TOI – Swaminomics: India needs McCain as US President

April 26, 2008

S.A. Aiyar writes in his column:

Which of the three candidates for the US Presidency — Hilary Clinton, Barak Obama, and John McCain — will be best for India? Most Indians would opt for Obama or Clinton. But from a policy viewpoint, McCain would be best for India.

There have been a large number of such editorials in the Indian papers lately. Off-hand I’d say more than in the English language Pakistani or Middle Eastern papers, but my reading habits are biased by the fact that the Indian papers do a lot more with RSS (pun only partially intended – you’d think the Pakistanis could settle for atom!)

He is correct that most of the editorials seem to favor Obama or Clinton. The former seems to be the anti-imperialist favorite, and the latter (+1) is an old favorite of the NRI and NRI influenced crowd. Unfortunately Swamiji fills the next few paragraphs with some nonsense about gender and race which I won’t repeat here. Some of it is of the sort Americans would probably consider somehow distorted or misplaced (if you as an American have ever had to hear US history summarized back to you by someone who learned it from Indian schoolbooks, you know the feeling.) He also highlights some differences between how Indians and Americans perceive the world and America’s role in it’s history, of which many Americans are probably unaware, such as the fact that your average Indian of any political persuasion old enough to be aware of – if not remember it – views the Vietnam War as an act of American arrogance, imperial ambition, and naked aggression in which we got our just deserts.

Aiyar’s main perspective, though, is one which I think Americans should pay attention to:

However, what matters for Indo-US relations is not the colour, gender or war record of any presidential candidate. What matters is their position on key bilateral issues. And in this regard, McCain beats Clinton and Obama hollow.

There seems to be alot of focus on how a Democrat is necessary to restore America’s image. But Aiyar suggests – and I agree – that it is McCain who has the best chance of actually being able to bring us back to a position of respect-worthiness on the world stage, and to guide us back to a point where we can work positively with other governments and international bodies to shape effective and sensible policy on issues of international relations, global trade, development, the environment, and the restoration of peace and security in a real sense.

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