform is offered to him, so naturally the PR machine works very heavily. But as far as the reality is concerned, Russia will continue to do what it does and the United States will continue to respond the way it has. The only blunder, if I have to put on Biden is he should not have gone public with, ‘I gave them 12 items of infrastructure that are off-limits.’ Instead, he could have stated, hey, we discussed and there’re a number of areas which we believe are off-target and we believe we will take disproportionate action. Something along those lines. So, much of the criticism is coming as a result of that stuff.

Sree Iyer: President Biden is going to be meeting the Afghan President Mr Ashraf Ghani and Mr Abdullah Abdullah. If you remember, in one of the election that included a few years ago, both these gentlemen were deadlock in heat and I think the US and the rest of the West have to step in and say that one becomes the president. The other one shall be, I don’t know, Deputy president or something like that. So, what is going on in your opinion in Afghanistan, sir, because we are also hearing that one of the top Special Forces Commander was brutally killed along with the entire unit by the Taliban.

Sridhar Chityala: I think the meeting is obviously to discuss some of these matters. Mr Abdullah Abdullah is supposed to be human rights coordinator on behalf of the Afghan government or counsellor and Biden is trying to give the audience and time to Mr Ghani to say, ‘Look, we are withdrawing, give us an assessment. We will try and do what we need to do to address your situation.’ That seems to be the agenda, but all the things that you alluded to are true. This is going to be an open slather. There is a number of people with vested interests who are interested. Effectively the United States was paying a very heavy price as the policeman standing between the bad boys and people who are trying to be good and make a normal living. But not much progress has been made. Nowhere in Afghanistan, there is security without the deterrence of the US Armed Forces present. But for how long can a person guard a country? So, therefore, what exactly is going to be the outcome, one never knows, but it’s also equally important that President Biden has to extend the courtesy to meet the country which has been under the US care for many many years now.

Sree Iyer: Europe opens its borders to International visitors signalling the end of Wave 2 and progress in vaccinating a good cross-section of people. Does this mean that travel will start happening between all other countries to Europe soon, sir?

Sridhar Chityala: At least, the cross Atlantic Corridor is getting opened. The US to Europe and Europe to the US is going to be opened. That is a very big corridor as you know. Europe to Asia is another big corridor, but I don’t think that is opening as yet. Perhaps, Japan.

Sree Iyer: Chinese State security vice Minister, Dong Jingwei would be the highest level Defector in the history of the People’s Republic. This is still breaking information. We will keep you posted on this. Sridharji, if you want to add something, please feel free to do so.

Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think the Defection itself is it’s quite amazing. They came to Hong Kong and from Hong Kong, they seem to have made their way into the United States. It will be interesting to observe what is the new piece of information that is going to glean from this defection? That’s a senior figure. I gather there are other senior figures who are also interested in the defection. We have been saying that there is an underlying issue around the Xi Jinping presidency and how that comes out on the political front is one, but the more critical, what is the new piece of information on Wuhan that we’re going to learn about which don’t know already and that has not been either declassified or that is still in the process of tying the various knots or various dots as the case may be. We’ll soon know.

Sree Iyer: Let’s take a look at Indian news now. India is abstaining from voting on the UN General Assembly resolution against Myanmar Military Junta, citing a lack of consultations with neighbouring Nations and other Regional Nations. So India is a big country here. It should be telling the other neighbouring Nations that this is what we are going to do. But instead, India chose to abstain, I’m trying to understand the mindset here. I fail. What’re your thoughts?

Sridhar Chityala: My thought is, India is a country that respects protocols. It is not the question of whether India is big or small. Myanmar is part of ASEAN. So, when you join ASEAN, you are bound by certain rules and regulations. First and foremost, responsibility for resolving Myanmar sits with ASEAN. Now, to that extent, we have covered several DGI programs that both Thailand and Indonesia has been taking the lead in the process whereby they should resolve this without making this into a Global Affair. Those are the attempts that are going on, to that extent, the leader of the Military Junta met the premiers of both Thailand and Indonesia. So what India is saying is that there is a process in progress. There’s a bunch of people who have brought this together so we’re not just going to vote one way or the other way, let that issue move on. so, it’s like saying what will India do in the whole world’s opinion on China on human rights violation? What are we doing? Nobody is doing anything about it. So India is saying is this a general assembly resolution that is coming out but which has not factored in the effort that is going on and the consultations that are going on within the ASEAN. ASEAN has very clearly stated that this is an ASEAN problem and it must be resolved.

