Watching on TV, the case that the Democratic Managers were making in the Senate Impeachment Trial of President Donald Trump was a pleasant exercise in listening and understanding for me. Lead Impeachment Manager, Adam Schiff, Chuck Schumer, Jason Crow, Hakeem Jeffries, Joe Lofgren, .. made their cases on January 22, 2020.
Purpose of the Exercise : Democratic House Managers and President Donald Trump’s Counsel along with his team to engage in their exercise of respectively presenting their cases to persuade and to drive home the point in order to influence the Senators (both Democrats and Republicans) in supporting their arguments.
Salient Observations from a Common Man:
1. Effectively the substance overall is a recapitulation, reiteration, and reproduction of what happened in the House of Congress in September-December 2019 when the 17 witnesses were interrogated in public.
2. Every manager stuck to the focus on the need to impeach President Donald Trump ; every manager concentrated on the core message(s) ; every manager seemed honest and enthusiastic in his/her arguments ; every member used attention grabbing images on slides and video clips ; and every manager possibly effectively connected with the viewers all over the nation and the world.
3. Lead Impeachment Manager, Adam Schiff, set the stakes very well describing what failure to act will look like ( setting a dangerous precedent, a disaster for the nation, loss of faith in democracy, and neglecting the safety and security of the nation ) ; how painful it will be emotionally for the Citizens ; alternately how peaceful, grateful, and tolerant that the Citizens will feel with peace, safety, and security.
4. Adam Schiff also laid emphasis on the constant struggles that his team had to make in their journey against the stream, while at the same time making clear the chain of obstacles faced by them in making their cases more strong in the House ( not having been allowed the rightfully sought witnesses and documents ). Despite that, they were ” moving in the right direction ” was the essence of their case, he averred.
5. Adam Schiff also placed emphasis on what and how things are not what/how they should have been in this case, hence, their efforts to engage in this Impeachment has been not just harped on but repeatedly echoed ( by other managers too ) during the presentation. Describing how/where the things are now and how/where should be ( with no influence or interference by any foreign power in US elections ), the case managers sequenced the contents as a stay without ennuying.
6. The presentation was enhanced by the use of slides, and video clips ( using statements, tweets, conversations, depositions, comments ) elevating the routine but special one of this nature to an engaging exercise in academics propelling the listeners ( all over the country and the World ) almost programmed to listen and understand the content in true form.
(a) The managers seemed keenly aware that creating and promoting the curiosity of what they delivered was their primary challenge and they must have achieved that today. Specially, Adam Schiff overcame the hurdle with his sprinkling of certain specifics ( as for e.g. citing a cable from a Vietnam veteran not being allowed in drawing a parallel ) which could have further strengthened their arguments that Ukraine is our ally and we are extremely concerned.
(b) “Seeing is believing” – and the visuals during the presentation were so great that they must have captured the attention of the audience ( Senators and Citizens ) and made the performance of managers truly of a good standard. Adam Schiff at the end looked like seeking everyone to join the ‘democratic movement’ with a ‘yes, we can’ moment to prevent the dangers to good governance.
(c) Management students and analysts should not have any excuse to miss the event in the next few days – an event fashioning itself to be a ” model presentation exercise ” at the highest political level. That the Republican managers will also strive to match/outperform the Democratic Managers cannot be dismissed easily.
“Dieu avec nous”
Thursday, January 23, 2020 – 9.59 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” At every repetition the Democratic Managers pressed the Impeachment closer to the chest “.
1. US-China Trade Deal :
First Phase of the Trade Deal with China has been crystallised on January 15, 2020, to be marked with a Whitestone in President Donald Trump’s first term.
President Donald Trump claims, ” it is a momentous step … … … to a future of fair and reciprocal trade”.
2. The Trade Agreement has been signed by President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the White House.
3. The Trade Deal covered :
Expansion of American agriculture ; IP protection and enforcement ; Removing barriers to American Financial Services ; Rebalancing the US-CHINA trade relationship ; Effective Dispute Resolution.
