Monday, November 10, 2008

Change, I had rather live without

So, the Obamania is at its crescent, and the world is celebrating along with America, its new Hero. And it is great for the US society to have a president that comes from a disadvantaged race.

And yet, the sounds emanating from the President-elect in the first few days after the election, and even some time before, have been disconcerting. Atleast from an India perspective.

Some of these noises:

- Revive a peace dialogue between India & Pakistan on Kashmir, but WITH the USA acting as a key intermediary. This is something India has always resisted, and Bush & Clinton administrations have also agreed the way to resolve the issue has to be only bilateral. After the possible cold response from India, I read in today's papers that they have not raised the K issue in recent interactions.

- The Big O after being elected calls up 20 Heads of State in his first couple of days, including countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, but omits South Korea, China, India. Symbolism maybe, but for someone who got elected & got a majority of his support on the very notion of symbolism, I think it is important.

(Updated: The latest news do seem to suggest he did try to contact the PM)

- His key transition team includes the Indian origin Ms Shah, whose family has been associated with the VHP for years. Narendra Modi apparently stayed with them on his last visits a few years ago to the US. While this should not take away from the merit of the lady, it also reflects on the Obamadministration - either they have taken a rightwinger knowingly, or their multi-billion dollars were unable to screen such a key fact that Indian press could in a day. Either way, not too flaterring. Especially since Ms Palin was panned all around for her right wing thoughts.

(Updated: Ms Shah denies any links with the VHP & the Sangh Parivar)

- The India Moon mission, achieved successfully on a shoestring budget, evoked a response from the man that was neither gracious nor appreciative. The first reaction: I will increase our spendings on our space mission so we can retain our superiority over countries like India and China. Thoughts of a world leader or a petty politician ?

- Though I have not paid much attention, nor am interested, about his comments on seances, I understand he poked fun at Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton there. The victor making fun of past rivals?

- The noises he has made about Indian outsourcing and punishing US companies that perform outsourcing are quite well known. Again, this is sheer local popular politicking at work. Not an inclusive world leader he is being made out to be.

- And from an economic perspective, he espouses some of the worst possible policies. My previous post, here.

- And he did give a great speech, yes. All about inclusion, the challenges, and that he is going to save the Americas, and the planet. Yes, but did he even write the speech - Hillary might have done an equally good/ better job delivering the same speech, probably.

Yes, he is a great symbol. And I think it is important to recognise that, currently, that is all he is. Like people wanted change from Bush Sr., and got Clinton, they wanted respite from W and got him.

A symbol like our very own Rajiv Gandhi, a symbol of change and everything new.

I am not putting too much hope on him, No.

Am only wishing he does not have his own Monicagate or Boforsgate scandals, and if he manages only that, he will be a success as far as I am concerned.



wordjunkie said...

And given the way people in Kenya rejoiced, I wonder how they will feel when 'their' son helps hike global food prices with his disastrous biofuel policies

Just call me 'A' said...

hmmmm interesting observation. i guess it's wait and watch now. hopefully he does not "change" it all too much.

Does it matter said...

@ wordjunkie
Yes, absolutely agree. My take is not just Kenya (atleast they hv some valid reason), but even India is going overboard. Something like "Begaani Shaadi Abdullah Dewaana"..

@ A
The worry part from an India perspective is, the possible damage he can cause from an economic & political perspective due to his 'change' - (some of it maybe, change just for the sake of change, not necessarily for the better).

N said...

just commented on Red Soul's blog about this :)

my problem is that im quite tired of America acting like the "beacon of change" and the country "leading" the rest of the world. they have been on this high-horse of a "coloured man" fighting this election. i think everyone has been so caught up in this hysteria that they havent looked at the situation objectively.

Does it matter said...

@ N
Valid observation. Happens even in their movies, apparently whenever the Aliens strike Planet Earth, it is the Americans who repulse the attacks & save us all!
Now, if only they could do something about not living off perpetual debt and other countries' money..

Sagarone said...

That last comment was a good one! :) Seriously, I think Obama will just help America's slide from 'only superpower' status to 'just another giant' status. Since he got elected on the Change platform, he will have to usher in some obvious and quick changes and that might hasten America's descent.

Anonymous said...

As a first time reader, I agree with all the comments posted. Obama will change things, alright. It will just be for the worst. As an American, I'm embarrassed about what I have seen here in this election cycle. It takes maybe an hour to research the man's voting record, which I'm sure nearly all of the people voting for him did not do. Even if they did, they more than likely wouldn't even understand the implications of each of his votes. Anybody voting that researched his record and knew the implications of them, I assure you, did not vote for Obama. It is a tragedy to hear Americans complain about India taking jobs. It is not India that is to blame. It is the US government that is forcing the hand of business to hire overseas along with the fraud committed daily by inflation in my country. People have to analyze, with the utmost scrutiny, the Federal Reserve and how that plays into the people of India so-called 'taking' jobs for 'less'.

Our founding fathers also warned heavily about getting involved with other nations.

"Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none."
- Thomas Jefferson

Just my two cents.

Does it matter said...

@ ShiggsUnderground
Welcome here!
You'd be surprised at the amount of admiration & support in the Indian media (and general public opinion) for Obama. The amount of optimism is so high, that one fears the folks are losing sense of balance, and everything is being viewed thru rose tinged glasses.
Esp from an India-centric perspective. That is really what surprises/ worries me.
Its an interesting point you write about the 'globalisation' part - though, since I dont understand too much of economy, I will refrain from commenting.. :)

Does it matter said...

@ sagarone
Yes, I suppose its just wait n watch for now. Though I do hope, atleast within India, we stop seeing everything thru rose tinged glasses!

umm oviya said...

hi, very interesting observations. whether we like it or not, America and its policies will continue to affect us and the whole world. i am desperately hoping O is diff... maybe this explains why he didn't call Dr Singh?
btw, nice blog. came via wordjunkie.

Does it matter said...

@ umm oviya

Welcome here!
Yup, it prob does explain.. :)

Indian Home Maker said...

Ms Shah's connections with VHP and Obama's wish to revive a peace dialogue between India and Pakistan bother me too ... but his not calling us earlier (it seems he did make that call, finally yesterday) makes no difference to India. I think we shouldn't give so much importance to that.

More than hopes from him, I like him for an example/role model that he has become for us in India, I wish all Indian voters had seen how civilised leaders behave, their speeches, their conduct, their debates (well, even at their worst they can't beat ours), their elections - we should all see so we can expect and demand the same.

Just call me 'A' said...

yes i know what you mean. and i agree with N, i'm tired for this country being the benchmark for a large part of the world.

Does it matter said...

Agree about the 'calling up' part not being anything substantial; I only raised it for the symbolism and the msg it seems to create.
The Indian IT industry assoc NASSCOM is sending a team to the US soon to lobby with his advisors re the folly in taking hasty decisions re outsourcing - all said and done, US is still out largest market. Thats also a worry.
What I'm trying to say is - what use is good speech if the intentions (& end result) are not good. Else, until Bofors happened, Rajiv Gandhi too was our Obama. But yes, its the first step, and today we have not taken even that - still in the dirty cesspool.

@ A
I guess you must be seeing a lot of it, from up close. Though, I also suppose, that means, it is that much more diff to take a detached/ unbiased view of it too