Sree Iyer: Namaskar, welcome to episode number 82 of Daily Global Insights, I am your host Sree Iyer. Today is 25th of January 2021, joining me is our guest host Sridhar Chityalaji. Sridharji and I have been doing this thing now for 82 weekdays, give or take a day or two when we did some specials. It’s been a privilege and honour to bring you the latest breaking news. We are always a day ahead sometimes. Sometimes even two days ahead of what happens in the world? So, thanks for joining and hopefully you can subscribe get more people on board on this program. Sridharji, namaskar and welcome to PGurus Channel.
Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar and good morning to all another bright week and lots of things that are likely to happen this week in DC around the world. And also the day was virtual Summit is underway.
Sree Iyer: Yes indeed it is and before we jump into that, we just want to give us quick clarification about an interview that President Biden gave to New York Times and there was one word that the narrative in that got changed on the online version of New York Times. Sridharji, can you please expand on that and Janet Yellen’s stance on where she wants to take the country.
Sridhar Chityala: It’s very simple, I think people have asked a question is, is it would or wouldn’t have reversed the 360 billion or close to 400 billion dollars of the tariffs, the import restrictions. Something it got flipped and so, today as it stands when you go and look at the link, it says he would not have reversed until so, therefore, he is not prepared to reverse the deal and sticking to the Trump position. Below that, if you see you say, Maria Castro, you know, the Democrat has stated as to why he needs to, why there is a justification to remove that because she’s talking about getting back 250,000 jobs as a result of eliminating the specific clause. So, I have had one or two people tweet about this which is to State, you know, we can’t find it, you can find it because sometimes you have these narratives little bit changed which is very kind of often, we find it as we observed even in the case of President Trump a forming the Patriot party which to some extent was being unofficially stated in the Lou Dobbs kind of show then, there’s some press made its coverage then Trump issued a statement through an advisor, which is to say, he is not floating another party, but his focus is around 2022 midterm elections. So there is this kind of changes either whether it is narrative and media-driven or whether these people misunderstand the statements, misinterpret the statements, it’s hard. So, we’ll try to keep a very close eye on this. I also saw now, I don’t see it around Huawei and ZTE Technologies. I don’t see it now, but I saw it. I also saw that in the whitehouse.gov. So, you find some of these things come and go, so that’s the clarification on that.
With regard to Janet Yellen, both the links are available in her earlier kind of comments. She has indicated that we have enough financial tools available to deal with the China issues around intellectual property, legal enforcement, tariffs and subsidies and a whole host of issues including human rights and border violations, etc. Etc. So, then subsequent in the second, she made a comment which is to say that we have the tools, you know, we can’t take any unilateral decisions on China. We must work with our allies to find a resolution to the issue. So, there seems to be a lot of such changes as far as China is concerned. So here the people are working the politics behind the scene where you see this narrative getting changed. Now, similarly, you’ll find just to kind of close out this discussion, you find that on one side, as of today, they have taken a strong stance against China imposing sanctions on Mike Pompeo and other Trump officials. They’ve taken a strong stance on Uyghur, they’ve taken a strong stance on Taiwan, you know, Taiwan borders being breached. Whether that stand persists, we don’t know but, expect these kinds of changes in the narrative as well as the verbiage as the time goes on.
Sree Iyer: Thank you, sir. Yesterday, there was a verbal spat between George Stephanopoulos and Senator Rand Paul about the elections and George Stephanopoulos kept trying to pin Senator Rand Paul down to say is the election done or not. Do you think there was the election were the elections rigged or not? He was trying to get a yes or no question and Rand Paul really let the fur fly. We are going to give you a link to that conversation. It is on YouTube, so, you can take a look at it after you watch this video. But, what are your thoughts of because Rand Paul really hit home when he said in my days of Journalism the media, the anchor or the host would take both points of view and then let the people decide whereas, he said look you already taken the leftists point of view? What is the point in even having this conversation? So, there was a lot of war of words going on between the two of them, isn’t it?
Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think it is and Rand Paul, I’m delighted and extremely grateful that he has taken a very strong stance. In fact, he called him you are a fool to interject yourself into this specific discussion, as a journalist, it is not your job to get in. We are talking about six or seven or eight battleground States looking at the secretaries of those States and what policy changes that they made with regard to the conduct of the elections, which is not the remit of the secretaries, but, which is the remit of the state legislature and you will observe from both from Wisconsin and other states that there was interference between the secretaries and the chief Justices of the state Supreme Court’s. Now, that has been the point now what everybody is like, differentiating wood from the Forest. So, we’re not talking about reversing the election. There is a protocol the United States has demonstrated and he himself has acknowledged, why I certify the election because it is not the responsibility of the Congress to overturn an election. This was his statement in the same interview. What I’m quizzing about is, is this a precedence that has been created if it is then, it is a constitutional violation that must be addressed. So, the Democrats and the left-wing people get all rambled upright, while it suits them, it suits them, when it doesn’t suit them, it doesn’t suit them. And New York Times and Washington Post kind of tops this specific list. Let me give you another example to make the point when they look at Yogi, which everybody knows in India today, you know, I have actually put it up on Facebook. When I look at a yogi they call him as the RSS Hindutva fundamental leader on the other side when you have Joe Biden taking oath following his Catholic Christian faith, it is talking about embracing and values and so on. So, it is a very distinct case of left-wing mafia and his prejudices and biases in reporting, even worse when Al-Baghdadis was taken out. They have the New York Times put up and then they reversed after public hue and cry. So, this seems to be a very specific agenda of these left-wing people which is to continue to say, you know, we live in delusional fantasy and our fantasy must persist and you have no part. So, unless people from the centre and the right and stand up and say speak the facts, speak about what we are speaking rather than what you think, we need to speak only then I think we are going to get to the truth. Today, I also tweeted that India has to have a seat at the table on the same topic. They are dismissive about India while they are embracive and eurologic about region about Xi Jinping right? Notwithstanding the fact, everybody knows what the challenges China is creating to all around the world. So, I said India must have a seat at the table as one of the tops, why I’m saying all these examples is this biases that you see and for the first time in an interview that Rand Paul has taken George Stephanopoulos on and you guys must listen to the interview.
Sree Iyer: Thank you, sir. And let’s take a look at what the Department of Homeland Security Chad wolf has said about the border crisis that is developing because of all these Caravans. So I must mention here that if you go and look up George Soros’s personal wealth, he was about 34 billion give or take a billion and he has given away 25 billion of that money for an open society cause, I don’t know what that open society means but it kind of gives you an idea of the kind of money that the government of the United States. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a democratic government or the Republican government is arrayed against and I think that these electoral funding needs to be also looked at when they lifted all the limits on how much money can go into the funding of Elections that was a boneheaded thing. But then, who am I, I am just a simple citizen of the United States, I can ramble on. So, the next point the 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief, it has been facing stiff resistance from the Senate as well as from the Congress from the Republicans and they are trying to ask, what exactly are you spending? Where you spending and now Biden’s advisor Brian Deese is expected to meet with a bipartisan panel of senators from both Democratic and Republican sides. Now, you have been hard at work trying to decipher these numbers for us. And can you please throw a little bit of light on this?
Sridhar Chityala: Well, it is it’s a moving feast, the latest I can get to is 400 billion dollars in covid management, 440 billion dollars plus in local and local communities and state government Administration and of course small business support. This is the number that I see 440 billion and then it says just over a trillion dollars for direct payments. What do direct payments entail? Direct payment entails these 1400 dollars, it entails 400 dollars unemployment allowance, it entails this 3000-3,600 dollars, the child support credits that they offer plus the moratorium on the mortgages those kinds of stuff, so, that is the closest I can get to, which is namely just over a trillion put 400 million dollars for covid and put 450 billion dollars towards the local and state. In that 400 billion dollars in the first category, my assumption is that also the 170 billion dollars of you know, the school’s reopening being including colleges and also for the governors they’ve given a generous by 5 billion dollars discretionary spend to support. So, this number seems to be like a moving feast one of the great challenges of these stimulus packages. We saw this even during that, you know, the major Obama jobs act which is close to a trillion dollars. One of the great problems that we have here is the challenge around the reconciling of the numbers. There’s a lot of fudging that goes on and by the way, one is stimulus getting approved. The second is accounting for the stimulus spent against specific programs and what’s the outcomes that flow from it? So, the only thing that we are certain in the United States is the expenses and the receipts of the US government budget and what it produces to the deficit. These are the only three numbers that seem very kind of steady and reconcilable, whereas the stimulus remains a feast now, I’ve given you the answer on the rough estimates will still get to these numbers and nail it to that to that to the extent it is possible but, there is a unilateral kind of concern about the size of the stimulus, not to the left media. The left media says to give them money, give the money, give the money because they don’t care. So, the story just gives money. I think some way a number of less than trillion dollars is where this is going to end up if it ends up in two trillion. It’ll be a miracle.
