November 12, 2010

THE GRAND OBAMA BEGGING GAME!

Barack Obama came, he spoke and he conquered. At least that’s what some of the biggest media houses would have you believe. Nothing could be more misleading for the Indian public. Here are the reasons why the trip was only of feel-good value, that too for dumb people.

1. Obama had a clear cut mandate. And that mandate was to show Americans that he was taking back jobs for them. He took away business worth 10 billion dollars and 50,000 jobs. These 10 billion dollars could have been used in India to create 200 times more jobs, because for every American job we create in America, we can roughly create about 200 jobs in rural India. It was a classic game of begging that the new America is now seen playing in India and China. With India, it’s about access to its markets and deals with the government. And with China, it’s about the revaluation of the Chinese currency to reduce their foreign debt and make Chinese products uncompetitive in American markets! I would even say that it was indeed sad to see such a weak American President for the first time in history. An American President is expected to speak like a great statesman – whether he speaks to businessmen or to the Parliament. He is expected to talk about America’s role in global peacekeeping and poverty eradication, the latter more so since India has 65 percent of people below the globally defined poverty line of people earning less than 2 dollars a day. It was a shame that his talks never touched upon any of it.

2. He did speak of the need for Pakistan to bring 26/11 criminals to justice... But that is purely lip service. He never spoke of access to Headley. Just before coming to India, he doled out 2.2 billion dollars military aid to Pakistan. Talking about Pakistan supporting terrorism, yet giving them money to spread terrorism in India; both cannot go hand in hand. It’s typical American double speak. He did not utter a word about stopping aid to Pakistan. He only used cleverly worded stuff about Pakistan to gain brownie points in India without giving away anything.

3. He did not utter a word about China and its role in supporting Pakistan or its illegal occupation of Indian land. But a few months back, he did speak about the need for China to be the guardian of South Asia, including Kashmir.

4. It was really nice of Obama to be so appreciative of Gandhi. But as Americans prepare for a war on Iran – less for security issues and more to revive their economy – I doubt if Gandhi is what he really believes in... Loving Gandhi and bombing countries for financial gains don’t go hand in hand. As a person, I am very sure that he appreciates Gandhi, but as a world leader, he does not display the same in his actions. Signing a memorandum allowing poor African countries to use children for war certainly doesn’t speak greatly for a Gandhian.

5. The big Obama announcement is supposed to have been about his support to India for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. It might be noted that what he said has been said in the exact words by Bush before him and Clinton before that. It’s a shame that as a nation, we get so excited by such lip service. We deserve to be in the Security Council, and without us the Security Council is a sham. Obama’s mentioning the same is not a favour. And there is absolutely no reason to be excited about it. A permanent seat is our due and it is the Security Council’s job to call us and give us this due with appropriate apologies for the delay. And we should then proceed to rip them apart for the delay.

In fact, Obama said he welcomes a reformed United Nations Security Council with India in it. Th at means nothing. He knows that without the five nations’ support, India cannot be a permanent member; and China has not yet extended its support. Secondly, for India to be a permanent member of the Security Council, all these five nations will have to get the same approved in their respective parliaments with a majority vote! With heavy losses in the House of Representatives as well as in the Senate, Obama may not even succeed in getting this passed in his own country. For that matter, Obama never even mentioned that he would propose India’s candidature to his government and get the same passed. So, it’s still miles to go for something we thoroughly deserve. The second largest populated country in the world doesn’t yet have the right to decide on security issues of the world. India should actually boycott the United Nations till it is inducted into the Security Council as a permanent member; as it is, the United Nations is today nothing but an American tool to enforce its policies on the
world.

6. It’s a sham that he believed – and worse that Indians were made to believe the same by the Indian media – that India is a growing economic superpower and that America needs Indian markets. Obama had come here less for Indian markets and more for the money that the Indian government plans to spend on dual-use technology, nuclear and military programmes etc. And he wanted those deals. In essence, it was the Indian government’s money that he was eyeing, and not the consumer market. There is no consumer market in India that he cares about in real terms. For that, he goes to China. Th at’s where the consumer market lies. Compared to the American 18 trillion dollar GDP for a fourth of India’s population, India’s 3 trillion dollar GDP is of no meaning to America.

Obama knows best that the concept of the Indian middle class is a fantasy. What India terms as its middle class is below poverty line people for Americans. Americans sell ten times more in China where a real thriving middle class exists. DRDO head himself said that we don’t need American technology to advance our capabilities. The technology that we want, we already have access to the same through other countries. So the opening up of the dual-use technology was no favour. Rather, it was done again to get a pie of the Indian government’s spending power, where deal-making is easier.

