Barack after returning home seems to have decided to put in a few words that can’t be bent and molded as his speech in Siri Fort were. Some of us, never tired of being hurt and offended, have felt a lot of anger again. But here is why Barack was right in making his observations public and here are a few lessons.
- Geopolitics and PR exercises are different things: Narendra would like us to believe otherwise, but sheer personal connect has never affected geopolitical calculations to a great extent. Not against the grain, at least. Remember Vajpayee-Musharaff bonhomie? And, in this case, there was no equation, only photo-ups to suggest the same. India is an important market for US businesses but India is valued as a partner because we are a stable democratic nation in a very unstable sub-continent. The moment we lose that stability, we become a problem that needs to be contained not a partner.
- Violence is not an internal matter: This is not a new excuse. Ask every man accused of domestic violence and he will say the same “yeh hamara ghar ka maamla hai” (this is a domestic matter). Crimes against humanity can never be considered as domestic matters, no matter where they occur. ISIS is not an Iraqi or Syrian problem, the Nazis were not a German problem. We have as much right to point out Trayvon Martin to Barack as he has the right to point out church burnings to us. Let us be more humane and fix them than defend the right to be wrong.
- BJP may well gain from it: Barack’s criticism should be good for the government. For a PR driven and PR obsessed government, a PR setback may instill some reality check and help guide their attention to creating some real value, some substance that will hold even the when the lights of media are turned off.