Democrats in power with Joe Biden at the helm would not only be toxic for the budding relationship between India and the US but they would also be dangerous as most of them would support China in case of a war against India.
A vigorous debate has erupted among Indian-Americans on whom to support in the upcoming election for the President of the United States. The division is on the lines of whether one sees the world through the lens of narrow ideology or one supports the long term civilizational interests of the global Indian diaspora.
There are two other categories of people who are extremely vocal but their views are not important. The first of these consists of people who are affiliated to think-tanks like the Hoover Institution and the American Enterprise Institute and who punch way above their weight. Needless to say, their writings are aligned with the mission statements of their organisations. Such people are few in number and are not original contributors in the intellectual arena, and so they are irrelevant to the debate. The other category consists of Indian-Americans who have conflicts of interest in the form of using their political connections to obtain either government contracts or positions in the government for themselves and their family members. The people in this category too do not matter as they are few in number.
Analysts who view American politics as deeply intertwined with global geopolitics know that Joe Biden has been among those responsible for the policy of Pax Americana, which was predicated on peace in North America and Europe, but caused many of the problems in the rest of the world including in the Indian subcontinent. Unlike Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, who represented the establishment in the US that put its foreign policy agenda of American dominance above everything else, Biden is that establishment. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for more than three decades from the 1970s until he became the Vice President, including a stint as the Chairperson of the Committee, and as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Joe Biden bears responsibility for many of the wars around the world which were started through the actions of the American agencies.
The violent Maoists in Nepal, the Naxalite terrorists in India, the terrorists in Nagaland and other northeastern states of India, the terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, the Taliban in Afghanistan, and several terrorist groups in Pakistan, were all provided either arms or supportive “human rights” reports published by the US State Department during the Obama-Biden administration as well as during previous governments when Biden was a key person in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The contents of such State Department reports result from the fevered imagination of interns and junior State Department officials who make up stories of Muslims and Christians in India being systematically targeted and butchered, and their tales are then used to support the fictional narratives that form the backbone of the policy formulations of their seniors.
The American foreign policy of the 1970s consisting of the infamous “tilt” towards Pakistan and China, which was first exposed through the Anderson papers and is normally attributed to Henry Kissinger and Zbibnew Brzezinski, continues even today, and one reason for that continuity is Joe Biden, who is also part of the Council for Foreign Relations, an entity with no Constitutional or legal authority but which sets the American foreign policy. The eponymous Biden Amendment of 1992 was part of this tilt and made it a precondition for Russia to stop the sale of its cryogenic engines for India’s space program before it could receive financial aid. It was also Biden who was one of the most aggressive supporters of conferring the Most-Favored-Nation status for China during that period.
Biden’s vice president nominee, Kamala Harris, too has problematic positions on foreign policy. Although her mother is of Indian descent, she does not identify as an Indian or a Hindu, and she has demonstrated a penchant for unquestioningly carrying forward Biden’s foreign policy agenda without any constructive addition. Both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have launched attacks on India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, which is a humanitarian effort to grant asylum to the victims of terrorists. They have also attacked India for neutralising Article 370, which prevented the equal application of laws in Jammu and Kashmir.
In contrast to Joe Biden, ever since Donald Trump took over as the President of the United States, he pursued a policy of disengaging the United States from various strifes around the world. Such a policy is consistent with Trump’s campaign promises in the run up to the 2016 election when he promised that he would get the United States to stop interfering in other countries and instead focus on strengthening the American economy. After taking office, Trump has pulled the special forces out of Syria and is in the process of finalizing plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, and has even acted to reduce the presence of American troops in Germany.
American interference in the internal affairs of various countries and its role in lighting the fires that resulted in many conflicts around the world has drawn sharp criticism for more than a century from almost every part of the world. The US has been questioned both for aspects of foreign policy as well as for arrogating to itself the role of policing the world. Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from acting as the global cop and shift the focus to strengthening the American economy is not only a welcome change but also a tectonic shift in global politics.