7. Finally, the big business opportunity for India; outsourcing! Obama did not say a single word about diluting his anti outsourcing stance. Rather, he lobbied for more access to Indian markets – basically biotech, pharma, retail etc. And as Indians, we did not say a word about our lack of access to their agriculture products’ market, where we could make huge gains.

In a nutshell, one can conclude by saying that just like American typical standards, Obama’s current journey to India was a trip to get without giving; to talk about free markets while keeping their markets protected. That’s typical American doublespeak. Of course, in between we got to see glimpses of the great Obama charisma. His great speaking abilities; his great agility and friendly gestures and ways with ‘staged’ children.

Although I have to say that his answer to a staged question by a Mumbai student (something like how do we strike a balance between the material pressures of this world and the pursuit of happiness?) was so unintellectual that it raised questions about his intellectual ability to comprehend the deeper meaning of life.

The best part of the tour, for a change, was our Prime Minister Dr Singh’s assertive speech during the common address. It might not have been as eloquent as Obama’s speech was, or like those given by Dr Singh’s Chinese counterparts – who now treat America as their junior partner; of course, thanks to their hard earned real might – yet, it showed that Dr. Singh was in no mood to mince words when it came to India’s expectations out of America. It’s a different story that this visit of Obama fulfilled none of them.

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40 comments:

vaishnavi said...

hamesha ki tarah apkai vichar jawalant or prabavshli hai jo wastvik stithi sai parichat karatai hai .apkai article ek aisa prakash hai jo prakashit hokar dash kai un honhaar uvko ka margdarshan kartai hai jinha aise prkash or margdarshan ki jaroort hai.apkai aglai lakh ki pratiksha mai.

Siddhant Satija said...

obama could also have talked about higher edu i.e. grad & post-grad. opportunities for indians in US..and d future scope.

mita said...

atleast America is a friend..a genuine friend..what with our hostile neighbours..we do need americans...at th end of th day..and we r nt left with much choice..

vicky said...

Sir...it great to read your view but as i think we all know what america was doing.but still y we indian fall in those empty word.why government not taking some serious and strick steps.indian gov just thinking that america is the only country which help our country to develop.and atlast,sir i think as indian going in american's way ,we creating gap between india and russia.?

Sujit Bhar said...

All thoughts sound very interesting. To spare a bit of time on this, I’d say $ 10 billion worth of orders for American goods can – if one wants it to – translate to a $ 10 billion pressure-cooker for the American industry. Every dollar of technology/goods transferred from the US has always had many more dollars of ancillary deals attached with it. We need to be strong customers and demand every single pound of the flesh we deserve for the money we give. Then there is that Exim Bank line of credit to one of the Ambanis. One should have had the Exim Bank sweat for the deal. This is market that will not turn turtle as easily as an American deal would these days. So you want to get into this market, be ready to pay for it. What is India getting through these deals? PL 480 hasn’t been forgotten. With all due respect to the President, there should have been some statesmanlike pride in his demeanour. If you have come as a businessman (and you surely DID NOT come as a statesman), then behave like one.

shivam said...

sir i think you are to the mark...

vishal said...

Excellent thoughts, only our PMO can utilise these and implement else we still would be in the same puddle we are and have been...

vanamali said...

Obama cannot deny Indian students the access to american education...Because he pretty well know's that the amount flowing from India is the major chunk of their Universities income...

Deba said...

India is sandwiched between USA and China so we have no other option left but to listen to Mr Obama’s fake speech.

bhagat said...

I don't understand indian govt. policies,what they are trying to do..
US is begging from India and that too at its own terms and conditions,I think our politicians have forgot that "Beggers can't b choosers".

Neo said...

Good analysis sir. Perfect Analysis; with no nonsense.
But why do you have to stick to the dogma against the West. They sound absolutely communist to the common ear. And again; the same usage of words-'lip service','hand in hand',etc might have dampened the impact of the article.

Vishku said...

In History has America any agenda than its own in its foriegn policy. We should stop going ga ga over America and its lip services and concentrate on making India self sufficient. It is our obsession with the west thats the crumbling point be it wrt nuclear power, WTO, Kashmir issue terrorism etc.........

Parin said...

but why cant we negotiate our terms wid Mr. Prez.

