On the Indian National Interest
The four states of power and principle
There is no prizes for guessing which one India belongs to:
The trick of course is to retain the appearance of being a sanctimonious high-principled prick while wielding power in a pragmatic way so as to not appear as the Hated Hegemon but as a cog in the Global Regime of Ram. Seems to me that these states are states of the mind of the observer of states, rather than the actual state of states.
Can’t really see where India would fit in to the matrix. Being an observer from “outside”, India is rarely presented as a nation with strong principles, especially since Westerners see Indians as people that enjoy beating their women, disallow public affection (which makes them somehow less ‘free’), and have general disregard for law and order. Oh, right, the question about why there are so many cows roaming free when they can be slaughtered and fed to the starving masses has been asked too many times. Ok, rant over.
So I guess I’m wondering what you mean by ‘principles’. Every region seems to have their own idea of ideal principles. An Islamist rogue state probably has strong principles, its just that these principles are quite a bit different from some other states.
Or is this more of a POV thing? India seems like a Sanctimonious Prick to other Indians who understand the principles their nation is pushing. Being Indo-Canadian, I can totally say Canada fits into this category almost perfectly, but maybe someone from India can’t as easily see how.
While you’re devliering the sermon, I might as well add to your brief and excellent summary of your stated ‘principles’. As you rightly mentioned, every region seems to have their own stand on principles. For instance, it is exasperating to distinguish shooting veiled and innocent women dead in the middle of a football field from say I don’t know, withholding covert action against a neighbour that is a renowned state sponsor of terrorism? Or on the one hand between proliferating arms in violation of international treaties to unsettle your southern Himalayan neighbour and on the other maintaining a neutral disposition towards the massacre of innocent monks.
However, there is no ambiguity on the lofty standards of excellence attained by Canada on the same principles that you highlighted. For instance, wife beating there is not ‘enjoyed’ like in other jurisdictions where it is a competitive sport, but is resorted to and endured miserably only reluctantly on the coaxing of one’s umpteen number of mistresses.
The display of public affection such as holding hands, making out on the subway, or the gentle yet thorough stroking of one’s anatomy is indeed a sine qua non and the most fundamental aspect of universal human rights. After all, the Geneva Convetion does hold this out as an essential pre-requisite to the holding of free and fair elections. Canada again, has been the torchbearer in this category as well and to such an extent that the parent teacher meetings statistically see the attendance of an average of 2 stepdads and 4 stepmothers for every one student enrolled.
And of course, not serving up cows to a populace, the majority of which worships them, is abhorrent and an anathema to the preamble of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Freer countries such as Canada have no reservations in serving up the walruses, grizzlies and reindeers to their Native Americans who they thought fit to relegate to the scenic hinterlands of the Canadian savannah.
Bravo Canada. Take a bow!
I think the point is about how states appear to other states; ie policy makers. The perceptions of “lay people” may vary. I for instance think China is a rogue state (its nuclear-arming of Pak is but one example), but it is high on power.
I hope ‘Prick’ is a typos and ‘Prig’ was what was meant.
One thing is for sure, if ‘Principled action’ can only be viewed differently, it cannot be different (otherwise what the hell would be ‘Unprincipled Action’. Another strange outcome would be that the reverse of ‘Unprincipled Action’ will be ‘Non-unprincipled Action’!!! instead of ‘Principled Action’ and this would be so both in terms of practice and understanding of practice).
Opinions dont make habbits. The reverse is true oftentimes.
@DaveyBoy – “The display of public affection such as holding hands, making out on the subway, or the gentle yet thorough stroking of one’s anatomy is indeed a sine qua non and the most fundamental aspect of universal human rights. After all, the Geneva Convetion does hold this out as an essential pre-requisite to the holding of free and fair elections.”
Is this for real. Where do I verify this. Though I can repose faith in this comment. For a culture that can change the Pro-life Anti-life debate (non-debate) to a Pro-life Pro-choice debate (non-debate), sure they can do anything. My comment is just my ‘Principle’ for myself though.
DaveyBoy, I had a little bit of difficulty wading through your flood of sarcasm, and am still a little unsure about what stance you are taking. However, from what I can tell, you misread my own sarcastic post :-).