Sree Iyer: Thank you. And let’s take a look at Global News. The first news item is the so-called there was a confrontation two or three days ago at Nakula between Indian and Chinese troops and it is believed and this news Paper reports a little bit sketchy and even the Indian army has come out and said don’t believe the news report. But, what we can thus far makeup is that the PLA has been transgressing into Indian Territory. In fact, we talked about this a few weeks ago in one of our Hangouts and that they were actually using India’s newly built roads to get about there and then, once the Indian army was notified by the local villagers, the army showed up and there was a hand-to-hand fight no guns, no nothing else and 20 PLA soldiers have been injured. We don’t know how many have been injured on the Indian side. So, that’s all I have sir. If you have anything additional, please feel free to share with us.
Sridhar Chityala: No, the only thing that I would add to your story is whenever the Chinese foreign Ministry backtracks and then, says it’s a fake use is the word that Chinese foreign ministry spokesman has stated in the global times or whichever is the Chinese English publication, I think it’s Global times. They have stated that it’s fake news and it’s big. So, whenever the Chinese talk about fake news and don’t kind of mess up that means there is something that has happened. That’s all I can kind of conclude whether they are 20 people who died or whether there are 40 people who are injured in skirmishes are all a matter of conjecture. But obviously, there has been an incident.
Sree Iyer: And China fires the first salvo at the Biden Administration which has made the Coast Guard as a quasi-military operation or a military Wing. When did this happen? Was it something as part of the executive orders that Biden signed or was it from Trump days that this order was passed?
Sridhar Chityala: It is less than 10 days old. This order was passed because of the build-up and as you are aware, the third time the US carrier passed through Taiwan Straits and there’s been little bits and pieces of skirmishes. As you also know that there have been little skirmishes in the just of the Indonesian Islands, especially on the fishing side. So what China has indicated is they have now given the marching orders to their Coast Guard effectively to fire at any vessel that they see in Chinese Waters or potential Chinese Waters and which those Coast Guards believes is an imminent threat and violation of the law. Now that simply implies that previously there is a protocol that ‘hey, why are you in my Waters and you get away’ as the responsibility of the Coast Guard, people respond to each other only when you do respond and try to be aggressive, then you have these types of things. In my view, on one side China is saying, let’s work together, on the other side they have this offensive posture. I don’t know whether we are going to touch Taiwan. They have something similar which is going on in Taiwan. Just on Sunday, we had 13 planes flying into Taiwan and very similarly some incursions in Senkaku. So India is not an isolated incident. You are seeing a coordinated plan by the Chinese to flex their muscle to see who is going to blink. The only nation that has basically responded and stood eye-to-eye is India with Chinese.
Sree Iyer: There is also some other news coming from of India where now looks like China has prevailed upon Bhutan and whatever India had done to try and help Bhutan, stop China from entering, this happened about three years ago, I think. Now the Chinese have gotten past that and there is a v-shaped point where you Sikkim, Bhutan, and China meeting and they’re trying to get through there and lay a road. This is something that is still developing. We’re going to have an in-depth conversation on this with a political expert, please look out for that in the next couple of days.
Moving on, let’s take a look at what ASEAN is about? What they are doing? They are quoting Biden as China is speeding its vaccine diplomacy. Now looks like a lot of countries, who are supposedly quote-unquote ‘friends’ of China are not taking up the Chinese vaccine is that because it’s only 50% effective.
