Same pols, different pols

Politicians are the same the world over, just as conscientious as any, and just as inclined to untruths.

And I know comparisons are odious, as the cliche goes.

Yet it was tempting to write about this one episode from US politics, striking as it was to any Indian who has grown up on stories of political parties throwing out dissenters.

The path from dissent to dissidence is short, and inevitable.

But here is another way of looking at it.

US senator Rand Paul, a Republican, has introduced a bill in the senate proposing to cut aid to Libya, Egypt and other countries where American missions have been attacked recently.

Here is how another Republican senator, John McCain, who lost the presidential race to Barack Obama in 2008, responded, with a statement opposing the bill.

“With the US Senate prepared to vote in just hours on an amendment to cut off all foreign assistance to Libya, every member of Congress, and all Americans, should know what happened today in Benghazi.

“Recent reports estimate that as many as 30,000 Libyans took to the streets in Benghazi, the city where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his colleagues were tragically murdered ten days ago. These Libyan demonstrators marched peacefully to the gates of the compound of Ansar al-Shariah, the militia allegedly responsible for the attack that killed Ambassador Stevens and his colleagues. The demonstrators conducted themselves peacefully. They carried signs, according to media reports, that read, ‘The Ambassador was Libya’s friend;’ ‘No, no to militias;’ and ‘Where is the army, where is the police?’ And when these brave Libyans arrived at the gates of the compound, they told this militia that they and their violent extremist agenda are not welcome in the new Libya.

“Somewhere, Chris Stevens is smiling. This is the real Libya – the Libya he knew so well, the Libya he wanted America to support and remain engaged with, the Libya for which he ultimately gave his life. These brave people in Libya are friends of America. They want our help and need our help. And we must continue to provide it to them, which is exactly what Chris Stevens would have wanted. If the Senate were to cut off all US assistance to Libya now, as Senator Rand Paul’s amendment would have us do, it would abandon our friends to our terrorist enemies, destroy America’s moral standing in the world, and do egregious harm to our national interests.”

McCain is a moderate Republican and Paul comes from the extreme wing of the party. But they belong to the same party, and disagreed completely and publicly.

Now think of an Indian politician in a similar situation. I can’t remember any MP opposing a fellow MP — from the same party — as openly and as clearly.

And in the few instances that this happened, one or the other came to some grief, accompanied by much bitterness, quickly branded as a falling out.

Once again, I am keenly aware, the two political systems are not comparable, but I am on the limited point of how they handle inner-party differences (not dissent, which is a stronger word).

It will be easy, but wrong, to think of the Congress as most guilty of steamrolling differing views specially when coloured by questions of seniority. The BJP is just as guilty. Ask Jaswant Singh and Uma Bharati.

American politics is not without flaws. It has plenty. Especially the all-consuming rivalry between the two parties, conducted earnestly by a remarkable lack of civility.

And every one outside the arena joins in too: the press, academics, experts, writers, lobbyists, entertainers, comics (and satirists), businesses and sportspeople.

It’s hard to tell politics from spin.


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  1. Guest says:

    Have been planning to visit Nepal, to refresh old, very pleasant memories but get deterred by reports of long hours of load shedding.


  2. Dear Editor and Readers !
    Why USA- the democratic nation is involving to intervene Nepal? US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake Jr has exposed about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Inquiry on The respected countries representatives should understand that Nepal is passing unconstitutionally after the experiment of CA. Then, why they compelled to pass the ordinance of–’Trust and Reconciliation Commission and Commission on Disappearances.’ which was forwarded by the government to the office of president by the government to the office of president on 28 August 2012. After the experiment of Constituent Assembly, the Interim Constitution and the PREZ and the head of the government the PM have already lost their existence. Now the president and PM have been exercising in futility in the name of so-called consensus. Is it not a naked intervention to the Nepalese Internal affairs? It is very shameful and regretting for all Nepalese people. It is a matter of grief that the democratic nations-the EU diplomats have directed exposed attacking to our internal affairs. And then it is very suspicious that secretly how had and have been involving these diplomats to destroy the Nepalese Hindu religious identities for Christianity with huge amount of money. So, we Nepalese people suggest them with requesting not do so according to the international diplomatic norms. It is not the good manner to the EU diplomats.
    They should understand thye international diplomatic norms.

    President Rambaran Yadav and PM
    Baburam Bhattarai have already lost their posts after the death of Constituent
    Assembly (CA). Their posts are not in existence. The dead interim constitution
    cannot secure the post of President, as well as Baburam’s post of PM. With the
    dissolution of the CA, the interim constitution was cremated. Down with persons
    willing to bargain off the country for power positions! So in a sense, Rambaran
    Yadav, who opened the gates of treason, is considered more fatal than the leader
    of treacherous acts–Baburam Bhattarai. So, this nonsense element should be
    removed immediately. Foreign powers especially-RAW, CIA and EU nations are
    investing their full energy to fulfill their selfish interests for
    establishment of Christianity in Nepal, and carry out the campaign
    of Free-Tibet. The republic setup is not in the interest of this country,
    instead it is fatal. We will honorably fight against such anti national
    injustice resonant in republic setup and secularism. So, all the organs of the
    state shall unite, and in accordance with the 1990 Constitution and in presence
    of the King, we shall strengthen this Hindu Kingdom.
    If not China will come with communism for its security. If Monarchy is in Nepal, China thinks its security. But in the name of republic, gradually, China comes with communism, then not only Nepal India also coverts as a anarchist-Communist nation in South Asia. So, the safe the democratic sense in this Zone, Monarchical democratic system should be maintain in Nepal for the sake of Nepal, India as well as China. It is the duty of all Nepalese, whether in political parties or outside, Nepal
    Army, and even the nationalists in the Maoists’ party to save this
    Please, send me comment with arguments.

    Thank you.
    Political Analyst-Nepal
    Dirgha Raj Prasai
    Kathmandu, Nepal


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