Bush needs caution in wooing India (JOHN O’SULLIVAN, 2/28/06, Chicago Sun-Times)

India is not a neurotic superpower but it is still an ambivalent one. Almost all the economic and political developments cited above point the country toward adopting an economy strategy of free market globalization and a political one of alliance with the United States. The two countries share a common language, common liberal democratic values, similar legal and political institutions (inherited in both cases from the British), a common strategic rival in China, and a common enemy in al-Qaida. These similarities help to explain the growing Indian diaspora in America, the boom in U.S. companies outsourcing to India’s own Silicon Valleys, the ease of military cooperation between Indian and U.S. military forces, and the fact that America is more popular in India than in any other country.

Altogether, India’s progress is bottom-up rather than top-down. It is also bipartisan. Both government and opposition have advanced the economic reform agenda in the last 14 years. So a change of government would probably not mean a drastic change of policy. It is likely to last.

Yet there are powerful groups that for various reasons dislike the switch of policy from socialism and neutralism to globalization and a pro-American diplomatic stance. India’s “Regulation Ra” is naturally opposed to losing its control over economic life. Traditional industries would like to keep their protective subsidies. Influential left-wing intellectuals dislike the new official embrace of free market capitalism and globalization. Factions in the Congress government hanker for India’s former role as the morally upright leader of the Third World sympathetic to global socialism. And some Indians are simply nervous about getting into bed with a partner as large and overwhelming as the United States.

Bush should therefore go carefully in wooing New Delhi. Rather than stress the exclusive nature of the Indo-U.S. partnership — which frightens as well as flatters — he might want to point out that other friends of India are also linking themselves more closely to the United States in the post-Cold War world. Howard’s Australia is one. Tony Blair’s Britain another. After the recent election in Canada, Stephen Harper’s new government is likely to move closer to the United States. In fact the English-speaking world, plus Japan, is gradually emerging as an informal U.S. alliance. And in that alliance India would be a junior partner to nobody except the United States.

There’s safety in numbers — not only in the war on terror but also as a way of avoiding unintended domination in alliances led by a generous but sometimes careless United States.

India is the ideal location for the President to present himself as the humble American he spoke of in his debate with Al Gore.

2 Responses to HOWDY, PARDNER:

  1. Rajesh says:

    “The two countries share a common language, ”

    Common language? Yet another clueless American writing the article. Maybe 2-3% of India’s population actually speaks decent English, even fewer speak it fluently and almost nobody speaks it as a first language. Many Indians do learn it in school, but Americans still have yet to figure out that in most countries of the world, folks speak a variety of languages to do business with their neighbors and countries farther afield. The main languages in India are home-grown Subcontinental ones like Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, Bengali and of course Hindi. To the extent that India has a common “link” language it is definitely not English– I went to India last year, including the major centers in Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore, to visit friends and family, and I’d go whole street blocks without finding anybody who could speak half-decent English. If anything, English is like #20 on the list of spoken languages in India. The link language is basically some pidginized form of Hindi, or Tamil sprinkled with Hindi words in the deep south of the country. Mr. John O’Sullivan, go and do some reading– India had a culture for thousands of years before English even came into existence.

    “ommon liberal democratic values, similar legal and political institutions (inherited in both cases from the British)”

    Horsecrap (the part about “inherited in both cases from the British”)! Yet another Anglo-American idiot trying to proclaim that India’s best civil and governmental features were British heirlooms– “gifts” of those bloody imperialists who managed to slaughter about 50 million of our people in their bloodbath Holocaust in India from the mid-1800’s onward. India did adopt some elements of the British civil code and common law, but the essential underpinnings of the legal code in India stem before that, from the longstanding codes that cropped up going all the way back to the Gupta Dynasty, and the Mughals to a far lesser extent. I am really getting tired of hearing this “modern India was made by the British” crap– if anything, the Brits did everything in their power to turn us into a 3rd-world banana republic and natural resource gift to them. Yet another thing I’m sick of hearing:

    “a common strategic rival in China”

    That’s crap! So, O’Sullivan’s true agenda is revealed– he’s yet another American who wants to sucker India into being some two-bit proxy in America’s efforts to keep the rest of the world down, just as the USSR suckered us against the US for decades. India is nobody’s proxy anymore! China is neither friend nor foe– China’s just a nation, a trading partner and another country with its own ancient culture, like ours. It is not in any way a strategic rival, and we’re not falling for that trap anymore.

    “In fact the English-speaking world, plus Japan, is gradually emerging as an informal U.S. alliance. And in that alliance India would be a junior partner to nobody except the United States.”

    What a load of crap. Only Tony Blair seems to have decided to ally with the US– something like 70% of Britons in polls are furious at the US for dragging them both into a war that they’re basically about to lose. This English-speaking alliance crap is the same guano we’ve been getting sold since the Brits tried to hoodwink us in the Commonwealth. For one, we’re not an English-speaking country and for another, we’re not entering into any alliance that has Britain as the US’s chief lapdog. Britain has not been, nor will it ever be an Indian ally. It’s in their blood to screw the darkies over whenever it suits them, and now the US seems to be following in the same pattern.

    BTW, in the midst of all the lamebrained hootin’ and hollerin’ about the supposed “nuclear deal” with India, I wonder how it escaped so many people’s attention that Singh basically agreed to make India a vassal state of the US and UN, opening our nuclear plants up for inspections that the US and Brits would never accept for themselves, while restricting technology transfers that were going our way anyway and at a much faster pace through the free market. But I guess India’ leaders still love to kiss the boots of anyone from the US and UK, especially when our basic economic health is at stake.

  2. Orrin says:

    India is a part of the Anglosphere and America a natural ally. Get over it.

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