Friday, February 9, 2018

PATRIOTISM WITHOUT A PARADE


Published on Newsmax. #LoveAmerica #DrainTheSwamp

The swamp at center stage is the last thing Trump should want.

Trump ran to drain Washington, DC’s swamp. He ran on dismantling America’s corrupt and unaccountable power center.

The last thing America needs is for the world’s attention to be fixed on a parade in Washington, DC. The swamp’s elite will hold viewing parties and be comforted in the visual validation that really important things only happen in Washington, DC.

America is a federal system. This means power is distributed to the states. Republicans embrace power being based locally. Republicans embrace the private sector and actions centered within families and neighborhoods.

A big national parade, like Bastille Day in France, is not America. France is a national government. Its entire history is based on centralized government. Even regionalism is discouraged.

Military parades in France versus America are not about Parisian cobble stones bearing the weight of tanks better than Washington’s pavement. Washington, DC hosted military parades after the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the First Iraq War. No parade occurred for the end of the Cold War, one of the most important victories in world history.

Americans honor heroes, military and first responders, in countless community events. Every Memorial Day, honoring those who died for America, and Veterans Day, honoring those who served America, ten of millions of ordinary citizens attend local events. Parades, speeches, memorials occur on main streets, public squares, in churches and cemeteries. Americans do not need or want Washington, DC upstaging them in honoring our heroes. The swamp should not prevail.

President Trump can do something very patriotic and meaningful that will last far beyond one flashy display in Washington, DC. He can reignite patriotism in the next generation.

Civics are rarely taught in American classrooms. History is shrunk and dumbed-down. For America to remain America, the young must be taught why we should love America and the ways to express that love.

Organizations like Constituting America make America’s founding principles and documents come alive to young people. Their lesson plans, contests, and creative programs should be promoted in the curriculum and content of all K-12 classrooms.

A rural middle school holds an award-winning immersion on what it is was like to be a Civil War soldier. A small university has students write the life stories of local soldiers who died and have them read their paper while standing next to that soldier’s grave. Every school day, inspired teachers find ways to make learning a life changing and affirming experience.

President Trump should make sure these proven ways to establish patriotism among America’s young people are promoted and funded. The Department of Education could establish grant guidelines that fund patriotic and civic education. The National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities could fund projects and programs that promote patriotism and civic education. Trump should appoint leaders to the Corporation of Public Broadcasting who will make honoring America’s military a program priority.

There are proven ways to make sure the legacy of Americans who served, and who gave their lives, live on in the hearts and minds of the young. Teaching patriotism to future generations assures America remains America.

Parades are fun and can be very moving, but they are fleeting. Honoring America’s military, and America, should be timeless.

[Scot Faulkner advises corporations and governments on how to save billions of dollars by achieving dramatic and sustainable cost reductions while improving operational and service excellence. He served as the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives. He also served on the White House Staff, and as an Executive Branch Appointee.]



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

DEMOCRATS’ MORAL LOW GROUND




Also published on Newsmax.

Liberals hoped that selectively purging their ranks of their rankest elements would give them the moral high ground to drive President Trump from office by declaring him a sexual predator. 

What happened instead was liberals in the media, government, and Hollywood being accused of sexual assault every twenty hours since Harvey Weinstein’s demise.

Americans know who has run our country since the 1930s.  Republicans have simultaneously controlled the Senate, House, and White House only 7 years since the 1932 elections.  Generations of Democrats in power led to generations of abuse.

Hollywood has always been liberal.  In fact, it was infested with Soviet agents.  What was dismissed as John Birch paranoia was proven when the Venona Papers were released from the KGB archives.

The media was liberal, but patriotic, until the 1960s, when it took a hard left turn after the passing of leading owners and publishers.

Left wing dominance of the three sectors that run America allowed for a cesspool of moral turpitude to flourish.  Each protected each other as a code of silence was instituted.  When the perversions or crimes of one of its members was exposed the iron triangle closed ranks stating that such behavior was deplorable, but should not overshadow the person’s advocacy of issues they held dear. 

Most of the time, sexual assault, violence, and exploitation were covered-up and the American public remained ignorant to what was really happening.