Mr. PM (MMS) looked pretty strong in communicating wid him even in public, n we begged seat in SC.

D.K said...

Sir u have very rightly pointed out dual standards of USA and Obama. He seems to be interested in establishing USA"s base inthe continent to counter China in coming days and wants to utilise India for the same.

Princess Pragya said...

Basically, Indians are so fascinated by Obama as they are surprized to see an American who still has a job! :P

sunam said...

Obama is nothing in America to speak on any authorization. He is just a face to speak what their internal units have planned. They make their plans many years before and follow them one after them like in chess. Even if a novel prize is won by an Indian that too because it comes under their policies.

Asmita said...

After Iran, Iraq, Afganistan, China, Pakistan we r fools if v believe American President and their so called democratic way. As an independant nation v r failing to understand why our government silently wait for America to approve, America to help, America to support...???? Whether it is nuclear field, Pakistan aid, human rights violation, America has shown its way of thinking and acting, now it is our turn to act accordingly.. But I am hopeless.....

Martin said...
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Martin said...

from the desk of a supposedly educated and clearly-seeing opinion builder, i honestly had expected a more independent and realistic analyses of that situation.

1) why would the us government not thrive to increase employment of indians, while his country is struck by, comparably even more serious issues. if the the indian pm would be faced with the question to invest in creation of indian or sri lankan jobs, he surely wouldn't think a single second about that. Dito with the us president - there is no reason to comment this with such nationalism or feelings of disappointment as I read between the lines of this blog. America’s role in global peacekeeping and poverty eradication is long over and the world needs to accept that and come to terms with the fact that the idea of america as a world police has long failed.
Personally, i appreciated that this subject has barely been touched.

2) Pakistan, even though a delicate subject for you indians, is a nation on the edge of collapse and isolation or freezing aid from the west would result in nothing but de-stabilization. It's time India stops thinking that giving pak a hand equals spitting in india's face and starts to realize the importance of a healthy stabile pakistan

3) China, undoubtedly the strongest nation in the asian continent, is the most obvious option as a peace keeping force in this part of the world, and a peace keeping force is needed urgently. And yes, this region, including Kashmir, does require stabilization. And India, struggling with multiple security issues on pretty much all their borders, will not be able to fulfill that duty for quite some time to come, lets be honest. The indian army is ill-equipped, the government is corrupt and interest-driven and this country has not been incapable to even improve basic but serious issues as 65% of their population living on less than 2USD a day.

4) Your entire paragraph on Ghandi was purely populist and after reading it three times i still don't see what your really wanted to say. That the us president is no pacifist because is country is involved in wars? Thanks for pointing that out.

Martin said...

5) Quoting from the fifth paragraph
We deserve to be in the Security Council, and without us the Security Council is a sham - India should actually boycott the United Nations till it is inducted into the Security Council as a permanent member -> frankly speaking, i was rather shocked to read this here. Yes, India is the worlds largest democracy (if you can call it that), but that alone doesn't entitle you to a seat in the security council. and from the world's perspective, india might not be a stabilizing factor there at all. The world, whether that's fair / deserved or not, has no benefit from India occupying a permanent seat. And let's be honest: a country which still has trouble defining it's borders and has no real place in a council that's supposed to be acting as a peace keeping forum of some kind. Already with Russia and China and also the US, decision processes are often hindered by national interests of these major players. India would not help the functionality of that organ at all.

6) Yes, the indian market is important for the us economy - but obviously as a selling market, and of course, for high value products that the recently emerging indian middle class has no use of. Pressure Cookers, compact cars and stereo systems are manufactured locally in india or within asia. What the us factories manufacture is of no use for your average indian. what is so suprising about that. whenever us reps are visiting any other (european) nation, the subject is trade from an american perspective. If the 'economic superpower' india where over half of the population live of 2USD or less, is less an interesting market than China, you should ask yourself how to catch up and not be upset about obama looking for his countries best interest.

7) The economically protective policies are by far exceeded by the ones the indian government follows. The US Agricultural market is strongly controlled by huge corporations and india making any steps in that market is mere illusion - in times of gene patenting and one-season seeds, this entire idea is absurd. Outsourcing, that should be said clearly, can only be beneficial for the us if they are not struggling with unemployment numbers as they are doing now. And India should have long realized that it cannot built its economy on being the worlds call center. Regardless of the questionable knowledge of IT professionals that remain in (not from from) india and the consequences that has for quality of the support, the concept of outsourcing can only function if the outsourcing country has no need for those jobs, and at the same time lesser quality can be justified by lower salaries. With the indian economy slowly growing up and the wealth of the urban middle class indians (and therefore their salary) rising, that ship is sinking anyhow.

