Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Book Review: The Post American World

I recently read the book, "Post American world" by Fareed Zakaria. It is a very good book. This one goes into my list of books, that i should buy soon.
There is a famous saying, "The sun never sets in the British Empire". The Britain was a great empire. When the queens birthday came, there were celebrations in all parts of the world. It is really amazing, how a small country, was able to control the entire world for so many years. But now, that mighty British Empire is no more. America and Russia took over as the worlds most powerful countries after the world war. But, after the end of cold war, America is literally the uncontested leader, far above than any of its competitor in any field possible - military, politics, economy, technology, research to name a few.
The main question raised in the book is, "If such a mighty British Empire can fall, what can possibly happen to the US in the next few decades?" There are striking differences between the British Empire in 1900 compared to the US now, but there are few similarities too. Rise of China and India are often compared to the rise of the US and Germany in 1900. Can the rise of China and India bring down America? There are two separate chapters focusing on the rise of India and China, not just because they are the two fastest growing countries in the world. But also because they paint a good picture of the foreign policy difficulties that the US is about to face in the future.
I have read a book, "The world is flat", by Thomas Friedman. I should say both these books go hand in hand. They both talk about the impact of globalization on the world economy and politics. But this book, also talks about the policy issues from the US point of view and also the rest. Also discusses the plus and minus of the current US policies and explains in detail, what needs to be done, in order to regain the momentum and give life to the fading American Dream.
And when it comes to india, the book deals about the current challenges that we are facing, and the relationship between India and the US. Did you notice the recent state elections? The central issues in the country, including Terrorism, didnt take the centre stage, rather more local issues ruled the elections, one main reason why Congress was able to win. The author have talked about this "local" politics taking a big leap in the country and have compared it to the US during 1920.
Well, anyways, it is really a good book. Give it a read, and you wont regret.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

One of the best movie this year. No doubt there. The movie is just full of life. I just cant believe that this was directed by an English guy.

The movie opens with a question.

Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 million Rupees. How did he do that?

A. He cheated
B. He's lucky
C. He is a genius
D. It is written

And the movie travels towards answering the question and along the way, picturises, the best and the worst of India. It touches the core problems in India, the poverty, Hindu-Muslim riots, Beggars, Red light areas, and many more. It also touches some really beautiful part about India as well.

The movie has already won critical acclaims. Right from the New York times, to the Time magazine, everyone have already praised the movie so much, for its reality and the story telling. (already one of the top 100 movies in IMDB) All said and done, i would like to see the movie from an Indian point of view. It is a great movie about India. It explains in detail, how big a hell, life in India can be. 

At last, we have to wait for an English director to direct a "Indian" movie, when every movie maker in India is trying to desperately imitate Hollywood. AR Rahman said in his recent interview with Reuters, that the Director, Danny Boyle, literally lived in Mumbai for two odd years, in order to learn about Mumbai to make this movie. The songs and the Back ground score is brilliant. AR Rahman is god. No more words needed to say about him. I really hope he wins the Golden Globe and also lets hope he has a shot at Oscar.

There is one really good scene in the movie. The hero, as a kid, is a travel guide. And one time, he is with some Americans and some thieves steal the foreigner's stuff, while they were outside the car. And when they come back and find out, even the tires from the car was stolen, the car driver, Indian, starts beating up the kid accusing him for stealing everything. The Americans try to stop the driver and the bleeding kid says to them, "You wanted to see Real India, here it is" The Americans say, "Here is a bit of real America son" and generously give him some money. I think, it brings out the true India. Helpless, cruel, tough. 

But i think it has it flaws too. The movie is mainly made for audiences around the globe. So all the dialogues are in English and I think that steals a bit of reality from the movie. Even though, i don't fully understand Hindi, i would love to see the movie in complete Hindi.

Do see the movie.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

TIME - Person of the year 2008

It is BARACK OBAMA . I am not surprised at all. In fact, no one should be surprised to learn this.

Apart from Obama, you can also find, Hillary, McCain, Palin, Henry Paulson and other prominent personalities. Surprisingly, Bush is listed as one of the "People who mattered". Actually, he did. In a negative way.

Monday, December 15, 2008

America's war on Terror - Lessons to be learnt

I read two really good articles today. One in "The Hindu" about the lessons to be learnt from the US War on Terror. You can read it here.

"As many as 654,965 more Iraqis may have died since hostilities began in Iraq in March 2003 than would have been expected under pre-war conditions. The deaths from all causes — violent and non-violent — are over and above the estimated 143,000 deaths per year that occurred from all causes prior to the March 2003 invasion. Iraq’s overall mortality rate more than doubled from 5.5 deaths per 1,000 persons before the war began to 13.3 per 1,000 persons by late 2006"

And other article, in Wall Street Journal, about the Indian Democracy. You can read it here. This article talks a bit about the recent elections in India and about the status of the Indian politics in general.

"The electorate's ability to look through the fog of terror, set emotions aside and focus on basic quality of life matters is a sign of the maturation of Indian democracy."