In the first twenty-four hours after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the logs of the Presidential Yacht, Sequoia, were removed and destroyed.  As a Navy vessel, the log documented everyone who boarded the ship.  The government log entries for Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, and countless other Kennedy mistresses vanished.  The alteration of the yacht’s master state room, a special slotted door for crew to pass official documents to Kennedy without having to enter during his trysts, was not known until questions were asked during the restoration of the vessel.

There were always “casting couches” in all three sectors.  For decades, Capitol Hill has been notorious for aging Senators and Congressmen picking off attractive staffers, interns, and pages.  Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd were known for making "waitress sandwiches" in the back rooms of Capitol Hill restaurants. 

In the early 1990s, the House of Representatives sank into a quagmire of sexual and financial corruption.  Conservative media exposure of the Post Office, Bank, Gift Shop, and Restaurant scandals ultimately toppled House Democrats and sent several Members to jail.  The reform team that cleaned-up the decades old mess uncovered countless abuses of power.  It became clear, given the mountains of court orders being signed by the Chief Administrative Officer, that at least a third of House Members were abusing their power to amass fortunes, fuel addictions, or pursue sexual conquests.

This is why the Republican House passed HR 1.  The bill forced the Legislative Branch to comply with all federal laws and regulations it passed.  A new Compliance Office was created to enforce the law while maintaining the Constitutional separation of powers. 

While the Chief Administrative Officer and his team established the office and procedures, other House Members quietly created a secret mechanism for settling claims of harassment, discrimination, and hostile work environments.  This mechanism was tucked up under “Member Services” within the Office of the Clerk.  It was this office that has used tax dollars to settle claims and keep Member predation under wraps.

Recently, a newly elected Democrat Senator was privately admonished by his colleagues for taking more time to find his mistress the best Capitol Hill townhouse than he did on selecting the best committee assignment.  This is a person who boasts about his family values.  This should all end
.
There are steps that need to be taken to drain the sexual swamp in which the self-styled leaders of America wallow.  First and foremost, the practice of using tax dollars to settle claims must end.  There should be no “sovereign immunity” for loutish behavior.  Voters should know what their representative is really doing.

Secondly, those who defended President Clinton during his impeachment, in Congress, in Hollywood, and the media, should never be given a credible forum to attack President Trump relating to sexual issues.  They are hypocrites and forfeited their moral high ground decades ago.

Thirdly, any candidate, of either party, should know that their personal failings will be fair game.  Projecting a loving family in campaign ads, while being an adulterer, should be considered “resume padding”.  They should be held accountable even more than someone who fakes being a veteran or a college graduate.

Holding the powerful accountable must become a major priority in rebuilding America’s civic integrity.

[Scot Faulkner advises corporations and governments on how to save billions of dollars by achieving dramatic and sustainable cost reductions while improving operational and service excellence. He served as the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives.  He also served on the White House Staff, and as an Executive Branch Appointee.]

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

CREEPY CONGRESS



#CREEPYCONGRESS  #NAKEDEMPERORS  #DEEPSWAMP


Published in Newsmax.


“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”


The darker side of Washington unfolds around us - Members getting drunk to the point of falling off bar stools and then being dragged to the House Floor to vote; married Members hitting on and picking-up young female staffers and interns; lobbyists bringing attractive female “associates” with them to draw Members to their tables. It was stomach turning. We, sadly, could only shake our heads in amazement and shame. We pledged to rid the House of this culture of moral abandon if we ever got control of the Chamber.


What an insane place it was.  Could the Republicans actually change such a dysfunctional and abusive environment?  A close friend and colleague walked in on his boss having sex with a young female staffer in the middle of his desk. The married Congressman immediately fired this senior legislative aide and warned him that he would make sure he never worked again in Washington if he ever told people the real reason he was let go.


House staffers would relate countless stories of staffers they knew who had to do personal errands and favors for House Members or face immediate dismissal. Tantrums by Members, sometimes resulting in physical harm, sometimes in mass firings of their staffs, were commonplace. Our running joke was that the U.S. House of Representatives was America’s largest adult daycare facility.


We encountered ever stranger evidence of the most corrupt, dysfunctional, and surreal operating environment in any of our professional careers. The fact that this abuse and mayhem was being fueled by public funds appalled all of us.