China will submit an action plan to strengthen IP protection within 30 days of agreement taking effect. This will cover “measures that China will take to implement its obligations” and the “date by which each measure will go into effect”.
Technology transfers should be based on market terms that are voluntary and reflect mutual agreement.
Companies should be able to operate “without any force or pressure from other party to transfer their Technology to persons of the other party”.
China will take measures to root out the sale of counterfeit goods.
Chinese market access to US financial services firms will get a boost.
President Donald Trump revoked his earlier decision to label China as currency manipulator.
4. Time taken for the Trade Deal to effect :
It took 18 months (660 days) and 13 rounds of high level negotiations prior to this deal.
US dropped its plans of new tariffs on $ 160 billion in Chinese imports. It also cut tariffs on $ 110 billion in half to 7.5 %.
5. Second Phase of the Deal :
The second phase of the deal is expected to begin only after the November Election. Until then, punitive tariffs on China will stay. (Tariffs on $ 360 billion of Chinese goods).
Principle of equality and mutual respect was the guiding force behind the phase I deal. Phase 1 of the deal commits China to buy $ 200 billion worth of goods (agriculture, manufacturing, and services) from the US in the next two years. We may remember that President Donald Trump wanted China to reduce trade deficit in 2018.
Phase 2 of the deal is expected to roll back more tariffs and it may be christened 2A, 2B, and 2C .. .. ..
Focus on enforcement of the Phase 1 of the deal is the primary focus now – hold the US officials.
Salient Observations from a common man :
1. Even as the door of ‘impeachment’ threatened to close for President Donald Trump, the door of ‘economy’ opened welcoming him into the group of Leaders respected for high level performance.
2. The First Phase of US-CHINA deal, and the ratification of USMCA are the twin gains that Donald Trump recorded enabling him to cross his thorn laden Political Street with eclat.
3. In management parlance this can be taken to represent : (a) his tenacity of will ; (b) his ability to stay resolute ; (c) his ability to hold his strong’hold with aplomb ; (d) his effectiveness of execution ; and (e) his professional competence with skill. Management analysts and students have a good topic on hand to discuss and discept in their classes.
4. The Phase 1 of the deal is a firm step on the rungs of the ladder of easing the on-going trade war, giving the right direction.
5. President Donald Trump’s team of negotiators (cheerleaders) ‘connected, communicated, and collaborated’ with their counterparts in China and celebrations, if any, are only fitting. Ability to connect authentically with the other party’s thoughts and feelings in order to motivate and inspire them toward a deserved outcome – is a mark of Leadership.
6. The pessimism, if any, shrouding the markets with the possibility of slow economic growth may well be dispelled, atleast temporarily.
7. In keeping/fulfilling one of his promises, President Donald Trump must have built and elevated the “trust” of his supporters and possibly earned many other supporters too. His commitment is stronger than the real benefits that are likely to accrue to the people in the short-term. It, nevertheless, is a timely ‘win’ with a concrete ascension to the overall relations with China.
Something seems to be missing in this deal. We still do not know the specifics clearly (in terms of statistics and cost benefits). The optimism portrayed now may just vanish if the details do not support a clear advantage to the US Citizens. That may well be a great disappointment. The process, nevertheless, has started signalling the existent choices and chances which comprise the big hope that it will be consummated “favourably”. Hail Leadership.
“Dieu avec nous”
Thursday, January 16, 2020 – 6.19 p.m. (IST).
Tidbit : ” The Phase 1 of the US-CHINA deal is expected to set in motion a “new cycle of relationship” “. – President Donald Trump.
” Seventh Democratic Presidential Primary Debate – Candidates Expect a Voter Storm ” – January 14, 2020.
The seventh Democratic Presidential Primary Debate was held tonight in Iowa.
Venue : Drake University Campus, Des Moines, Iowa.
Hosted by : The Des Moines Register with CNN as Co-host.
Candidates : Former VP, Joe Biden ; Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont) ; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) ; Mayor Pete Buttigieg, (South Bend, Indiana) ; Sen. Amy Klobuchar ( Minnesota) ; and Enterpreneur Tom Steyer.
