Hillary Clinton says threats to start war with North Korea “dangerous, short-sighted“

Former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is seen speaking, in this undated photo received via the BBC, during an interview at Claridge's hotel for the BBC's Andrew Marr Show which was broadcast in London, Britainon on October 15, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 October 2017
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Hillary Clinton says threats to start war with North Korea “dangerous, short-sighted“

SEOUL: Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed President Donald Trump’s “dangerous and short-sighted” war of words with North Korea Wednesday, saying his Twitter tirades only benefitted Pyongyang’s attention-seeking ruler and hurt Washington’s credibility.
Clinton lost last year’s presidential election to the insurgent Republican despite having decades of experience in politics.
Tension has been running high for months as the White House’s new incumbent and the North’s Kim Jong-un trade threats of war, with Trump dubbing Kim “Rocket Man” and being called a “dotard” in response.
In recent months Pyongyang has carried out multiple launches of missiles potentially capable of reaching the US mainland, and its sixth nuclear test.
But Trump’s tit-for-tat with the young, autocratic ruler of the isolated regime only dents Washington’s credibility and helps Kim bask in global attention he seeks, the former secretary of state told a forum in Seoul.
“I am worried about some of the recent actions from the new administration that seem to raise tensions. Our allies are now expressing concerns about America’s credibility and reliability,” she said.
“Picking up fights with Kim Jong-un just puts a smile on his face. It’s like picking fights with NATO and the EU which puts a smile on Putin’s face,” she added, referring to the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump’s escalating verbal threats have sparked concerns of potential conflict on the peninsula, especially after he warned this month that “only one thing will work” on the North, without elaborating further.
Such “cavalierly threats to start a war are dangerous and short-sighted,” Clinton said, adding the regime would be “thrilled” to get the “personal attention of the leader of our country.”
Without once mentioning Trump by name, she also said she was “very concerned that the new administration is draining the government of the expertise” in diplomacy over the North.
“There are few Asia experts of senior level left at the State Department,” she said.
Alienating Washington’s allies in Asia, where the clout of the world’s No. 2 economy China has been rising to rival the US, could have “grave consequence,” she said: “If we pull back, it leaves a vacuum for others to fill.”
How to curb Kim’s weapons ambitions is expected to be a major focus of Trump’s trip to Asia next month that includes Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing among its stops.
US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, who was also in Seoul on Wednesday for talks with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, defended Trump’s comments.
“The regime in Pyongyang is unpredictable and not transparent,” he told reporters. “We and our allies have to be prepared for any eventuality. For that reason the president... said all options are on the table.”
Clinton, the former first lady who served as the US’ top diplomat from 2009 to 2013 under president Barack Obama, suffered a shock defeat to Trump in the 2016 election.
She felt “so responsible” for the defeat, she said, but also blamed multiple factors including sexism, misogyny and Russian intervention she recounted in her recent memoir “What Happened.”
Moscow, she said, was “trying to destabilize every democracy.”
“It’s not going to end at 2016 American campaign... it’s an ongoing threat,” Clinton said, describing the suspected Russian campaign as “so successful... and very effective propaganda.”
Trump’s presidency has been overshadowed by allegations that his campaign team colluded with Russia during last year’s election.
Moscow has faced accusations of state-sponsored cyberattacks on countries including Germany and France to influence election results — allegations it has steadfastly denied.


India’s Modi stares at biggest election loss since coming to power

Updated 11 December 2018
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India’s Modi stares at biggest election loss since coming to power

  • Analysts say a big loss for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party would signify rural dismay and help unite the opposition
  • Poll analysts cautioned that with the counting in preliminary stages, it was still too early to predict the outcome of state races involving millions of voters

NEW DELHI: India’s ruling party could lose power in three key states, four TV networks said on Tuesday, citing votecount leads, potentially handing Prime Minister Narendra Modi his biggest defeat since he took office in 2014, and months ahead of a general election.
The main opposition Congress party could form governments in the central states of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, and in the western state of Rajasthan, all big heartland states that powered Modi to a landslide win in the 2014 general election.
Analysts say a big loss for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party would signify rural dismay and help unite the opposition, despite his high personal popularity in the face of criticism that he did not deliver on promises of jobs for young people and better conditions for farmers.
“We’ve all voted for Congress this time and our candidate is winning here,” said Bishnu Prasad Jalodia, a wheat grower in Madhya Pradesh, where it appears as if Congress might have to woo smaller parties to keep out Modi’s party.
“BJP ignored us farmers, they ignored those of us at the bottom of the pyramid.”
The elections are also a test for Rahul Gandhi, president of the left-of-center Congress, who is trying to forge a broad alliance with regional groups and face Modi with his most serious challenge yet, in the election that must be held by May.
In Rajasthan, the Congress was leading in 114 of the 199 seats contested, against 81 for the BJP, in the initial round of voting, India Today TV said.
In Chhattisgarh, the Congress was ahead in 59 of the 90 seats at stake, with the BJP at 24. In Madhya Pradesh, the most important of the five states that held assembly elections over the past few weeks, Congress was ahead, with 112 of 230 seats. The Hindu nationalist BJP was at 103, the network said.
Three other TV channels also said Congress was leading in the three states, with regional parties leading in two smaller states that also voted, Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.
Poll analysts cautioned that with the counting in preliminary stages, it was still too early to predict the outcome of state races involving millions of voters.
Local issues usually dominate state polls, but politicians are seeing the elections as a pointer to the national vote just months away.
Indian markets recovered some ground after an early fall as the central bank governor’s unexpected resignation the previous day shocked investors.
The rupee currency dropped as much as 1.5 percent to 72.465 per dollar, while bond yields rose 12 basis points to 7.71 percent after the resignation of Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel.
The broader NSE share index was down 1.3 percent, with investors cautious ahead of the election results.
“As the three erstwhile BJP states have a large agrarian population, the BJP’s drubbing could be interpreted to mean that farm unrest is real,” Nomura said in a research note before the results.
“A rout of the BJP on its homeground states should encourage cohesion among the opposition parties to strengthen the non-BJP coalition for the general elections.”
Gandhi, the fourth generation scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, has sought to build a coalition of regional groups, some headed by experienced firebrand, ambitious politicians.
Congress has already said it would not name Gandhi, who is seen as lacking experience, as a prime ministerial candidate.
“When one and one become eleven, even the mighty can be dethroned,” opposition leader Akhilesh Yadav said of the prospect of growing opposition unity.