Every hour that went by unearthed amazing stories of abuse and chaos. Were they fact or fiction?  Some overlapped material already known, but others broke new ground for audacity…this was flagrant abuse of congressional power. “It’s almost too much to bear. What kinds of people are running this place? This is madness!”


The worst stories related to how sexual favors were demanded by both supervisors and Members. They told of how stress and hopelessness led to fist fights and, in one case, a knife fight. They told us of how their supervisors and the Capitol police looked the other way.  Everyone seemed scared of what powerful Members and their handpicked managers would do to them… this sickened us. Was this really happening in America?


These horrific descriptions are excerpts from the book “Naked Emperors” that was published in 2008 [https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Emperors-Failure-Republican-Revolution/dp/0742558819/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511223742&sr=8-1&keywords=faulkner+%22naked+emperors%22].  It revealed rampant abuse dating back to the 1970s, documented with over 300 footnotes and countless interviews. 


In 2008, the public was not ready to confront just how bad Congress had become.


Thankfully, victims are now more willing to come forward and the media is more willing to believe them.  Decades of damage occurred because few wanted to risk reprisals from the powerful they unmasked. It is tragic to think of all the lives that are forever damaged by not stopping this sooner.  Too many politicians and journalists callously looked the other way. 


Finally, Congress seems to be coming to grips with its institutionalized abuse. House Speaker Paul Ryan has mandated sexual harassment training for both Members and staff.  He is the first Congressional leader saying he is willing to stop the systematic and systemic cover-up of their toxic work environment. 


We can only hope that Ryan and the Republicans are sincere and that the era of Congressional perversion and abuse may finally be over. 


[Scot Faulkner advises corporations and governments on how to save billions of dollars by achieving dramatic and sustainable cost reductions while improving operational and service excellence. He served as the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives.  He also served on the White House Staff, and as an Executive Branch Appointee.]



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

TRUMP's FALTERING REVOLUTION



Also published on Newsmax.  #DEEPSWAMP  #RINOgator


President Trump made draining Washington’s Swamp the centerpiece of his Presidency.  The swamp is winning.  Its RINOgators are on the verge of destroying the Trump Presidency. 


Trump’s Executive Branch is now running on empty.  His appointment process is the slowest since Jimmy Carter in 1977.  He recently defended his depleted ranks of loyalists, “we don’t need all of the people. You know, it’s called cost saving.”  In fact, Trump not bringing in his loyalists means the Executive Branch is being run by Obama holdovers, and senior careerists, who run the government from acting positions.  They owe their last eight years of promotions and bonuses to their loyally enforcing and implementing Obama’s policies.


The swamp is exploiting Trump’s misunderstanding of “people equal policy”. 


The few political managers Trump has placed are completely isolated and outmaneuvered. Worse, most of Trump’s appointments are people who owe their loyalty to everyone but Trump.  The inner circles of the White House, and legions of political operatives in the Departments and Agencies, wish Jeb Bush was President.  Their disloyalty to Trump is manifest in leaks and their ineffectual and slow paced efforts to change anything.


Insiders explain that Trump dislikes people with government experience and that he feels Reagan and his appointees could have done more to shrink government.  If that is so, why is he fixated on bringing in Bush alumni who grew government? 


Trump declared that he would drain Washington’s swamp by not hiring lobbyists.  During the transition, countless personnel clearance forms were used supposedly to prevent lobbyists insinuating themselves. This failed.  USA Today reports that more than 100 former federal lobbyists are now working inside the Trump Administration.


Trump has been ill-served and misled from the very beginning.  During the Spring of 2016, key elements of the Reagan coalition, including Reagan Administration alumni and key think tanks, were ready, willing, and able to help Trump be successful.  They were ignored.

In June 2016, Trump realized he needed to prepare for being President.  Instead of turning to those conservatives who were openly and passionately supporting him, Trump turned to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  Where Trump conservatives would have opened the door to legions of proven change agents, Christie opened the flood gates to Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush operatives.  Where Trump loyalists would have worked for free, Christie spent millions on hiring the Boston Consulting Group to run the Transition.  The Boston Consulting Group had never run a Presidential Transition, but the Managing Partner in charge of the contract was the daughter of longtime Bush loyalist.

