Losing friends and making foes

Hithchiker

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1385837
I DID not follow protocol. I am a simple man with no baggage. I made friends the world over ... Thus spoke India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, master of the diplomatic hug fest, in a recent TV interview where he expatiated on what constitutes India’s foreign policy, or at least his understanding of it.
“Every time I stand beside world leaders such as Vladimir Putin or Donald Trump, all I remember is that I am the representative of 1.15 crore citizens. They have given me the mandate to be there. Before 2014, the world didn’t care about what India had to say. But after we came to power in 2014, the situation changed completely. For the first time in 30 years, India has a government with a full majority. This was noticed by the entire world. I witnessed it during the Saarc and G-20 meet. They accept us as a leader now.”
Was that disingenuous or political hubris? With most of the neighbouring states even more hostile to India than they have traditionally been, India’s leadership even in its limited area of influence is under challenge. India’s domineering attitude and interference in their internal affairs, most markedly in the case of Nepal, has pushed them into China’s arms, leaving Modi’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy in tatters. Maldives is the latest to thumb its nose at Delhi by signing a comprehensive free trade agreement with Beijing. Saarc has not met after the 2016 summit was torpedoed in the wake of the terrorist attack on Uri.
Without a strategic framework foreign policy has floundered because of Modi’s personalised diplomacy.​
The neighbourhood was meant to be the centrepiece of the so-called Modi doctrine and initially it did appear that the BJP would be able to assuage the wounds inflicted by previous Congress governments. That hope was short-lived as the Hindu supremacist party began pushing its ideological agenda in the region.
Nepal is the star failure for Modi who had gone to the Himalayan state bearing costly gifts of sandalwood and ghee in 2014. But a series of follies on the part of Delhi has left Kathmandu bristling — Delhi’s opposition to its new secular constitution is unlikely to be forgotten soon — while the election of a new communist coalition led by former prime ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal and K.P. Sharma Oli is expected to push the country into a warmer embrace with China. There are signs of this already with a special Chinese New Year event organised by the Chinese embassy ushering in the new spring of ties between the countries. It would seem that Nepal already views China as a more viable alternative to India in its foreign policy.
Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka have also moved out of New Delhi’s orbit and gravitated towards Beijing’s lure of economic assistance. Besides, strategic analysts say there is a sense of predictability in China’s policies that is missing in New Delhi’s capricious formulations. Pakistan continues to be kept at arm’s length although the recent disclosure that the national security advisers of India and Pakistan met secretly in Thailand end-December offers a ray of hope that talks would restart soon. What is significant is that the meeting was held soon after Indian death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is accused of being a spy, was allowed to meet his family in Islamabad. Characteristically, however, muscle flexing by army chief Bipin Rawat has once again thrown a spanner in the works. Reinforcing his Rambo-like image the general announced at a press briefing that his force was ready to call out “Pakistan’s nuclear bluff” and was even prepared to cross the border if necessary.
Nor has it been able to respond to the events in Myanmar with any decisiveness. Once again ideology has trumped national interest because Modi’s highly personalised way of conducting diplomacy is devoid of a strategic framework upon which to build policy. The irony is that the BJP had promised to elevate foreign policy to a new plane — muscular, realistic and pragmatic — from what was dismissively referred to as the idealistic, elitist path set by Nehru and followed by his successors. A book, too, was rushed into print just two years into the BJP’s government’s tenure, grandiosely titled The Modi Doctrine: New Paradigms in India’s Foreign Policy.
Much of this doctrine is being conducted as a soap opera because the prime minister appears to think that state visits and hug fests are what constitute foreign policy. This is most apparent in the excessive bonhomie that marked the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who made a quick return visit to India —Modi had become the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel in July 2017 — for a five-day extravaganza. The relationship with Israel is politically and ideologically dear to the BJP regime because of the empathy between Hindutva (Hindu supremacist ideology) and Zionism in their commonly shared Islamophobia.
Hindu fundamentalist leaders have been great champions of the creation of Israel and the man whose philosophy guides the BJP, M.S. Golwalkar of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, was an unabashed admirer of Jewish nationalism although, ironically, he also extolled the horrific ethnic cleansing unleashed by Nazi Germany in which six million Jews were killed. That is something Israeli leaders draw a veil over as they pursue arms deals with India.
Fortunately, the Modi’s romance with the Israeli leader did not lead to any change in India’s stand on the Palestinian question. Although it caused dismay in the BJP circles that favour all-out support for Israel, India voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Given the BJP’s affinity with Israel there was serious concern meant India might have abstained from the vote. India’s opting to maintain its traditional support for the Palestinian cause has incensed some analysts who believe the problem lies with the refusal of the Indian Foreign Service to take the Modi line forward and have called for an overhaul of the system.
Personal diplomacy devoid of a strategic foreign policy with clear objectives is unlikely to bring any benefits to India or raise its international profile although it would certainly increase the prime minister’s list of friends. A hug, however warm, is no substitute for the realpolitik of international diplomacy.
The writer is a journalist based in New Delhi.

