CovidRxExchange – A year into the Journey

As I take this moment to recap our one year journey with CovidRxExchange, with all humility I wish to honor and pay our gratitude to our Patrons, Mentors and SPOCs, Executive and our various teams who helped evolve CovidRxExchange as an initiative to reckon with –

Patrons –

Dr. Vikas Mahatme, Ophthalmologist, Padmashree, and Rajya Sabha Member
Dr. Sunil Deshmukh, Radiologist and Former, Minister, Govt. of Maharashtra.
Wing Commander Babu, Formerly IAF
Mr. I. S. Chahal, Commissioner, Mumbai
Dr. Zodpey, VP, PHFI, Delhi,

Mentors:

We are deeply humbled and honored to have mentors like –
Prof. Emeritus Dr. Manbar Rawat, a Prof. of great respect and repute across multiple generations.
Prof. Emeritus Dr. Vilas Jahagirdhar, Formerly, Prof Microbiology and Dean
Prof. Uday Bodhankar, Formerly, IAP President, VP COMHAD, UK
Prof. Vrinda Sahasrabhojaney, Retd. Prof. Medicine.
Dr. Naveen Thacker, Director, IAP

Intent and Objective:

CovidRxExchange, a global nonprofit initiative, started in March 2020 to disseminate expertise, insight, and experience in managing Covid for the doctors, Health Care policymakers, and policy planners, and administrators. The intent is to enable doctors across borders to leverage the expertise they have honed in Covid patients’ care.

In March 2020 (exactly a year back), our initial foray was to disseminate knowledge and expertise from the US to the experts at Mumbai. We arranged our first call between Dr. Toraskar, Chief of Critical Care at Wockhardt and HOD of Cardiology at Nair Hospital, and two experts from the US, who had by then gained significant experience managing critical cases of Covid. From that experience, we realized, it is best to institutionalize the knowledge transfer and make it global. After that, we started panel discussions on the practical care of Covid in HDU and ICU.

Over a period of time, as Covid kept raging across countries, economies, globally, nationally, and regionally, we realized the needs got more specific, and we differentiated our nonprofit services to include more services under our gamut of CovidRxExchange.

Scope and Out of Scope: We are aggregators and disseminators of expertise, insight, and experience. We occasionally conduct our own research. We are a global organization.

Our Ethical Values

CovidRxExchange adheres to strict ethical guidelines. Nondiscrimination and noncommercial form the backbone of our services. We are an inclusive organization devoid of leaning towards any political ideology or any faith-based ideology. We are committed to translating academic evidence-based medicine to enable doctors, policymakers, and administrators. We are noncommercial and agnostic of vendor bais in providing our nonprofit services.

Activities and Accomplishments:

A. Our Initial Engagement – Panel Discussions and Second Consultations

After conducting several panel discussions, we were approached for several second consultations. Our next group was the second consult, and our global group of experts offered a second consult in several cases. Dr. Ajay Chaurasia (Cardiology, HOD, Nair Hospital), Dr. Nandita Divekar (UK), Dr. Rahul Sarkar (UK), Dr. Hettiarchi (UK) and Dr. Sandip Banerjee (UK),

B. Web-based Knowledge Repository (Lifecycle and Extended Lifecycle Approach)

Eventually, we created a web-based repository, a library with a Lifecycle approach to deal with Covid. Our lifecycle approach provides end-to-end case expertise of different aspects of covid from remote consult, first visit, admission (floor) to HDU, ICU, discharge, and bereavement.

As Long Haul disease became prevalent, we extended our Lifecycle Model to Extended Lifecycle Model, including Stress Management for Doctors and HCW and rehabilitation.

C. Risk Management: Extending Individual Care to Institutions, Cities, and Corporations.

Realizing that Covid was no more a patient condition, we created a 3×3 model. The 3×3 model extended the services to institutions, cities, and corporations. Thus the policy planners too came under the aegis of Covid Care. We helped the City of Coimbatore, An City (Anonymous) with significant Covid to identify and restructure their Covid, and did a post facto analysis for a metropolitan area for What best could have been done. Indore team (comprising of Dr. Nishant Khare, Dr. Sanjay Dhanuka, Dr. Anand Sanghi, and Dr. Gaurav Gupta), the UK Team (comprising of Dr. Divekar, Dr. Banerjee, Dr. Sarkar), the US Team (comprising of Dr. Lakshimi Sambathkumar, Dr. Arvind Virmani and I), and the Mumbai Team (comprising of Dr. Chaurasia, Dr. Ashok Anand, Dr. Hemant Bhandari, and Dr. Pankaj Maheshwari), worked along with the Coimbatore Commissioner, Deans, and Professors to provide a blueprint for Covid mitigation in the Corporation of Coimbatore. Dr. Rajamani and Ms. Kruthka Govindarajalu, Director, Smart City, Coimbatore, played a pivotal role.

D. Tribals and Areas of Deprived Resources: Eventually, as Covid made inroads into the tribal areas/interiors and understanding that 10% of India’s population lives in Tribal Areas, we developed our Tribal Covid Model. Dr. Ashish Satav, Dr. Sahasrabhojaney, Amod, and I, spearheaded this Tribal Covid Model. Realizing that the economically deprived areas and tribals areas have shared problems, we consolidated this capability under Tribal and Areas of Deprived Resources.

E. Holistic Health: Mindfulness, Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition, and Yoga, are crucial to achieving normal health. Ms. Gomathy Periatheruvadi, an Entrepreneur and Executive from the US, is leading this capability.

F. Rehabilitation and Long Haul: This is one area where we are still striving to expand our footprint. We are exploring to develop this capability, and Dr. Mariya Jiandani has shown interest and bandwidth to expand these services.

G. Vaccines – Developing a requisite immunity is based on critical success with Vaccine deployment. Vaccines emerged as a significant area that our doctors needed an incredible amount of support. Realizing this, we organized a series of panel discussions and one on one calls to address patient concerns.

H. Variants – Mutations and their aggregation into variants created a different challenge, both in transmission, infectivity, and the second/third/fourth surge across nations. We have set up a dedicated capability and integrated this under the vaccine capability. We are exploring the implications of the variants such as B1.1.7, B1.351, P.1, B1.521, and the recent variants found in India and other countries on the transmission, infectivity, morbidity, and mortality. Dr. Mukul Acharya (UK), Dr. Anand Kawade (India), Dr. Nitin Wairagkar (US), Dr. Kedar Toraskar (Mumbai), Dr. Naveen Thacker (India), Dr. Suhasini Balasubramiam (Chennai), Dr. Anita Mathew (Mumbai), Dr. Mala Kaneria (Mumbai), and Dr. Neetu Jain (Delhi) are working under the mentorship of Prof. Dr. Rawat and Prof. Jahagirdhar.

