“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.” ― Edward Abbey
When you face very difficult, even impossible odds - how do you survive?
You might think optimism would be key or being cheerful or keeping hopes alive for the next day may differentiate the winners from the losers in such situations.
There is an interesting story that explains what actually works. It is called the Stockdale Paradox.
In an interesting story related by Vice Admiral James Stockdale to Jim Collins in his book Good to Great. He was a Vietnam veteran and he was held in Hanoi (Hilton) along with his soldiers.
They were tortured and kept poorly, almost to a point of no hope.
So, who do you think came out of that situation?
Those who never lose faith in how the story will end!
Who did not survive and why?
The Optimists. The Optimists who told themselves that they will be out by end of the year or Christmas or some such milestone. They all died of broken hearts.
You must never ever ever confuse, on the one hand, the need for absolute, unwavering faith that you can prevail despite those constraints with, on the other hand, the need for the discipline to begin by confronting the brutal facts, whatever they are. We’re not getting out of here by Christmas.”
Optimism and dreams are useful in life but in crisis, losing touch with reality and facts in damning and fatal.
So when going gets really really tough, never lose sight of the facts even while you have a firm belief in how it will all end. In your favor.
Blind optimism? Chuck that.
the Indo-China stand-off - detailed update
Today, let us look at some credible sources on the Indo-China conflict and the real situation there as we collate all the sources of information.
Let’s start with Aditya Raj Kaul. Along with Aarti Tikoo, Abhijit Iyer, Aditya Raj Kaul is another authentic original Indian source for information in the region. Here he gives a good, simple primer on the things.
The reaction of the Chinese to the current situation is very instructive. Its mostly whining really. Inside, of course, they are mad. Btw, FrontalAssault is another good source of information.
a step back and look again
After the taking over of the Finger 8 ridges during the Aug 29/30 clashes, the Indian forces yesterday took over the heights at Finger 4 as well.
Specialised units of the Indian Army have climbed up the heights, within Indian dominated territory facing the ridgelines of Finger 4 in the Northern Banks of Pangong Tso in Ladakh where the Chinese had built posts following their intrusion in April.. (Source)
Reports are suggesting that China is moving citizens to border areas in the Arunachal Pradesh area. Specifically, those which are loosely controlled without much patrolling on either side. (Source) This the Chinese are calling the frontier reinforcement plan.
Chinese do not take action without a long term plan. The Twitter user @detresfa_ had reported how the Chinese posts were being created in the South Bank of the Pangong Tso lake. The area where the 29/30 August clashes happened.
The dominating heights which the Indian Army had occupied on 29/30 Aug night were in the Chushul sector, which is South of the Pangong Tso. The new Finger 4 heights are closer to the Spanggur Tso and East of Rezangla where the famous battle was fought in 1962 by 13 Kumaon Regiment (Source)
Over the past many months, China has been building a lot of infrastructure along the LAC.
We had talked about the various Surface to Air missile batteries along the border yesterday.
Now comes the news of the building of heliports by China.
Chinese are also constructing two new heliports in eastern Ladakh — one in Tianshuihai, which is near the Galwan Valley and the Aksai Chin region, and the other in Rutog County, which is near the northern bank of Pangong Tso. (Source)
Apart from another one near Doklam.
This includes one heliport near Doklam, which lies on the tri-junction of India, China and Bhutan — the site of the 73-day stand-off that took place between the two Asian powers in 2017
As things are heating up, the Indian side is constantly keeping a watch. Multiple Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets have been see over the Indian landmass. (Source)
Twitter handle, @detresfa_ suggests that China is pursuing the South China Sea strategy of aggression for territorial claims. So, India beware, this ain’t going away anytime soon.
Meanwhile, there are apologists like this joker who are raising questions which try to play-up the threat from China just because India is standing up to the bullying. Its the same argument that Congress has been using to calm everyone down while it was giving away Indian land-mass to China!
To which Abhijit gave him some reality check.
Like we said yesterday - time for “wait and watch” or the reactive tactics is over. Now, its “proactive strategy time!”
the RADICAL transformation of the Arab world!
After the radical change in the UAE’s position, the structures in the Middle East may be changing faster than we can even realize.
After the incredible rapprochement between UAE and Israel, things are moving at breakneck speed.
