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Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts

Thursday, August 04, 2022

4: Bangalore



Pelosi arrives in Taiwan, voicing U.S. 'solidarity' as China fumes "Our congressional delegation's visit to Taiwan honors America's unwavering commitment to supporting Taiwan's vibrant democracy," Pelosi said in a statement shortly after landing. "America's solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy." ....... Chinese warplanes buzzed the line dividing the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday before her arrival, and Chinese state media said People's Liberation Army would hold exercises near Taiwan from Thursday through Sunday. ........ Several Chinese warships have also sailed near the unofficial dividing line since Monday and remained there ........ Taiwan rejects China's sovereignty claims and says only its people can decide the island's future. ....... During a phone call last Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned Biden that Washington should abide by the one-China principle and "those who play with fire will perish by it". Biden told Xi that U.S. policy on Taiwan had not changed and that Washington strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. ........ Bonnie Glaser, a Taiwan expert at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, told reporters in a call that the damage to American-Chinese relations done by the Pelosi visit would be hard to repair. "We all know how bad this relationship has been in the past year. And I just think that this visit by Nancy Pelosi is just going to take it to a new low," Glaser said. "And I think that it's going to be very difficult to recover from that."

The rouble is soaring and Putin is stronger than ever - our sanctions have backfired Western sanctions against Russia are the most ill-conceived and counterproductive policy in recent international history. Military aid to Ukraine is justified, but the economic war is ineffective against the regime in Moscow, and devastating for its unintended targets. World energy prices are rocketing, inflation is soaring, supply chains are chaotic and millions are being starved of gas, grain and fertiliser. Yet

Vladimir Putin’s barbarity only escalates – as does his hold over his own people.

................ To criticise western sanctions is close to anathema. Defence analysts are dumb on the subject. Strategy thinktanks are silent. Britain’s putative leaders, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, compete in belligerent rhetoric, promising ever tougher sanctions without a word of purpose. Yet, hint at scepticism on the subject and you will be excoriated as “pro-Putin” and anti-Ukraine. Sanctions are the war cry of the west’s crusade. ............. The reality of sanctions on Russia is that they invite retaliation. Putin is free to freeze Europe this winter. He has slashed supply from major pipelines such as Nord Stream 1 by up to 80%. World oil prices have surged and eastern Europe’s flow of wheat and other foodstuffs to Africa and Asia has been all but suspended. .......... Britain’s domestic gas bills face tripling inside a year. The chief beneficiary is none other than Russia, whose energy exports to Asia have soared, driving its balance of payments into unprecedented surplus. The rouble is one of the world’s strongest currencies this year, having strengthened since January by nearly 50%. Moscow’s overseas assets have been frozen and its oligarchs have relocated their yachts, but

there is no sign that Putin cares. He has no electorate to worry him.

.............. They want to bomb Russia’s economy “back to the stone age”. ......... The assumption seems to be that if trade embargos hurt they are working. As they do not directly kill people, they are somehow an acceptable form of aggression. They are based on a neo-imperial assumption that western countries are entitled to order the world as they wish. They are enforced, if not through gunboats, then through capitalist muscle in a globalised economy. Since they are mostly imposed on small, weak states soon out of the headlines, their purpose has largely been of “feelgood” symbolism. ........... more than 30 sanctions “wars” in the past 50 years have had minimal if not counterproductive impact. They are meant to “intimidate peoples into restraining their princes”. If anything they have had the opposite effect. From Cuba to Korea, Myanmar to Iran, Venezuela to Russia, autocratic regimes have been entrenched, elites strengthened and freedoms crushed. Sanctions seem to instil stability and self-reliance on even their weakest victim. Almost all the world’s oldest dictatorships have benefited from western sanctions. .............. Putin’s response to the sanctions imposed on him since his 2014 seizure of Crimea and Donbas. Their objective was to change Russia’s course in those regions and deter further aggression. Their failure could hardly be more glaring. .......... the toughest ever imposed on a major world power, may not be working yet, but will apparently work in time. They are said to be starving Russia of microchips and drone spares. They will soon have Putin begging for peace. ............ Russia is “slowly adjusting to its new circumstances”. Sanctions have promoted trade with China, Iran and India. They have benefited “insiders connected to Putin and the ruling entourage, making huge profits from import substitution”. McDonald’s locations across the country have been replaced by a Russian-owned chain called Vkusno & tochka (“Tasty and that’s it”). Of course the economy is weaker, but Putin is, if anything, stronger while sanctions are cohering a new economic realm across Asia, embracing an ever enhanced role for China. ............ Meanwhile, the west and its peoples have been plunged into recession. Leadership has been shaken and insecurity spread in Britain, France, Italy and the US. Gas-starved Germany and Hungary are close to dancing to Putin’s tune. Living costs are escalating everywhere. Yet still no one dares question sanctions. It is sacrilege to admit their failure or conceive retreat. The west has been enticed into the timeless irony of aggression. Eventually its most conspicuous victim is the aggressor. Perhaps, after all, we should stick to war.


