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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Ah, India:

'Well, what of the future? The selection of Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister suggests that the project of neo-liberal "economic reform" will not be abandoned wholesale. The will of the Indian people, as reflected in the election results, will simply suggest a more deliberate balancing. The new government's spokespeople have indicated that they will continue with reform, but with more discrimination about the implications for social and national welfare. To the extent that it was a vote on economic policy, it was a rejection only of unfettered liberalization and globalization and privatization, not a rejection outright of any of these. We should expect a pragmatic and empirical criterion, not an ideological one.'

I read this article and can't help but feel that the Indian people are in about the same mood as the American people. I suggest you read the whole thing, and note the various similarities between India's political situation and the U.S. By all accounts, Manmohan Singh is quite qualified and, unlike a certain President Bush, has _real_ integrity. Singh flys coach class. He pays for as much stuff as he can with checks, so he'll leave an audit trail. He lives simply, doesn't drive fancy cars and doesn't try to use his office for personal influence. He has a doctorate from Oxford. Why can't he be our President? It'll be interesting to see how he does, since he's not flashy and by most accounts not very good at "populist" politics. However, as a Sikh he's uniquely placed to deal with the Hindi/Muslim issues that vex India and India's relationship with Pakistan. I doubt he'd ever sanction having prayers pronounced over nuclear weapons (this actually happened, I don't have the link handy). With over 750 million people, India is the largest democracy in the world. If we want to argue size, the India is in a much better position to champion democracy around the world than the United States. Things might be bigger in Texas, but India is the biggest. They put out more movies per year than Hollywood. I'm interested to see how India's relationship with the United States (a hallmark of the prior administration) changes. It would be very odd indeed if India pulled ahead of the United States in power and influence and spreading democracy (the real kind, not the kool-aid being sold currently in Iraq).

Andrew 9:17 PM : |


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