And yesterday, the Israeli head of their National Security Council was at the Sheikh Zayed Mosque to pay respect.
The Israeli Adviser and head of the National Security Council, Meir Ben-Shabbat and his accompanying delegation visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, today, as part of his official visit to the UAE. (Source)
And, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has allowed flights to all the countries to use its airspace - with the obvious context of the opening of the UAE to Israel flights
How significant this change is can only be understood by someone like Hedva Opatovsky. Today was her last flight as a flight attendant. And it was to Abu Dhabi, UAE. When she started in 1973, the Middle East war was going on. And the Six Days war had happened in 1967.
But today, she was on a flight to Abu Dhabi which was flying over Saudi Arabian air space! (Source)
It’s not as if the UAE and Israel deal was welcomed in the Middle-East world. It wasn’t. The Qataris were angry and the Arab reaction was all over the place. (Source)
The question is - how long will the remaining pockets of animosity remain within the Islamic/Middle East world?
However, something inexplicable has happened yet again! For now comes the ultimate news - Hamas has reached a deal with Israel. Guess what? It was mediated by Qatar!
Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas said Monday they had reached a Qatari-mediated deal with Israel to end more than three weeks of cross-border attacks. (Source)
It is almost as if the entire Muslim community outside of the Middle East is being discredited completely. The hatred for Israelis and Jews is evaporating inexplicably and deals are being struck.
The only odd-ball out in the Islamic world is - Turkey. And, the Arabs have started discussing their crimes quite openly.
The other Islamic country, which is more of a parasite on the Arabs and other such rich countries is Pakistan. And it has aligned itself with the wrong partners in the world.
In the coming months, Turkey, Malaysia, and Pakistan will be largely sidelined by the Arabs.
Quite frankly, this kind of transformation in the Middle East hasn’t happened under the watch of any US President in the last 100 years! Even 10% of these changes would have been hailed as mighty “Presidency transforming” events with the typical three-way hand-shakes between US President, Israeli PM, and the bemused Arab.
No such dramas. But the action is for all to see. Am not sure if all this can be said to be due to Donald Trump’s great diplomacy, but he is there from the US side.
When the inner lava gushes out while forming a smiley face to look out, you know that nature is having fun while it unleashes its fury!
Remove J&K from UNSC list: India at the United Nations has called for permanently removing the issue of Jammu and Kashmir under the outdated agenda item of the India-Pakistan question' from the Security Council's agenda, saying such "irrational exuberance" has no takers in a dignified world. (Source)
Facebook said that it has removed 453 Facebook accounts, 103 Pages, 78 Groups, and 107 Instagram accounts operated from Pakistan on the basis of coordinated inauthentic behaviour detected on its platform. These accounts were used to spread misinformation in India. (Source)
Martian city: ELON Musk has detailed his plot to build a "glorious" city on Mars – but says early visitors will probably die. The star-gazing billionaire has reaffirmed his vision for a Martian colony that doesn't rely on support from Earth. Musk has previously told of how his Starship rocket – currently in testing – will one day ferry Earthlings to Mars. And he's said he'll need a fleet of 1,000 ships to create a sustainable city, as orbits mean the trip is only viable once every two years. (Source)
Racial divide: Americans' already tepid review of relations between White and Black Americans has soured since 2018 and is now the most negative of any year in Gallup's trend since 2001. The majority of U.S. adults say relations between White and Black Americans are very (24%) or somewhat bad (31%), while less than half call them very (7%) or somewhat (37%) good. (Source)
Christians and the RSS
Jerome Anto is a Christian in RSS. Personally, I have very high regard for RSS and their work, although I haven’t had the pull to join the organization myself. I have a different set of goals so I have a pull towards another organization, where I can align to my spiritual aspiration. But for the tremendous selfless service and work that the RSS workers do, I bow down to them and their work.
Here is a very interesting discussion between Esther Dhanraj and Jerome on Christians having a place in RSS and BJP and their role as also the hate that they experience from within the community when they join or align themselves with these two organization.
Jerome seems to be an exceptionally insightful person in that he has done his research and shares a historical context that most of us do not have. He looked at the start of the hate in the Christian community for RSS and BJP. And, it goes back to the Constituent Assembly debates and formulation of our fundamental rights.
He also discusses the concept of Hindu Rashtra and his views on the subject. Very different and honest.
Worth a watch.
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