Look what we saw this week:
- ian bremmer@ianbremmer – May 19 – New Yorker union taking on a political position (which a journalistic institution should never do, except on issues directly involving journalism, ala free speech etc) Need better from these folks. (emphasis ours)
Read this again folks. He is right, of course. We will refer to Professor Doctor Bremmer (got to recognize both his titles, right!) a few times in this article. Then you can judge for yourselves whether he practices what he preaches. Not just Ian Bremmer himself but also as president @eurasiagroup, @gzeromedia.
What are these two firms, you ask?
- Eurasia Group – “The geopolitical risk firm that helps you understand the world. Founded by
@ianbremmer . Putting politics first since 1998.”
- gzeromedia – “We make sense of global news. Substance, not partisan takes, can be satirical (puppets). Sign up for our newsletter, watch GZERO World & listen to the podcast.”
Do you remember President Truman’s wish for an economist with only one hand? Guess he never met someone like the eminently flexible Ian Bremmer. He doesn’t see any issues with “putting politics first” (politics being a supremely partisan discipline) on one hand and eschewing “partisan takes” & focusing on “substance” on the another hand.
See, that is why he is Ian Bremmer and we are mere simple folks. We had to read it twice before realizing that “substance” can in itself be extremely partisan, especially if you choose “partisan” providers of substance. Like say for example, the redoubtable Barkha Dutt who could teach Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib a thing or two.
So presumably, the “substance” produced by sources like Barkha Dutt can be sent as non-partisan substantive “sense of global news” to all corporations who hire Eurasia Group to “understand the world” via “putting politics first“. Again this is why he is the eminent Ian Bremmer while we are simpletons.
Kudos to Barkha Dutt. With just one relationship with Ian Bremmer, her opinions (sorry “substantive not partisan takes”) are being sent to lots of global corporations that already are in or seeking to enter India.
This even puts Bloomberg’s Tom Keene to shame. But more on that later.
2. Facts & Misrepresentations
One month ago, we saw a market signal in the Indian Stock Market. That was on Thursday, April 22, two days after PM Modi’s address to Indian People on Tuesday April 20. Markets can be wrong, but they are always forward-looking. By the time we saw that market signal, the Indian stock market has fallen by over 15% in about 6 weeks relative to the US stock market. So we asked in our Sunday April 25 article – Indian Stock Market – Is It Time To Get In?
Was that April 22 market signal right? So far it has been. Just look at how much the Indian stock market has outperformed the US stock market over the past month:
The above chart compares INDY, a large cap Indian ETF, to SPY, the large cap US ETF. But what about small-cap companies that are far more sensitive to the Indian economy.
(SMIN – India Small-cap ETF vs. IWM – US Small-cap ETF)
Wow. The Indian small-cap ETF has shown even greater outperformance to the US small-cap ETF. As we all know & hear, the CoronaVirus situation in India looks far better today than it did one month ago. So once again, the markets correctly looked forward.
Two weeks after our initial article, we had written the below in our follow up article What’s Next?:
- ” … the drive being undertaken now is broad, intense & committed. Several have assured us that the Oxygen crisis faced by urban hospitals will be almost over by May-end or early June. A massive vaccination drive is now in full swing as well. So we are told that the “crisis” in Mumbai is nearly over and even Delhi is stabilizing. There is no doubt that all of India is now on a war footing against this second wave. … A robust supply chain infrastructure is being established on a war footing … “
How wrong were we? “May-end or early June“? This is the 3rd week of May and the urban oxygen crisis is already in the rear-view mirror. A big factor was the mobilization of Oxygen Express trains by the mammoth nation-wide Railway System, per the sensible & rational Shri Chandorkar.
But what about Uttar Pradesh, the largest state in India with “a population twice the size of Germany and a per capita income of less than $3 a day“, per a May 13 Bloomberg article. Sorry, but in our opinion, that article is a hatchet job subtitled “Yogi Adityanath’s handling of coronavirus outbreak spurs controversy“.
In stark contrast to Bloomberg.com, the WHO has praised the Chief Minister Adityanath for implementing a successful contact tracing & house-to-house follow up even in remote rural areas. Watch this 3-minute clip dated May 11 clip to understand why we use the term “war footing” to describe what India was doing:
Now look at the timing. The WHO clip about Uttar Pradesh (UP) was posted on May 11, two days before the Bloomberg article against the UP Chief Minister by three “Indian” writers of Bloomberg. Did these writers even bother to check what the WHO was saying about his drive in UP? Or did they not care about anything that would de-legitimize their goal?
