Are there any foreign policy pluses and minors for India following the Democrats’ defeat and the effective end of the presidency of Barack Obama?
The biggest global issue has been the limp waisted US response to so many international problems. Not just in terms of not bombing here or there, but more in terms of using diplomacy to bring like minded regional players together. The US hasn’t been cashing in IOUs or arm twisting the doubtful.
That won’t change much in the post election era. But expect Republicans to push for greater action against IS, possibly even passing money and bills to force Obama’s hand. There will also be a much tougher stance on Russia and the Ukraine issue.
But ultimately the Senate cannot craft a foreign policy, it can only try to embarrass the president into doing more. But Obama is right: Americans are tired of war, even if they increasingly see foreign policy setbacks as a sign of poor leadership in Congress.
India may be less happy with the fact many new Republican leaders are ardent free traders and want the Trans Pacific Partnership and its North Atlantic equivalent to go through. India is nervous of what would eventually become the gold standard in global trade and leave India marginalised.
There is strong bipartisan support for a strong India relationship. That is good. But it is not clear how this will manifest itself. Congress is also violently anti Pakistani. Useful to India only if it manifests itself a commitment to hold the line in Kabul.
The real accomplishment of the midterm elections has been the evidence that the Republican leadership carefully brought the Tea Party under control. If a more mainstream Democrat wins the primary at this point the isolationism tidal wave that engulfed US foreign policy the past five years can be declared to have receded.
Then we will start to see a real American revival.
As India becomes caught in electoral frenzy, there is the odd interest among a few of the citizenry about whom the rest of the world would like to see win the polls. This is often coupled with a conspiracy theory or another largely because the truth is that most foreign governments don’t really have a favourite candidate in mind – though many Indians one meets find that hard to believe. Read more
Nothing succeeds like success. And the opposite is also true:once you start going down the slippery slope, the process only accelerates until you reach rock-bottom.India has yet to reach rock bottom but the ill-effects of its decline are evident in its global standing and influence. Read more
It didn’t really take Rahul Gandhi to wreck Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s tour of the United States. It was already a farewell visit. The US President Barack Obama had been reluctant to meet him, even trying to avoid having to give Singh a lunch. Read more
For this week at least Vladimir Putin must be feeling quite smug.
After getting some serious snubbing from Barack Obama, including the first cancellation of a bilateral summit between US and Russian leaders in 50 years, US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Geneva trying to bridge the gap between himself and his Russian counterpart on a UN resolution over Syria. Seems like the Cold War all over. Read more
Everyone in New Delhi knew that the first strategic dialogue between India and the US under Secretary of State John Kerry was going to be a testy affair. Read more
Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet Admiral Sam Locklear, head of the United States Pacific Command. The largest of the several US military commands, the Pacific Command stretches from California to India, Alaska to the Antarctica. Read more
One of the striking numbers in the recent US presidential election are the popular vote figures. John McCain was seen as an underdog candidate right from the start of the 2008 election, yet he pulled in 59.9 million votes. Read more
The new Obama administration’s defence strategy came out last week and caused a few ripples. But for the most part there wasn’t anything in it that didn’t strike one as being just common sense. Read more
It’s taken me nearly 50 years to make it to Russia, aka the Evil Empire, aka a Really Cold Place with Lots of Flat Land. Read more