After months of staying in denial over the Coronavirus situation in the US and silently renegotiating ‘his’ debts with ‘his’ bankers President Donald Trump has finally accepted the harsh reality out loud – that all is not okay with the States as it nears half a million COVID-19 cases. The question now on every betrayed American’s mind is – You got us in it, how are you planning to take us out of it? Complete Coverage: Coronavirus
Crux of the Matter
How Hard Have They Been Hit? US recorded its highest single-day coronavirus death on Tuesday this week, with more than 1,800 fatalities in 24 hours as per data released by Johns Hopkins University, Maryland. As New York becomes the leading hotspot of 4755 deaths, the graphs below give you the fitting visuals of the horror that follows in California, New Jersey, and Michigan.
Johns Hopkins CSSE notes that they rely upon publicly available data from multiple sources, with US accounting for one-quarter of global COVID-19 deaths
An all-time high for US coronavirus cases, in the past 5 days
New memos have revealed how Trump had been warned fairly in advance by his White House advisors, about the impending doom of COVID-19 standing at their doorstep, that could derail the economy instantly while killing thousands of Americans in the process. Senior scientists, epidemiologists and health emergency experts across the nation continued to raise their voices, while all fell to their president’s deaf ears.
Grim reality of the States tells us how little they learnt from Wuhan and Italy
WHO Blew it or Trump? In an official press conference, Trump lashed back at the World Health Organisation (WHO) by calling them Chinese-centric in this whole COVID-19 fight-back and giving out bad advice to the leftover, clueless international public. He went on to threaten WHO by halting funding to the global health agency if the need arises.
WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom on the other hand defended his agency’s handling of the pandemic and requested leaders globally to keep faith in them. They added that with ‘honest leadership’ from both China and the US, focus can be shifted back to the main agenda – saving more lives.
War of PPE Begins, Help Thy Neighbours No More Developing countries are worried seeing US’s self preservation tactics of hijacking shipments of PPE (Personal Protective Equipments)and additional crucial supplies, like ‘diverting’ 200,000 face masks back to the States, before ‘letting’ the rest of the order arrive in Berlin, Germany.
It is a national disgrace that our health care workers still don’t have the protective equipment they need. Donald Trump needs to fully use the power of DFA.
Joe Biden, Former Vice President of the USA
Then in an ironic role reversal case of a superpower and the ones that need its help, Trump announced earlier this week that he was invoking the DFA (Defense Production Act) to restrict U.S. exports of key medical gear like gloves & gowns. This, in turn, allowed him to direct companies like 3M to prioritise the national demand of N95 masks by health workers and angered the mask manufacturer’s hopeful international recipients, Canada and Latin America.
‘Yes you can!’: Trump Makes India Lift HCQ Ban Trump had repeatedly endorsed HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine) as a possible cure for COVID-19. The efficacy of HCQ for COVID-19 is being debated currently, with some anecdotal evidence of positive results from Chin, South Korea and India, although substantial clinical studies to back this hypothesis are pending. One of the world’s largest manufacturers of this anti-malarial drug India decided to ban its export to first meet the domestic demand, and this did not go down well with the President.
After a phone call exchange between him and India’s PM Narendra Modi and a subsequent news briefing, a retaliation was hinted in case the latter does not implement his ‘request’. Subsequently, Indian authorities lifted the ban on HCQ, paracetamol and 24 other drugs & ingredients, confirming they had a manageable medical stock.
Unemployment Written on the American Cards Even with millions forced out of work in the US, there was a promising silver lining in the form of CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). Signed into law on March 27, its benefits claimed to be extended to gig workers, part-time employees, and the self-employed. Sadly, the authorities are yet to update their systems to account for the PUA (pandemic unemployment assistance) and 2.4 million Californians have applied for unemployment to date.
Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project, says, even so, these budgets are based on the previous year’s state unemployment rate, making them foolishly base this huge economic crisis on the lowest unemployment rate in history. In the meantime, Social Security Administration says it has been ‘trying it’s best’ to work with the Treasury to ensure citizens, including those with limited internet availability and the elderly /disabled, get their stimulus payouts on time.
Enough of the Blame Game, We Need a Solid Plan With denials past us, it’s safe to assume that we all lie on the same page now – Unified Preparedness in a global fight against COVID-19. With federal guidelines being followed at the local and state level, worldwide authorities now have to tackle the lack of availability of widespread testing mechanisms. If countries cannot stop the virus from spreading further, it becomes more likely to re-emerge.
