Tuesday Headlines

India’s Elections Will Have Far-Reaching Consequences
Almost 50 nations will head to the polls in 2014 to decide their next leader, but the election in India is one of the most important and consequential of them all. It is the world’s largest democracy and it is currently pursuing nuclear weapons that could reach the United States, writes James Tapper in Global Post.

[On the eve of the election, US Ambassador Nancy Powell has resigned from her post, which The Financial Times says may actually more forward efforts to repair relations between the two countries that have yet to recover from the arrest of India’s deputy consul general in 2013.]

India also could be the nation with which China goes to war if the incursions of the last year are any indication.

For the past year, Chinese soldiers have crossed the border into and engaged with Indian troops in the disputed Himalayan border area of Ladakh in Kashmir.

“That is one of many potential flash points between the two countries, home to about a third of the world’s population. China has a territorial claim on north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, and there has been a long-running dispute about the Brahmaputra river, which begins in Chinese-controlled Tibet and flows into India. A series of Chinese hydroelectric dam projects have made Indians nervous that the river might be diverted to irrigate the dry southern regions of China,” Tapper notes.

Tapper argues that India also is a crucial player because it could be the source of a range of “superbugs” due to their overuse of antibiotic drugs, which the World Health Organization believes poses a significant risk to other nations.

Global Slowdown May Benefit US Economy
Rana Foorhar of Time magazine argues that the slowdown in the global economy, which is producing a globalization in reverse, may not be such a bad thing for the US.

“With global economic integration seemingly in reverse, at least for the moment, many economists and trade experts are beginning to talk about a new era of deglobalization, during which countries turn inward. Some of the implications are worrisome. Complaints to the World Trade Organization about protectionism, intellectual-property theft and new trade barriers are rising. Trade talks themselves are no longer global but regional and local, threatening to create a destructive so-called spaghetti bowl of competing economic alliances,” Foorhar argues, adding that if the slowdown means US companies begin “reshoring” that may actually help the US economy.

Energy Imports Are No Panacea For Europe’s Pains
Since Russia annaexd Ukraine, there has been intense discussion about the US stepping in to act as Europe’s primary source of energy. But, says Hannu Vaananen, flooding the continent with US energy will have political and economic consequences.

He contends Europe’s reliance on imported fuels is undermining the region’s economic recovery, and the high import rate of strategic raw materials translates into a political and economic vulnerability. He adds that recently Europe confronted this several times during the last decade (e.g., the case of China’s  restriction of rare earth metal exports).

“The European Union climate and energy efficiency targets beyond 2020 are  under discussion. The European Commission has proposed a binding CO2 reduction  target of 40% by 2030 (based on 1990 CO2 levels), as well as a renewable target  of 27% by 2030. Meanwhile, the European Parliament is calling for more ambitious targets. Whatever the final decision  will be, it is good to keep in mind the two price tags energy has and the ways  to reduce them.”

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