Global safety and security
The New Year could not have started worse for the American President. True, he gave Pakistan what the South Asian country deserved. But before he could get any of the vitriolic response that he has been threatened with, he resumed from where he had left last year on Twitter. And, then, from out of the blue, came something that left him shell-shocked. His former Chief Strategist at the White House, Steve Bannon, who lasted all of six months had, reportedly, commented in a book titled, "Fire and Fury" by author Michael Wolfe that the meeting between Donald Trump Junior and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at the Trump Tower was "treasonous" and "unpatriotic". Bannon went on to inform the author, "The three senior guys in the campaign (Trump's son, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, then campaign manager Paul Manafort with Veselnitskaya) thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor--with no lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous or unpatriotic, and I happen to think it's all that, you should have called the FBI immediately." He went on to blast the White House for its apparent indifference by commenting, "They're sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five (hurricane)." A seemingly disjointed President, already wary of the Mueller Investigation into the alleged collusion of the Trump campaign/transition team with the Russians, predictably took recourse to his favourite Twitter and was all "Fire and Fury" stating, among other things, "when Bannon was out of the White House, he was out of his mind." His longtime friend and confidante, Steve Bannon, was banished to history. But that did not stop the once Chief Strategist at the White House from retracting a bit by calling his former Boss "a great man." All this was a seemingly a great exercise in pulling the proverbial rug from under each other's feet but there was no "greatness" involved. This may seem like one of the slugfests borne of Twitter but the ramifications may be strong and lasting. Indeed, critics have been waiting for such fireworks and they could not have come at a better time when the weather has turned this chilly and frosty. Common sense would have demanded that the US President had allowed the prevalence of sense and sensibility over pride and prejudice. He ought to have chosen to observe how matters panned out in North Korea and Iran, instead of hurtling provocative statements and innuendos. The world needs less rhetoric and more peace. He would do well to pay heed to the stand and strategy of French President Emanuelle Macron. The first French leader since Napolean Bonaparte to speak equally well in both French and English, he has spoken at length on diffusing tensions the world over and, among other priorities, paying attention to Climate Change sans any delay. As one who could well emerge as the true European leader that others would look up to, Macron has stressed that it would be unfair to leave only Russia, Iran and Turkey to oversee the Syrian crisis. Humanitarian interests must be allowed to take precedence in as far as the unprecedented refugee crisis is concerned. Both the crises being posed by North Korea and Iran must be handled with patience and care. He seems to be an incurable optimist as far as overcoming difficult challenges is concerned. The answer, he insists, lies in keeping faith in both dialogue and negotiation. Yes, he would speak to President Donald Trump and try to bring him back to the Paris Climate Control treaty. All that is music to the ears. That the young French Head of State would take the grand initiative to "bell the cat" augurs well for the future of the world at the advent of 2018. If the two shake hands and agree on the immediate priorities, the world can afford to sleep in peace. All this may seem easier said than done. But efforts need to be made to reach out when others are left wondering what to do. Threats of an impending war and more sanctions make little or no sense. The two World Wars and subsequent futile battles have been lessons enough. Showing off nuclear arsenal is pointless when just one nuclear bomb can take the lives of incalculable millions. The American President must start by ensuring peace on the home front, especially with his team, and play down the first person singular. He must then lend his ears, and very, very attentively, to what Macron has to say. There would, then, be hope for safety and security.