Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani: America Does Not Respect India

"One hard truth that Indians have to contend with is that America has also had difficulty treating India with respect", writes former Singaporean diplomat Kishore Mahbubani in his latest book "Has China Won?". "If America wants to develop a close long-term relationship with India over the long run, it needs to confront the deep roots of its relative lack of respect for India", adds Ambassador Mahbubani. It's not just Mahbubani who suspects the United States leadership does not respect India. Others, including former President Bill Clinton, current US President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria have expressed similar sentiments. 


Kishore Mahbubani



Kishore Mahbubani:

Kishore Mahbubani is a former top diplomat who served as the head of Singaporean mission at the United Nations. He was born in Singapore in 1948 to Hindu Sindhi parents who migrated from Pakistan to India in 1947, and then to Singapore in 1948. He is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore.  In 2019, Mahbubani was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a frequent guest on CNN Global Public Square hosted by Fareed Zakaria. Here's an excerpt from Mahbubani's "Has China Won?": 

 "One hard truth that Indians have to contend with is that America has also had difficulty treating India with respect.....Many Americans, like many of their fellow Westerners, have a higher degree of respect for Chinese civilization than they do of Indian civilization. Many Americans will deny it because it is an uncomfortable truth. They will proclaim loudly that they respect India as much as they respect China. But you cannot feign respect: it is best demonstrated not through words but in deeds. Every country in the world demonstrates its respect for another country by the amount of time and attention it gives to that country, and America has devoted far more time and attention to China than it has to India". 

Trump and Clinton:

There is some evidence to support Ambassador Mahbubani's assertion about America's lack of respect for India. For example,  ex US President Bill Clinton said in 1990s that India has a Rodney Dangerfield problem: It can’t get no respect, according to his deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott. In a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks in 2010, Hillary Clinton referred to India as "a self-appointed frontrunner for a permanent UN security council seat."

More recently, US President Donald Trump mocked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about Indian contribution to Afghanistan.  Trump said he got along very well with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but the Indian leader was "constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan". "That's like five hours of what we spend... And we are supposed to say, 'oh, thank you for the library'. I don't know who is using it in Afghanistan," Trump said.

Western Media:

Indians were justifiably very proud of their great scientific achievement when the India Space Agency ISRO successfully launched the nation's Mars Mission back in 2013. The New York Times, America's leading newspaper, mocked India with a cartoon depicting the country as a dhoti-wearing farmer with his cow knocking on the door of the Elite Space Club. 

New York Times Cartoon


In an article titled "Paper Elephant", the Economist magazine talked about how India has ramped up its military spending and emerged as the world's largest arms importer. "Its military doctrine envisages fighting simultaneous land wars against Pakistan and China while retaining dominance in the Indian Ocean", the article said. It summed up the situation as follows: "India spends a fortune on defense and gets poor value for money".

After the India-Pakistan aerial combat over Kashmir, New York Times published a story from its South Asia correspondent headlined: "After India Loses Dogfight to Pakistan, Questions Arise About Its Military".  Here are some excerpts of the report:

"Its (India's) loss of a plane last week to a country (Pakistan) whose military is about half the size and receives a quarter (a sixth according to SIPRI) of the funding is telling. ...India’s armed forces are in alarming shape....It was an inauspicious moment for a military the United States is banking on to help keep an expanding China in check".

Fareed Zakaria: 

CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria is known to be among the loudest cheerleaders for India and a sharp critic of Pakistan. While he still refuses to say anything that could even remotely be considered positive about Pakistan, it seems that he is souring on his native India.

Speaking with Indian journalist Shekhar Gupta on The Print YouTube channel, Fareed Zakaria called the Indian state an “inefficient state”.“Indian government functions very poorly, even in comparison to other developing countries. Coronavirus has highlighted that reality, " he added. He did not clearly speak about the lynchings of Indian Muslims by people affiliated with the ruling BJP and the brutality of Indian military against Kashmiri Muslims, but he did ask: “What I wonder about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is, is he really bringing all of India along with him? He noted sadly:”India seems like roadkill for China".

Has New Delhi's abject failure in containing the coronavirus pandemic finally done what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's extreme brutality and open hatred against Zakaria's fellow Indian Muslims could not do? Has he really had it with Hindu Nationalist government? While he has not used his perch on CNN to do it, it appears that he has started expressing his disapproval of the performance on other platforms.