The Trump Transition ended-up preparing for the Romney/Bush Administration.  Even Steve Bannon was duped into believing only the Washington Establishment was capable of helping Trump prepare for his Presidency.  Highly capable conservatives, Reagan alumni, and professionals who were for Trump since June 2015, were systematically shut out.  Never-Trumpers, even ones who ran anti-Trump floor operations at the Republican National Convention, were welcomed.


The Romney/Bush Transition became the Romney/Bush Administration on January 20, 2017. At the same time, Reince Priebus and his minions from the Republican National Committee (RNC) took over core White House operations.  This included the Office of Presidential Personnel that clears and recommends all political appointees.  Priebus rightly deserves credit for quelling Republican rebellion in the final months of the 2016 campaign.  For this, Trump should have rewarded Preibus with the non-critical Ambassadorship of his choice.  Instead, Priebus became Chief of Staff and proceeded to fill Trump’s inner circle with RNC operatives, few of whom even liked Trump.  The RNC operatives in charge of Presidential Personnel placed their friends on Trump’s political front line.  They even conducted purges of the few Trump loyalists who had made it inside.  Ironically, Never-Trumpers got away with accusing Always-Trumpers of being disloyal.


While President Trump was signing Executive Orders and making inspiring speeches, the RINOgators of the Washington, DC swamp were commandeering key positions, making sure Trump’s vision would never become a lasting operational reality.  They are doing everything possible to protect their swamp.


The most tragic result of Trump being misled is that he is spending his time on actions that will be swept away with the next Administration.  The Washington swamp is drawing Trump into this trap.  Time magazine recently ran an alarmist cover story on Trump’s regulatory reductions.  Even Trump’s inner circle believes the hype. His communications director declared, “No President or Administration has deregulated or withdrawn as many anticipated regulatory actions as this one in this short amount of time.”  In reality, saving $560 million is a pittance against the $2+ trillion regulatory burden faced by America business.


At best, stopping new regulations is like trimming Kudzu.  All these bad policies and regulations have only been driven underground.  They remain in desk drawers and computer files ready to be unleashed. Unless the underlying policies, people, and laws are changed, all these sidelined regulations will spring forth the moment Trump leaves office. The people who would actually pull-up the regulatory Kudzu by its roots are not in place.  Washington, DC’s “RINOgators” have settled in to protect their status quo and wait out Trump.


Real and lasting change will happen only if Trump appoints sufficient numbers of his actual loyalists as soon as possible. He must act quickly and decisively to remove Bush/Romney traitors and replace them with those fully committed to his revolution.  Perhaps the dual attacks by Bush 41 and 43 will open Trump’s eyes to the treachery around him.


[Scot Faulkner advises corporations and governments on how to save billions of dollars by achieving dramatic and sustainable cost reductions while improving operational and service excellence. He served as the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives.  He also served on the White House Staff, and as an Executive Branch Appointee.]


 


 

Monday, October 9, 2017

COLUMBUS - UNITER NOT DIVIDER



[Published in Newsmax]


Columbus and his achievements are about unity. The forces of political correctness have no idea what they are talking about. 


Columbus’ discovery of the Western Hemisphere permanently reconnected the Earth for the first time since the Pangea super continent broke apart 175 million years ago.


A brief period of record low sea levels, caused by the last Ice Age, allowed pre-history humans to migrate into the Americas from Europe around 20,000 BC.  An Asian land bridge opened another short-lived migration corridor along the Alaskan coast in 12,000 BC.  The indigenous people of the Americas were actually its “first immigrants”. Rising seas then sealed them off from the rest of the world.


It was inevitable that humankind would ultimately reconnect.  It was only a matter of time.  The Viking sagas chronicle exploration and fishing settlements in Newfoundland around 1,000 AD.  This is when warmer global temperatures made Greenland and the Arctic waters suitable for navigation and far northern lands viable for habitation.  Others may have stumbled upon the Americas, but their interactions were short lived and isolated.  The reunification of Earth would have to wait another 400 years.


