Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Obama, Manmohan & 'divisive nationalism'

In Europe, the rise of Nation States and the breakup of Dynastic Empires, was associated with the struggle for power of 'National Bourgeoisies'- i.e. the mercantile and professional classes who were still comfortable speaking their mother tongue and who felt stifled by the, often alien, Imperial bureaucracy. The Universities turned into bastions for this rising class and, for a generation or so, Nationalism was associated with the values of a 'Bildungsburgertum'- an educated elite- who, however, were crap at delivering higher material standards of living to the working class and who were always able to convince themselves, for some bogus, but idealistic, reason to wage self-defeating wars. Thus, the 'National Bourgeoisies', being discovered to be crap, were eclipsed by a supposedly 'Internationalist' Socialist working class. 

America, thankfully, remained uncontaminated by this foolish academic availability cascade till refugee pedants began spreading it under the aegis of, first, the GI Bill, and then the over-expansion of the Higher Education Sector as a result of young people's desire to stay out of the draft or, at any rate, get high and have a lot of sex while acquiring worthless credentials.

Obama, in his new book, reveals that he too read a little Marcuse and Foucault- so as to get laid. Being an opportunist, nothing stuck. Still, his default ideology appears to feature a notion that 'good' Nationalism is bouggie pi-jaw- Kennedy stripe shite- and 'bad' Nationalism is declasse and didn't go to Collidge. This is very 'divisive' because the passengers on the bus should keep quiet while the driver accelerates towards a cliff-edge while talking high minded bollocks. 

Obama's new book reveals that Biden was against the raid on Abbotabad.  The Pakistani Army had been harboring Osama but Obama chose to turn the other cheek. He sent signal after signal that State sponsored Terrorism would not be punished. Why? Perhaps he was afraid of 'divisive nationalism'. 

With regard to India, Obama writes:
“What I couldn’t tell was whether [Manmohan] Singh’s rise to power represented the future of India’s democracy or merely an aberration...

Given that Manmohan Singh was a bureaucrat who had never been elected to any office and that he had been made the Prime Minister by the foreign widow of a dynast purely so as to keep the seat warm for her son, the question arises as to whether Obama understood the meaning of the word 'Democracy'.  

The odd thing is that Obama had noticed that Rahul was a cretin. Thus, what he is really saying is 'the future of Democracy is to have some nice bureaucrat run things on behalf of a Dynasty whose current scion is a gibbering imbecile.' 

George W Bush- who had a remarkable bromance with Manmohan Singh- implemented a visa ban on Modi because Congress was running scared of a meritocratic Chief Minister who was delivering balanced growth without corruption or communal riots.

Congress made a mistake by taking this highly divisive step. The Prime Minister of a Nation State should not say 'My country's Justice System can't punish a Chief Minister of one of our better run States. So, it is up to you to ban him from entering your country.' To act in this manner is the opposite of Nationalistic. It is to admit that one's country is 'terra nullis'. It isn't united. It isn't cohesive. It isn't under the rule of law. 

Manmohan, of course, can't be blamed too much. He was merely a loyal retainer of the dynasty serving a lady of Italian origin whose ideas about Indian Nationalism were derived from people like Romila Thapar. 

Obama's next remark shows a remarkable ignorance of Economics-

Although India had fared better than many other countries in the wake of the financial crisis, the global slowdown would inevitably make it harder to generate jobs for India’s young and rapidly growing population..
A global slowdown means cheap labor gets a competitive advantage. But 'generating jobs' requires business confidence- which is where Obama fell down. Money-pit 'Green New Deal' schemes are foolish. Fracking, on the other hand- at least from the foreign policy point of view- turned out to be a swell idea.
Singh had resisted calls to retaliate against Pakistan

because America's attitude to Pakistan was- 'shelter Osama by all means. We will give you kisses and cuddles.'  India can't retaliate against a country protected by both China and America. Well, it can- but not on the Dynasty's watch. 

after the attacks,but his restraint had cost him politically.

All of Obama's allies paid a political price for his infectious pusillanimity. 

He feared that rising anti-Muslim sentiment had strengthened the influence of India’s main opposition party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Which had previously held power. Congress got back in because there was hope that Rahul might not be a cretin, or that- at the very least- he would step aside for Priyanka. Anti-Muslim sentiment, in India, began when Muslims started ethnically cleansing Hindus where they had the upper hand. It decreased when it seemed that Atal and Nawaz Sharif could do a deal. But Sharif was toppled by the Pakistani Army. Then 9/11 happened which caused the attack on the Indian Parliament and, it was believed, the Godhra atrocity and so, in common with the rest of the world, India turned anti-Muslim. This didn't mean the President, a Muslim who had been in charge of India's Missile program, was unpopular. But, clearly, there was a new, more militant, type of Pan-Islamism which was on the prowl for recruits. Congress lost public support when it decided that 'Secularism' involved inventing an equal and opposite 'Hindu terror' threat. But, by then Congress was sinking under the weight of its own corruption and incompetence. In 2014, there was only one candidate for the top job- it was Narendra Modi. Six years later, this remains true.