@jbgt90 @Joe Shearer @Nilgiri what do you think ? Is it honest assessment ?
 

Joe Shearer

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1385837
I DID not follow protocol. I am a simple man with no baggage. I made friends the world over ... Thus spoke India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, master of the diplomatic hug fest, in a recent TV interview where he expatiated on what constitutes India’s foreign policy, or at least his understanding of it.
“Every time I stand beside world leaders such as Vladimir Putin or Donald Trump, all I remember is that I am the representative of 1.15 crore citizens. They have given me the mandate to be there. Before 2014, the world didn’t care about what India had to say. But after we came to power in 2014, the situation changed completely. For the first time in 30 years, India has a government with a full majority. This was noticed by the entire world. I witnessed it during the Saarc and G-20 meet. They accept us as a leader now.”
Was that disingenuous or political hubris? With most of the neighbouring states even more hostile to India than they have traditionally been, India’s leadership even in its limited area of influence is under challenge. India’s domineering attitude and interference in their internal affairs, most markedly in the case of Nepal, has pushed them into China’s arms, leaving Modi’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy in tatters. Maldives is the latest to thumb its nose at Delhi by signing a comprehensive free trade agreement with Beijing. Saarc has not met after the 2016 summit was torpedoed in the wake of the terrorist attack on Uri.
Without a strategic framework foreign policy has floundered because of Modi’s personalised diplomacy.​
The neighbourhood was meant to be the centrepiece of the so-called Modi doctrine and initially it did appear that the BJP would be able to assuage the wounds inflicted by previous Congress governments. That hope was short-lived as the Hindu supremacist party began pushing its ideological agenda in the region.
Nepal is the star failure for Modi who had gone to the Himalayan state bearing costly gifts of sandalwood and ghee in 2014. But a series of follies on the part of Delhi has left Kathmandu bristling — Delhi’s opposition to its new secular constitution is unlikely to be forgotten soon — while the election of a new communist coalition led by former prime ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal and K.P. Sharma Oli is expected to push the country into a warmer embrace with China. There are signs of this already with a special Chinese New Year event organised by the Chinese embassy ushering in the new spring of ties between the countries. It would seem that Nepal already views China as a more viable alternative to India in its foreign policy.
Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka have also moved out of New Delhi’s orbit and gravitated towards Beijing’s lure of economic assistance. Besides, strategic analysts say there is a sense of predictability in China’s policies that is missing in New Delhi’s capricious formulations. Pakistan continues to be kept at arm’s length although the recent disclosure that the national security advisers of India and Pakistan met secretly in Thailand end-December offers a ray of hope that talks would restart soon. What is significant is that the meeting was held soon after Indian death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is accused of being a spy, was allowed to meet his family in Islamabad. Characteristically, however, muscle flexing by army chief Bipin Rawat has once again thrown a spanner in the works. Reinforcing his Rambo-like image the general announced at a press briefing that his force was ready to call out “Pakistan’s nuclear bluff” and was even prepared to cross the border if necessary.
Nor has it been able to respond to the events in Myanmar with any decisiveness. Once again ideology has trumped national interest because Modi’s highly personalised way of conducting diplomacy is devoid of a strategic framework upon which to build policy. The irony is that the BJP had promised to elevate foreign policy to a new plane — muscular, realistic and pragmatic — from what was dismissively referred to as the idealistic, elitist path set by Nehru and followed by his successors. A book, too, was rushed into print just two years into the BJP’s government’s tenure, grandiosely titled The Modi Doctrine: New Paradigms in India’s Foreign Policy.
Much of this doctrine is being conducted as a soap opera because the prime minister appears to think that state visits and hug fests are what constitute foreign policy. This is most apparent in the excessive bonhomie that marked the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who made a quick return visit to India —Modi had become the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel in July 2017 — for a five-day extravaganza. The relationship with Israel is politically and ideologically dear to the BJP regime because of the empathy between Hindutva (Hindu supremacist ideology) and Zionism in their commonly shared Islamophobia.
Hindu fundamentalist leaders have been great champions of the creation of Israel and the man whose philosophy guides the BJP, M.S. Golwalkar of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, was an unabashed admirer of Jewish nationalism although, ironically, he also extolled the horrific ethnic cleansing unleashed by Nazi Germany in which six million Jews were killed. That is something Israeli leaders draw a veil over as they pursue arms deals with India.
Fortunately, the Modi’s romance with the Israeli leader did not lead to any change in India’s stand on the Palestinian question. Although it caused dismay in the BJP circles that favour all-out support for Israel, India voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Given the BJP’s affinity with Israel there was serious concern meant India might have abstained from the vote. India’s opting to maintain its traditional support for the Palestinian cause has incensed some analysts who believe the problem lies with the refusal of the Indian Foreign Service to take the Modi line forward and have called for an overhaul of the system.
Personal diplomacy devoid of a strategic foreign policy with clear objectives is unlikely to bring any benefits to India or raise its international profile although it would certainly increase the prime minister’s list of friends. A hug, however warm, is no substitute for the realpolitik of international diplomacy.
The writer is a journalist based in New Delhi.

