People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 51

December 22, 2013




The Ugly American


R Arun Kumar


ITS a long time since one heard the Indian government raise its voice against the US. Surprising, for a change! Of course, what is not surprising is the conduct of the US. Way back, in 1958, was published a novel, The Ugly American, which dealt with the arrogance of the US diplomats and State department officials. Though the novel deals about their arrogance in the countries in which they were posted, particularly the Third World countries of Asia and Africa, what is true is their arrogance even while dealing with the people of these countries posted in the US. The treatment of a senior Indian diplomat is one such recent incident.


Indians, cutting across political affiliations, even those who are averse to politicians and their parties, have joined together in condemning this barbaric incident. Rightly so. The usually, cultivated, pro-US media was forced to reflect this resentment expressed by the Indians. The Congress and the BJP leaders cancelled their meetings with the visiting US delegation; ministers refused to meet them; barricades put around the US embassy in New Delhi, a visible sign of their mighty arrogance, were removed and parliamentarians expressed themselves in the august House. All this prompted some of our otherwise US-sympathetic media to scream, 'India takes on Uncle Sam', 'Strip-search shows India's spine', etc., etc. For once, they are on the same page as the people of India!


Welcome whiff of fresh air, it certainly is. But does this herald a new look into our relations with the US and reshape our foreign policy towards non-alignment? It is not just a million dollar question but a question in which billions of dollars are involved.


Just a few days back, our minister for commerce went to Bali and concluded an agreement on agriculture. Its repercussions on our agriculture are going to be disastrous. None save the Left and few well meaning groups have raised their voice against this agreement. And the media painted the deal as a spring in the lives of Indian farmers. Just as the incident concerning the Indian diplomat is an affront, this deal is also an affront to the Indian people. At the altar are the interests of the peasant community which numbers in millions. Unfortunately, nobody is concerned with their plight, though over 200,000 peasants had committed suicide due to the agrarian distress.


India-US CEO Forum regularly meets under the auspices of both the governments and decides on many issues. The government acts upon them and moulds its policy accordingly to facilitate the interests of the US. Opening up of Indian agriculture, education, finance sector, retail trade are all concerns dear to them. The government is too keen to oblige, not bothered about the repercussions they have on our country.


The insurance and banking companies in the US, whose collapse triggered the severe global economic crisis that we are witnessing now, are being welcomed to India to redeem their fortunes. Hundreds of thousands of retired workers and employees lost their pensions and hard earned savings due to the fraud committed by these once considered 'too big to fail' corporations in the West. Now the government wants Indian workers and employees to face the same fate. Disaster in waiting! Neither the Congress, nor the BJP or the 'pained and hurt' media, bothered about the employees and workers of our country.


Opening of retail trade to Wal-mart and others is a death blow to hundreds of thousands of Indians employed in small-scale retail business in our country. Unconcerned with their plight the government with the tacit support of the principal opposition party had opened our retail trade to foreign multinational giants. Instead of standing by all those whose lives and livelihoods are at stake, all those who are opposing these moves are castigated as being 'anti-development'.


And we have the Indo-US nuclear deal and various defence deals that the country had concluded with the US, detrimental to our interests. These deals show how accommodative our government is to please the interests of the US. All these measures reflect the spineless attitude of the government. When the US wanted us not to have a deal with Iran and adhere to the sanctions it had imposed on that country, we followed it quietly. When the US wanted India to vote along with it in the UN on Iran, we complied meekly, ignoring our national interests and independent foreign policy. It is this display of meekness and 'follow thy master' attitude that emboldened the US. While the government bends backwards, ceding our sovereign space and rights, the US is gleefully lapping up all of it.


It is high time the Indian government realises what it is losing through its servile attitude. It is surrendering the hard won sovereignty, foregoing the trust placed on the leaders of the country by the countless, faceless, millions of freedom fighters who sacrificed their all for a 'sovereign, independent, democratic and republican' India.


The country people should fight the government for regaining its honour. While the government should initiate reciprocal measures and express the anger of our sovereign nation, it should also rethink its relations with the US. It is time for us to realise that the stronger a nation stands in its relations with another country, it stands to be respected and so will its personnel be treated.