Sridhar Chityala: I don’t know, I think that it could be 50% effective whether there’s some arm flexing going on. The most all-weather ally of China is Pakistan. Pakistan is taking Sputnik. They just have ordered the Russian Sputnik vaccine and similarly, the other country which is going down the opposite way in which is supposed to be their ally is Cambodia. So Cambodia is going the opposite way, and similarly, I think Turkey is the only country which seems to be looking at, and maybe looking at taking Sinovac vaccine, and possibly they’ll change course once they recognize the effectiveness. Whatever may be the reasons, I don’t know nobody gives the reasons in these countries which is ‘we tried, we tested this and it didn’t work or meet expectations so we changed course. That’s the other interesting perspective around trying to pick a needle from the haystack in terms of the specifics of the reasons.
Sree Iyer: Indonesia has seized Iranian and Panemian oil tankers who are carrying out the illegal transfer of oil in its territory. Again, is there any China angle to this or is it just these two acting like thieves?
Sridhar Chityala: Iran is now flexing its muscles, which is basically to say ‘hey, I’m going to enrich my uranium, by the way, you put a ban on the sale of my oil. Now, I am going to use all these illegal tankers to carry and ferry my oil. Something similar happened as you probably know in that whole Iraq situation. There’s a mass from Mosul Kirkuk, there is a lot of oil tankers going to and fro. It is still happening from the Kirkuk region. So the point is Iran is saying there is a gap in leadership here as the leadership transitions, so, therefore, I’m flexing my muscle in moving. So where is it going? When you look at those kinds of borders, it’s obviously either going to Latin America or it is moving its way towards China in some form. The only two places when you look at the maritime water maps that point to the location of these two tankers and you saw that they tried to seize the South Korean tanker which had nothing to do with infiltration just off the coast of Oman and the perception is that to see whether the US flexes the muscle or some people even speculated that they have $7 billion of the money held up and frozen in Korea. So this is basically a method by which they can get back the funds.
Sree Iyer: Lopez Obrador, he is the head of the government in Guatemala and on the 23rd of January he said that Biden has pledged billions to help development in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to stem migration from Central America to Mexico. So, in other words, a certain individual will finance these Caravans and then the government of the United States has to spend more money from its chest to try and keep them where are. Why doesn’t the US Government stop the whole funding in the first place so that these people are disabused of all their notions about how great a country United States is. It is, it may be but there is a lot of stuff that has to happen before they can find asylum here.
Sridhar Chityala: Yeah, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is the Mexican president. Most of these people are stuck in the border of Mexico causing problems for infiltration into Mexico. So he’s negotiating with Biden to say just from an economic upliftment and treatment point of view, Why don’t you give them $5 billion. Apparently, some commitment is around $4 billion, whether you can increase it to $5 billion in terms of the aid so that these people can go away and not become a problem. There are two problems, one is a security problem and the second is the spread of covid. Mexico is one of the countries where there is a very rapid rise in the covid situation and Mr Obrador himself is now confirming that he is infected with the covid virus.
Sree Iyer: Let’s take a quick look at covid because you segued into that? First off, California is expected to lift its stay-at-home orders as early as today. What it means is that the restaurants will open for external dining and perhaps the hair salons will also open and some semblance of normalcy will come back. This is close to eight weeks. Now since we had this stay-at-home orders, let’s hope for the best. On the total cases now, they are approaching 100 million with 2.14 million deaths and 71 million recoveries and about 26 million active cases. The United States is still seeing a surge but some places have stabilized in the US. Isn’t it?
