Prakash Karat, People's Democracy,(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Vol. XXX , No. 44, October 29, 2006
THE completion of two and a half years of the UPA government has more or less coincided with the appointment of a new foreign minister. This is an appropriate juncture to assess the foreign policy pursued by the government and in particular the focus on India-US relations. The mid-term provides the backdrop to see how the Manmohan Singh government has undertaken to implement the CMP provision to pursue an independent foreign policy and promote multi-polarity in international relations.
The Left parties, in their note on two years of the UPA government, summed up the performance on foreign policy as follows: “The UPA government’s foreign policy faces serious distortions because of the obsessive drive to somehow harmonise positions on regional and global issues with the US’s global strategies. This runs counter to the commitments made in the Common Minimum Programme to promote multi-polarity in international relations.”
The period since then has only confirmed the negative consequences of harmonizing our stand in tune with US global strategy. The US is experiencing today some of the backlash due to the arrogant, unilateralist drive of the Bush administration to extend and consolidate US hegemony. The US is trapped in a bloody quagmire of its own making in Iraq. The bloodletting goes on daily without respite. Iraq, a modern Arab secular state, has been destroyed with sectarian strife plaguing this unfortunate land. The government put in place by the United States and the police forces raised by them are themselves part of the internecine strife. Police and security forces, which are often armed militias in disguise, prowl around as death squads. Iraq is proving to be the US’s “Vietnam” of the twenty first century. But the imperial ruling classes do not learn any lessons. The Bush administration is flailing around for a non-existent solution, because it refuses to accept that the agony of Iraq today is due to its criminal aggression.
The more they got bogged in their stupid adventure, the more Bush and his cohorts looked to widen the circle of enemies. The targetting of Iran, the threats to Syria and the backing of the Israeli aggression on Lebanon have neither advanced the fight against terrorism nor won the US friends in the Middle-East.
During the Vajpayee government, India had begun to acquiesce in the charade enacted in occupied Iraq. Having failed to find the non-existent weapons of mass destruction, the Bush project of planting democracy in Iraq found quite a few takers in the Indian establishment. Unfortunately, the UPA continued this approach. The July 2005 Joint Statement issued during the prime minister’s visit to Washington declared India to be partner of the US in the global democracy initiative. Having seen how democracy has been implanted in Iraq and how “democracy” has become the rallying cry for regime change in country after country, it is imperative that India dissociate from this disgraceful enterprise.
INDIA MUST DISTANCE ITSELF FROM US
Equally, the enthusiasm displayed by the BJP-led government for partnering the US in the war on terrorism needs to be re-examined. The Bush regime has sown a dangerous harvest with its global war against terrorism. It is now precariously placed in Afghanistan. It has got the NATO involved for the first time in Asia in a warlike situation, and this has already created a crisis for the newly extended Western military alliance. The Taliban have resurfaced. The fundamentalists and extremists who did not exist in Saddam’s Iraq are multiplying in numbers. Thanks to Bush’s Christian rhetoric, condemnation of “Islamic fascism” and brazen support to Israel’s aggression on Palestine and Lebanon, the serious problem of terrorism has got devalued. It has been reduced to the US gaining hegemonic advantage over its perceived rivals.
Making India party to the “war on terror” has resulted in closer identification and deepening strategic cooperation with Israel. Israel is the frontline state in the US global strategy to reorder the oil-rich Middle-East. India has to distance itself from the US idea of a “Greater Middle-East”. The aggression on Lebanon which Condoleezza Rice described as part of the travails of the birth of a “new Middle-East” has shown the pitfalls of such a concept. The failure of the Israeli military to crush the national resistance led by the Hizbollah has isolated the US further from the Arab and Middle-Eastern popular feelings. India’s identification with the “war on terror” and the strategic alliance with the US and Israel will have unfortunate consequences.
As the US and Israel harp on the battle against Islamic terrorism, the idea of a “Christian-Jew-Hindu” line-up is propagated by the conservative Jewish lobby and the neo-conservatives. This would be palatable to the RSS and echoes Brajesh Mishra’s notorious advocacy of a US-Israel-India axis. But the UPA has to seriously consider where this would lead India to.
It was shortsighted on the part of the UPA government to have sought the help of pro-Israeli neo-conservative and Jewish lobbies in the US to canvass support in the US Congress for the Indo-US nuclear deal. Such a stance encourages Washington and Tel Aviv to coordinate their India policies still further.
The argument that Israel is indispensable for our defence needs is also specious. Apart from the traditional supplier of weaponry, Russia, there are a host of countries who would be prepared to meet India’s needs for sophisticated equipment whether, for instance France, Sweden, Germany and Italy. There is also the harm done by the corrupt nexus that Israeli arms companies have fostered as seen in the Barak anti-missile deal.