Moderated by : Wolf Blitzer ; Abby Phillip of CNN; and Brianne Pfarnansteil of Des Moines Register.
Issues Covered : Middle East, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq – Troops and war ; Trade Relations ; Healthcare ; Childcare ; Education ; Impeachment ; and Economy.
Salient points from me here :
1. Tom Steyer’s key strategies and strengths are three-fold : Climate Change as priority, Standing up for the righteous things, and Military should be strategically defensive. He is keen to effect changes to Governance, Economy, and Welfare of people through incorporating Environmental friendliness in every aspect. This is something that is looking beyond the established set of behaviors and practices, but he argued convincingly that this will be the best remedy in this critical hour of chaos and tumult.
2. Pete Buttigieg’s three fold key strategies and strengths lay in : Trust in allies and human rights in dealing with foreign nations; Climate Science linked to development and jobs schemes ; and Call of faith in trying to fight greed and misgovernance. He seemed to have a good grasp of the changes happening now, and hoped that people will appreciate the path he is providing. It occurred to me, however, that he didn’t make the best use of the debate forum to make impact.
3. Amy Klobuchar’s key strategies and strengths are : Rejoining Paris Climate Agreement ; her strong focus to beat Trump ; and Decency and patriotism in people relations, governance, and officials. Things worked well and happened perfectly for her and she must have felt good and confident about that. In bringing reference to Donald Trump while answering almost every question even while differentiating her Strategy very clearly with unclouded alternatives, her efforts to place herself as the best candidate to beat Trump grew from strength to strength as the debate progressed. She surely must have elevated her standing after this debate.
4. Elizabeth Warren’s key strategies and strengths are : Giving power to the powerless ; Expansion of healthcare, and Fighting corruption. She not only emphasized what she wants to change on every issue of the debate, but also articulated that effectively. She is also the one who stood out in assessing the situation exceptionally well in this debate. No confrontation, no tit for tats, no high decibel rhetoric. And she must have made her views count to the people effectively. Warren had the best with Amy Klobuchar coming immediately after her, as far as my assessment goes now.
5. Bernie Sanders’ Key strategies and strengths are : Medicare for all ; Trade deals benefiting Citizens ; and Democratic Socialism as the best ideal to fight Trump. Credible and honest but no great forward thinking or adventurous programs. He seemed stubborn and inflexible too. If it was his conviction and his way of accepting the challenges, he needs to be complimented.
6. Joe Biden’s key strategies and strengths are : Affordable Healthcare with public option ; Improving the economy ; and emphasis on his experience to beat Trump. He, like Sanders, admitted flaws even while giving reasons for that. He was also gracious while acknowledging the support he received from people. He must have maintained his standing.
Key Moment of Debate :
The key moment of the debate was when the question regarding Senator Sanders’ utterance in 2018 – ” a woman couldn’t be President” – was posed, and as a reply to Sanders’ defense Senator Elizabeth Warren made the statement – ” Just look at this stage. The men on this stage here have lost 10 Elections; and the ‘two’ women on this stage (Elizabeth Warren herself, and Amy Klobuchar) are the only ones to have won all their Elections uptil now.” That this aroused the longest applause and cheers during this debate is not a coincidence. It was deserving.
Leadership Characteristics evident in this debate :
1. Acknowledging mistakes – Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren acknowledged mistakes honestly at times, specially during the first 45 minutes of the debate. Specially in the context of 2002 vote of Biden, and the present Middle East conflict.
2. Past experiences as good guidelines for decisions : Pete Buttigieg dwelt on his Afghanistan experience and as Mayor to frame strategies for foreign relations/practices and education.
3. Judgement more than experience as key to Leadership : Both Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer touched on this aspect while dealing with climate change.
4. Collaboration and networking to bring about harmonious relationship : Bernie Sanders explained how the Iran nuclear deal of 2015 was achieved amidst differences and rigidity.
5. Competency and not just stature is Leadership : Senator Amy Klobuchar brought light on this in her expression of how women can make a mark in this world, just like she did.