Unique forces of economics, history, and knowledge eventually led to reunifying humankind and the world’s ecosystems. 


The events that set Columbus and his three ships towards destiny began with the fall of Constantinople on May 29, 1453 to the Ottoman Empire.  The Islamic Ottomans took control of all the overland connections to India and China.  They made the Silk Road, and other lucrative trade links to the East, prohibitively expensive and problematic.


In 1412, the Portuguese began methodically establishing an alternative sea-based trade route to Asia.  In 1488, Bartholomew Diaz rounded the Cape of Good Hope. Portugal, with its line of African forts and massive fleet, aspired to join the Ottomans in controlling  Asian trade.


No other European power was capable of competing against these two international forces as most were locked in internal strife or were content with being regional powers.


On January 2, 1492, Spain defeated the last Islamic forces on the Iberian Peninsula.  The duel monarchy of Ferdinand and Isabella turned their vision of conquest to competing with Portugal.


Christopher Columbus was uniquely situated to make the Spanish Monarchs’ dream come true.  Besides being a skilled seaman, Columbus was a highly astute scholar.  He spent years acquiring knowledge about the Atlantic Ocean, including what would become known as its “trade winds”, which would speed travel.


Columbus was at the center of the debate over the size of the Earth.  Educated people knew the Earth was round, but they differed on its size.  No ship’s crew could be provisioned to sail west over a vast ocean all the way to China.  Columbus was armed with knowledge of the Vikings and knew a large land mass was much closer than current wisdom assumed.  His mistake was thinking it was Asia, not an entire undiscovered hemisphere. 


Columbus convinced the Spanish Monarchs it was good business and a wise investment to underwrite an expedition sailing west into the unexplored areas of the Atlantic Ocean.  The Monarchs knew that Spain would become a major world power by building their own trade monopoly if Columbus was successful.


Starting on August 3, 1492, the single most pivotal action in the Earth’s human history began.  On October 12, 1492, Columbus and his landing party stepped onto a Caribbean beach and nothing would ever be the same.


The “Columbian Exchange” fundamentally altered the Earth’s ecosystem and its human history.  The “New World” introduced dietary staples like corn, potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, pineapples, avocados.  “Old World” domesticated animals such as horses, pigs, cattle, cows, and goats fanned out through the Americas, while onions, lettuce, peaches, wheat, rice, sugar, and apples took root.


Detractors scoff, stating that the people of the Americas knew where they were and did not need to be discovered.  Anti-Columbus historians decry the spread of disease and conquest that devastated the first peoples of the Americas.  Reunifying the world after 175 million years had irreversible consequences, good and bad. None of Americas’ cultures had a maritime tradition outside of brief fishing and hunting sojourns within sight of land.  Reunifying the Earth was only going to happen from the “Old World”.  The mingling of flora and fauna created impacts that resonate to this day.


Columbus is rightly recognized as the person who changed the world.  He embodies humanity’s striving to acquire and apply knowledge, and our desire to explore.  Many South American nations, along with Italy and Spain, celebrate Columbus and the day everything changed. 


The United State celebrated the 300th Anniversary of this epic moment in 1792.  It became our nation’s official holiday in 1937.

We should be honoring this unifying moment in history instead of trying to erase it.

[Scot Faulkner advises corporations and governments on how to save billions of dollars by achieving dramatic and sustainable cost reductions while improving operational and service excellence. He served as the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives.  He also served on the White House Staff, and as an Executive Branch Appointee.]


 

Monday, September 18, 2017

RISING REGIONAL POWERS WORKING TOGETHER






Dr. Sunil Chacko - Guest Columnist


Also published at http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/10904-joint-statement-maps-out-road-india-japan-ties


The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe visited India on 13 and 14 September 2017 for the annual India-Japan Prime Ministerial Summit. This visit was unique because his itinerary was entirely in Gujarat, opening the doors to similar such state-level visits by heads of government, reflecting India’s diverse States-Union tradition.

There was palpable excitement in Ahmedabad/Gandhinagar for the visit of Japan’s first couple, Shinzo and Akie Abe, as compared to the jaded disinterest that is common in Lutyens Delhi for the now-unending stream of dignitaries that come through the nation’s capital. Indeed, the next summit in India in 2019 could be in the southern states.


