February 13, 2012

COMMENTS: US attitudes towards a terror

The Unfinished Crisis: US Crisis Management after the 2008 Mumbai Attacks
This ... sums up accurately the US attitudes towards a terror incident against India.

I doubt Mr Krepon understands how deeply offensive if not racist American attitudes are. But I do hope the Indian observers on this forum fully confront this reality.

In American eyes, a terror attack against India is qualitatively different from one on India. In the former case, the entire focus is on punishing the whole nation from whose soil the terror attack was launched, without any reference whatsoever to any international norm or organization. In the latter case, punishing even those proven to have led the attack is a mere desirable but not a necessity. The whole thrust of American effort is to somehow prevent India from taking action similar to what US would like if the attack was against any western country.

When 9/11 terror attacks were carried out, US diplomats so much as refused to be photographed in a way that they and Taliban officials appear in the same frame. India, however, is expected to "improve bilateral ties" with Pakistan after 26/11.

Given that America historically viewed colored people (parts of it did so legally till mid - 60s) as subhuman beings, and their close allies imposed identical views on India for a century, Indians have every right to view such behavior as another manifestation of America's lingering racism.

The best approach for us would be drastically curtail ties with the west including the US, find new friends and continually enhance our ability to attack and overpower Pakistan, nuclear weapons or not. If we don't do it, we will continue to have little value placed on our lives like the likes of Michael Krepon desires.

Bangalore, India

Dear Sanjay,

I agree completely with your analysis, but the problem is as much with us, the GoI, as it is with the US and the rest of the West. It is the GoI that has permitted a steady slippage in our stand, away from the immediate post-Mumbai insistence on punishment for the perpetrators of 26/11 to now a delinking of the apparently indispensable "dialogue" with Pakistan from Pak-sponsored terrorism directed against India.

And the GoI has a chorus of the Aman ki Aasha and the Wagah candle-lighting brigade to support it. As for our media, especially TV, the less said the better. We place so little value on the lives crushed in 26/11 that barely weeks after the horror, the resumption of cricketing tied with Pakistan was being seriously debated. What to say of that, right DURING 26/11, we had Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN IBN fawning on "instant expert" Shahrukh Khan, who was assuring the viewers that only "non-state actors" in Pakistan were involved.

So where do we do from here?

Shyamala B.Cowsik (Indian Foreign Service, Retd.)


Thanks for your reply. It is gratifying to see concurrence of views with someone who has been in the thick of things.

I agree that primary responsibility is with GOI for criminal dilution of India's stand (though I still believe this whole matter is going to lead to events until there is resolution), I focused on American behavior because reality facing Indians are fully seized of MM Singh government's cowardly behavior but the American cynicism is not fully appreciated by many.

Looking at American society, many Indians tend to accept American claims of commitment to freedom and human rights.

I believe America is committed to maintaining it's superiority and is willing to use the most cynical means for ensuring there is a premium on American and western lives. In this sense, they are still a racist people though obviously they don't brook overt manifestations of racism in modern times.

There are also claims of America seeing India as a long term "strategic partner". This is nothing but a ruse that leads Indians up the garden path.

These are the aspects I wanted to highlight in my mail hence the focus on American attitudes. I too understand we have elected abject men and women in power and are suffering the consequences.


Dear Sanjay,

Of course I agree with what you have said about US behaviour, both historically and in recent times.

However, as a diplomatic professional, I assumed all along that the US, a practitioner of realpolitik, would follow what it perceived and perceives as the path to advance its national interests, and would pay scant heed to the serious problems that this would cause for other nations. No professional diplomat would ever attach any importance to US claims of furthering democracy, protecting human rights, and now promoting R2P in Libya and (hopefully not) Syria. Can you ever imagine the US or any other Western country applying R2P to the PRC over Tibet, or even in the event of another Tiananmen?

Other countries have to operate on the principle that this is how other countries, and especially Super Powers behave, irrespective of what they might claim for public consumption, and arrange their own policies as best as they can. In the case of the GoI, especially vis a vis Pakistan, we are NOT doing this. We are drifting along the line of least resistance, and the consequences will be evident sooner rather than later.

Best regards.

Shyamala B.Cowsik
Indian Foreign Service (Retd.)


Observer said...

There is a very insightful BBC documentary The Nightmare of Dreams, downloadable via torrent. Here, the the thoughts of two men from the 50's, Leo Strauss and Syed Qutb are traced to the formation of the Neocons and the Islamic Brotherhood, and the many others that get doctrinally ensnared (Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld / Ayman al-Zawahiri and bin Laden ... the more notorious among others). This documentary (in 3 episodes) reveals the jingoistic narcissism, in which the 'others' are expendable, as mechanisms are set into motion to fashion the world after their (NC/IJ) perverted beliefs. Most enlightening in fathoming US behaviour.

Observer said...

Correction ... the BBC documentary is titled The Power of Nightmares

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