Why 2016 (like 1991) is the Year of Disruption

Sunil Rajguru
Sunil RajguruDec 12, 2016 | 19:31

Why 2016 (like 1991) is the Year of Disruption

In January, Saudi Arabia and Iran broke diplomatic ties over the execution of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr. In February, North Korea tested a long-range missile by sending it into space and set alarm bells ringing world over. Days after that, the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church met and signed a declaration for the first time in nearly 1,000 years.

At that time, if you thought all that was momentous, then you had no idea what was in store for the rest of 2016.


In June, Prime Minister David Cameron, former PM of UK, held a referendum to decide whether his country should stay in the European Union or not. Most polls and analysts said it would be a mere formality and the option to Stay would be scrapped through, much like the Scotland referendum.

That would give Cameron a free hand to go ahead and further cement England's place in the EU. However, in a shocker, Stay lost and Leave won. The legend of Brexit was born. The word has already become legendary and promises to destabilise Europe.

The EU in its current form will not exist in the 2020s and the genesis will be Brexit 2016. Credit: Reuters

A look at what is happening all over Europe: France faces the polls in 2017 and in a first - the battle appears to be between the Right (François Fillon) and the Far Right (Marine Le Pen). For the first time, the Left seems to have been kicked out of the equation. That's remarkable for European politics.

In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, arguably the most hardline Right leader of Europe, is gaining popularity. His Party for Freedom actually came up ahead in a recent opinion poll despite Wilders being convicted for hate speech against Muslims.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks set to lose in Germany.Nationalism, anti-globalisation and isolationism look set to win in most European countries. While Marine talked of a Frexit, lots of such exits are being discussed all over Europe.


It is not a hyperbolic statement, but the EU in its current form will not exist in the 2020s and the genesis will be Brexit 2016. A clash of civilisations between Muslim refugees and traditional Europe is also on the cards, though that is being brushed under the carpet by the media. 

The India-Pak equation also saw a Grade 1 disruption from our side. From 1947, Pakistan has attacked us multiple times and we have retaliated strongly to claim peace for a few years. But this is the very first time we have gone on such an offensive during peace.

The issue of Balochistan has been internationalised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There is an independence movement there with great support from Baloch exiles and some time back Baloch rebels killed Chinese engineers to check the Pak-China nexus in Balochistan.

It was also the first time that the Indus Water Treaty was raised since 1960 and Modi has already called off regular meets and indicated that we may use more water there and start projects.

Then there was the surgical strike, when the Indian Army crossed the LoC for the first time in such numbers since 1971 and carried out an attack on terrorist camps there. We did not cross the Line of Control (LoC) even during the Kargil War of 1999.


Since the 1990s, when insurgency was at its peak in the Kashmir Valley, Pakistan has been holding such camps near the LoC with impunity and now - for the first time - they have been hurriedly pulled back. This is the biggest peacetime offensive by India and Pakistan's plans have been severely disrupted.

Then there's demonetisation, which has turned the entire Indian economy upside down. Old Rs 500 and 1,000 notes were pulled out. Nobody is sure of the estimates, but thousands of crores of old black currency may have been destroyed or thrown away while hundreds of crores of new black currency have already been seized.

Counterfeiting, Hawala, and funding for terrorism, Naxalism and the underworld have been brought under the check, as per claims. India's cashless economy is growing in leaps and bounds and so are its bank accounts.

Many political parties have lost their laundered election campaign funding and the fear of the system has finally struck black money stalwarts. This is probably the biggest economic disruption since the liberalisation of the Indian economy in 1991.

Yet again, Modi has said this is just the beginning and if that is the case (gold and land is under scrutiny and even the GST is looming), then demonetisation could be a real watershed.

If all that was not enough, we had the spectacular victory of Donald Trump in the US Presidential elections. Brexit and Trump will be the twin towers of doom for the EU and globalisation. The world will never be the same again.

Trump promises to throw things like global warming into the bin and he is an affront to the ruling establishment. For decades the media, intellectuals, liberals and Leftists formed a powerful clique and had a stranglehold on world opinion. Trump has shattered that.

EU. Globalisation. Political correctness. Liberalism. Leftism. Traditional media. Global warming. They have all been shaken and India has felt the tremors in foreign policy, corruption and its economy.

This disruption will spill well into 2017 and beyond. We are seeing nothing but the formation of a New World Order. 2016 is much like 1991. Then too the world saw the total collapse of Communism while India saw liberalisation.

It's been exactly 25 years since both India and the world has seen a disruption on this scale.

Last updated: December 13, 2016 | 16:12
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