03 May 2009

America, we love you!

On NDTV last night, Modi, the Gujarat Chief Minister, was the subject
of debate. Quite a subject this man, since controversy seems to
follow him no matter what he does, or more famously, doesn't do.

Guilty or not, culpable or not, one of the most shocking points of
deliberation against the man was that he is a persona non grata in the
USA! Sure enough, there are enough and more people who are willing to
defend Modi against this line of attack, but it must be demeaning for
us as Indians to even have to bear mention of the fact that Washington
has an opinion about Modi.

Why is it that we need Washington's approval of any of our
politicians? It should humour us indeed that if G W Bush were to be
tried for the war crimes he is charged with, the International Court
of Justice would throw him in jail!

Why is it that our companies celebrate being listed on the New York
Stock Exchange as some sort of landmark badge of achievement? Why do
we celebrate our students coming out of Yale and Harvard business
schools? Quite obviously, the New York Stock Exchance, fuelled by the
way Wall Street plays the game, has driven the world economy down the

Indian students coming out of Yale and Harvard admire the fools who
graduated before them, as if we should ignore the fact that these are
the fools who not only drove many of the leading Wall Street
speculation based growth engines, but also held positions in many
companies that threw all wisdom to the gutter and ruined the US
economy and dragged the rest of the world down with it - almost. Yet,
we admire the fools that are yet to come out of Yale and Harvard,
still considered the best among "business" schools in the world!

Does it ever occur to any of us that America has as much of a right to
go wrong as any third world country? Just because America has been
responsible for the invention of the aeroplane and the motor car and
thousands of other innovations doesn't mean they will get it right all
the time, does it? Why can't we Indians get the simple fact that
capitalism is in itself in an advanced state of experimentation and
abundant opportunity doesn't necessarily translate to abundant access?

We live in an acutely flawed world, with no perfect system that can
adequately address our innate selfish nature as humans, and the need
to take care of the collective in order to be socially stable. This
is the time to examine alternative thought processes, potentially
radical changes to the way we view our own world, and kick out dogmas.

So, why this obsession with the USA? Why is a country which was so
vehemently opposed to communism now using tax payer dollars to "bail
out" companies that have failed because of excessively liberal and
irresponsible capitalism? Think about this - three top executives of
the biggest three automobile companies in the USA flew to Washington
to beg for the bailout money. They flew in on three separate private
jets. The American taxpayer pays for this nonsense, of course!

Washington, particularly the White House, has been responsible for
some of the most irresponsible foreign policy decisions taken in the
history of mankind, recently leading to the loss of 600,000 Iraqi
lives, a huge spike in terrorist issues worldwide, and left us with a
polarized world that indeed Obama is apparently keen to diffuse
tensions in.

Over the years, if we can ignore the Cold War, the USA has been
meddling in the affairs of so many countries, it would be ridiculous
to even start counting the instances. The CIA has been overtly or
coverty involved in so many illegal operations to overthrow
non-Washington friendly governments, given completely illegal military
support to anti-government forces in many countriies, and continues to
fight the war on drugs outside, not doing anything worth mention about
curbing its enormous consumption of illegal drugs.

If we had an anti-US Indian government, which was willing to support
for instance, Iran's nuclear power program and North Korea's missile
program, and if we were a nation that absolutely believed in and acted
to maintain a balance against the USA, the USA would not have wasted
any time funding and arming all the naxalites, terrorists and anti
government bodies in our country. It is perfectly plausible that
without Sept 11th, the Lashkar e Toiba would have had the blessings of
the CIA.

Why then is America any kind of good example? It is becuase of
countries like ours, that worship white skin. White people told us
that they're electing their first black president to the highest
office and we bought it hook, line and sinker, not even bothering to
consider Obama has one white parent! America now tells us that we are
"Incapable of dealing with terrorism" and we could agree, but just to
put Obama in place, we should really tell them to shut up.

After all, how many countries can tell us we are incapable when they
have attacked the wrong country, didn't convict a single person for
the greatest act of terrorism the world has known, and have failed to
restrict the Al Qaeda or the Taliban, whose lines seem even more
blurred now? The outcome of every one of America's military moves is
getting to be monotonously nebulous, and victory and defeat all seem
rolled into one big mess. The world's lone superpower doesn't seem
all that super based on performance.

But, it's the image! The image of America as the driver of the
world's economy, as the leader country, that more than Americans, many
of us Indians seem to be finding difficult to live without clinging
to. The mental bankruptcy runs deeper than that. We are used to
living under kings, under the rule of colonial leaders, and we still
cannot get over the fact that we do not have to have any sort of #1.
We love to be slaves, as long as we can agree on whom to be a slave
to. That's as far as our democratic mindset goes.

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