However, Trump’s actions have created uncertainty in the minds of certain sections of the Indian diaspora as well as in the minds of foreign policy strategists within the Indian establishment who believe that the American pull-out from Afghanistan will not only endanger the lives of the people of Indian descent in Afghanistan but will also cause a geopolitical nightmare for India. Another sticking point for these strategists in Delhi is the fact that the price India has had to pay for a closer relationship with the US may be the jettisoning of its relationship with Iran.
While such concerns are not unreasonable, these geopolitical rearrangements are not reasons to oppose Trump. The isolationist policy certainly does not extend to letting China get away with its behaviour, especially its attempts to take over the shipping lanes to the US that pass through the South China Sea. In the case of Afghanistan, India’s angst really stems from its reluctance to send its soldiers to keep peace in that country. Had India been willing to actively participate in solving the problem and taken leadership on this issue, it would have been supported by the US as Trump is looking to withdraw from Afghanistan. With the agreement on the Durand Line having lapsed, this is India’s opportunity to get involved and stabilize a region that has been unstable for more than a hundred and fifty years by helping Afghanistan take over the Pakhtun regions that are administered by Pakistan while asking it to give up other regions.
As for the fraying of the relationship with Iran’s regime, America under Trump has been a better friend than Iran, and on balance, India has gained a friend even as it has had to sacrifice to an extent an unreliable ally. There has also been a new found coziness between India and Saudi Arabia’s rulers which is directly related to the dynamics between India, US, Israel and Iran. Among the Islamic countries, while Iran’s population offers hope that it will be the first to reform and join the global mainstream, the same cannot be said of its Khomeinist rulers. On the other hand, Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia seems to have started taking genuine steps to effect reforms in his country although he has a long way to go on this front. The fact that American intelligence agencies and the US State Department, which owe their loyalty to the pre-Trump establishment that preferred dictatorships to democracies, have made accusations of murder against Mohammed bin Salman without any evidence is an indicator that they are afraid that he will change the status quo for the better through his reforms.
Besides, as in politics, a week is a long time in geopolitics too as everything is always in a state of flux, and the situation can change dramatically within days. There is no reason to get frustrated at the current situation related to Afghanistan or Iran, but it is important to have a long term vision.
From a civilizational perspective the Democratic Party has been against India. It routinely identifies potential fault lines in Indian society and tries to exploit them and cause riots in India. Instead of helping India’s attempts to heal the wounds in its society, the party of Biden and Harris uses intelligence agencies to indulge in covert activities and deepen the fissures. The Obama-Biden administration funded several non-governmental organizations falsely claiming to represent Dalits and caused instability in India. This obsession with interfering in Indian society and destabilizing it has definitely reduced under Trump, and causing riots in India is definitely not the focus of his administration. Even when such interference occurs today, it is usually the result of the actions of people who owe allegiance to previous governments.
Within the US too, the Democrats have shown intense hatred for Indian-Americans. Biden’s Democrat Party first injected hateful anti-Indian and anti-Hindu rhetoric into California’s middle school textbooks, and when Indian-American parents filed lawsuits, the Democrats used their appointees in the judiciary to ensure that there would be no justice. Four different Democrat Party judges—Frank Damrell, Charles Breyer, Mary Schroeder and Sidney Thomas—have ruled that it is legal to selectively target Hinduism and use abusive language against the religion and describe it as a human construct even while indoctrinating the students in the tenets of other religions. Startlingly, according to their rulings, even if offensive racial epithets and disparaging terms were used to describe blacks and Hindus, no one would have a right to challenge such usage in a court of law as such usage was permitted under the concept of academic freedom.
With such a track record, Democrats in power with Joe Biden at the helm would not only be toxic for the budding relationship between India and the US but they would also be dangerous as most of them would support China in case of a war against India. It is best that Indian-Americans vote Trump rather than Biden, whose victory would result in a throwback to an earlier era and constant attack against anything that traces its source to the Indian civilization.
Arvind Kumar can be reached at [email protected]