I. Dispelling Rumors: As rumors are flying rife; we are identifying SPOC’s to evaluate, analyze, and provide a scientific evidence-based rationale to dispel rumors

J. Socialization of scientific understanding into commonly understood language is important as we consider that if our nonmedical community is aware, they can be the necessary pivot to transgressing towards success. Thus dispelling ‘Rumors and Socialization’ are emerging as recent capabilities.

K. Liaison: Covid needs an adequate translation to policy and execution. We are currently working on establishing a capability to connect with the policymakers at different Govt. Machinery levels.

L. Awareness: Specifically for the nonmedical folks based in the US, we have created an Awareness Group to share information on awareness.

M. Strategy, Risk and Program: With my background in Strategy, Governance, and Risk Management made me realize that these should include these as independent capabilities. Thus, Strategy (Wing Commander Babu and I), Governance (Founders) and Risk (Amod and I) are maturing this capability. We reinvented the industry approach on Risk Management and tweaked it to align with Covid and Medical care. Concurrently, as capabilities were sprawling, we realized a common framework should encapsulate the entire initiative. Thus, we initiated program management (with a CMMI/ISO) capability to standardize for all the capabilities. Manish Singhal has taken the onus to develop this nascent capability.

N. Legal, Compliance, Finance: While some of these capabilities are a doctor (customer) facing, many capabilities are operational and happening on the backend: operations, Legal, Compliance, and Finance capabilities. Mr. Yogesh Vyas, Mr. Amod Manjrekar, and

O. Technology: Manish Singhal, Amod Manjrekar, Pankaj Bhakta, and Shriram Devata provide that support. This is still an incipient and nascent capability where we are expecting significant development.

P. CME: These capabilities are in embryonic stages. We are exploring global sponsors and accreditation for this capability.

Q. Editorial: We are upgrading our capability to provide updates (weekly, daily, and flash). Currently, we are scaling capability to include over 2000 of our users.

R. Emerging Technology: We are building an industry consortium to address medical problems leveraging technological advances. An example can be using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to address predicting the utilization of beds, or developing a model to understand the emergence of a specific variant in a specific geography and the impact of these newer (hypothetical) variants on transmission, infectivity, and overall community-based impact.

S. Ombudsman:

We strongly encourage professional interaction and courtesies. We heavily lean on Evidence-based rationale, and we respect creativity. Our ethical values are foremost essential for us, and we cherish those with the highest order. We have identified Prof. Emeritus Dr. Manbar Rawat to resolve any residual issues if not resolved by the Founder.

All along, we have ensured that only hands-on experts are providing the knowledge transfer. We are not book-based academicians. Our experts have significant hands-on experience and expertise from their specialized domain. These experts’ work contributions are pro-bono, i.e., they do not charge us, and we do not reimburse them.

Funding: As of this writing, we the Founders, have funded all the initiatives. We have not received any funding from donations, advertisements, any pharmaceuticals, or any other industry. We have avoided all and any conflict of interest.

Scaling and Continuity: We will explore submission to foundations for support. If we secure funds for CovidRxExchange, we will announce that and develop Policies, Governance, Visibility, Transparency, and Audit/Accountability.

Slack: Slack is our global portal of Collaboration and Communication. However, WhatsUp is a transitory and stop-gap arrangement to support ease of communication.

Movers and Shakers: We will post the list of Several Movers and Shakers who make this initiative a throbbing success. Women, Budding Leaders, Technology Team and Operations team are few who make several things happen.

Our Founders (in alphabetical order of their first name):

Dr. Ajay Chaurasia, HOD Cardiology, Nair Hospital, Saifee Hospital, Mumbai Hospital, etc.
Dr. Anand Kawade, Pediatrician and Vaccine Authority, KEM Hospital, Pune and Vadu
Dr. Arvind Virmani, Molecular Scientist, Washinton DC.
Dr. Ashok Anand, Professor and Head, Gynecology and Obstetrics, GMC and JJ, Mumbai
Dr. Hemant Bhandari, Orthopedician, Mumbai Hospital, Mumbai
Dr. Pankaj Maheshwari, Chief of Urology, Fortis Hospital, Thane, Mumbai
Dr. Shashank Heda, Molecular Pathology and Technology Executive, North America

Humble Note: If inadvertently, we have missed a name, kindly bring it to our notice and we will credit them for their contribution. We request you to pardon for any of our omissions.

Capitalist Democracy caves into State Controlled Capitalism

So, now every plebeian knows that China is destined against global values. It is not coronavirus; it is not the greed of acquiring land. It is not the theft of intellectual property. It is not the ambitious expansion of the BRI and make ‘the middle kingdom’ great again. It is not even the debt or vaccine diplomacy neither money-spinning planned obsolescence.

A. Tibet – a repeat of the West’s playbook

It started long back. Chinese forces moved into Tibet, a sovereign nation with hardly any military. The year was 1949. The Tibetan police and administration fought for almost ten years. Finally, in 1959, the young Dalai Lama (see of knowledge, which Dalai Lama means) fled to India. Almost thousands of Tibetans died in their struggle to keep their independence. Tibet lost its sovereignty. Han Chinese were transplanted to Tibet, and Tibetans became a minority in their own land. An alternate way of gerrymandering, i.e., changing the pattern of voting. So, if you initiate voting in Tibet, the outcome will favor China, not in Tibet’s interest.

The west willfully ignored Tibet.

It seemed like a repeat of their own playbook. Of whites displacing the Mezo American native Indians from their ancestral land – be it the Great American Highlands, the Mayan, the Olmec and Aztec in Mexico, or the Incas in Peru. It was a different land with its own cultural identity, far advanced, regal, and with its own rationale. Now, vanquished and destroyed completely. It is a story full of pathos.

The Spanish conquistador used the same playbook while destroying the Olmec, the Aztec, and the Mayan culture in Mexico and established a bastard generation. No, I am not using language. Actually, the native men were lined up and killed, and the native ladies were used as concubines. A hybrid progeny was born, and matriarchy established itself, replacing the native patriarchal culture. Portuguese repeated the same playbook in Brazil. Where the Europeans could not butcher, they plundered, and where they could not plunder, as in India, they established imperial order. Where that was not sufficient, they drugged. That is the China of 1820-1860.