So I will reiterate what I was trying to say, without the sarcasm:
1) I was trying to show how India’s ‘lofty principles’ aren’t really recognized outside of India ( or even IN India?) by showing how too many Westerners view Indian society. I was simply writing down some of the more ridiculous beliefs about India I’ve come across in Canadian society. This was more of a rant than anything else, although, to someone living in the West, India doesn’t seem preachy or tiresome at all. On the contrary, IMO, India has a great deal to offer the world, yet she stays silent. This was mostly in response to the first poster, who said India falls into the “Sanctimonious Prick” category.
2) I was wondering about point of view – does Indian society seem tiresome and hypocritical to people within the society? Maybe to Pakistanis? How does POV factor into the matrix presented?
I am far removed from mainstream Indian culture, so the most I can do here is ask.
3) I mentioned in my first post that Canada is pushy about its ideals, and is hypocritical as hell. For instance, try offering dog meat to someone here, and you will be met with almost universal expressions of disgust and condemnation. Tell these same people that killing cows in India is frowned upon, and disbelief abounds! Of course, there are many people who are capable of understanding the hypocrisy here, and trying to tolerate different customs. Its just that there are entirely too many who can’t.
Where u are in the matrix depends on who u ask!
That said, the ideal point (sweet spot) to aim for is somewhere between “hedgemon” and “sanctimonious prick”.
The problem with India is it hasn’t cultivated the “hard power”. And jus relied on moral posturing aka as a “sanctimonious prick”. That and Bollywood movies LOL. Unless things boiled over and India was forced to step in like in liberation of Bangladesh. Still many Paks, SLs, Nepalis and Bangladeshis think of India as a hedgemon LOL. So India mite as well be more hedgemonic and ensure her interests are taken care of.
And as to what a pipsqueak (geopolitically) like Canada thinks, who gives a heck? It matters what US thinks. It matters what PLA and CPC think. It matters much less what a hodge-Podge called Europe thinks. It DOES NOT MATTER one bit what Canada or Australia or New Zealand thinks.
In many countries what people think has little correlation with the foreign policy to which most of the masses are oblivious to. Except for two notable exceptions. US and China.
Strangely enough in both these countries, it is not the masses’ opinions that influence the foreign policy, it is the other way round. Recently saw that Iran and NoKo were way down in ratings on a survey taken among Americans. Now how many Americans can even point these countries on a World map? India seems to be doing even better than France on that list. But then again do not expect any foreign policy miracles from that because Pak serves a lot of “strategic interests” for the US. In fact the list went like: Canada, UK, Germany, Japan, Israel, India, France… Interesting huh.
On a side note, India should develop it’s economic prowess. That itself will change opinions where they matter. Especially considering that in these days with globalization, economics is politics.
As someone pointed out, the above matrix is as much propaganda as it is ground reality. The ‘Art of War’ is the art of deception.
I am really looking forward to your thoughts on yesterday’s attacks on Indians in Kabul. Interestingly, none of the media houses seem to be giving it air time. Have they be instructed to only talk peace in the current Ind-Pak scenario? Our country men dying in another hostile soil is just as bad as them getting killed in Mumbai or Pune.
gGill – your rejoinder explains your original point much better. I can echo similar views among various Europeans I interacted with (on why the heck Indians dont eat cows). Here was one of my funnier (but real life) explanations:
Q. Why do you Indians (Hindus) not eat cow?
A. Indians treat cows like mothers. Since they are not comfortable eating their mothers, they dont eat the cows.
Q. But why do you treat cows like mothers (with a serious looking scowl on face)?
A. Mothers give us milk. Cows also give us milk. Hence, Cows = Mothers.
This ended the debate :).
Anyway, more to the point, a country is perceived to be on different quadrants by different countries. For example:
India is a hated hegemonist to Nepal, a Rogue state to Pakistan, a Sanctimonious Prick to Indians themselves.
Every game has its set of rules, so does the great game in Afghanistan. It entails that India cannot stake a claim in Afghanistan and not send its forces to at least protect it’s own interests. You can’t send an army armed with candles to fight a war. The next best option is to call back everyone as we need every single soldier to fight our own little game here in India itself.
My real grouse is why is not being covered enough by the media. They play a very important role in shaping public opinion. They have decided to remain silent on this. It is disgusting. It was doctors who were killed for heavens’ sake. People who were helping Aghans SAVE other Afghans lives. This SUCKS!!
you might want to add a third dimension to the matrix. d/dt (relative perceived power).
Media is more worried about M F Hussain. As they say that is “newsworthy”.
As for Indians dying in Afg who cares? There are enough dying even in the country (e.g. By some estimates 200K farmers have died in last 10 years) and nobody gives a heck!
Sad but that’s how it works in India.
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