Should President Bush Have Visited South Asia?

Dr. Sankarshan Acharya

Citizens for Development and Pro-Prosperity.Com

It is very interesting how New York Times thinks: "Mr. Bush should have just stayed home." NYT thinks that Mr. Bush has achieved nothing from his trip to befriend India strategically. 

The NYT editorial shows what has gone wrong with the cocooned thinking of American Left, just like that of India's Left Front.  The Left Front of India thinks that America is an imperial power that India should not touch.  The American Left thinks exactly the same way that USA is the superpower with the right to bulldoze India remotely without touching. 

NYT's concern is not nuclear proliferation as much as to beat President Bush.  NYT cannot think rationally that one-sixth of humanity in India would like to feel as secured with nuclear bombs as the less than one-third of that number of humans residing in USA. 

Obviously no one is secure with 50000 nuclear warheads pointed at humanity.  But that is not NYT's point.  NYT's point is that, as a superpower, USA should stop spreading nuclear bombs beyond the P5 and thwart India. 

NYT does not think of China becoming a superpower to pose threat to USA and Europe.  It is so myopic for the American Left to think that the imperial power (USA+EU+…) will remain unchallenged.  The Indian Left concedes as much.  Its response is to not touch America, just like the American Left not wanting USA to touch India.  What a warped thinking the Left everywhere remains steeped in!! 

The reality is very different.  USA has become quite vulnerable due to the rise of China.  Most Americans do not recognize it.  But most American strategists know this and have hard time in telling it to people.  The American "imperialism" or "superpower-dom" is now a thing of the past; at least the pragmatists in USA think so. 

The concern now is how to maintain the democratic market order that the Left everywhere is willing to trample over.  This order is particularly in danger due to the Chinese deviation of it by their decree of keeping yuan artificially low, even if that forces the vast majority in China to work for pittance.  The American Left would like to adopt a countervailing decree: of imposing tariff on Chinese goods imported to USA.  The tariffs will make most Americans poorer, though the teeming bureaucratic-political order will thrive due to the new sources of government revenue. 

The Left everywhere cannot think beyond decreed responses to problems; they do not care about long-run threats to freedom.  Optimal solutions to this problem have been profferred in my book, "Prosperity: Optimal Governance."

It appears that the White House has had a serious debate about American strategy and competitiveness sometime in March/April 2005.  The oilman, President Bush, is now talking to Americans on energy conservation and development of alternatives to fossil fuel.  There are also talks about scientific collaboration with India for such development.  Yesterday, even the Vice President was talking to Americans to save!  American households have the largest ever negative savings since the Great Depression.  The US Congress had passed a resolution for contribution of IIT graduates for American prosperity in April 2005.  Now one can correlate these events with the contents of CFD's letter on January 31, 2005 to President Bush.  It is not surprising at all why Pro-Prosperity.Com has had visitors from U.S. Senate and some sections of Establishment and think tanks. 

The American "nuclear deal" with India is not surprising at all.  Crucial elements of the U.S. establishment, led by the White House, have supported it since last year.  But many prominent Americans, especially in the U.S. Congress, are dead opposed to any nuclear deal with India.  In fact, President Bush has announced in India nothing more in this regard than the open predilection towards India exhibited by top White House officials during the PM's visit in July 2005.  The US predilection towards India is optimal for Americans.  There was perhaps massive brainstorming within White House to evolve this rational strategy of befriending India.  It is also in India's best interest to befriend USA, especially, for scientific and technological collaboration.  It is mutually beneficial for Americans as well as Indians.

India has been asking America for nuclear technology and fuel for decades.  Obviously it is the American policymakers who have changed the equation recently.  They are now continually stressing the contribution of Indian Americans to American prosperity and non-existence of Indian Muslims in al Qaeda.  These factors must have gone into their new thinking toward India since March/April last year. 

Given such profound developments, it is mind boggling how so many Indian politicians and the so-called Indian Muslim leaders are trying to instigate masses to undo the American discovery of India and Indian Muslim masses.  Indian Muslim masses are being taken for a ride by the Mullahs and associated political leaders.  They are propagating a misconception that Americans are fighting against Islam or Muslims.  Americans are fighting against terrorism.  Unfortunately most terrorists are radical Muslims.  This helps the Mullahs and political leaders to propagate the perception that the fight against terrorism is a fight against Islam or Muslims. 

Students in my class, especially Muslims, often are confused that I am a Muslim.  When I pilgrimaged to Badrinath to fulfill my parents' last wishes, I had a Muslim driver who fetched Ganga Jal that is now kept in our family's place of worship.  I have read Bible many times.  My considered view is that it is the Satan in any religion that political leaders are exploiting for self-aggrandizement and self-entrenchment that we should fight against.  At long last, the Americans have taken the gauntlet to do so.  They were nonchalant until 9/11 despite the mayhem caused by terrorists everywhere.  Now they are in a war against terrorism, not any religion or belief.  India's political leaders agitating against America know this, yet their self interests are so luring that they sacrifice the best interests of India or of humanity in general while instigating masses.  CFD hopes that wisdom dawns on our politicians to exorcise their evil of driving caste and religion based division of society and think beyond self-aggrandizement and self-entrenchment in power!

With best regards,

Sankarshan Acharya

Mr. Bush's Asian Road Trip

NYT Editorial Published: March 7, 2006

There is a lot of good a president can do on a visit to another country: negotiate treaties that enhance American security, shore up a shaky alliance, generate good will in important parts of the world. Unfortunately, President Bush didn't do any of those good things on his just-completed visit to Pakistan and India and might have done some real harm.

The spectacularly misconceived trip may have inflicted serious damage to American goals in two vital areas, namely, mobilizing international diplomacy against the spread of nuclear weapons and encouraging Pakistan to take more effective action against the Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters operating from its territory.

The nuclear deal that Mr. Bush concluded with India threatens to blast a bomb-size loophole through the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. It would have been bad enough on its own, and disastrously ill timed, because it undercuts some of the most powerful arguments Washington could make to galvanize international opposition to Iran's nuclear adventurism.

But the most immediate damage was done on Mr. Bush's next stop, Pakistan. Washington is trying to persuade Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani military dictator, to defy nationalist and Islamic objections and move more aggressively against Pakistani-based terrorists. This is no small issue because both Osama bin Laden and the Taliban's leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, are now believed to operate from Pakistani soil.

But sticking Mr. Musharraf with the unwelcome task of explaining to Pakistanis why his friend and ally, Mr. Bush, had granted favorable nuclear terms to Pakistan's archrival, India, while withholding them from Pakistan left him less likely to do Washington any special, and politically unpopular, favors on the terrorism front.

It's just baffling why Mr. Bush traveled halfway around the world to stand right next to one of his most important allies against terrorists — and embarrass him. India and Pakistan are military rivals that have fought each other repeatedly. They have both developed nuclear weapons outside the nonproliferation treaty, which both refuse to sign. When India exploded its first acknowledged nuclear weapons eight years ago, Pakistan felt obliged to follow suit within weeks.

So when Mr. Bush agreed to carve out an exception to global nonproliferation rules for India, it should have been obvious that Pakistani opinion would demand the same privileged treatment, and that Mr. Musharraf would be embarrassed by Mr. Bush's explicit refusal to provide it.

Mr. Bush was right to say no to Pakistan. It would be an unthinkably bad idea to grant a loophole to a country whose top nuclear scientist helped transfer nuclear technology to leading rogue states. Granting India a loophole that damages a vital treaty and lets New Delhi accelerate production of nuclear bombs makes no sense either.

Mr. Bush should have just stayed home.