Territorialism is not wrong

No one can blame Tibetans or the native Indians. It is their solemn right to protect their ancestral land. It is the equivalent of freedom or self-determination. Not that Mesoamerican natives were dumb, or the Tibetans were nubile. It is the barbaric marauding of locals using a little overpowering military technology. Gun and gun powder that was not seen or known to these cultures lost their destiny. In Tibet’s case, just a spiritual elevation of the culture that lost their ‘home and culture’ to eternity (remember, Bhutan is in a similar precipice).

The West, too, ignore Tibet. After all, China was reenacting the pages from the West’s own playbook. How could they take an objection against a (permanent) Veto power? You scratch my back, and I scratch yours. It was that simple.

B. Rise of a Demon (dragon)

Covid is just a simile; it represents several mutations that accumulate to evolve to form a variant and a deadly strain. By itself, Coronaviruses are not dreaded. We often get coronavirus infections. Covid is different; it is the survival advantage accrued through selective retainment of several mutations. Dragon, by itself, is not dangerous; it is the accumulation of dreaded mutations that make it a demon. China is not the concern; it is the perpetual accumulation of communist onslaught on its national identity that has resulted in a demon called China.

C. Wars live lopsided losers

If you are presuming that second world war and the loss of the axis forces, you are possibly close. However, I am alluding to the order and hegemony established by the winners that wrote the blueprint for global exploitation. The UN and its security council are a facade of exploitation. That veto structure itself is a grim reminder of the failure of the world order. China turned out to be a beneficiary of the Veto system.

D. Planned obsolescence

As though the west and the business never knew planned obsolescence. It was a willful ignorance towards such malpractices of building obsolescence into the design. Obsolescence is natural. However, planned obsolescence is the intentional insertion of weakness in products’ lifecycle to shorten their life. We, as customers, keep cycling our hard-earned money for buying products that dissipate faster.

Trade and businesses flourish while the commoner is depleted of the value for her/his earning. Cities, States, and Nations too run based on these taxes. Barack Obama instituted “Cash for Clunkers” after realizing the Gas Guzzlers were draining the dollar from the country. I am not sure if Biden or any President would initiate such ‘Cash for Clunkers’. Unlike the Gulf countries, which benefitted from Petro Dollars, China is the beneficiary of the “Obsolescence Dollar,” where the capitalist democracy willfully ignored the Chinese sly.

E. Free Trade and WTO

Free trades are a complex animal, and WTO is primarily the nemesis of the global order. Under the garb of expanding and widening their customer base, the West introduced and institutionalized WTO. As though a global institution was not enough, it institutionalized Free Trade Associations between select regions and countries. FTA’s wrote the storybook for the demise of local businesses. As a responsible nation, the US and other capitalist nations could have used retooling of the labor after the FTA vanquished their businesses. However, a nation dominated by capitalism left the small businesses to fend for themselves. Small businesses, farms, and back offices all vanished under the garb of the global village. The West again ignored. China turned out to be the major beneficiary.

F. Lip service

Europe, the US, and all advanced nations paid lip service to the African continent. The west and industrialized nations nurtured China to build a bulwark against (erstwhile USSR) Russia. While Africa, its people, its flora, and its fauna were celebrated in pictures and stories and as audiovisual gimmickry of altruistic passion. The capitalist West found it very hard to bring technology to this continent. They may now realize it was a mistake to house a global manufacturing center in one locale in hindsight. Multi centrism is just a realization from the Chinese debacle. It is an afterthought, not a humane yearning of the capitalist democracy.

As we see, it is the willful ignorance of the West and the Industrialized nations that resulted in a demon’s rise (dragon). By itself, China did little, the West nurtured it from the outset, and like Covid, it is dealing with the adverse outcome in every sphere.

Shashank Heda
Dallas, Texas

How the US military is preparing for a war with China
https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/How-the-US-military-is-preparing-for-a-war-with-China

Not farther from the truth

Why I don’t believe Chinese Research

A few weeks back, I wrote about being trolled by my own schoolmate while I differed with on India. Differing perspectives are normal in a democracy except in N. Korea, China, and totalitarian Russia. However, suppression of diverse views has come of age, and under the garb of nationalism, national identity, and sensationalism, right-wing radicalism is becoming a mainstay. Right-wing radicals have rightly capsized and exploited the suppressed sentiments such as nationhood and nationality. BJP as a polity is dominating the thought process too. That is exactly what’s driving China’s Xi. Citizens can do whatever they wish but need to align with the identity espoused by a core group from the dominant outfit. It is exactly for this reason that I do not believe in any Chinese research. You may find a Sinophobe in me. However, let me admit, I am a Communist Party Phobe. The ordinary Chinese are just like us, driven by sentiments, apprehensive, somewhat insecure, somewhat reclusive, and often intimidated by the political class and unsure of their future, struggling to bring their families. They are exactly like us, and I can identify with them since I am one amongst them.

Does it Matter?
What happens with the Chinese Citizen does not matter to us. We willfully ignore until we face an onslaught on Doklam, and Ladhak. It does not matter until we lose power in Mumbai from cyberattacks that originate from China. How would a democracy prevent all such happening of historical proportions? A totalitarian voice can also be part of democracy, the same way Indira was for India. However, democracy provides a way out from such a totalitarian fortitude and mess. Multiple voices and replacements of dominance bring a better perspective. The recent past provides enough evidence that democracies are no panacea, but they are better institutions than the ones dominated by a single voice.

Unity in Diversity
It is not a Congress Cliche; that’s the backbone that forms the nation’s DNA formed over thousands of years. It definitely is not 80 years old.

We all know the amazing history of India. Waves over waves of immigrants migrated and settled in different parts of India, calling it their motherland. Culture, faith, and foundational ethos emerged, survived, and flourished in India. Genomic amalgamation, too, happened with the passage of time. This gave rise to a polity called Hindu, not a religion but a way of living, an art of living. Just ask yourselves, how can a mongoloid race from North East (Seven Sister) identify themselves with the drastically different Dravidian identity down in Southern India? The only mystic thing that binds is Hinduism (not a religion but an identity formed from a living polity).

There are immense stories of plunder and numerous stories of the lost land. That is definitely painful, but unfortunately, the land is not Hinduism. People make that identity. The nation has a checkered history of astute rulers who united these fragments, and there are numerous examples of shortsightedness that created these fragments. However, as I reflect on the passage of time, that is a natural cycle, and the identity has survived despite the tumultuous history of treachery and trepidations.

That very identity is under threat. Just imagine, a person like me, who is now a citizen of another country, is afraid of writing on the farmer’s protest.

Does it ring the bell? Or this Individual Freedom Group from a distant land will be called Deshdrohi and slapped with sedition? Yes, we are heading towards a totalitarian state, and that yearning is a palpable need of the plebians.

