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There has been no shortage of advice given to Narendra Modi about how he should approach Donald Trump. There is a touch of presumption in such advice, particularly because it is difficult to predict how the mercurial Trump will approach India. But the general tenor of the advice has been that India should be modest and transactional. It should avoid raising global issues that will annoy Trump and are incompatible with his worldview. Instead, we should be looking for modest deals under the radar, quietly advance some defence and business interests, and leave it at that. There might be a touch of helpful prudence in this advice. But there is also the suspicion that much of this advice comes from sections that have internalised a single-minded yardstick of Indian success in international relations: How does India do with an American President?
The Trump presidency should be a wake-up call on two things. India cannot give up its strategic autonomy. No one denies the importance of a deep and broad relationship with the United States. But the idea that tailoring our expectations to ingratiate ourselves to the US will solve most of our pressing strategic challenges is a pipe dream. While it is important to stress bilateral issues, the fact of the matter is that India will not be served well if the world generally becomes a more precarious place. Modi has unprecedented popular legitimacy and prides himself on his candour It would be a shame if he did not at least communicate, without being confrontational, what should be India’s grave concerns about the emerging world order. Statesman have to be realistic. Mere sermonizing will not do. But any statesman who loses the larger plot of history for small transactional gains will not do his country a service.
In one respect, Modi has already taken his gaze off that wider sweep of history. The unstated story of the Trump effect on India is the one no one is talking about. With the sheen wearing off American democracy, its reputation for openness diminishing, India had, in its own way, a chance to project itself as a potential normative exemplar. Instead, we have done the opposite. When Modi came to power, he was caught between two normative impulses. On the one hand, he had his Hindutva base. On the other he aspired to being accepted, perhaps even to lead, a community of peers on the global stage; and his outreach was fantastic. But till the Obama presidency, part of Modi’s global authority depended upon not acquiring a reputation for growing intolerance. It is much easier for India to project authority when its own foundations are liberal and secure.
The Trump presidency has altered that global norm. Liberal values, always a hypocritical currency in global affairs, can now simply be damned . It is not entirely a coincidence that as Trump has given short shrift (confession) to liberal values, the sense has grown in this regime that more assertive Hindutva will not have any reputational costs for India. We won’t get the sermons on diversity and tolerance that we got from Obama.
What India has done is to use the normative vacuum created by Trump, to advance an aggressive Hindutva agenda even more vigorously because this now has no reputational or peer displeasure attached to it. India should not get ahead of itself; its democracy has flaws. But being an exemplar of the free world is a far more befitting and ennobling ambition than using this vacuum in international affairs to damage our reputation for liberal constitutionalism with impunity. Rather than take a lead, we are following Trump’s example in frittering away our biggest strength. Modi’s handshake with Trump would be so much more a show of power if it had the imprimatur (a person’s authoritative approval.) of liberal values than simply a deal for Lockheed Martin behind it.
Trump has constructed a mythology that America is now more transactional and isolationist. But neither is, strictly speaking, true. If transactional simply means business deals can trump norms, America has often been transactional. But Trump is not isolationist. The global order is more precarious, because American ad hoc interventionism is now likely to be more extensive. Trump’s forays into West Asia signal some things very clearly: The United States is not going to leave that region alone, it will continue to actively meddle, take partisan sides and will most likely create the conditions for more turmoil. The GCC, which had been insulated from the wider turmoil of the region, now risks being drawn in; America’s Syria policy seems less about ISIS and more about showing the Russians they cannot have their way; America is backsliding on its rapprochement with Iran, a key element to any hope for preventing more conflict in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
While the immediate rhetoric from Washington is on Russia, the enduring axis of conflict and competition will remain China. Trump’s characteristically ambiguous tweet thanking China for “trying” to help in North Korea is a signal that the North Korea card will buy China goodwill only up to a point. China has also upped the stakes by pursuing a more aggressive global agenda. Trump will pivot back to the China threat sooner or later. But the global system now risks being pushed into a corner where neither China nor the US will find it easy to compromise.