Republicans’ agenda for a second Trump term is far more radical than the first Rather than sideline federal agencies, Republicans want to seize control of them, purge civil servants and replace them with America First footsoldiers .......... the intention to strip away employment protections from thousands of senior civil servants, eliminating at a stroke a large chunk of the civil service’s expertise and institutional memory. ......... Often, it seemed like Trump considered his own government to be more useful to him as a political foil than as a tool in his hands. Trump appeared to have decided there was little point to trying to actually control the “deep state” when he could instead portray himself as its victim. ........ The people at the heart of the movement today are more likely to idolize the Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orbán than they are Ronald Reagan. .......... the recent overturning of Roe v Wade provides a blueprint for how a compliant conservative judiciary can enable government officials to take away even the most fundamental of human rights. ......... With the Department of Justice finally under control, the next Republican president would be free to launch criminal inquiries into political opponents. The brutality of immigration enforcement would be sharply increased while environmental regulations would languish unenforced. Rightwing extremists would go unmolested while American Muslims had their rights abused. Corruption and venality would become rampant across the government as checks and balances were removed and inexperienced hacks had their first taste of power. .......... today’s conservatives act more like revolutionaries. And like all revolutionaries, they want to seize control of the state and launch an offensive on as many fronts as possible.

Sunak closing gap on Truss in Tory leadership contest, poll shows Foreign secretary’s lead down to five points in latest poll of party members, after 24-point lead a fortnight ago ........... Truss on 31%, Sunak 29%, and more than 30% saying they did not know.

Saturday, July 09, 2022

8: Heat Wave, Ukraine

Venture capital’s reckoning Why there won’t be a rerun of the dotcom crash ........ Over $600bn of venture funds were invested worldwide last year, nearly ten times the level a decade ago. ........ Pension funds and endowments that committed large amounts of “dry powder” to private markets are trying to preserve cash by asking vcs to slow their pace of investing. ........ One concern is how interlinked tech firms might be. Some apparently profitable startups are earning money by providing services, from digital marketing to cloud computing, to other startups that are losing money and that in turn rely on endless blank cheques from their vc sponsors. ........ What emerges from the chaos will be a leaner and more efficient industry—and one that will remain a powerful force. .