Shashank Heda
Dallas, Texas

India is now only ‘partly free’, says global report
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-56249596

Manage COVID After A Recess

While the US, EU, UK, Brazil and South Africa were smoldering with the newer variants of COVID, many in India thought COVID was done and dusted. Life was back to normalcy, hardly realizing that India was in the same stage of ignorance as it was exactly an year ago. COVID is back, and this time it will be with a vengeance. What do we do now? I have discussed the relevant principles so that you can make changes to your lifestyle in accordance with the emerging threat from the newer variants.

A few weeks back, when I talked with several Commissioners and Administrative officers from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and at the Center (Delhi), the palpable feeling was that Covid is “done and dusted”. Life was back to normalcy, and all cautions were out of the window.

A few weeks back, when I talked with several Commissioners and Administrative officers from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and at the Center (Delhi), the palpable feeling was that Covid is “done and dusted”. Life was back to normalcy, and all cautions were out of the window.

I cautioned that it is not yet out, and I shared a blog called a tale of two worlds (link shared below) along with a few reports on the raging pandemic in the US, EU, UK, Brazil, and South America. The ignorance was high, and most felt that they had achieved herd immunity. ICMR reports indicated 24-26% national seroprevalence; Chennai’s reports indicated 40% seroprevalence, which again meant inadequate herd immunity. However, facts are generally relegated, and sentiments take precedence. Once again, I wrote another blog on Herd Immunity (link cited below). Always remember TWO MOST principles of herd immunity –

  1. The entire population should be 60-80%
  2. The epitope (in this case, the viral protein) should be constant, not changing

It is in the nature of this virus that the structure is changing every few weeks. Another blog that was written a long time back on this nature of virus was shared with the medical community. To summarize, the covid virus has a defect with RDRP, an enzyme that helps in multiplication. It creates typos, like the one we unintentionally do while typing. However, with covid, those typos change the structure (changes to S or Spike protein is an example) that renders the immunity from previous infection less effective.

Thus previous infections or vaccines are likely not to provide the anticipated immunity. Besides, this virus’s immunity lasts for 3-6 months, as against the smallpox vaccine, which lasts life long.

So, what do we do next?

  1. Should we stop all our social activities?
  2. Should we stop interacting with our professional friends, coworkers, staff, and others?
  3. Should we quarantine and put ourselves in lockdown?

None of these are practical and pragmatic. Before I tell you what is appropriate, let me share what is inappropriate. Yesterday, I talked with a prominent businessman from Nagpur. He said he uses the alcohol-based hand cleaning solution, cloth-based face masks, and takes a shower after returning home, and puts the laundry clothes.

All except face masks are not required. This is an airborne virus, not a virus spreading through fomites (bugs on your clothes or body via touch).

What is airborne and aerosol? When an infected person sneezes, he/she blows almost over 50 million copies of the virus in one bout of coughing/sneezing. These are invisible and disperse in the air around you. An aerosol is similar to airborne, except that you can see those droplets.

Either way, noninfected people end up inhaling those viruses and ultimately increase their risk of getting infected. There are several factors involved between the sneeze/cough bout and infection by normal people. Closed space versus open space influences the outcome. Similarly, centralized air conditioning circulates the virus via the duct system, thus exposing people in other contiguous areas.

Using n95 or similar masks is THUS CRITICAL. I generally add another layer of the surgical mask when i presume exposures are likely to increase.

Social distancing helps, but it is not a panacea. Just imagine, I am not on the same floor as the infected person but connected via centralized air ducts. Will it help? No. I am logically in the same environment though I am in a different place physically. That also means you have to focus on the principles and not just the practices. Understand the principles and act accordingly.

Lockdown or Quarantine?
The most considerable toll this pandemic has taken is from lockdown. Even during the first lockdown implemented in March/April 2020, I was firmly against global lockdown. The answer is never global lockdown; it is always micro lockdown.

What is Micro Lockdown?
Only lockdown that part of the city or segment where the incidence is likely to be high. However, even micro lockdowns are easier said than done. It is difficult to identify a community of infected (but asymptomatic) people and quarantine them against a traveler arriving outside (by flight, vehicle, or train). Remember, once lockdowns are implemented, they ideally last 3-5 weeks, unlikely to be gone in one week. However, it is best to contain and segregated those suspicious of carrying the virus, be it communities, individuals, or activities.

Curtail all Social Activities
Certain activities are unavoidable, critical business, social activities (marriages, deaths, illnesses, and adverse events). However, remodeling our way of interaction is always possible. Certain principles are absolute and non-compromising (wearing a good quality mask); yet, remodeling can be done for the day’s activity, the place, the interaction, etc.

Let us understand those and tailor our activities.

Dr. Shashank Heda, MD
Founder and Chief Executive
CovidRXExchange
(A US global non-profit initiative for disseminating medical expertise and insight; working for Covid since March 2020)

Links to the blogs below –

If only we proactively spread the message within our network, engage in an active dialog, resolve the misgivings around the vaccine, start Fastrack the process to curtail the virus. Our ability to bounce back, as a nation and as a community, depends upon how we counter the virus. https://mymilieu.org/2021/02/01/evangelizing-vaccination/

The variants with the infectivity, implications on testing, therapy, and vaccines. https://mymilieu.org/2020/12/26/emergent-variants-and-infectivity/

That provides a simple explanation of how vaccination will halt the spread of the virus. https://mymilieu.org/2021/01/28/a-triple-whammy-variant-vaccination-and-complacency/,

It is an ultimate hope that the vaccine provides herd immunity or the virus comes to a state of symbiosis with humanity. Luck is never the best strategy, but it had to happen. We wish to stumble across a variant that is as good as Common Cold, leaves minimal health impacts, and possibly with minimal mutations to stabilize. In the search for this haplotype, I shared this perspective https://mymilieu.org/2021/01/10/in-search-of-a-haplotype/

https://mymilieu.org/2021/02/06/covid-a-tale-of-two-worlds/

https://mymilieu.org/2021/01/28/a-triple-whammy-variant-vaccination-and-complacency/

https://mymilieu.org/2021/02/01/evangelizing-vaccination/

Shaking the Citadel of Democracy

We realized the pain of the threat to democracy on Jan 6, 2021, when the Capitol was under attack. Fortunately, the DC law enforcement thwarted an attack on the elected representatives and the Capitol. However, it would have been a tragic accident and a watershed event in the history of the US democracy and an entire experiment of global democracy if the US would have come under authoritarian rule. Fortunately, the US was saved, but Myanmar is an example of where it happened.