Of course, Bloomberg is not alone. They are ably supported by NYT & Washington Post. And many see it.
- Minhaz Merchant@MinhazMerchant – May 18 – India’s scavengers, deeply upset at falling case numbers from Maharashtra, Delhi & UP (especially UP), are now scraping around for any morsel of bad news they can find. Anything, just anything, to show India is doing as badly as @washingtonpost misreports #COVID19India
Mr. Merchant didn’t have to wait long. Just a day later,
- ian bremmer@ianbremmer – May 19 – India reported 4,529 covid deaths in the past 24 hours—more single-day deaths than any other country at any time during the pandemic. (and likely an undercount by 2-5x) (emphasis ours).
An undercount of 2-5X? What a wide band? So, per Bremmer, the actual deaths in India that day might have been any number from 8,518 to 22,645. Think about what Bremmer is saying- Indian deaths to him are so trivial that he can gloss over a difference of 13, 587 Indian deaths in one day? Frankly, this might be the most racist statement we might have read during this entire epidemic.
Perhaps Mr. Bremmer was merely channeling his inner Winston Churchill who, when writing about Indian deaths during the 1898 plague, said:
- ” … a philosopher may watch unmoved the destruction of some of the superfluous millions, whose life must of necessity be destitute of pleasure … “
At least, Mr. Bremmer didn’t describe the Indian deaths in his unsupported undercount as “superfluous thousands“. Guess we Indians must be thankful for such small mercies from Herr Professor Doctor Bremmer!
Then we saw the following on May 21:
Notice that Mr. Bremmer did not qualify the above figures by any undercount estimates. Perhaps he has not heard of articles that allege serious undercounting of CoronaVirus deaths in Democrat-controlled New York or perhaps he is just “putting [US] politics first” as the Chairman of Eurasia Group.
So let us assume there was no undercounting in New York & let us give Bremmer a 4X undercount in India (2/3rd of his undercount range). What does that give us? India has had 4 times as many peak daily deaths as USA. But India has 4X people as America.
So poor, undeveloped, pathetic India “mishandled” by a Hindu Prime Minister has the same number of peak deaths per capita per day as the richest, most scientifically developed, modern superpower USA? Man, that is a tremendous compliment to the resource-poor & underdeveloped Indian Health Care system! Another way of putting it is:
Guess Mr. Merchant doesn’t understand that the coronavirus reporting by Western media has nothing to do with facts or even the virus. It is above all a “regime change operation” against PM Modi & the Indian (“Hindu”) people, as a Strategic Affairs journalist wrote:
- Sreemoy Talukdar@sreemoytalukdar – Apr 29 – As I had said earlier today, the moral and intellectual ballast is being provided for a regime change operation. These days it is no longer in the form of bombs but “influence ops”.
3. Bloomberg’s Tom Keene & the Economist-Churchillian View of India
Tom Keene is a veteran TV-caster at Bloomberg. He anchors the early morning Bloomberg Surveillance show with two other co-hosts including British Jonathan Ferro. He is well-read especially in macro markets and he is all-English in the British sense, as we understand it. He invited Ian Bremmer on Monday, May 10 to discuss coronavirus in India. He opened the India topic (at around minute 26:20 of the linked videoclip) by saying:
- “Ian, I am sure you saw Ramchandra Guha’s magnificent essay in the FT about 10 days ago about the collapse of his India (emphasis ours). Do you at the Eurasia Group look at this pandemic & the horrific news from India as being politically & Eurasia-Group destabilizing for the region?”
You would think that, being a finance anchor & an ardent follower of macro economics, Keene would at least mention the Indian economy. He didn’t despite a detailed interview on Bloomberg TV on May 6 by Economist Anu-bhuti Sahay of Standard Chartered Bank, Mumbai. Ms. Sahay was clear in her interview that the Indian Economy had proved resilient and so had consumer income in India.