There can be enough for all, only if we are ready to share. Only If we don’t let this virus scratch on our past wounds and differences with each other. With social media connecting giving us all the minute by minute updates and individuals and communities working on crowd-sourcing solutions, there is still hope to win this invisible battle together.
Out of 4,34,791 cases in the USA, 1,49,316 are from New York state.
Out of 50 states, 8 of them have still not declared statewide lockdown.
Initial Epicentre of COVID-19 was China, which then shifted to Europe when WHO declared it as the epicentre on 13th March. Two weeks later, an announcement was made that the USA might become the next epicentre if corrective measures will not be implemented.
Referring to Coronavirus, Donald Trump said that the people of the world are paying for what they (China) did. He added that the pandemic could have been stopped in China itself it was not involved in the ‘misinformation campaign’. Complete Coverage: Coronavirus
Crux of the Matter
No New Cases from China Cases of Coronavirus are rising rapidly outside of China. The number of positive cases across the world has crossed 2,50,000 and the death toll has crossed the 10,000-mark. The death toll in Italy crossed China’s death toll. China did not report any new homegrown cases on March 18, 2020, but had 34 cases of people from abroad.
Trump Doubling Down on China Two US Senators have tested positive for Coronavirus. To combat the virus and the slowing American economy, Trump announced a multi-billion dollar package. People who are in quarantine will be provided with paid sick leave, said Trump. The aid package also offers free coronavirus testing. US economy has taken a serious hit as the Federal Reserve was required to slash interest rates to 0-0.25%, a rate observed last during the Global Financial Crisis 2008-09. US Benchmark Stock Index Dow Jones has plunged nearly 30%.
Donald Trump called the Coronavirus ‘a Chinese Virus’ in his speech. The Chinese government and many others have criticised him for this and termed it as ‘racist’. He said that the American officials would have been able to act quickly on the pandemic if China had shared complete information on the virus. He added that the virus could have been stopped where it came from.
It must be noted that Dr. Li Wenliang who was the first one to break the news of the spread of a potential SARS-like virus, was arrested by the Chinese government. He later succumbed to death due to Coronavirus.
Censorship in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is implemented or mandated by the PRC’s ruling party, the Communist Party of China (CPC). The government maintains censorship over all media capable of reaching a wide audience. This includes television, print media, radio, film, theater, text messaging, instant messaging, video games, literature, and the Internet. Chinese officials have access to uncensored information via an internal document system. More Info
India is hosting US President Donald Trump on 24th Feb 2020. Indian PM Narendra Modi has put on a grand event “Namaste Trump” in Ahmedabad to welcome the US President. Will this be a major event in the long history of international relations between the two democratic behemoths?
Crux of the Matter
The Modi-Trump Bromance The middle of the 2010s decade saw Narendra Modi and Donald Trump rise as respective leaders of their nation. Both the leaders are seen as flag-bearers of right-wing populist nationalism in the wake of a globalised world. Both have had their fair share of feuds with the media and the opposition parties in their respective countries.
Tethering Old Ties Indo – US ties have been deepening for more than a decade now . The roots of the friendly ties can be found in history among common enemies or between common ideologies. However, at the time of India’s independence which coincided with the beginning of the Cold War, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s government’s stance of neutrality was a thorn in the side of USA.
Dwight Eisenhower was the first American president to visit India. And thus began the thawing of Indo-US ties. During John F. Kennedy’s Presidency, USA started considering India as its strategic ally to combat the rising Chinese.
Chinese Communists have been moving ahead the last 10 years. India has been making some progress, but if India does not succeed with her 450 million people, if she can’t make freedom work, then people around the world are going to determine, particularly in the underdeveloped world, that the only way they can develop their resources is through the Communist system.
– John F. Kenedy
US’s military support to India began between the 1962 Sino – Indian war and the 1965 India – Pakistan war. However, it nosedived during the Nixon administration, with it partnering with Pakistan even as India’s Indira Gandhi established good relations with the Soviet Union as well.
In 1974, India conducted its first nuclear test, which led to a dip in Indo – US ties. India became the first nation outside the 5 permanent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members to conduct a nuclear test. Jimmy Carter’s administration enacted the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act in 1978 which required countries not part of the Nonproliferation Treaty, which included India, to let the International Atomic Energy Agency inspect all nuclear facilities. India refused to sign the treaty and USA cut all nuclear exports to India.