How to win Ukraine’s long war After doing well early in the war, Ukraine is losing ground. What next? ........ Ukraine won the short war. Mobile and resourceful, its troops inflicted terrible losses and confounded Russian plans to take Kyiv. Now comes the long war. It will drain weapons, lives and money until one side loses the will to fight on. So far, this is a war that Russia is winning. ........... Ukrainian leaders say they are outgunned and lack ammunition. Their government reckons as many as 200 of its troops are dying each day. ........ Fortunately for Ukraine, that is not the end. The Russian advance is slow and costly. With nato-calibre weapons, fresh tactics and enough financial aid, Ukraine has every chance of forcing back Russia’s armies. Even if lost territory will be hard to retake, Ukraine can demonstrate the futility of Vladimir Putin’s campaign and emerge as a democratic, Westward-looking state. But to do so it needs enduring support. .......... The Russian economy is much larger than Ukraine’s and in far better shape. In pursuit of victory, Russia is willing to terrorise and demoralise the Ukrainians by committing war crimes, as it did by striking a shopping mall in Kremenchuk this week. If needs be, Mr Putin will impose grievous suffering on his own people. ........ In 2020, before sanctions, the economies of nato were more than ten times bigger than Russia’s. .......... Mr Putin’s generals will continue to have more weapons, but the sophisticated nato systems now arriving have longer range and greater accuracy. By adopting tactics devised in the cold war, when nato too was outnumbered by the Red Army, Ukraine should be able to destroy Russian command posts and supply depots. ........ Ukraine scored a success on June 30th, when it used nato weapons to drive Russian forces off Snake Island, a strategic prize in the Black Sea. It should aim to impose a “hurting stalemate”, in which it takes back similarly symbolically important territory, such as the city of Kherson, imposing a heavy price on Russia. ........... If Russia starts to lose ground on the battlefield, dissent and infighting may spread in the Kremlin. Western intelligence services believe that Mr Putin is being kept in the dark by his subordinates. ......... The West can raise the cost to Russia of a long war by continuing to press sanctions, which threaten lasting harm to Russia’s economy. It can split Russia’s elites from Mr Putin by welcoming dissenters from business and politics, and encouraging them to see that their country should not throw away its future on a pointless and costly campaign. ......... At a summit on June 23rd, the European Union awarded Ukraine candidate status, promising a deep level of engagement over the next decade. At another summit in Germany this week, the g7 affirmed and strengthened sanctions against Russia. And at a third in Madrid, nato acknowledged the Russian threat by substantially increasing its presence on the alliance’s eastern front. ........ the global costs of a long war will grow. Mr Putin has been blockading exports of grains and sunflower oil from Ukraine’s ports, which will cause unrest and starvation in poorer importing countries. He seems to be trying to create gas shortages in the eu this winter by preventing members from building stocks over the summer. If unity falls apart over energy, as eu states hoard gas, it will disintegrate over Ukraine, too. To complicate matters further, nato members worry that if Ukraine gains the upper hand, Mr Putin will escalate. That could draw them into a catastrophic war with Russia. ........... You can see where Mr Putin is heading. He will take as much of Ukraine as he can, declare victory and then call on Western nations to impose his terms on Ukraine. In exchange, he will spare the rest of the world from ruin, hunger, cold and the threat of nuclear Armageddon. ............ He will fight tomorrow with whatever weapons work for him today. That means resorting to war crimes and nuclear threats, starving the world and freezing Europe. .........

The best way to prevent the next war is to defeat him in this one.

......... To prevail means marshalling resources and shoring up Ukraine as a viable, sovereign, Western-leaning country—an outcome that its defiant people crave. Ukraine and its backers have the men, money and materiel to overcome Mr Putin. Do they all have the will?
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What to do when Slack cuts no slack Consider "vulnerable honesty" with chatty colleagues. For example, saying, "I love that you are including me, I am just not up to socializing."



On Leaving GitHub and Joining OpenSea I only vaguely remember the early days where we reviewed code on a projector and took notes on a notepad. Then came GitHub and I fell in love with a product for the first time in my life. ........ GitHub’s come a long way from the early days when I joined – figuring out the right solution for management structure and growing the team to almost 300. ......... OpenSea’s mission speaks to me, and the team is made up of some of the most genuine people you’ll meet. Their commitment to the cause is like no other. I’m excited by their work to build a creator-first marketplace where makers have unlimited freedom to bring their work to life how they see fit, and share it with people however they want. ........... They say

a bear market is for the builders

. It’s an opportunity to focus on what matters most – what’s critical for a successful community and is pushing the NFT ecosystem forward. ....... Let creativity reign and the best work rise unhindered by a system meant to extract all profits from builders and overcharge their communities.




When the iPhone was released, many people within BlackBerry rightly pointed out that we had a technical leg up on Apple in many areas important to business and enterprise users (not to mention the physical keyboard for quickly cranking out emails)… but how much did that advantage matter in the end? If there is serious market pull, the rest eventually gets figured out… a lesson I learned from my time at BlackBerry that I was lucky enough to be able to immediately apply when I joined Google to work on Android. .......... At BlackBerry, we would hear stories of

customers “accidentally” dropping their devices into the toilet

to force their IT team for an upgrade. It was hard to imagine in the mid-2000s that by the end of the decade carrying a BlackBerry would become “uncool.” ........... When BlackBerry tried to force fit the enterprise product for the consumer market with devices like the BlackBerry Curve, Storm, and Tour, and it didn’t work. .......... I had the opportunity to learn from our mistakes when I became one of the first Product Managers on the Android team. At Android, we were maniacally obsessed about the product experience, not the “Google experience.” .........