The highlights of the Abes’ interactions with the public were their marigold bedecked open-jeep greetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to throngs of excited Gujaratis lining the streets and the much-anticipated foundation stone laying ceremony for the Shinkansen Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train construction project, expected to be completed around 2022. The Abes too appeared to be energised by the warm reception they received, and PM Abe in his exuberance, declared “I really like India and I will do whatever I can do for India”. This is not insignificant, given that some in the leadership of another large economy in Asia, by comparison, appear to be taking frequent pot-shots at India.


The Joint Statement at the conclusion of the Prime Ministerial Summit calls for alignment of Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy with India’s Act East Policy, including through enhancing maritime security cooperation, improving connectivity in the wider Indo-Pacific region, strengthening cooperation with ASEAN, and promoting discussions between strategists and experts of the two countries. It advances the need for partnerships for prosperity through India-Japan Investment Promotion, speedy implementation of key infrastructure projects, and advancing cooperation in the fields of energy, smart cities, information and communication technology, space, science and technology, bio-technology, pharmaceuticals and health.


Both India and Japan have a formidable number and range of human resources and expertise in sectors mentioned in the Joint Statement, however, one tall barrier could be the relative unfamiliarity with Japanese language in the past interactions among Indians and Japanese. Japanese language teaching in India was stressed in the Joint Statement, as was collaboration in the fields of tourism, civil aviation, higher education, women’s education, skills development and sports. For many Indians, who have grown up with multiple-languages and multi-cultural environment in a multi-religious-and-ethnic society, adding one more language to our portfolio may not be such a difficult task, especially if Japanese language skill is associated with in-coming skilled jobs with Make in India investment from Japan.


On the enhanced connectivity of Pacific-Indian Ocean, the two Prime Ministers plan to work together to enhance connectivity in India and with other countries in the Indo-Pacific region, including Africa. This includes the development of industrial corridors and industrial networks for the growth of Asia and Africa, which will benefit various stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific region, including Africa. They shared the desire to further promote cooperation and collaboration in Africa, just as companies like Maruti-Suzuki have been exporting to numerous African nations.


The Joint Statement also prescribes enhanced defense and security cooperation and dialogues, defense equipment and technology cooperation in such areas as surveillance and unmanned system technologies, and defense industry cooperation.


As is customary with joint statements, there is a litany of initiatives and programmes mentioned. However, little by way of analysis and evaluation. What has happened to various joint endeavours? Have they resulted in business going concerns or faded into oblivion? What can we learn from those experiences?


In a first, PM Abe and PM Modi stressed the importance of holding accountable all parties that have supported North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes, a not-so-veiled reference to the widely suspected Pakistan and China, which have reportedly been overtly, covertly and unofficially supportive.


It is quite fascinating that Modi and Abe have returned to the theme of “Confluence of the Two Seas”, meaning the Pacific and Indian Oceans, which was the title of a 1655 book authored by the Mughal prince Dara Shikoh, who was the son and heir-apparent of Emperor Shah Jahan. Dara Shikoh assiduously sought understanding with different communities and religions. This book title was emphasised by Prime Minister Abe in his famous speech to Indian Parliament on 22 August 2007, during his first term in office. That Dara Shikoh was assassinated by his brother Aurangzeb, a despot, in order to seize power, is often not remembered. Thus, recollecting India’s history, PM Abe’s 2007 speech aimed at governance through peace and by extension peace through strength, would be an essential shared vision; not merely peace through good intentions and hope, and that is indeed the path that India and Japan have embarked on.


Dr Sunil Chacko, a graduate of Harvard, has been a faculty member in the US, Canada, India and Japan.
 

Monday, September 11, 2017

INDIA & JAPAN STANDING TOGETHER



Dr. Sunil Chacko - Guest Columnist


Also published at http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/10801-crowded-agenda-awaits-modi-and-abe-gandhinagar


Japan was the only country besides Bhutan to publicly back India during the 71-day India-China armed standoff at Doklam. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits India next week for the annual India-Japan Prime Ministerial Summit at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stock has risen in the great power centres worldwide over his resolute handling of the standoff with China and his deft management of the complex relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping. That the Doklam imbroglio could have led to a border war, which would have triggered the clauses for legal expropriation of all Chinese assets in India as per the Enemy Property Act 1968, appears to have been a key factor in cooling hotheads in the armed forces of China.