@jbgt90 @Joe Shearer @Nilgiri what do you think ? Is it honest assessment ?
As far as my point of view goes, this current approach cannot do any good. The entire direction and scope of administration, not just the foreign policy, seems to be based on the need to achieve one startling surprise after another, to thrill and win over the mob.
 

Nilgiri

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1385837
I DID not follow protocol. I am a simple man with no baggage. I made friends the world over ... Thus spoke India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, master of the diplomatic hug fest, in a recent TV interview where he expatiated on what constitutes India’s foreign policy, or at least his understanding of it.
“Every time I stand beside world leaders such as Vladimir Putin or Donald Trump, all I remember is that I am the representative of 1.15 crore citizens. They have given me the mandate to be there. Before 2014, the world didn’t care about what India had to say. But after we came to power in 2014, the situation changed completely. For the first time in 30 years, India has a government with a full majority. This was noticed by the entire world. I witnessed it during the Saarc and G-20 meet. They accept us as a leader now.”
Was that disingenuous or political hubris? With most of the neighbouring states even more hostile to India than they have traditionally been, India’s leadership even in its limited area of influence is under challenge. India’s domineering attitude and interference in their internal affairs, most markedly in the case of Nepal, has pushed them into China’s arms, leaving Modi’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy in tatters. Maldives is the latest to thumb its nose at Delhi by signing a comprehensive free trade agreement with Beijing. Saarc has not met after the 2016 summit was torpedoed in the wake of the terrorist attack on Uri.
Without a strategic framework foreign policy has floundered because of Modi’s personalised diplomacy.​
The neighbourhood was meant to be the centrepiece of the so-called Modi doctrine and initially it did appear that the BJP would be able to assuage the wounds inflicted by previous Congress governments. That hope was short-lived as the Hindu supremacist party began pushing its ideological agenda in the region.
Nepal is the star failure for Modi who had gone to the Himalayan state bearing costly gifts of sandalwood and ghee in 2014. But a series of follies on the part of Delhi has left Kathmandu bristling — Delhi’s opposition to its new secular constitution is unlikely to be forgotten soon — while the election of a new communist coalition led by former prime ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal and K.P. Sharma Oli is expected to push the country into a warmer embrace with China. There are signs of this already with a special Chinese New Year event organised by the Chinese embassy ushering in the new spring of ties between the countries. It would seem that Nepal already views China as a more viable alternative to India in its foreign policy.
Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka have also moved out of New Delhi’s orbit and gravitated towards Beijing’s lure of economic assistance. Besides, strategic analysts say there is a sense of predictability in China’s policies that is missing in New Delhi’s capricious formulations. Pakistan continues to be kept at arm’s length although the recent disclosure that the national security advisers of India and Pakistan met secretly in Thailand end-December offers a ray of hope that talks would restart soon. What is significant is that the meeting was held soon after Indian death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is accused of being a spy, was allowed to meet his family in Islamabad. Characteristically, however, muscle flexing by army chief Bipin Rawat has once again thrown a spanner in the works. Reinforcing his Rambo-like image the general announced at a press briefing that his force was ready to call out “Pakistan’s nuclear bluff” and was even prepared to cross the border if necessary.