India began its massive growth after the 1991 Liberalisation, Privatization, and Globalization policies. In 1998, India tested its first nuclear weapon, which culminated in President Bill Clinton imposing economic sanctions on India. From the early 21st century, India and US have been building good ties upon common interests such as curbing Islamic terrorism, environmental issues, and energy security.
Trade-shake Ties Trade relations between India and US have been at the centre of the Indo-US ties. , Surpassing China, US recently became India’s largest trading partner with an aggregate trade (imports + exports) of $87.95 billion. Major items that America exports from India include Informations Technology (IT) services, iron and steel products, textiles, gems and precious metals, pharmaceutical products, oil, machinery, etc.
Nuclear Notches US seemed to be apprehensive about India’s nuclear advancements. However, the 2006 Civil Nuclear Agreement allowed US to conduct direct civilian nuclear trade. The 2008 123 Agreement, a bilateral nuclear trade agreement, governed trade between both countries and allowed Indian firms to participate in US’s civil nuclear energy sector.
In 2019, India and US agreed to the construction of 6 American nuclear reactors in India as a part of “strengthening bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation.”
Defense – X-Factor of Indo-US Ties? In recent years, Defense sector has become integral to the relation of India and US. In 2005, the nations signed the New Framework for US-India Defense Relationship that included cooperation in maritime security, disaster relief programs, and counterterrorism. United States was keen to conduct joint military exercise with India as a part of its agenda to wipe out growing Islamic terrorism after the 2001 9/11 attacks. In 2005, it joined the Malabar Naval exercise in India, and made it one of the largest naval exercises till that date.
Of the four agreements that the US signs with its Defense partners, General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), the first, with India was signed in 2002. In 2016, the nations signed the second agreement, Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) that enables both the nations to use each other’s military bases for repairs or re-supply. The third agreement – Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) – was signed in 2018 in a 2+2 Security Dialogue held at New Delhi between India’s Minister of External Affairs (MEA) Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and counterparts US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and US Secretary of Defence James Mattis.
After 2008, India’s Defense trade with US ballooned to as high as $15 billion from $1 billion. India bought top-notch military arsenal such as Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules aircraft, Globemaster, Poseidon aircraft, Apache, Chinook helicopters, Howitzer guns, etc.
Modi and US – From Pariah to Rockstar Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is seen as an assertive leader on the global scale has had a bumpy ride with the US. Due to the allegations of inciting violence on religious grounds in the 2002 Godhra case, US banned the entry of Narendra Modi, then the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
After Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India, US-India ties have been expanding extensively on strategic, military and economic facets. Narendra Modi after his landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections has visited the US every year from 2015 to 2019.
Trump’s Bharat Darshan Day 1 11:40 AM – Arrival at Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport, Ahmedabad 12:15 PM – Visit to Sabarmati Ashram 01:05 PM – ‘Namaste Trump’ Event at Ahmedabad’s Motera Stadium 03:30 PM – Departure for Agra 04:45 PM – Arrival at Agra 05:15 PM – Visit to Taj Mahal 06:45 PM – Departure for Delhi 07:30 PM – Arrival at Delhi
Day 2 10:00 AM – Ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan 10:30 AM – Wreath laying at the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat 11:00 AM – Meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House 12:40 PM – Press Statement at Hyderabad House (Exchange of Agreements) 07:30 PM – Meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan 10:00 PM – Departure from India
Indo-US Relations – In the twenty-first century, Indian foreign policy has sought to leverage India’s strategic autonomy in order to safeguard sovereign rights and promote national interests within a multi-polar world. Under the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the United States has demonstrated accommodation to India’s core national interests and acknowledged outstanding concerns. Increase in bilateral trade & investment, co-operation on global security matters, inclusion of India in decision-making on matters of global governance (United Nations Security Council), upgraded representation in trade & investment forums (World Bank, IMF, APEC), admission into multilateral export control regimes (MTCR, Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group) and support for admission in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and joint-manufacturing through technology sharing arrangements have become key milestones and a measure of speed and advancement on the path to closer US–India relations. In 2016, India and United States signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement and India was declared a Major Defense Partner of the United States. At present, India and the US share an extensive and expanding cultural, strategic, military, and economic relationship which is in the phase of implementing confidence building measures (CBM) to overcome the legacy of trust deficit – brought about by adversarial US foreign policies and multiple instances of technology denial – which have plagued the relationship over several decades. Unrealistic expectations after the conclusion of the 2008 U.S.–India Civil Nuclear Agreement (which underestimated negative public opinion regarding the long-term viability of nuclear power generation and civil-society endorsement for contractual guarantees on safeguards and liability) has given way to pragmatic realism and refocus on areas of cooperation which enjoy favourable political and electoral consensus. More Info
48 senators voted to convict Trump whereas 52 voted to acquit him. For a successful impeachment two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes were required.