In the May 2019 issue of the Diplomat, Jieun Puin warned about China’s increasing influence in Myanmar. Like China Pakistan Economic Corridor, the China Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) has taken a toll on the Myanmar Democracy. It is unwise to exclusively blame the military junta for aborting a democratic election for the coup.

When democracies are trampled and their citadels attacked, it takes away the right of the common-men to decide her/his fate. Democracy offers the common man an ability to coexist with pleural views; an authoritarian or totalitarian system takes away that very right that we all are born with; by no means democracy is a perfect system or a panacea of hope. However, in such regimes, the common man is deprived of influencing his/her collective choices and future.

Word count 992; reading time 5-6 minutes. Why read this article? To understand the fragile dynamics on which democracies thrive. The torment and the anguish of the people of Myanmar are obvious.

Zoltan Barany in the 2015 issue of the Diplomat, had correctly voiced, that Suu Kyi’s NLD government challenges of managing its relationship with the Military, its inexperience with bureaucracy, the deep seated corruption and the menace from China. Almost a week now, the democratically elected government of Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s (pronounced chi) NLD was dismissed. Its leaders rounded up and bolted into confinement. Mother Suu Kyi herself is being investigated for having ten microphones, a high crime and treason?

Burmese Saga is all interesting.
We all know Aung Dang Suu Kyi spent 15 years in solitary confinement under house arrest. A daughter of a martyred military general, she was barred from holding high office since she married a British national. Until the Rohingya crisis ensnarled Myanmar, Suu Kyi was considered an apostle of human rights and rightly bestowed the noble prize.

Buddhist versus Muslim
It is worth lamenting that none of the 56 IOC Muslim countries took the cause of the Rohingya minorities. The Vatican was the first to voice the humanitarian crisis, not considering his faith. It is not news since the refugee crisis that emerged after ISIS in Sudan, and its hinterland consisting of Iraq and neighboring countries broke loose. As though Europe was their natural destination, none of the 56 Muslim countries offered asylum to these refugees. Turkey accepted few but acted more as a conduit and transition hub for these refugees to Europe. Of course, it demanded financial support for taking care of these refugees. At that moment, I felt as though the refugees were abandoned children of Europe that they had to take care of.

How are Buddhist connected to Rohingya?
In a Buddhist majority nation, the infiltration by Muslims from Rakhine province was seen as infiltration. Suspicions of radical activities initiated a spate of violence. Ideally, in my opinion, it was ethnic strife that was colored with religion. Irrespective, Aung Sang Suu Kyi defended its military action at the Hague, which eroded her credibility.

In Myanmar, the Military Junta, also called Tatmadaw, are deeply institutionalized and legitimized through statutes. Any change to the statute needs a 75% vote from the combined elected house. However, the Military has 25% representation on the constitutional bodies (for enacting the law). Simply speaking, it is farcical to think of Myanmar as a democracy. Democracy in Myanmar, like that in Pakistan, is a facade for the Military. Those who are conversant with the Pakistani model of military democracy need no priming on this subject, except that it does not have a gnawing hatred towards India. Like in Pakistan, the Myanmar Military has built deep inroads into various facets of the business. The Junta directly owns State-owned financial institutions.

Mother – More than an apostle of democracy
Suu Kyi is more a mother than just a hope for democracy. While her husband was on death bed, she wanted to visit him in the UK. The Junta gave her a simple option, a one-way ticket to the UK, and renounced her citizenship. She preferred to stay behind for her people, understandably a tough decision.

The Chinese Angle
Under Aung San Suu Kyi, the annual trade volume between China and Myanmar, declined 22.9% to $4.67 billion. Also, Kyaukpyu development in southern Rakhine state, which the Chinese planned as a strategic port with access to the Indian Ocean stalled under Suu Kyi. In recent times, under Suu Kyi, the national debt towards China decreased by 26%. Financial and economic engagement with the west increased significantly. This was a definite threat to the Chinese Belt and Road initiative. At least two ports, one facing the Bay of Bengal (with direct sight to Chennai, Vaizac, and Kolkatta) and the other Yangon, facing the Indian Ocean, are critical for China. Both these ports and the BRI were under direct threat from a democratically ruled NLD government. Destabilization is the cornerstone of authoritarianism, and the Chinese are adept at sowing the seeds of such destabilization. It is equally true that the instability in the Kachin and the Shan State adjacent to the China border, drove several rifuges to the Yunnan province of China.

Aijas Ariffin, https://theaseanpost.com/article/myanmar-crisis-getting-out-hand

Min Aung Hlaing – A pent up lifetime hope
Unlike democratically elected governments, authoritarian governments are ruled by rulers with a long half-life. Putin, Xi, Pakistani Military, North Korea, and now Erdogan are classic examples. Myanmar junta, too, has the same propensity. Its disgraced General from the Rohingya atrocities was about to retire.

A perfect opportunity
Chinese support, tarnished credibility (from Rohingya atrocities), huge loss at elections, and the aspiration to be a lifetime leader all provided a perfect culmination for a coup. Min Aung Hlaing became the de facto leader of the Junta.

Do we have a problem with the Military?
Well, let’s rephrase this. Why should Myanmar being ruled by Military or Democratically elected leader be a global issue? Aren’t militarily ruled nations not properly managed as compared to some of the democracies? I, too, share this concern along with you. However, with authoritarian rule, the mechanism of transparency, audit, and accountability are all vested into a single person’s hands. It is not about corruption, but it is about conflict of interest and the monstrous ability to hide and suppress that compromises the common man’s life.

Democracy gives that right to the common-men to decide her/his fate. Democracy offers an ability to coexist; by no means democracy is a perfect system or a panacea of hope.

Shashank Heda
Dallas, Texas

Who is Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing? 5 things to know
https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Myanmar-Coup/Who-is-Myanmar-junta-chief-Min-Aung-Hlaing-5-things-to-know

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Belt-and-Road/Renewed-conflict-in-Myanmar-slows-China-s-Belt-and-Road-projects

https://thediplomat.com/2019/05/myanmars-fragile-democracy-needs-the-us-not-china/

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/asia/2015-12-01/democracy-myanmar

Deterrence or Readiness?

After ruffling the feathers with its covert land grabbing intentions, China has stoked a fear unseen for several centuries in the South China Sea. The polarization against the CRIPT-K axis has galvanized truly well. This blog talks about the potential for war if it were to happen, providing the underlying dynamics and its fallouts on the outcome. (923 words, reading time 4-5 minutes).