Sridhar Chityala: Well, I think that the way I would like to flip these numbers is like this. I don’t know why people don’t say 73 million people have been treated and cured of coronavirus. We recognize there are 2 million deaths and there are 25 million active cases that are being treated making the total number 100 million. 73 million is not an insignificant number in terms of the people who have recovered instead. They keep projecting 400,000 people have died in the United States, 2.2 million people have died. Yes, it is. You know people are dying of several things, but it’s a remarkable job, the medical community has done in terms of addressing an issue with very limited data. Now with regard to the United States, your specific point is there seems to be a normalized momentum. The day they removed these lockdowns and shutdowns and restrictions and so on, people seem to be regulating themselves and getting on with life. It is the same thing that I hear in India, people are dismissive and moving forward, doing things as a normal following the precautions. If you don’t follow the precautions then obviously it doesn’t matter, in the flu season, all of us get flu. So that doesn’t mean we are shutting ourselves down because we have a flu season. On a rainy season, we don’t say we shut ourselves out. So I think the point that you’re making is allowing people to resume their normal life telling them that there are a due process and protocols that need to be followed. I think we will find a way towards solving this. This is exactly the view of the doctors, which is going back to March-April last year, the doctors were, even some of them afflicted with it. They said you cannot keep people shut down and somehow this will go away. It will not be the case, progressively as we learn we need to kind of let people go and do the normal things that they do in their lives.
Sree Iyer: Let’s take a quick look at Global markets before we sign off today. Xi Jinping is positioning China as the world’s indispensable economy and Biden’s greatest challenge. Now we have again, mentioned two sides of the story. And now we think that Biden government is going to continue with the policy of the Trump government in terms of tariffs given that that might continue at least in the near future. How do you see this happening between the US and China, what do you think is going to happen next?
Sridhar Chityala: The US and China will be a continuous struggle. China is extremely ambitious and aggressive. Historically, the Democratic Administration or you can say Obama-Biden based on the past records, they have not confronted China as they should and we have a huge issue in the South China Sea. We have a growing issue in Taiwan. Effectively during the Trump period, we have to say we have lost Hong Kong. The freedom and all the things that are associated with Hong Kong is gone. That occurred during the Trump period. So you have seen that there is a kind of a consistent aggressive expansion attitude of China and this will be a continued path of cat and mouse game and whosoever, is ahead, is ahead, whosoever is not, is not. But today’s address in the virtual world economic forum highlights four specific points of Xi Jinping, and he is very clear. We are the most powerful economy. We have managed covid better than anybody else. We’re the only country in the world which showed +2.3% GDP growth in a global world of contracting GDP and we are invested the least amount of stimulus money in terms of reigniting our economy in the adversity. The adversity of challenges posed by the global trade bloc’s and also the covid situation. This is his statement today relative to four years ago when Trump came on board. I am using the word four years. This is Biden coming taking stewardship of the United States.
Sree Iyer: Now, Xi will be delivering the keynote address at the world economic forum’s first Global virtual meeting getting underway and it is expected that Prime Minister Modi, Yoshihide Suga president Emmanuel Macron, Chancellor Merkel, EU president are all expected to speak at this meeting. So we will be updating you with the news from this convention, this meeting on what each leader said and how they visualize the world in the next 12 months or so. There is going to be a FED meeting. I think on Wednesday, you will have the inputs or the results or outcomes of that FED meeting and this week is Big Tech earnings. And we expect that the Big Teck is going to do well, I don’t know if Sridharji would like to touch upon that a little bit, please go ahead sir.
Sridhar Chityala: I can tell the tech are expected to do positive earnings. As far as the FED is concerned they don’t expect any change in the policy of the 0%. They don’t see any inflationary trend at all with so much money being put into the ecosystem. So I think that it’s the same continued kind of a policy. One thing I have to say is the first time this morning the people are reporting which is alluding to your point, earlier point that you made Sreeji is there is some kind of sense of positivism that the covid is likely to be contained and normalcy to be resumed. It’s not the stimulus which is triggering today’s upward tick in the markets from tepid move overnight in Futures. And today the Futures pointing to a high-rise because of the cautious, positive buoyancy, and optimism in addressing the covid issue, especially in the United States.
Sree Iyer: With that, we bring today’s program to a close. We’ll be back tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. Indian Standard Time 8:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and 5:00 a.m Pacific Standard Time. Thanks for watching, please do subscribe to our channel and also donate to our cause. Sridharji, as always a pleasure having you on our program. Namaskar and see you tomorrow.
Sridhar Chityala: Namaskar and thank you so much.
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