Perhaps Keene ignored the Indian economy because that might have intruded on the real question he wanted to ask – is PM Modi in trouble because of what he termed as “horrific” news? Bremmer replied both smartly & in a manner pleasing to his host:
- “It is not destabilizing inside India; you know Prime Minister Modi, in spite of having incredibly badly mishandled the last wave of this crisis in still [popular]… he has a long way to go before you talk about domestic instability …”
Back to Tom Keene. Look at his line “collapse” of India. What collapse did Keene see to raise that artificial question? There was bad news galore in India from the pandemic but no one anywhere except Tom Keene saw “collapse”. So we think, the key words in that sentence are “his India “referring to Mr. Guha.
To understand that, you must understand who Guha is. He is one of the many “educated” Indians who benefit from continued British & Western influence on India. Unlike Barkha Dutt, Ian Bremmer’s source of India expertise, Guha is a has-been if he ever was anything, at least in our opinion. He seems to be a classic left-of-center Brit-follower in the mold of so many well-sounding left-leaning Britishers. His one original comment we recall is his criticism of Mahatma Gandhi’s reliance on Indian Religious Thought to inspire Indians instead of following communist Karl Marx and Engels.
But he seems useful to publications like Economist, Financial Times, New York Times in providing what we think they want written in their publications from an Indian – that following British-western thinking is the only road to India’s progress & salvation while following all-Indian thinking will be disastrous for India.
PM Modi is the object of hate for all these publications perhaps because he is the first Indian Prime Minister who did not study in British-developed colleges or follow British thinking. Modi is the first Indian prime minister who is mentally free of British influence & education. So Modi’s continued success represents disaster to those accustomed to ruling Indian thought if not India.
That is what Tom Keene presumably meant by “collapse of his” India, “his” meaning Guha’s Brit-servile India. We have few doubts that Keene means it. Because we have yet to see a more Brit-dominated American TV anchor than Tom Keene. But there might be even a bigger angle here.
Just imagine Mr. Mike Bloomberg appointing Ms. Ilhan Omar as the Managing Editor of Bloomberg.com. How different would Bloomberg.com then become, especially about Israel & Jewish religion? Of course, now we don’t have to guess or imagine. Congresswoman Omar has made her feelings clear in the last week or so.
We think something similar has happened to Bloomberg after John Micklethwait, previously of British Economist, was appointed as the Managing Editor of Bloomberg.com. We saw the full impact of the British view during the last month or so in Bloomberg.com articles about India’s Second Wave. They always seemed to have a reference to Modi’s popularity wondering how long it would last given the horrific impact of the virus. We heard Bloomberg TV anchors in Asia also raise this point in their TV coverage. It was as if the virus & its effects were secondary to the question of how badly would Modi’s popularity would get affected.
Of course, NY Times & Wash Post also did the same but we have always known what they represented. Frankly, we did not see this at Bloomberg until their British import from the Economist, the most ridiculed magazine in the investment world. Traders have learnt to do the reverse of what Economist puts on its titles, as can be seen from just one tweet below from @MacroCharts:
But why is the Economist so bad from an Indian standpoint? Is that because they represent the worst of Brit-Nazi philosophy, a philosophy that embodies extreme racist contempt at its center.
Most have heard of the SS branch of Hitler’s Germany, but very few have heard of the S-branch of Churchill’s Britain. It was headed by Lord Cherwell, originally Frederick Lindemann with a “Baron Berlin” nickname. Winston Churchill and Lord Cherwell were absolutely loyal to each other. In fact, a furious Churchill publicly castigated a House of Commons member by saying “Love me, love my dog, and if you don’t love my dog, you damn well can’t love me,…”*
So how did this Lindemann-Churwell direct the British S-branch?
- “He was repelled by blacks, but he took along his English valet and did not have to be touched by native hands.”30 – page 42
- “his assertion that “20 percent of white people and 80% of the coloured were immune” to mustard gas.”63 – page 215
- “New technologies such as surgery, mind control, and drug and hormone manipulations would one day allow humans to be fine-tuned for specific tasks. Society could create “gladiators or philosophers, athletes or artists, satyrs or monks” at will…”64 – page 216
- “At the lower end of the race and class spectrum, one would remove from “helots“ (the Greek word for slaves) the ability to suffer or to feel ambition. Science could yield a race of humans blessed with “the mental make-up of the worker bee.” This subclass would do all the unpleasant work and not once think of revolution or of voting rights.”64 – page 216
- “The outcome would be a perfectly peaceable and stable society, “led by supermen and served by helots.”64 – page 216
- “To consolidate the rule of supermen – to perpetuate the British Empire – one need only to remove the ability of slaves to see themselves as slaves.”65– page 217
*The quotes, references and page numbers included above are from an extraordinary book titled “Churchill’s Secret War“.
