North Korea: At a meeting with military officers on 1 April, Kim Jong Un warned that the circumstances of the country are very grave and vowed to crush hostile US policies.
Comment: Kim's remarks make it official: the thaw in relations with the South has ended for now. A month ago it was just the opposite.North Korean leaders can never just do something because it needs doing. They invariably wrap themselves in pariotism, crisis and victimization, and triumph over insurmountable odds. As a result they consign the people to endless sacrifices and poverty. Expect rocket and missile launches and probably a nuclear-related test, but the timing is not clear.
India: SpecialComment. General elections begin on 7 April and will run through 12 May. A new Pew Survey poll found that Indians are unhappy with the direction of government and judge it is time for a change after a decade of Congress-led coalition government. While it is difficult to credit a poll taken in a democracy of 1.2 billion people with 812 million registered voters, Pew's findings are similar to the analyses of most Indian political commentaries.
The apparent front runner is the National Democratic Alliance, which is a coalition led by the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Its candidate for prime minister is Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat State. Its platform stresses economic development, especially job creation.
Rahul Gandhi, son of the late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, is the candidate for prime minister of the ruling coalition which is led by the Indian National Congress. The Congress platform always calls for greater social justice.
Multiple surveys indicate Modi is more popular than Gandhi.
Pakistan: State-run television reported the Interior Ministry has rejected a request from former President Musharraf to go abroad for medical treatment and to see his ailing mother. Irfan Sadiqui, the prime minister's adviser on national affairs, told thePTVon Wednesday that the government rejected Musharraf's request as it could make it difficult for the government to bring him to court once he leaves the country.
Comment: It is probably politically impossible to allow Musharraf to leave at this stage of the proceedings against him. The Interior Ministry is the proper authority for making the decision. For now, Musharraf is still headed to trial.