The cup, the lip and the numerous slips…

Posted: November 9, 2010 in Politics, US
Tags: , , , ,

Was President Barack Obama’s speechwriter an Indian MP? His speech in Parliament was liked by the politicians and one can well understand why. It had references to Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, UN Security Council seat for India, 26/11 attacks, terrorism, Pakistan and even the Panchatantra! I am surprised he didn’t quote from the Vedas, Ramayan and Mahabharat! Or did he?

So just like the finance minister’s usual ‘please-all’ budget speech every year in Parliament, Obama too seemed intent on pleasing everyone. When the MPs who usually show their displeasure by either walking out or ‘rearranging’ the furniture in the House, were all praise for the speech, it could only mean one thing – that it was a truly political speech. And except for the Leftists, who anyway seem nowadays to subsist in a cocoon, everyone loved it. Were they expecting Obama to praise the Chinese?

Obama also made all the right noises. He rapped Pakistan and demanded they bring to book the culprits of 26/11. But please note, he did not tell the Pakistanis to hand over the perpetrators. He also praised the Indian Constitution which of course, made the parliamentarians very happy. Never mind, if they usually tear it to bits on most days during the proceedings and don’t care a hoot about Dr Ambedkar, except during election time.

Even the BJP, after the initial idiocy by Rajiv Pratap Rudy, fell in line. I, for one, couldn’t understand Mr. Rudy’s displeasure at Obama’s speech at a purely unofficial event at the Taj Mahal Hotel. I think Obama spoke well and recognised the bravery of those who were involved in the rescue attempts in Mumbai. Why should he politicise the event by dragging in Pakistan? And, anyway, why are we so hung up on forcing world leaders to spell out P-A-K-I-S-T-A=N every time one of them comes here. What purpose does it serve?

Every time a big-ticket leader from the West comes to India and utters the P word, the media and political class here get a virtual ‘high’. It’s almost as if Pakistan has been nuked! Then some idiotic copy editor writes the headline “US names Pakistan”. It makes one wonder whether they’re being blamed or knighted! So let’s stop behaving like five-year-olds who go crying to papa because someone ate their lollipop. And Papa admonishes the culprit gently, because after all, he is dealing with five-year-olds. Then he goes back to reading his newspaper! Let’s grow up.

Does Pakistan care? Heck does even the US care? They’re sending our neighbours billions of dollars in cash and weapons, most of which is used against us. Look how the President fumbled when a kid at Xavier’s asked him about why US was hesitant to call Pakistan a terrorist state. What a way he hummed and hawed, before giving an answer that would have made any civil servant proud. Wake up and smell the coffee. Pakistan is important in their scheme of things. By their virtual presence in the sub-continent the US is keeping China’s territorial ambitions in check. Russia is no more the power it was, and never will be. China is the only country that can challenge the US, both economically and militarily.

The other thing we keep reading about is India in the UN Security Council. The media ask very pointed questions on India’s hope for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and then ‘interpret’ the answer. Take a look this: “In the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed U.N. Security Council that includes India as a permanent member” followed by “The Obama administration wants to ‘send as clear a statement as possible’ that the United States sees India as a ‘rising player’ on the international stage” followed by “the US is ‘not getting into’ details about the time frame” followed by “the administration will let the key details be ‘hashed out’ by the United Nations itself.

Do any of the remarks make “as clear a statement as possible” that the US has or will support India’s bid? The Americans have very cleverly worded each statement leaving it open to conjecture and interpretation. Basically India could keep reaching for the sky, but all it will get is a fistful of cloud – and little or no help from the Americans. And that it could happen anytime between day after tomorrow and the next century – if it happens! But the Indian media has already decided that US “has backed India.” Let’s not forget that before that happens we have to cross the biggest hurdle – China. And knowing China’s love for political chicanery, our chances look pretty bleak. But that’s another story.

  1. Sunayan Bhattacharjee says:

    Nice read!!

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