India's only chance of succeeding in this period uncontrolled growth is by becoming a autonomous independent economy.
If the wheel of the time has turned the the global situation has changed for the entire world and also india, we all have to adapt to new rules in this game- india should be rethinking not just complaining about disappointed indian expectations to america

Martin said...
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Bipul Barnwal said...

Its time US walked the talk. The citizens of India can see through the double standards of US. President
1)Obama wants to ban outsourcing.Unfortunately, Corporations in the US don't agree with him.To save cost their senior management wants to hire cost-effective Indians.What a surprise that the same president has taken 50,000 jobs and $10 Billion worth of indian business to the US.

2)How come Pakistan is never held accountable for the billions it receives in international (read US)Aid ? Has the US ever bothered to find out how much of that money is directed towards financing terrorism in India (particularly kashmir)? The US can not dole out aid in the name of stabilising Pakistan.And become ignorant towards 26/11 or the likes of Headley and ISI.

virender said...

Sir i m virender garg
Yeah i agree obama has showed his weakness and thereby americas but there is a strong reasons behind this 1. His party's defeat in the mid-elections in america 2. Americans frustration for jobs n their jealously for indians. Obama is not weak but situations has made him so to react. But he should have other concrete options to deal with these situations rather than begging jobs in india....but at the end i would like to say that obama visits of getting more from india rather than giving has shown a strong positiom of india to rest of the world... n we can say that ab aya hai unt(america) pahad k neeche.

vinay said...

Hi Sir,
I am Vinay Prabhakar and i have read your blog and i am convinced at some part but don't u think that our PM Dr. singh knows all this what have u said.I think as a PM he knows a lot of other things which may be the top secret,which he does not want to highlight it to the media,i think in every country PM's are the most diplomatic people that is y they take the charge of the country.India is a country with different communities and different state governments.Don't u think China and Pakistan is the biggest threat to India.U know sir that business is give and take and if u will ask me India has also taken something from America which is worth for it and yes it is top secret.
so i think if Obama is diplomatic and only taking away good amount of business and 50,000 jobs then certainly indians would have taken something from them which is not highlighted in the media."Something is there which is left and that is Top Secret"

medusa said...

Obama is nothing but a spellbinder,imposed on Americans by the Wall Street'gamblers,a black to convince the world America is changing contrary to fact that he shall serve his masters more faithfully,financio military industrial complex,yes ,we are not stealing their jobs,he certainly stole our money with tacit undrestanding of State and Media.

GURU said...

Why were some of the comments of Mr. Martin deleted ? Let us have the arguments of both the sides in order to judge the protagonists

GURU said...

This is on Mr. Martin's Comments on "THE GRAN OBAMA BEGGING GAME":
Mr. Martin commenting on the seat for India in the Security Council mentions "ABOUT NATIONAL INTEREST" of RUSSIA, CHINA AND AMERICA. Has the world benefitted from these members of the Security Council who are more worried about NATIONAL INTERESTS then the world interest ?

It is good that US gives aid to collapsing nations [Pakistan]. But, when it is proved that it is the terrorist training ground [ask Hadley]is it not expected of US, which is in the Security Council, to do something about it ? or to read between the lines - is US stabilising the growth of India, in the region [with all its shortcomings - poverty, multiple security issues, corrupt government et al] as a super power ?

Reproducing Mr. Martin's comments "REGARDLESS OF THE QUESTIONABLE KNOWLEDGE OF IT PROFESSIONALS THAT REMAIN REMAIN IN INDIA AND THE CONSEQUENCE THAT HAS FOR QUALITY OF THE SUPPORT, THE CONCEPT OF OUTSOURCING CAN ONLY FUNCTION IF THE OUTSOURCING COUNTRY HAS NO NEED FOR THOSE JOBS AND AT THE SAME TIME LESSER QUALITY CAN BE JUSTIFIED BY LOWER SALARIES" Then why was Mr. OBAMA making such a hue and cry of outsourcing ?

Mr. Martin talks about autonomous independent economy? Do we have one in this age where each one is dependent on the other.

.......the argument continues.

DIVYESH said...

Respected Sir,

Your blog has enlighten me with various facts and I am really thankful to you.