Sree Iyer: The QUAD would be dead without India experts opinion. The Indian Navy and EU Naval forces conduct joint Naval drills off the Gulf of Aden. Sir, this QUAD thing Biden’s entry into the world scene sort of tamped down. But now, we are beginning to see renewed interest in the formation of QUAD and functioning as a unit. Your thoughts, sir.  Is now, US also beginning to lean towards India again?

Sridhar Chityala: I have no idea what the United States is trying to do because States foreign policy has been as ambiguous and as ambivalent as one can think of on a day-to-day basis. Instead of QUAD, they have spending tons and tons of time negotiating the Iran deal in Vienna. They had their first meeting on QUAD, then after that, it soon dissipated. Then the Vice President has had a meeting with the Prime Minister of India again on the vaccine-related issues. So, what’s left? You have the United States, which is become slightly passive, except for the issues on Taiwan. You have US generals coming and speaking about Taiwan day in and day out. So all the only two countries, which are raising their flag are Australia and India. Scott Morrison and Prime Minister Modi. Suga has got his own problems and he is talking about Senkaku and Taiwan, not the South China Sea. Then you have France which has stepped in and conducted exercises and says this Indo-Pacific is an important component. We will work very closely with QUAD. Then you have the UK, which has sent HMS Queen Elizabeth and says it will work with the QUAD member. So, you have France, you have the UK, you have India, then you have Australia, rising up. Have you seen anything from the United States? No. The United States is focused on Taiwan, not on the South China Sea. They withdrew the ship, they sent the ship back which is the Reagan Regan. So you can see that it is fairly lukewarm, very different to the Trump approach in terms of the regular meetings of the QUAD and the Two Plus Two. So, India is also saying I’m a leader, but I will watch and see what happens. I’ll protect my territories. So, this Indian Ocean and the Indo-Pacific exercises are going on it is not stepping itself into the South China Sea, but protecting the area around it.

Sree Iyer: Indian foreign exchange reserves reach a record high of $608 billion. We’ve been saying that it is steadily going up. So it’s a good sign. Serum Institute is yet to receive the raw material from the United States to manufacture the Novavax covid-19 vaccine in India. You remember viewers about a month ago, we had mentioned this. The US had taken a very interesting stand and then they change their mind and said that they were going to allow it, and looks like it has not yet left the shores of the United States. Any update on this, sir?

Sridhar Chityala: No. I think we covered this last week in DGI. They did not get the EUA emergency use approval. So then they withdrew their application. They said they will have expedited trials conducted in India. The Serum Institute was happy to work with Novavax to manufacture. So lo and behold, they go there and what happens next. The raw materials are installed. Remember, Novavax is a low cost, low maintenance and portable vaccine that can be used in a number of countries across a number of locations rather than storage, transportation and all the kind of periphery that is required to transport vaccines. This again, we covered in DGI. I hope that this will be resolved and Novavax’s manufacturing that and then can become part of the mainstream.

Sree Iyer: Now, let’s take a look at Markets. The Dow Falls more than 500 points to prove its worst week since October following almost 7% for the year to finish at 8.77% down. Sir, I think I have the number wrong, maybe you can correct me.

Sridhar Chityala: Dow is at 30,00 plus. We reported its year-to-date performance was around 15%. It has fallen 7%. Now a year to date is at 8.77% as of Friday. S&P is holding its position. It was less than 15%, its year to date is around 11.34, annualized at around 24.6% because we have not really fully finished a year. So I think the S&P is holding the position. Dow is the one which is reliant very heavily on ‘Return to the economy’ types of stocks. S&P has a lot of technology stocks in it. So what Dow is witnessing is the reverberations as a result of the latest interest rate announcement from the Fed. I’m sure that as time goes on, this will also normalize. For the rest of the year, the forecast for Dow is between 9% and 11% depending on the pundits you speak to. So it is very much within the band purely because of excess cash that is sitting within the system and the economy returning back to normal.

Sree Iyer: That would bring today’s segment to a close. We’ll be back tomorrow bright and early. Please do subscribe to our Channel, click the bell button, and also consider joining. We will be back online at 9 p.m. IST or 11:30 a.m. EST on the Ask Abhijit section where your questions will be answered by Abhijit Iyer Mitra. Thanks for joining and do tune in again for the AIM show. Namaskar Sridharji, we will be back tomorrow again, won’t we?

Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar. Thank you. Yes, we forward to an exciting week. More news is coming in terms of Market reactions, and we hope that they will be a resolution on the infrastructure bill etc. So a lot to look forward to.

Sree Iyer: Yes sir. Thank you very much.

Sridhar Chityala: Thank you. Have a good day.




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