Nor has it been able to respond to the events in Myanmar with any decisiveness. Once again ideology has trumped national interest because Modi’s highly personalised way of conducting diplomacy is devoid of a strategic framework upon which to build policy. The irony is that the BJP had promised to elevate foreign policy to a new plane — muscular, realistic and pragmatic — from what was dismissively referred to as the idealistic, elitist path set by Nehru and followed by his successors. A book, too, was rushed into print just two years into the BJP’s government’s tenure, grandiosely titled The Modi Doctrine: New Paradigms in India’s Foreign Policy.
Much of this doctrine is being conducted as a soap opera because the prime minister appears to think that state visits and hug fests are what constitute foreign policy. This is most apparent in the excessive bonhomie that marked the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who made a quick return visit to India —Modi had become the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel in July 2017 — for a five-day extravaganza. The relationship with Israel is politically and ideologically dear to the BJP regime because of the empathy between Hindutva (Hindu supremacist ideology) and Zionism in their commonly shared Islamophobia.
Hindu fundamentalist leaders have been great champions of the creation of Israel and the man whose philosophy guides the BJP, M.S. Golwalkar of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, was an unabashed admirer of Jewish nationalism although, ironically, he also extolled the horrific ethnic cleansing unleashed by Nazi Germany in which six million Jews were killed. That is something Israeli leaders draw a veil over as they pursue arms deals with India.
Fortunately, the Modi’s romance with the Israeli leader did not lead to any change in India’s stand on the Palestinian question. Although it caused dismay in the BJP circles that favour all-out support for Israel, India voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution rejecting US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Given the BJP’s affinity with Israel there was serious concern meant India might have abstained from the vote. India’s opting to maintain its traditional support for the Palestinian cause has incensed some analysts who believe the problem lies with the refusal of the Indian Foreign Service to take the Modi line forward and have called for an overhaul of the system.
Personal diplomacy devoid of a strategic foreign policy with clear objectives is unlikely to bring any benefits to India or raise its international profile although it would certainly increase the prime minister’s list of friends. A hug, however warm, is no substitute for the realpolitik of international diplomacy.
The writer is a journalist based in New Delhi.

@jbgt90 @Joe Shearer @Nilgiri what do you think ? Is it honest assessment ?
Such articles are about 50% bluster (because they are discussing the subject of perceived bluster) themselves, laced with some facts to try anchor some credbility.

It boils down to do we have a clear hypothetical alternate history to observe what happens if Modi (or some other introduced variable to criticize/contrast) did not end up manifesting.... to compare the differences. Clearly we do not, hence the buffer on offer for MSM types.