 Here are a few of the key points Fareed Zakaria made while speaking with Shekhar Gupta:

1. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Indian government, and by that I mean the Delhi government, has handled this crisis (COVID19) very poorly.

2. Indian government functions very poorly, even in comparison to other developing countries. Coronavirus has highlighted that reality.

3. In a way, India seems like roadkill for China’s obsession with absolute control over their borders. I do think there is an opportunity here for diplomacy. I don’t think India needs to be confrontational about it (the LAC issue), but of course it should push back.

4. It is now a bipolar world. US and China are way ahead of the rest of the world. For the long term, India needs to decide it’s position with China.

4. Turkey under Erdogan has become more confident and independent. It is culturally proud. It is telling Americans to buzz off.

5. Popularity of political leaders around the  world is linked to their performance on the coronavirus pandemic. In India, however, the issues of religion and caste are still dominating.

6.  What I wonder about (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is, is he really bringing all of India along with him? How many Muslims in Indian government? Or South Indians in BJP? It is much less diverse than Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's cabinet.

7. I have been very sad to see how Indian democracy has developed over the last few years. It has become an illiberal democracy.

8. The India media is slavishly pro-government. Self-censorship is widespread in India.

9. The Indian courts fold in cases where government takes serious interest.

Summary: 

Singaporean diplomat, analyst and writer Kishore Mahbubani has argued in his latest book "Has China Won?" that America does not really respect India. Others, including ex US President Bill Clinton, current President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CNN GPS host Fareed Zakaria, have expressed similar sentiments. It has become increasingly clear that India's loudest cheerleaders like Fareed Zakaria are now starting to see the stark reality of Modi's India as a big failure on multiple fronts. Indian state has failed to contain the deadly COVID19 pandemic. India's economy is in serious trouble. The country's democracy is in decline. India seems like a roadkill for China. This turn of events has created serious problems for Pakistani "liberals" who have long seen and often cited India as a successful example of "secular democracy" at work in South Asia.

Here's a video clip from CNN GPS Show:

https://youtu.be/KpAMVLwBJkM





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Fareed Zakaria Never Misses Any Opportunity to Bash Pakistan

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Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#India's #caste system is ruining lives in #SiliconValley. Over 90% of #Indian techies in #US are upper-caste Indians and they are making life hell for over 250 Dalit techies working in firms such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple & Netflix. #Hindutva https://zd.net/2RQNg05

It may seem bizarre that the caste system, a centuries-old system that organises and stratifies human society, continues to play a heavy role in deciding which Indians prosper and which don't within a space many consider to be an uber-meritocracy -- the US tech landscape.

A recent lawsuit against two Indians, filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing on behalf of another Indian, has made waves over the past few months for all the wrong reasons. It has illuminated how the Indian caste system has terrorised one of the most marginalised groups in India.

Except, this time, it is happening in the US tech industry, a place that people normally associate with egalitarianism and a thirst for talent regardless of colour, race, religion, or any other creed.

Caste is a 2,000 year-old system for classifying society in the Indian subcontinent -- or whatever other definition that can be used for the geographic spread that was depleted and then amputated by British colonial rule.

In this stratification, the priests -- or the "Brahman" class -- were at the top, the warriors or "Kshatriyas" came next, the merchants or "Vaishyas" formed the third tier, while labourers, artisans, and servants, known as "Shudras", came last and essentially served the other three castes. Of course, it's not so simple -- in reality, there are over 5,000 castes and over 25,000 sub-castes in India, spawned by sheer geographical, cultural, and religious diversity.

What is homogenous across the country, however, is another category that exists completely outside of the caste system, on a rung so low that if you were forced to come up with the worst moral and physical degradations that you could think of, they would in all likelihood pale in comparison to what has transpired in India over centuries and continues to do so today.

These people that are deemed to be on the lowest rung are the Dalits. Self-named, Dalit means "oppressed", but they are also referred to by Indian society as "achoot", or, "untouchable". Dalits have historically been involved in occupations such as working with leather, cleaning sewers, or killing rats and were therefore considered "spiritually impure".

Not so long ago, if a Dalit saw a higher caste walking down the road, they would have to flung themselves to the ground to not contaminate the upper caste (UC) person with their shadow. Violaters would be beaten, often to death, and incredulously, they still are today.

All across India, Dalits -- who comprise at least 25% of the population, or a staggering 400 million people -- are barred from drawing water from the wells of UCs. Dalit children are either denied education or cannot study with UC peers; their villages are separate and hence, they are forbidden from walking through upper caste ones; they cannot eat where UCs eat; they cannot pray where UCs pray and God help them if they marry out of their caste. Their woman and children are physically and sexually abused on a serial scale.

