Poor quality of debates in the US

Even as the world is becoming more predictable, America is becoming less so. It has one of the least informed populations on the planet, and the quality of the presidential debates on global issues has been appalling. Benazir Bhutto’s death provided the candidates an opportunity to demonstrate their statesmanship toward a pivotal country. But they all failed this test, resorting to boasting instead.

Hillary Clinton declared her longstanding friendship with Benazir but failed to mention the many flaws during her regime. Bill Richardson rebuked Musharraf and called for the elimination of US aid to Pakistan, but failed to mention that Pakistan’s long military rule was a direct result of the US support. Such statements betrayed an apparent failure to grasp the complexity of the world.

By and large, the candidates have wasted the opportunity to provide new intellectual and political leadership to America and the world. This is probably the greatest tragedy of the race. There has never been a greater need for new US leadership, yet the candidates offer little hope that this will come any time soon.

SANDEEP GHIYA, West Mulund (Mumbai)


Sudden transfer

Why did the government suddenly transfer Lt-Gen H. S. Panag, GOC-in-C, Northern Command to Central Command? Apparently, one reason is because he has ordered many inquiries into alleged lapses by senior officers in the purchase of tents and other stores for the troops earlier.

Despite rampant corruption in all government departments, our defence forces have largely remained free from this problem, mainly because prompt disciplinary action is taken against the culprits. The officers in the armed forces are trained to put ‘Service before self’. The men trust their leaders and follow them in battle even in the face of certain death.

If the top leadership compromises discipline and fair play in the armed forces, it will adversely affect the morale and fighting spirit of the rank and file. Let this not happen, please.

Brig DALIP SINGH SIDHU (retd), Patiala

Brave children

I am an admirer of The Tribune’s online edition. It keeps me informed about the day-to-day developments in my country. The news-item on some children winning bravery awards was very nice. I understand they will join the Republic Day contingent parade in New Delhi. After reading this news, I can proudly say, Mera Bharat Mahan.

ANURAG KAUSHAL, Thornhill (Canada)

Not India-friendly

I read the news-item, “India felt a pathological need to criticise US: Kissinger”. For a long time, the US track record vis-à-vis India was not at all friendly. The US was arming Pakistan with most modern equipment knowing full well that Pakistan will use them against India in any military conflict. It happened in the 1965 war with Pakistan.

During the crisis in 1971, instead of putting pressure to stop atrocities on Pakistan which was indulging in inhuman cruelties on the Bengalis of East Pakistan, the US started exerting pressure on India. In the Bangladesh war, the role of US was rather hostile towards India.

War journalist and writer Mankekar writes in his book, Pakistan Cut To Size, that the US not only brought Seventh Fleet to the Bay of Malaca to pressurise India but was also hobnobbing with China to militarily intervene on Pakistan’s side. But the Chinese were too clever to fall into the US trap. They, of course, created some noise, but no actual intervention took place.

Against this background, which type of behaviour did Kissinger expect from Indira Gandhi?

V.P. MEHTA, Chandigarh

Show us the faces

The photo of a few policemen with the alleged culprits in the news report, Extortion racket busted (Jan 15) was excellent. We don’t see the faces of the culprits as they are covered with black hoods. The police should show the faces so that the general public will be careful if they come across these culprits.

I also found some humour in this picture. The smiling policemen in the photo, perhaps, suggest the people to be careful of them instead.


Wise decision

One is tempted to quote Oscar Wilde: “Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much.” Anil Kumble’s generous gesture down under is but a natural followup of our great civilisation — a combination of the days of Emperor Ashoka, the Moghuls and even the British.

‘Gandhigiri’ may be one way of putting it in the lingo of the 20th and 21st centuries but, ultimately, it is the sport of cricket that must seem to be supreme and it was wise decision to not pursue with Brad Hogg.



VC with a difference

Dr Vikas Mishra, a former Vice-Chancellor of Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, who passed away on January 21, was a scholar of repute. He was the founder Head of the Department of Economics and Dean of Social Sciences of this university.

Dr Mishra was a Vice-Chancellor with a difference. Unlike most who have made it to this office, he neither canvassed nor manipulated his appointment. He never succumbed to political pressure in the recruitment of the teaching and the non-teaching staff. He fiercely safeguarded the university’s autonomy and did not allow political and bureaucratic interference in the decision-making process.

Remarkably, Dr Mishra did not bow to the associations of the teachers, the non-teaching staff and the students. He democratised the functioning of the teaching departments by introducing the system of rotation of headship. He never hankered after post-retirement positions and maintained the dignity of the high office. We will miss him.

Dr RANBIR SINGH, (Former Prof. & Chairman, Pol. Sc Dept, KU), Nilokheri (Karnal) 



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