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.
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