After ruffling the feathers with its covert intentions of land grabbing, China has stoked a fear unseen for several centuries in the South China Sea. Of course, it is not just the passive land-grab, its active intrusion, and malignant interference in the internal politics to influence the decision making. The world is, of course, aware of this potent subvert development.

The CRIPT-K Axis

CRIPT-K stands for an axis formed by China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and North Korea. To the disadvantage of the CRIPT-K axis (just invented this acronym while writing this blog), CRIPT-K has galvanized a congregation of forces against them. Chief amongst those are QUAD, expansion of the Five Eyes to Six Eyes. Initiation of Seven and Nive Eyes countries’ involvement reignited the ‘Durian Pact’ with potential expansion of the ‘Five Power Defense Arrangements (FPDA), into the South China Sea. Chinese moves have hastened an upgrade and build-up of arms in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, The Philippines, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, and India, and Australia are already part of the Quad along with the US and Japan.

The Bamboo Diplomacy and Natuna Standoff


I have reservations about Thailand because of the ongoing strife between the king and his populace and its inclination towards ‘Bamboo Diplomacy.’ Let’s now visit the ‘Natuna Standoff.’ In Sept 2020, Chinese vessels infiltrated the exclusive economic zone of Indonesia’s fishing territories of Natuna Island. This resulted in minor skirmishes between China and Indonesia.

Bound by interests


There certainly is a weakness and potential for a few countries getting caught in the crossfire, not because they intend to participate actively. As Alexander Cooley and Daniel Nexon from the Foreign Policy write, “Even when states do not actively switch patrons, the possibility that they could provide them with greater leverage.” In a real conflict, there is a potential for these countries to not side with either of the superpowers.

Chinese incursions into the Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Philippine, Malaysian, Vietnamese, and Indonesian waters and air spaces is now an established pattern. With its recent adventurism from Natuna Standoff and its invasive incursions of several countries’ sovereign waters and air spaces, China has pushed these countries to drop their Bamboo diplomacy and remove their ambivalence to side with the US.

This consolidation and polarization of forces are massive polarization against CRIPT-K (China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and North Korea).

Credits: https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2018/02/26/south-china-sea-australia-usa/

Is war inevitable?

If I understand China, posturing is different than actually going to war. They will test the waters are keep their readiness but won’t dare to open front anywhere. If they sense a weakness in the system, they will right-away grab the opportunity. Under prevailing situations, China is unlikely to undertake any active incursions, not because it does not intend to, but because it knows its flaws and intrinsic weaknesses.

What about Russia?

Russo Putin knows his state is a declared and established pariah state. It has power but not sufficient economic might to wage war. It will provoke China, but it will take advantage of the situation to re-establish itself as one of the mainstream players in the global front-yards. There is a lack of trust between the two major players – China and Russia, to the extent that Russia did not export its S-400 latest technology to China due to the fear that China may reverse engineer and steal its secrets (Conversely, India has S-400).

The China-Pakistan Nexus

This nexus has been mushrooming due to a marriage of convenience. For China and Pakistan, India is an Achilles tendon, impeding their aspirations. Since the 1980s, China has been transferring nuclear technology to Pakistan despite being a consignee to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) guidelines and contravention of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) obligations. The world should be aware that, as recent as 2018, China also transferred, Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRV) for Pakistan’s Ababeel and Shaheen-3. That is an imminent threat. India is on the splurge of acquiring a gamut of weapons to counter this imminent threat. 

The Appendages without independent existence

Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and North Korea are obligate pathogens surviving at the Dragon’s cost. Without the Dragon feeding them, these are unlikely to survive and sustain, economically or politically.

What about Miscellaneous?

“Miscellaneous” groups include Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Nepal, a few South African countries, etc., who have no spine to hold themselves erect, internally or externally. Those will only serve as stations or platforms for the Chinese forces during a global fallout.

Is a war genuinely happening?

If the anti-CRIPT (K) preparedness continues, a global war is improbable to occur unless some major fault-lines resurface.

What are those fault lines? The world survived the weakness unearthed from SARS CoV2. Economic implications and ramifications are still not felt completely; we never know if other “Trumper” events are likely underway, global warming is already getting neglected. Our infamous radical terrorism has truly not reneged. These are not the fault-lines but signs and symptoms of fault lines.

Let us see how global leaders provide a direction in navigating us through these rough patches.

Thoughts, comments, please share. I wish you to be my active audience.

Shashank Heda,

Dallas, Texas

Indonesia gets US nod for F-15 and F-18 fighter jet purchases

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Aerospace-Defense/Indonesia-gets-US-nod-for-F-15-and-F-18-fighter-jet-purchases

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2020-06-09/how-hegemony-ends

Devoid of Credibility, Always

BRI and CPEC are already under financial and operational pressure to either scuttle or park their ongoing initiatives. India has no role to play in their self destructive implosions.

Credit: Economic Times,

None of the infrastructure development projects carried out by China in Pakistan have any Pakistani contractors. From workers, to raw material to management, everything is being by the Chinese.

Obviously, where are the resources – workers know how to run kalashnikov, banks and military knows how to make money and management has never been honed. So, it is not a wrong decision not the Pakistanis execute the blueprint of CPEC. Anyways, it doesn’t fit the Chinese model of business. Irrespective of the country where they are building infrastructure, the Chinese companies are owning those almost 100%.

Now, let’s visit CPEC dynamics

China is truly constrained on funds and revenue, for several reasons – vast infrastructure projects that have doubtful ROI in immediate future, its over 50 ghost cities, its own military and cyber incursions and now the pandemic. Keynesian principle has not stimulated the economy, not because it lost relevance, however not utilizing the principles behind the principle.

Pakistan never has a culture of entrepreneurship

Barring individual efforts, the country has never offered a milieu for growth and industry. Neither does it have the ability to repay. More-so, recently China demanded a higher interest rate. If you calculate the payback interest and principle, you will realize these CPEC are costing Pakistani Rs. 8328 per person. Agreed, not all infrastructure should be considered from the perspective of tangible ROI. We need to factor in the opportunities it creates. However, in this case where are the revenues to service the loan?

Face Saving

It is graceful to not admit any of the above but to put the usual suspect, India. Skeptics may differ but the decision is left to the future to decide.

They know this will not solve their problem but facing is an art, that conjures the present, unlikely to save from the realities and future.

Pakistan accuses India of masterminding Belt and Road attacks
https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Belt-and-Road/Pakistan-accuses-India-of-masterminding-Belt-and-Road-attacks

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/china-denies-cpec-intensified-pakistans-economic-risks/articleshow/68779043.cms

A Glutted Economy

Not everything is hunky dory in China. Even if we have to consider that Corona virus is contained, the economy is definitely in shambles, and there is a reason why China portray the opposite. This article reveal the dynamics behind the hollow economic indicators. Reading time 6 to 7 minutes (word count 1150).