Atlast "America knows Business and sa as Mr. President Obama".

Thank you.

abhinov said...

keep demanding for help from other country like america,china.vnd keep telling dont interfere this is our internal matter is not always right.we need in every matter whether it is on terrorist ,influence of china on other country,for job,for ammunition.If we do hope for help then we should always be revdy for help because frndship does not occur 1 sided. If we realy a super power then we should be capable of handling internal and external matter as well

MANAS said...

Hi Arindam
This is Manas pratim Deb. I am from IIPM 2001-03 batch and have been living in Cambridge,UK since last 10years.I am running a company in the UK and in the process of setting up a company in India.Hope you remember me.
I have read your blog about Obama's India visit and couldn't have agreed more.India should have become permanent member of security council long back.Obama's assurance doesn't bring any surprise and in fact it would be in the interest of gobal economy and West to make India a permanenet member and India is absolutely ready to take responsibilities which come with this position.

Anurag said...

I think thr arindam is absolutely right..esp in the case of tht us funding pakistan...

Anurag said...

i think arindam is abs right..esp on the issue of the us funding paskistan..

morang555 said...

i was so enlighted by reading this blog.but end of the day we feel d need of america.see the sorounding nations of our country.frm d pak,bangladesh to china.burma.So i think indo - american friendship is"JOY HO".
just think about Bush how much he did for neuclear field to india.i love US-IND relationship.we can walk togethe for long long long long long waaaaay !!!.

Martin said...

@GURU

Firstly, I removed those comments myself, they were double postings (the blog gave me error messages upon attempting to post, so i retried a few times until i noticed they were actually posted already) sorry bout that.

appreciate your feedback on my thoughts and frankly speaking, i find it much harder to de-validate YOUR comments than those of Mr. Chaudhuri.

Security Council - absolutely true, the focus should be not national interests but global ones. But, honestly, who are we trying to fool - international politics has always been but a power game between key nations trying to preserve their own interests.
The security council, being set up after WW2 with the idea to build a forum of diplomacy of those key nations, is challenged with the contradiction of it's goal of global peace keeping vs. the fact that obviously every nations representative has it's own national agenda. my point, however, is that particularly keeping this factum absurdum in mind, India would surely has a more de-stabilizing effect on this organ, paralyzed as it is already, than it would do any good to international relations and security. think about the indo-pak relation in the eyes of the arab world or the indo-chinese rivalties and honestly ask yourself what a permanent seat for india would mean to the effectiveness of the security council.
with all due respect, i think the world would be better off with that seat belonging to a less conflicted nation with a less hostile relation to its neighbours, a more 'mature' democracy.

pak aid and us' need to intervene in the terror breeding ground pakistan - to totally disagree on your notion that US is expected to do something about terror camps in pakistan. from an international law perspective, that would be pak itself, which is clearly not able for a self-cleansing of any larger magnitude, as I have no problems to admit. but america is not our world police. in decades of aggressive us foreign policies, and numerous interventions (maybe not so much in the indian consciousness, as to date largely restricted to south / central america and s-e asia) of military nature by the us has brought nothing but an array of dictatorships, wars and human suffering. the us have a history of getting involved in overseas affairs and have never been afraid to that (either openly with the us army or under the cover of secret service and local militias)... sadly, the world is still far from being a safe place. and, more importantly, the largest part of it is not only fed up with us aggression but also lost complete trust in the nobility of america's motives and america itself.
the idea of america saving us from whatever dark powers might threaten us (communism or terrorism) has been rendered invalid by the experience the world had with that since the 50s

obama's hue and cry about outsourcing, as you so nicely put it, appears to me as a pr thing - of course, the public appearances are there for the masses, the media and the largely uninformed public, their purpose is to please but not to communicate actual contents / to inform the public.
coming on stage and stating that he would take back callcenter jobs would definitely would give him the support and sympathy of the indian people - which, ultimately, is always the primary main objective when overseas statesmen addressing any nation's people rather than its leaders - honesty never played a role in public speeches like that. why to be suprised....

Finally - yes in today's world, no economy is truly autonomous. let me rephrase, and say that India should focus on leaving it's dependency, which starts in people's minds. Mr. Chaudhary's article's general attitude of disappointment is exemplary for that feeling that many indians still habour that money can only be made with abroad.

looking forward to your response....

Just_umar said...

Obama did mention about opening centres of excellence for higher education , but never talked about collaboration with the IITs

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