It has happened for the first time in the US history that a Republican has voted to impeach the President from his own party. Sen. Mitt Romney voted to impeach the President in Trump’s trial.
Apart from Mitt Romney; two other moderate Republicans, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski were not supporting Trump but they did not vote against their party.
Republicans sided with Trump by saying ‘it was not a serious enough offense to remove him from office’.
Democrats expressed concern over Trump’s acquittal being a threat to US democracy. They also raised concerns over Russia interfering in another US election.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “Mr. Trump remains an ongoing threat to American democracy and that Senate Republicans had normalized lawlessness.”
Timeline of Donald Trump’s Impeachment
On September 14, 2019, an anonymous whistleblower complaint was lodged accusing Donald Trump of using the power of his office to seek interference from Ukraine in the 2020 U.S. election over a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, 2019.
The complaint included call details of Trump withholding nearly $400 million military-aid package to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
On 24 September, a formal impeachment inquiry was announced by Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. Trump also released a copy of the rough transcript of the 25 July call. By the end of September, Mike Pompeo was suspected to have taken part in the 25th July phone call.
In early October; US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was testified. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine expert on the US National Security Council highlighted some crucial omissions in the transcript of the call released by the White House.
In November, acting ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, Deputy Assistant secretary of state George Kent faced an inquiry and were testified. Also, Marie Yovanovitch (Former US ambassador to Ukraine), Fiona Hill and David Holmes also testified.
On December 5, Speaker Pelosi announced the drafting articles of impeachment which were unveiled on 10th December and approved by the panel with a 23-17 vote.
On December 18, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the two articles of impeachment related to his efforts to pressurize Ukraine into interfering in the 2020 election while he withheld $400 million military aid.
On January 16, Trump’s trial in the senate began after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was sworn into his presiding role. He also swore in the Senate’s 100 representatives who acted act as jury in the trial.
On January 21, the Republicans voted to reject 11 amendments proposed by Democrats. The prosecution made its opening arguments from January 22 to 24, and the defense from January 25 to 28. This was followed by a period of questions, answers, and debate.
On 5 February 2020 – The trial ended as the Senate voted to acquit Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Impeachment Procedure in US Article One of the United States Constitutiongives the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of officers of the U.S. federal government. In the US, impeachment is only the first of two stages, and conviction during the second stage requires ‘the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present’. Impeachment does not necessarily result in removal from office; it is only a legal statement of charges, parallel to an indictment in criminal law. More Info
History of Impeachments of US Presidents The House of Representatives has initiated impeachment proceedings only 64 times since 1789. Out of which only 19 proceedings actually resulted in the House’s passing Articles of Impeachment, and of 19 only 8 resulted in removal from office who were all federal judges.
Three United States presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives: Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Donald Trump in 2019.
All three were acquitted and not removed from office by the Senate. An impeachment process was also initiated against the 37th President Richard Nixon, but he resigned in 1974 to avoid likely impeachment.
Donald Trump, who became the third President in US history to be impeached, does not want to delay his Senate trial. Speaker, Nancy Pelosi mulled over delaying the Senate trial until there was surety of impeachment in the Republican-led Senate.
Crux of the Matter
Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives over allegations of colluding with Ukraine and obstructing the congressional investigation into the Ukraine matter. No Republican voted in favour of impeachment.
Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are of the opinion to delay the Senate trial as they do not have the surety whether Republican-led Senate would hold a fair trial and allow key witnesses to speak.
According to Democrats, Trump and the Republicans have denied the testimony of four key witnesses from the White House Aides.
Trump has been blaring onto Twitter, demanding an immediate trial. He accused Democrats of unpreparedness and called the impeachment a “witch hunt“.
Impeachment in the United States is the process by which a legislature brings charges against a civil officer of government for crimes alleged to have been committed, analogous to the bringing of an indictment by a grand jury. The Federal Level impeachment is a three-stage procedure: 1. Congressional Investigation 2. Vote in House of Representatives 3. Senate Trial More Info