Ever Sold a Used Car without good cleanup?

The answer is no. Have you ever entered a showroom that makes you feel, you entered a warehouse? What if you want to sell and book more profit? Those who are in the stock market, know it well and they time the ‘sell’ when the shares are in the ascendency – a perfect time to book the best. Well, what would you do if you want the FDI to flow into your country? Showcase your country as one of the best destination to invest and do business. While countries like Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan chose the organic route, China chose a superficial route, cleaned its car, and put it on display.

Credit: Tuomas Malinen, GNS Economics, The Stages of Collapse. https://gnseconomics.com/2020/02/10/the-stages-of-the-collapse/

A Pompous Display

Well, I have been clamoring for data on China falsifying its GDP. Let me chastise China by sharing a simile. We know of several businessmen, who display false success despite their hollowed debts. Such is the case of China – huge (and hollow) infrastructure, glass bridges spanning deep ravines, tall (empty) cities and buildings, rich (and unemployed) population, massive navy (with ramshackle primitive) ships, huge (untrained) army, and massive (captured) land like Tibet and Xinjian, poverty upliftment (despite rising inflation and unemployment) and above all, an astute (more than Mao-size) leader. You may call it billboard, attractive and intuitive enough to catch the attention and impress.

The Ghost Cities

Below excerpts from Financial Review (Citation link included in references). Even the casual observer driving around China can see that something is wrong. You can see it in the industrial parks that are empty except for a small handful of factories, and in the government buildings that are so large it seems impossible that they will ever fill in with civil servants, and in the airports that only sporadically host an arriving plane, and in the glut of exhibition centres and museums that every town seems compelled to build.

Chengong China – Abandoned Ghost Cities

Economy of Scale

The world across – businesses operate on a specified margin (percentages) and for a manufacturer, those numbers slip further but are compensated because of volume, typically called, ‘Economy of Scale’. China operates on a massive economy of scale. It has smartly created a premium segment, a medium segment, and a low-end segment. So everything sells very well.

‘Zero Waste’ Basket

Of course, the major segments are advanced economies and populated countries, but it shrewdly created multiple smaller market (segments) to sell its substandard products (the waste in a classic scenario) being pushed into these sub-optimally operating economies. Examples abound – from South East Asia, Asia, Africa to East Europe and Latin America. These smaller segments offer China a distinct advantage of recycling lesser quality to the multitude of countries in Africa and other struggling economies. Thus obliterating and reducing waste and saving further. These lower segments also provided a market (and a source of revenue) safeguards it from the whims of the leaders from these advanced economies who dictate terms to China or impose tariffs.

A Trojan Horse – The Land and the Sea Corridors

It is but natural to build a massive arborized network of road, rail, and sea lines to support its customer base and the raw material required to run its industry. Thus paving a way to the five land corridors and the South China Sea, that are central to this thoroughfare. The well known China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Silk Road Railway (SRR) passing through Xinjiang, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Russia, Germany, and Poland, the China Central Asia to West Asia (CCAWA) Corridor, connecting Western China to Turkey, the New Eurasian Land Bridge, connecting Western China to Western Russia via Kazakhstan and the China Indochina Corridor, connecting Southern China to Singapore, thus establishing a conveyor belt for its State Controlled (Capitalist) the Communist Middle Kingdom. I encourage the readers to visit the link from the Council of Foreign Affairs site to see how China has gobbled up the economies of over 65 nations that have subscribed to its Land Corridors (https://www.cfr.org/article/belt-and-road-tracker)

Building Castle Cards on Keynesian Philosophy

However, BRI, CPEC, SRR, CCAWA, or the new islands or its own 50+ ghost cities – all are infrastructure projects. We all know, infrastructures are capital intensive, and consumes a lot of investments. As substantiated by John Maynard Keynes (aka Keynesian Economy), I agree that the infrastructure initiatives provide a foundation for growth. However, these are cost centers and not a profit centers and the immediate returns are negative. Thus, the only way to keep the wheels spinning is to feed this investment (mortgage) with profits from the accrued business. The key here is “PROFIT AND REVENUE”. Building infrastructure needs finance and people. State can provide finance but availability of disposable human resources indicates that people are deployable for building such massive projects, a reflection of unemployment. Thus, to keep the strife from unemployment at bay, it is best to utilize them for infrastructure construction.

Let us review such massive initiatives in the backdrop of dwindling global demand, rising middle class, and a COVID imposed lockdown. If bankruptcies are common across the globe, so are they ubiquitous in China. However, in China, the nation state funds these bankruptcies. Remember, no growing economy is spared from the ‘middle income’ trap, and China has a vast swath of population that has significantly jumped beyond poverty line to middle income. That indicates it has lost its cutting edge on small manufacturing, a competitive advantage in the past.

Revisiting the Phony Businessman

Let us revisit the phony businessman I described at the outset of this article. If you are that phony hollow bankrupt businessman, and you don’t want to declare bankruptcy, you have to display that COVID-19 is completely controlled, that the economy is not just bouncing but ‘dancing in the rain’. That’s fine for the gullible outsider, but what do we do with that internal strife?

Wars are a distraction to internal turmoil

China has no option but create a war-like situation. South China Sea Discord and The Indo-China Ladakh Skirmishes are a reflection of internal turmoil and a distraction from internal strive. Many thought Xi Jinping is opening several war fronts simultaneously. Is he stupid? No, he is not on a suicidal mission. That’s not what Sun Tzu taught him. He is a smart leader with a vision for China but he is running before he has to walk. He is too ambitious.

China is a nuclear power but not a (superior) military power, as against what it displays. History is rife and reminiscent with several examples, no one can open several war fronts simultaneously and so is true with China. Xi Jinping knows that opening multiple war theatres is a definite failure. Xi’s commitment to China is undeniable, and so the war theatrics are hollow too, especially given the sudden rise of Quad, like a Sphinx in the South China Sea. If Quad is a reality, than String of Pearls in equally an existential threat. Will that mean a war? Obviously not, China wants to intimidate but will not land itself in a war. However, the probability of war rises further, with increasing tariffs and escalation of a trade war because economy is the place where it hurts most.

Grand Deception

However, manipulating the fundamentals is a subterfuge and a grand deception for global investors. If you now recollect the example of the phony businessman, shared at the outset of this article, you will realize what I am talking about. Researchers from The Economist, Pew Research, Financial Times, or Harvard are very likely to share a similar opinion. All we have to do is keep a tight focus on fundamentals and let not China swerve us towards a ‘displayed’ billboard economy.