Throw in two more elements arising out of domestic politics in America, and the world system is looking riskier. Trump does not have much pushback from the Republicans. His own political survival will also require keeping the spectre of global conflict alive even more than has been the case with past presidents. The American military industrial complex is about to get even more active and interventionist, not isolationist. While India can sense some strategic opportunities in these tensions, surely it behoves it to say very candidly, that the US is playing with fire in stoking more conflict. These conflicts are not ours; but it is in our interests to throw cold water on them. On a range of other issues that we have been told to avoid, from climate change to multilateralism, India has a strong hand; it should play them with any eye to posterity.
Modi likes to be a cool prime minister. History will remember him more kindly if India performed the function of a cool and cooling power in the international system. We need to be more liberal, less transactional and more internationalist. Worry about history, not about getting the approval of Trump.
Magical Vocabulary from ” The Indian Express”
- Tenor (noun) अभिप्राय/आशय/ चेतना: The general meaning, sense, or content of something.
Synonyms: Sense, Meaning, Purpose, Substance.
Example: Your teachers were all baritones and even your tenor voice has a distinct baritonal touch to it.
- Ingratiate (verb) अनुग्रह प्राप्त करना : Bring oneself into favor with someone by flattering or trying to please them.
Synonyms: Flatter, Curry favor with, Find the favor of, Get on the good side of, Get in someone’s good books.
Example: A social climber who had tried to ingratiate herself with the city gentry.
- Precarious (adjective) अनिश्चित/अस्थिर : Characterized by a lack of security or stability that threatens with danger/ not securely held or in position.
Synonyms: uncertain, insecure, unpredictable, risky, parlous, hazardous, dangerous.
Example: We can see clearly the essence of despotism and the precarious nature of democracy.
- Candour (noun) सरलता/ स्पष्टवादिता: The quality of being open and honest; frankness.
Synonyms: Frankness, Glasnost, Honesty, Candidness, Truthfulness, Sincerity.
Example: A human being, but a professional, he answers questions with generosity, intelligence and candour .
- Sermonize (verb) उपदेश देना/ प्रचार करना : Deliver an opinionated and dogmatic talk to someone. / compose or deliver a sermon.
Synonyms: Preach, Evangelize, Pontificate, moralise,.
Example: In their speech, there is a tendency to be rhetorical and instructive and school-masterly and sermonising .
- Damn (verb) आलोचना करना/ निन्दा: Criticize strongly or expressing anger, surprise, or frustration.
Synonyms: condemn, censure, criticize, attack, denounce, revile, find fault with, deprecate.
Example: The editor damned the author’s work as trite.
- Ennoble (verb) अभिजात वर्ग का सदस्य बनाना/ उच्च पद प्रदान करना : Lend greater dignity or nobility of character to.
Synonyms: Dignify, Honour, Bestow Honour On.
Example: Her skill and talent ennoble her profession.
- Fritter away (phrasal verb) गँवाना: To waste something foolishly.
Synonyms: Waste, Squander, Spend Foolishly,
Example: Do not fritter away your youth time in wasteful things.
- Meddle (verb) हस्तक्षेप करना: Interfere in something that is not one’s concern.
Synonyms: Interfere, Intervene, Tamper, Obtrude.
Example: I don’t think we need to be seen to be meddling too much in the affairs of the Middle East region.
- Rapprochement (noun) घनिष्ठता: An establishment or resumption of harmonious relations. / an agreement reached by opposing parties.
Synonyms: Harmonization, Reconciliation, Agreement, Cordiality, Friendliness.
Example: Music itself had acquired the potential to quicken the pace of an eventual rapprochement between the West and its colonies.
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Courtesy And Official editorial link :- The Indian Express
You may also Download:
|Weekly Current Affairs One Liner : June 11 to 18, 2017 PDF
|The Hindu Editorial with Vocabulary Weekly PDF – 11 to 18 June 2017
|Weekly Current Affairs One Liner : June 1 to 10, 2017 PDF
|The Hindu Editorial with Vocabulary Weekly PDF – 1 – 10 June 2017
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