If a person is born as a Dalit, they will die a Dalit, and their children are almost certainly destined to a life with no upward mobility.

While many scholars contend that the caste system became more inflexible under the British, who transformed it into a rigid, more easily governable structure that privileged Brahmans even more, others say this narrative is just an attempt by upper-caste Indian Americans to rewrite history books and erase any mention of Dalit oppression. While the British Raj did have a complex, destructive effect on caste, India's pre-modern history was also most definitely defined by castes.
Riaz Haq said…
Kishore Mahbubani on China; Tillerson (via Bob Woodward) on Russia

Tillerson added, “Putin feels like we treat Russia like a banana republic.” The year before, Tillerson said he had been tooling around the Black Sea on Putin’s yacht. “And he said to me, ‘You need to remember we’re a nuclear power. As powerful as you. You Americans think you won the Cold War. You did not win the Cold War. We never fought that war. We could have, but we didn’t.’ And that put chills up my spine.” There is a significant opportunity here, Tillerson said. “When Putin said the breakup of the Soviet Union was the greatest tragedy of the twentieth century, it wasn’t because he loved communism. It was because Russia’s stature had been destroyed. “Anybody who tries to think about Russia in terms of the Soviet era doesn’t know a thing about Russia. The seventy years of Soviet rule was a speed bump in Russian history and it had no lasting effect. “If you want to understand Russia, they haven’t changed much culturally in 1,000 years. They are the most fatalistic people on the face of the earth, which is why they’re willing to live under lousy leaders. If you ask them about it, they’d say they don’t like it, but they’d say ‘Das Russia’—‘That’s Russia.’ They’d shrug their shoulders. I would talk to my Russian employees about it. Only one time did Russians rise up in revolution. And that didn’t turn out so well. So they look back on that and they say, Don’t do that again.”


Woodward, Bob. Rage (pp. 9-10). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

For over two hundred years, Western civilization vastly outperformed the rest of the world, allowing it to overturn the historical precedent; from the year 1 to 1820, China and India were always the largest civilizations in terms of economic strength. The past two hundred years have therefore been an aberration. One reason the West can no longer dominate the world is that the rest have learned so much from the West. They have imbibed many Western best practices in economics, politics, science, and technology. As a result, while many parts of Western civilization (especially Europe) seem exhausted, lacking drive and energy, other civilizations are just getting revved up. In this respect, human civilizations are like other living organisms. They have life cycles. Chinese civilization has had many ups and downs. It should be no surprise that it is now returning in strength.

Having survived over two thousand years, China has developed strong civilizational sinews. Professor Wang Gungwu has observed that while the world has had many ancient civilizations, the only ancient civilization to fall down four times and rise again is China. As a civilization, China is remarkably resilient. The Chinese people are also remarkably talented. As the Chinese look back over two thousand years, they are acutely aware that the past thirty years under CCP rule have been the best thirty years that Chinese civilization has experienced since China was united by Qin Shi Huang in 221 BCE. For most of the past two thousand years, the large pool of brainpower available in the Chinese population was not developed under the imperial Chinese system. During the past thirty years, for the first time in Chinese history, it has been tapped on a massive scale. Cultural confidence, which the Chinese have had for centuries, combined with what China has learned from the West have given Chinese civilization a special vigor today. A Chinese American psychology researcher from Stanford University, Jean Fan, has observed after visiting China in 2019 that “China is changing in a deep and visceral way, and it is changing fast, in a way that is almost incomprehensible without seeing it in person. In contrast to America’s stagnation, China’s culture, self-concept, and morale are being transformed at a rapid pace—mostly for the better.”*

Mahbubani, Kishore. Has China Won? (pp. 11-12). PublicAffairs. Kindle Edition.
Riaz Haq said…
Economist Larry Summers: "Europe's a museum, Japan's a nursing home and China's a jail"

https://www.thenationalnews.com/opinion/comment/amid-preparations-for-nato-s-70th-anniversary-summit-no-one-seems-sure-about-where-europe-should-be-heading-1.943079

Consider the comment last week by Larry Summers, a former US treasury secretary and president of Harvard University. Mr Summers took part in a simulation of the White House situation room, carried out by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. The make-believe situation discussed was dual national security crises which were as follows: the test of a North Korean missile that could potentially reach the US, and a Chinese digital currency that has dulled the effectiveness of the main US tool for responding to such provocations – that is, economic sanctions. Mr Summers was dismissive of the idea that a rival currency could replace the dollar, saying: "Europe's a museum, Japan's a nursing home and China's a jail".

