World View: Mixed Emotions over Narendra Modi's Probable Win in India

World View: Mixed Emotions over Narendra Modi's Probable Win in India

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Will Ukraine’s ‘People’s Republic of Donetsk’ be absorbed into Russia?
  • Kerry to meet with Palestinians to discuss ending aid
  • Mixed emotions over Narendra Modi’s probable win in India

Will Ukraine’s ‘People’s Republic of Donetsk’ be absorbed into Russia?

The events of this weekend in Ukraine were truly amazing. 

The ballot question that people in the province of Donetskwere asked to vote on was: “Do you support the Act of State Self-ruleof the Donetsk People’s Republic?” It was similar in the provinceof Luhansk. 

Both the BBC and Al-Jazeera covered the elections live from variouspolling stations. A lot of people came out to vote, and there werelong lines at the polling stations, but that was mainly because of the small number of polling stations for half a million people insome cities. 

Both BBC and al-Jazeera were able to predict right in the pollingstation that the “Yes” votes were winning almost unanimously. How didthey know that? Well, when someone came to vote, he was handed asheet of paper that came out of a printer that anyone could haveeasily printed. He would go to a table where he would mark his ballotin plain sight of everyone, then he would drop the sheet of paper intothe ballot box — a tall rectangular container made of CLEAR PLASTIC.So when the camera was pointed at the ballot box, you could see howthe person voted, and you could see that everyone was voting “Yes.”Then there were interviews with people, typically afraid of beingidentified by name, who would have liked to vote “No,” but were afraidto do so for fear of retribution. 

As we reported last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin was reportedly caught in a lie in the claims that 97%of the voters in the Crimean secession voted for secession. These figures were called into question, and the actual figure may have been 50% ofa 30% turnout, or 15% of voters in Crimea.  

Pre-referendum opinion polls in eastern Ukraine showed thatmost people were angry at the government in Kiev but thatthey also didn’t want to be absorbed into Russia. So when they votedPeople’s Republic?” they thought that they were voting to become aself-ruling republic. But that didn’t stop the referendum leadersfrom immediately declaring that the people had spoken and wanted Donetsk to be absorbed into the Russia Federation, just likeCrimea. 

Putin was quoted on Monday saying that Russia had no intention ofannexing Donetsk, but of course he said exactly the same thing aboutCrimea just before Russia annexed it. BBC and RFERL

Kerry to meet with Palestinians to discuss ending aid

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with PalestinianPresident Mahmoud Abbas in London on Thursday to discuss whetheror not the U.S. will continue to provide up to $500 millionin aid to Palestinians.

This meeting will come several weeks after the total collapse of theMideast “peace talks” that Kerry set up last year. The “peace talks”were considered to be a joke around the Mideast, as the Israelis andthe Palestinians rarely even spoke to each other. By the end ofMarch, the whole thing was reduced to angry finger-pointing. It’sbelieved that Kerry and the Obama administration blame Israel forthe collapse of the “peace talks,” because Israel’s president, BenjaminNetanyahu, refused to agree to a plan where Israel would return to itspost-1948 borders. 

The Palestinians have been making it clear that they’re going togo their own way now. They’re applying to hundreds of UnitedNations organizations as the State of Palestine, and they’veindicated their intention to go to the International CriminalCourt and charge Israel with war crimes. 

But from the point of view of the United States, the most significantchange is that Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA/Fatah) announced itwill form a unity government with Hamas, the governing authority inGaza. Hamas is identified as a terrorist organization by the United States,with a charter that includes the total destruction of Israel. 

Unfortunately for Abbas, U.S. law prohibits aid to the Palestinians tobenefit Hamas, “or any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, anypower-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that resultsfrom an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undueinfluence.” Fatah and Hamas were at war several years ago, andseveral subsequent attempts at unity have collapsed because ofhostility between the two. Presumably Kerry is going to tell Abbas onThursday that if he wants U.S. aid to continue to flow to thePalestinians, then it would be a good idea for this attempt at unityto collapse as well. But according to some news reports, there’s achance that Abbas will tell Kerry to take his money and go home.Reuters

Mixed emotions over Narendra Modi’s probable win in India

Official results won’t be published until Friday, but exit pollsindicate that that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Hindunationalist Narendra Modi, has won a historic victory in India’sparliamentary elections. It now looks likely that the BJP will be thefirst party in 30 years to win an absolute majority in parliament.The government Congress Party has suffered a devastating defeat in an election with an extremely high turnout.

Much of Modi’s popularity comes from his “hope and change” promises toimprove the economy and eliminate corruption in New Delhi. Butconcerns have been raised that because of his avowed (Hindutva) Hindunationalism, he will worsen the relationship between Hindus andMuslims. His rhetoric has particularly targeted Muslimimmigrants from Bangladesh, and he recently threatened that as soon ashe took office he would deport Bangladeshi immigrants, saying, “I will send these Bangladeshisbeyond the border with their bags and baggages.” Times of India and CS Monitor

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Ukraine, Donetsk, Crimea,John Kerry, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Israel, Hamas,Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP, India, Bangladesh, Narendra Modi 

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