Obviously no one in today’s Britain publicly espouses such views. But that real inner British conviction has not gone away given that they keep looking for & rewarding obedient Indians for communicating the same British supremacy of thought under Indian names.
By the way, this Brit-supremacy culture has also endowed obedient Indians with the same contempt of America that the “elite” Brits feel at their core. You can see that from disrespect or even contempt expressed by today’s Brit-Indians about America. That comes from long & effective training from their British masters. Just as an example of this anti-US training, look what noted biographer Nigel Hamilton writes about Linlithgow, the British viceroy to India during Churchill-FDR days, in his book “The Mantle of Command“ (Vol I – FDR at War 1941-1942):
- “What he [Linlithgow] thought was, in truth, mean, despicable and almost unbelievably snooty. “What a country” he derided America, “and what savages who inhabit it! …. I love some clever person’s quip about Americans being the only people in recorded times who have passed from savagery to decadence without experiencing the intervening state of civilization!”
So if Tom Keene is as much a follower of British elite thinking as he seems to us to be, we can understand why he terms a trite & ridiculous essay by Ramchandra Guha as “magnificent”. But that is his right and perhaps that is where his bread is buttered in an Economist-influenced Bloomberg TV.
That brings us to the central question of this article.
4. Might India follow China’s example?
Allow us to repeat the tweet by Sreemoy Talukdar, a veteran Strategic Affairs commentator in India:
- Sreemoy Talukdar@sreemoytalukdar – Apr 29 – As I had said earlier today, the moral and intellectual ballast is being provided for a regime change operation. These days it is no longer in the form of bombs but “influence ops”. (emphasis ours).
He is not the only one in India thinking about the US-Brit media as a “regime change operations” force. They have also begun to notice people who, like Ian Bremmer in the clip above, use the term “India-variant” for the current mutation without ever using terms like China virus or Wuhan virus. They have begun to realize that China is respected by Brit-US media because China restricts their entry while India is wide open.
This blatant contempt of India & other measures have already begun eroding the positive US-India optimism created because of the Quad. For example, we were stunned to see the tweet below that seems to equate the trust deficit of USA with that of China in Indian eyes. And it is from a Senior Fellow at an Indian Think Tank:
- sushant sareen@sushantsareen – Apr 25 – Never forget what happened. We werent asking for handouts. We were paying for what we were buying. US did what China does by blocking raw material supplies. Learn your lessons & learn these well. No one is a friend. Dont believe in your own crap of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Get real
What can China teach India about protecting itself from rapacious “regime-change” media attacks? Not much because India will never have the fortitude to act like China. But the best teacher might be colonial Britain. They created powerful laws to protect themselves from sedition by Indians. It might be a form of poetic justice to use the old British laws against British-Western media whose main aim seems to be regime change.
We have no idea whether the Indian Authorities & the Judiciary would do something or what they might do. But we do sense that, for the first time, Indians are ready for some serious restrictions on activities on Brit-US media in India. And the easiest media to go after might be corporate-owned media.
Time Magazine is owned by Marc Beniof, the founder & CEO of Salesforce.com; Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos who is the head of Amazon. Already Indian Law holds the CEO responsible for acts by entities he/she owns. So can the Indian people file PILs (Public Interest Litigations) in the Indian Supreme Court against Salesforce, Amazon, Disney (ABC News) etc., for anti-India behavior by Time, Washington Post & ABC? Will the Indian Supreme Court agree to hear such PILs?
Getting back to the likable Ian Bremmer, should Indian Authorities ask every global corporation in India or interested in entering India if they are a client of Eurasia Group? If so, the sins of Barkha Dutt can be visited on them in a limited not-too-damaging form just to wake them up.
Turn this around and ask if Ratan Tata ran a media company that openly discussed change of the Biden regime, wouldn’t the US authorities ask serious questions about the giant Tata Consultancy Services that provides technical services to hundreds of American companies? We think so.
But then, we are America and they are India!
Editor’s Note: In the tradition of this Blog, we ask Mr. Ian Bremmer, Mr. Tom Keene and all others mentioned in this article to let us know if our opinions about them or their words are either wrong or unfair to them. We will seek their feedback and will print their public responses, if any, verbatim.
Send your feedback to [email protected] Or @MacroViewpoints on Twitter