The perception of Europe as a “museum” – a passive, possibly slightly musty institution that conserves and showcases cultural curiosities – is only slightly worse than the way the bloc was recently summed up by French President Emmanuel Macron. He said: “Europe has forgotten that it is a community by increasingly thinking of itself as a market.” It was a rather despairing comment from the politician who has strongly positioning himself to assume leadership of Europe now that Berlin is in a state of political paralysis, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel ending nearly two decades at the helm of her country and of the European bloc.
Riaz Haq said…
#IMF: #China is world's biggest #economy. IMF's "2020 World Outlook" shows that China’s #GDP($24.2 trillion) is one-sixth larger than #America’s($20.8 trillion). China has replaced #US as the largest trading partner of nearly every major nation. #COVID19 https://nationalinterest.org/feature/china-now-world%E2%80%99s-largest-economy-we-shouldn%E2%80%99t-be-shocked-170719

Explaining its decision to switch from MER to PPP in its annual assessment of national economies—which is available online in the CIA Factbook—the CIA noted that “GDP at the official exchange rate [MER GDP] substantially understates the actual level of China's output vis-a-vis the rest of the world.” Thus, in its view, PPP “provides the best available starting point for comparisons of economic strength and wellbeing between economies.” The IMF adds further that “market rates are more volatile and using them can produce quite large swings in aggregate measures of growth even when growth rates in individual countries are stable.”


-----------

So what? If this were simply a contest for bragging rights, picking a measuring rod that allows Americans to feel better about ourselves has a certain logic. But in the real world, a nation’s GDP is the substructure of its global power. Over the past generation, as China has created the largest economy in the world, it has displaced the U.S. as the largest trading partner of nearly every major nation (just last year adding Germany to that list). It has become the manufacturing workshop of the world, including for face masks and other protective equipment as we are now seeing in the coronavirus crisis. Thanks to double-digit growth in its defense budget, its military forces have steadily shifted the seesaw of power in potential regional conflicts, in particular over Taiwan. And this year, China will surpass the U.S. in R&D spending, leading the U.S. to a “tipping point in R&D” and future competitiveness.

For the U.S. to meet the China challenge, Americans must wake up to the ugly fact: China has already passed us in the race to be the No. 1 economy in the world. Moreover, in 2020, China will be the only major economy that records positive growth: the only economy that will be bigger at the end of the year than it was when the year began. The consequences for American security are not difficult to predict. Diverging economic growth will embolden an ever more assertive geopolitical player on the world stage.

Graham T. Allison is the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the former director of Harvard’s Belfer Center and the author of Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?
Riaz Haq said…
Is #Australia shooting itself in the foot by joining the #Quad military exercise at #Malabar, #India? Australia's dependence on China has never been so starkly illustrated. #China #Japan #US https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/australia-s-dependence-on-china-has-never-been-so-starkly-illustrated-20201007-p562sg.html


The budget forecasts tell the tale. Eight of Australia’s top 10 trading partners are expected to see a contraction in economic growth in 2020. China and Taiwan are the only exceptions.

The global economic massacre is laid out line by line in budget paper number one. India and Europe down by 9 per cent, Japan almost 6 per cent, the US 5.5 per cent. The world down 4.5 per cent. China? Up by 1.75 per cent.

Australia's dependence on China for economic growth is well known, but never has it been so starkly illustrated. The country where the coronavirus was first detected is now the sole major economy showing genuine signs of recovery. For that it needs Australian iron ore to make steel and build infrastructure.

The budget assumes a price of $US55 a tonne. It's currently at $US120, driven by supply restrictions on Brazilian iron ore and rampaging demand from China. The difference between the two prices? $47 billion, or almost twice the cost of the government's full personal income tax cut package between 2020 and 2022.

It's not just mining. It's food and merchandise, students and tourists. On all counts, China is Australia's number one market. Australia has been very good at doing business with China and very bad at diversifying.

That leaves it exposed. For all the federal budget's domestic stimulus, it is notable how little it focuses on initiatives outside Australia's borders.

The third largest item in the Foreign Affairs expenditure is $25 million to make sure prospective arrangements between state and territory governments and foreign governments (read: China) are consistent with Australian foreign policy. That is a domestic initiative delivered through a globally focused department.

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