Comments and compliments are appreciated. Please pass on to ONLY those folks who are in pursuit of ‘out of box’ ideas. Subscribe to my blog.

Note: This is a passion and not my job, I do not advertise and collect any revenue from the visits. I attest that there are no conflict of interests or any financial gains associated with any of my blogs.

Sources:
The Economist | The real deal
https://www.economist.com/node/21792859?frsc=dg%7Ce

https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/chinas-massive-belt-and-road-initiative

https://www.afr.com/world/asia/chinas-ghost-cities-and-their-multibilliondollar-debt-20180404-h0ybjz

https://gnseconomics.com/2020/02/10/the-stages-of-the-collapse/

Not So Confucius

South China Sea has become a bone of contention for China and other countries around South China Sea. According to Chinese Communist Party, the “One China” encompasses almost the entire South East Asia. China has territorial disputes with almost 26 countries, including Russia.

It is just not the territorial incursions, Chinese hegemony does not stop there. China has been bending democracies, not just influencing them, to align with their hegemonist interests. We all know the life of products “Made in China”, and it obstinate adherence to planned obsolescence. We, as common man, yearn for the cheap cost, of products while not realizing we end up losing in the long term. Chinese manufacturing sly is all pervasive, and has led to global erosion of value. In this article, I have captured some aspects of the recent alignments and the emergence of a theatre for the next mega war in South East Asia.

While the world is focused on Coronavirus and the US on the theatrics and tantrums, we haven’t realized that the vacuum created by the US in the last few years has resulted in a “Chinese Hegemony” and resulted in the creation of a war theatre. If WW I and II were in Europe, the future mega war will be in South East Asia.

A huge formation has erupted since the last one year, especially after the nefarious activities post the unleashing of coronavirus. Sensing the weakness in the economies and the distraction of most countries towards handling the internal health crisis, China launched massive border expansion plans across all its frontiers, almost it has disputes with 26 countries including Russia (Pakistan and North Korea are spared🤭). Of course, it has to divert the attention away from “who created the virus?” and continue on its path of imperialism, gulping the lands of the defaulters and hobnobbing and destabilizing democracies to increase its inordinate influence. I call them masters of planned obsolescence. Not shrewd or sly but cruel businessmen, with an ambition to control the world from where their ancestors left the “middle kingdom”.

The Original China – The Central Kingdom

Every ethnicity, cult, culture, and country is ambitious but when those ambitions go to the point of submissions of others. that becomes a point of inflection, the potential for exploitation. That potential was seen in the last decade when Sri Lanka lost Hambantota, Pakistan lost Gwadar, several African countries lost key strategic sites, including strategic incursions and build up next to India’s East (Bangladesh) and West Coast (Pakistan just lost 2 islands close to Gujarat).

With every Nation China has a Border Dispute

Now, the informal grouping between the US, India, Japan, and Australia is likely getting expanded to include South Korea, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Taiwan is almost an invisible epicenter. More countries playing fence seater may join, Duterte from the Philippines will have to throw in the hat.

It is important to tame these animal instincts of this dragon. Excepted, no one is sincere and dominance of one over the other creates an imbalance. However, we have to choose the lesser evil.

China’s efforts are not just to gobble up land in Ladakh or Doklam or Arunachal Pradesh.

China’s territorial incursions into India
Details of the territorial disputes with names

Taiwan, a country that is separated from China, is claimed by China as its own under its One China policy. Sometimes, I fear how our memory gives way and we selectively forget Tibet. Even Uighur was never a Chinese province. It was only in the post-WW II that they annexed it. Thus, those land grabbing tendencies are totipotent (🤣), with Chinese identity.

China, an extremely nefarious nation, has to be contained. In a world dominated by China, it’s beyond imperialism, our every human initiative will be scuttled and the state will determine the human endeavor and not vice versa. Since the last 20 years that I am learning about China, I am gradually expanding the repertoire of my understanding of their instincts, their aspirations, their vision, ideology, ethnicities, culture and language, not all of which are bad. Maybe some day, I’ll write about the good and the graceful aspects of China, a civilization that demands adoration buy one thing for sure, I will always insist, by China, I mean the Communist Party dominated the polity, that ideology has corrupted the entire milieu to a state controlled capitalism.

Need Introspection and Not a Dictate (updated Oct 26, 2020)

“In today’s world, any unilateralism, protectionism, and ideology of extreme self-interest are totally unworkable, and any blackmailing, blockades and extreme pressure are totally unworkable,” Xi said. “Any actions that focus only on oneself and any efforts to engage in hegemony and bullying will simply not work—not only will it not work, but it will be a dead end.” This applies so starkly to China, I presume, Xi echoes the sentiments of the opposite party (Newsweek https://www.newsweek.com/xi-jinping-china-ready-war-trump-biden-take-hard-line-beijing-1541606). Surprisingly that’s the ‘Art of War’, by Sun Tzu but comes under the garb of Confucius philosophy.

Credits: Atlantic Council https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/content-series/smart-partnerships/the-dangers-of-decoupling/

US vs. China: 2 leading experts fear conflict awaits
https://asia.nikkei.com/Editor-s-Picks/Interview/US-vs.-China-2-leading-experts-fear-conflict-awaits

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_disputes_in_the_South_China_Sea

Am I Culpable for Spreading Virus?

This is a classic example of invincibility and complacency – that nothing will happen to me even while the entire world is suffering from COVID.

Passengers went on a cruise while COVID was raging, presuming that COVID won’t infect their isolation on the ship (in deep water!) never realizing that asymptomatics are the core carrier rather than those who are actively infected.

Exactly this is what happens around us. Yesterday, I was talking with a friend and I realized, he was not using a mask despite the incidence being very high in their state.

That’s pathetic, I understand coronavirus is not seen and leave behind a trail of fragrance but understand, every time an asymptomatic exhales or sneezes, they blow approximately 54 million copies of the virus in the air. It is now known that these copies stay for at least 3-6 hours in the air. That air may drift in your direction and not having a mask while exposed to the potentially infectious airborne virus is culpable negligence, especially knowing that it may make you another asymptomatic carrier.

This pandemic is replete with examples where the asymptomatic have infected the gullible and innocent unexposed. It is the later who has taken the brunt from SARS CoV2.

Shashank Heda, MD
Dallas, Texas, US

Coronavirus: Dozens test positive for Covid-19 on Norwegian cruise ship
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-53636854