What each said in closing remarks :
Amy Klobuchar : “Election is about People. Finding Common ground and not scorched earth is what is needed”.
Tom Steyer : “Take back the country and save the world. Do not kick people on the base”.
Pete Buttigieg : ” Breaking from the past is important. Join me to help turn the page on the politics “.
Elizabeth Warren :. ” My heart is filled with hope. Our moment is to build the movement and make the change”.
Bernie Sanders : ” Great economy and great Government that work for all is the need. Courage needs to take over the corrupt”.
Joe Biden : ” Restore America’s soul that is in jeopardy now. Fundamental basic decency is the need of the hour”.
Conclusion: I strongly feel that with the Iowa votes slated for February 3, 2020 , voters will be keen to indulge in a merit based assessment of the content to be delivered by the candidates from now on (in this debate and after). Also, with Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, setting the stage for an Impeachment trial following her transfer of Impeachment articles to the Senate (likely tomorrow morning) along with the identification of managers, the mental and emotional framework of the voters are expected to be accended across the States.
Candidates in general delivered a lot in terms of new/alterations of their deals for growth ; redefining and refining their programs in the light of criticisms (both from among the candidates within and outside) and new inputs; predicating on what can happen following the tense situation created in the Middle East ; some solid insights into solutions to the growing expectations of the people and their satisfaction; and extending their march (campaign) through the still untapped/less tapped voter segments into new areas.
The debate effectively set the next task and stage of campaign when the candidates will essentially spend time filtering their ideas further cutting redundancy and adding specific and clear returns for people from their deals and programs that can foster the climate and encourage Peoples’ following.
On the Social front the time now is right for accelerated communication with Citizens utilising the platforms created so far (digital, electronic ads, meetings, face to face communication … ) embedding a sense of a “Democratic Community” full of focus, energy, and engagement of the citizens, for the citizens, by the citizens.
American citizens will from now on look for the candidate who can display these three characteristics : ” Optimism, Energy, and Electability “.
“Dieu avec nous”
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 – 11.19 a.m. (IST).
Tidbit: ” China is our enemy on Economics ; Iran because of Donald Trump.” – Senator Amy Klobuchar.
US President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on 3rd January 2020 has been bold and adventurous triggering discussions in favour and against all over the world.
A short observation from a non-expert :
President Donald Trump followed the dictum : ” Urgent situations require Urgent responses ” and his emergency response is to take General Qassem Soleimani out.
Democrats on the other hand may be right in their thinking to oppose the act vehemently based on the dictum : ” Complex situations require thoughtful analysis before action “.
Both are reactions that seem different to experts, analysts, media, and even common Citizens.
While President Donald Trump as a Leader held his style of response (though may be perceived as unilateral, aggressive, imprudent, … … ) with the strong belief that something good to Citizens will emerge, his decision even while getting all the attention throughout the world, didnt go well with a majority within or outside the nation. He, nevertheless, may have achieved his – by now – characteristic and famous approach, that is, ” let me get this done, come what may “. An approach that rates the Success in less serious matters and perhaps in small proportions. His intent may be to drive fear into the hearts and minds of the Iranian Leadership, but at this juncture it seems to have taken only vast energy from him with little credit assigned to the act. What happened may well be contrary to what was expected.
Democrats are likely driven by a sense of National and International Security ; Image of the nation in the eyes of the World ; and Trust among allies which are key ingredients in Foreign Relations and Policy. It is their sensitivity to the people within and outside the nation and mindfulness to the personal lives and goals of all Citizens that probably made them “move the resolution to curb the President’s action against Iran” – for future practices, iterations, and to make that an essential tenet. This may well be supported, encouraged, and highly regarded by people even if it is not by itself enough to mark their success.
Coming days will probably make the US feel and sense the real impact of this First Big Event/Political Decision of this new Decade.
” Dieu avec nous “
Thursday, January 9, 2020 – 9.09 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” President Donald Trump made the decision to eliminate General Qassem Soleimani “in response to imminent threats to American Lives” ” – Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.