Obama appears blissfully ignorant of these developments. He thinks Manmohan- a grey bureaucrat with one step in the grave- as Prime Minister, had the sort of power he himself did. Sad. 

“In uncertain times, Mr. President,” the prime minister said, “the call of religious and ethnic solidarity can be intoxicating. And it’s not so hard for politicians to exploit that, in India or anywhere else.”

The Dynasty had an enemy- Modi. But it was ineffective in going after him at home and its successes in this matter abroad were counter-productive. Still, Congress had been a Nationalist Party, appealing to religious and ethnic solidarity, under both Indira and Rajiv. By failing to project Rahul as Hindu, till too late, Congress kept that cretin out of power but at the price of turning itself into an anti-national rump.

Manmohan, of course, was Sikh- but one who could not get elected from Punjab. Sonia was Catholic but only got elected as the widow of Rajiv and the daughter-in-law of Indira who had taught the Sikhs a lesson.  

Obama's next remark suggests a mind curiously indifferent to reality.

“If globalization and a historic economic crisis were fueling these trends in relatively wealthy nations—if I was seeing it even in the United States with the Tea Party—how could India be immune?”

What gave the Tea Party traction? The perception that Obama & Co had arranged a bailout for Wall Street- people like Trump getting millions of dollars from the IRS just for being very rich- while bailiffs while knocking down the doors of ordinary folk. Obama himself, being a superb orator and being visibly African American, could combat this perception- but only with respect to himself. His was a Camelot with but a Fisher King.

In India, the big issue was Corruption. For obvious reasons, Manmohan did not explain this to his good buddy.

Still, Obama displays remarkable stupidity by asking-

Would the baton be successfully passed to Rahul,

whom he himself described as lacking 'aptitude and passion' for his Daddy's job

fulfilling the destiny laid out by his mother and preserving the Congress Party’s dominance over the divisive nationalism touted by the BJP? Somehow, I was doubtful.
It is interesting that Obama sees himself as being like Manmohan- i.e. an outsider put in to look after the interests of dynastic elites- rather than an agent of democratic change. He believes he could have done a better job if 'divisive' nationalism hadn't stopped him in his tracks. The truth is he and Manmohan could have done a better job by actually doing their job better. But, in that case, their Cabinet colleagues would have grown in stature. But, in Obama's case, nothing grew in his shade. Manmohan, on the other hand, hadn't enough substance to throw a shadow. He rose and sank without a ripple. 
“It wasn’t Singh’s fault. He had done his part, following the playbook of liberal democracies across the post–Cold War world: upholding the constitutional order;

Does Obama think condoning massive corruption in one's Cabinet is mandated by the Constitution? Perhaps. It would explain much about his administration.  

attending to the quotidian, often technical work of boosting the GDP; and expanding the social safety net.

But that isn't the Prime Minister's job. The reason Manmohan was made P.M not Finance Minister was because he had zero personality and could not get elected rat-catcher in his native Punjab. Thus he was no threat to the Heir apparent. But it turned out the Clown Prince didn't want the top-job. He wanted to lead the Congress Party into oblivion.  

Like me, he had come to believe

Why the fuck is Obama- a two term President who is still wildly popular, comparing himself to a grey bureaucrat who loyally served a dynasty? 

that this was all any of us could expect from democracy, especially in big, multiethnic, multireligious societies like India and the United States....

So, Obama gave up on the USA. Very patriotic of him.  

Except now I found myself asking whether those impulses—of violence, greed, corruption, nationalism, racism, and religious intolerance, the all-too-human desire to beat back our own uncertainty and mortality and sense of insignificance by subordinating others—were too strong for any democracy to permanently contain.

Obama was right to ask himself this question. The alternative would have been to acknowledge what he had got wrong- a type of analysis which might have been useful to his Party and the causes his supporters held dear. 

For they seemed to lie in wait everywhere, ready to resurface whenever growth rates stalled or demographics changed or a charismatic leader chose to ride the wave of people’s fears and resentments. And as much as I might have wished otherwise, there was no Mahatma Gandhi around to tell me what I might do to hold such impulses back.

This is extraordinary. We know what Gandhi would have told Obama to do. Surrender. Find the nearest Neo-Nazi and ask him politely to just beat you to death already. 

Whatever we might think of Biden- whether we acclaim him as the first person with female genitalia to be elected POTUS or whether we descry him for the same reason- the fact is he can only be an improvement over Obama the wannabe devotee of Mahatma Gandhi. Lincoln, not Gandhi, should be his role model. The proper way to beat back divisiveness of a poisonous type is by beating it with vim and vigor. 

It is clear, from Obama's book that he did not like Modi. Yet he lost no time in getting chummy with him once elected. Clearly, America does not have an ethical foreign policy. It is selective in how it applies its laws. Whether the President is Obama or Trump or Biden- this lack of ethics will remain a constant. This latest book by Obama- though making him a lot of money- has contributed to the reduction of America's 'soft power' or moral standing. 

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