Japan itself faces a threat, which has the capacity of becoming existential. This is with Kim Jong-Un and his regime in Pyongyang. As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe grapples with the unending complications of the breathtakingly tense North Korean crisis—where Kim Jong-Un appears to reserve special venom for Japan, for historical reasons, and with missiles flying over the Japanese islands like ping pong balls— the people in the world’s third largest economy are jittery. Therefore, the strongly worded statements from India have been doubly reassuring. The Japanese side is convinced that India, a rising power, will stand for respect for international law and will not tolerate rogue actions, and the special relationship between the two Prime Ministers Modi and Abe ensures that. The recent Malabar naval exercises of the Navies of India, the United States and Japan have augmented that confidence in India as a strong and reliable partner of Japan.


Unbeknown to most Japanese is the North Korea-Pakistan axis of nuclear and missile proliferation, even from the time of Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan. Some Indian scientists have privately opined that both North Korea and Pakistan could not have advanced so much in both nuclear and missile technologies without concrete scientific and technological help from China. North Korea undoubtedly has become the cause of the most severe migraine that Japan has had since the US started providing a security umbrella after the end of the Second World War 72 years ago. Thus, India—with its own historical links with North Korea through the “non-aligned movement”—breaking with tradition and condemning North Korea for its belligerence is definitely being paid close attention in Tokyo.


Beyond the national security angles, PM Abe along with PM Modi will lay the foundation stones of two flagship projects for mutual economic growth. First the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, which will become the main pathway for Japanese-Indian “Make in India” products and components for export to the growing economies of Africa. It is also fitting that the inaugural events are being held in Gujarat, since it re-emphasises the historical links built by Kutchi traders with Zanzibar in Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. Abe believes that the Indian diaspora, which is firmly rooted in important countries of South, West and East Africa are the key partners for local distribution, management of spares and servicing, and related work needed for Japanese investment to succeed.


The Japanese are not resident in Africa in most countries in any appreciable numbers, unlike the Chinese. Therefore, there is little risk of the Japanese somehow running by themselves the local operations in African nations of joint ventures and other co-produced products from India. Japan sees India as a good location to manufacture and export to Africa, the Middle-East and Central Asia. Indeed, the Maruti-Suzuki manufactured vehicles in India are exported to 125 countries, a genuine success story for the company, Suzuki, which was once on the verge of bankruptcy because of stiff competition from much larger rivals in Japan like Toyota, Honda and Nissan.


Another important and much-anticipated construction project is the “Shinkansen” bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. This rail mode has an enviable zero accident record, despite travelling at over 300 kilometres an hour in Japan. Indeed, beyond the bullet train, Japan-India collaboration on enhancing railway safety throughout the country is one of the topics under discussion. The average speed of Indian trains being about 50 kmph, at the Shinkansen speed, the journey from Mumbai to Ahmedabad would be cut to two hours from the current seven hours. However, the new route would require 11 new tunnels, including an undersea tunnel near Mumbai, and, therefore, the total Japanese concessional loan is approximately $12 billion at 0.1% interest, with a 50-year repayment period, as well as a moratorium on payments for the first 15 years, while the route and train construction, training and allied development work is undertaken and passenger journeys get underway. This is the most concessional of loans, at 0.1% interest, that Japan has ever given for commercial-scale projects. It is one of the payoffs of the increasingly close India-Japan multi-faceted relationship.


Both Modi and Abe, who are close friends, will have several rounds of discussions on geopolitical matters, as well as the India and Japan partnership being developed by the two PMs. The two countries have shared values in security stability, promotion of dialogue and engagement with strong legal ground, joint outreach to global market, where Indians are geo-politically strong, and technology collaboration for the new era of strong and sustained growth. The forthcoming Modi-Abe summit is expected by the Japanese side to be a path-breaker in ties between Tokyo and Delhi.


Dr Sunil Chacko, a graduate of Harvard, has been a faculty member in the US, Canada, India and Japan.