After all if UPA style admin continued verbatim, there would be plenty of articles of similar manner criticizing how it has messed up things internationally and domestically. The latter (domestic esp economy) we at least have some numbers we can monitor and compare (though again it has to be done outside MSM cherrypicked analysis a lot of the time for consistency sake). The former (foreign policy etc) is really nearly full subjective based in the perspective of the MSM articles....and its just rinsed and repeated to provide the page fillers on demand.

This is world wide phenomenon to large degree, mostly I skip over now except to check on a few markers here and there to see if anythings changed in the MSM. There are far better grounded, consistent and objective analysts out there to spend my scarce time on.

As for is it an honest assessment? That again depends. It could very well be honest in subjective sense (as far as the author and his cabal perceives etc)....but I would not say its honest in objective sense....but thats not really any individual's fault, rather it is simply how the system (including media) has evolved to cater to both the average elite and average layman at lowest common denominator possible.

As far as my point of view goes, this current approach cannot do any good. The entire direction and scope of administration, not just the foreign policy, seems to be based on the need to achieve one startling surprise after another, to thrill and win over the mob.
There are mobs for all sides and purposes. The very independence movement of India is basically mob based....as was the surrendering of political powers to foreign entities that preceded it over the centuries. You think any side is clean here when it comes to mobs?....or that such is India-specific? You need all manner of mobs to actually achieve things rather than have high philosophical mind wars that essentially evaporate instantly afterwards from the isolated grottos they happen in. Like it or not, thats how human society is.

It is more sanguine to realise that and discuss on the mob-formation and rallying details as far as perceived long term ideals go. We have to work with what we have than what we would like to have.
 

Joe Shearer

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Such articles are about 50% bluster (because they are discussing the subject of perceived bluster) themselves, laced with some facts to try anchor some credbility.

It boils down to do we have a clear hypothetical alternate history to observe what happens if Modi (or some other introduced variable to criticize/contrast) did not end up manifesting.... to compare the differences. Clearly we do not, hence the buffer on offer for MSM types.

After all if UPA style admin continued verbatim, there would be plenty of articles of similar manner criticizing how it has messed up things internationally and domestically. The latter (domestic esp economy) we at least have some numbers we can monitor and compare (though again it has to be done outside MSM cherrypicked analysis a lot of the time for consistency sake). The former (foreign policy etc) is really nearly full subjective based in the perspective of the MSM articles....and its just rinsed and repeated to provide the page fillers on demand.

This is world wide phenomenon to large degree, mostly I skip over now except to check on a few markers here and there to see if anythings changed in the MSM. There are far better grounded, consistent and objective analysts out there to spend my scarce time on.

As for is it an honest assessment? That again depends. It could very well be honest in subjective sense (as far as the author and his cabal perceives etc)....but I would not say its honest in objective sense....but thats not really any individual's fault, rather it is simply how the system (including media) has evolved to cater to both the average elite and average layman at lowest common denominator possible.

There are mobs for all sides and purposes. The very independence movement of India is basically mob based....as was the surrendering of political powers to foreign entities that preceded it over the centuries. You think any side is clean here when it comes to mobs?....or that such is India-specific?
And so? Where did I happen to state that mobs are exclusive to Modi's kind of strident, mindless politics?

You need all manner of mobs to actually achieve things rather than have high philosophical mind wars that essentially evaporate instantly afterwards from the isolated grottos they happen in. Like it or not, thats how human society is.
Really, @Nilgiri, I am surprised at a sophisticate like you making a mistake of such disastrous proportions.

Mobs are manipulated masses of human beings. They are manipulated. They are tools. Your point obviously is that without tools, there can be neither a destructive nor a constructive urge. How totally monocular we have become. There are many other tools in politics; mobs are merely the most visible and menacing.

Would you like me to detail this further? I would be happy to.

It is more sanguine to realise that and discuss on the mob-formation and rallying details as far as perceived long term ideals go. We have to work with what we have than what we would like to have.
We do not have to destroy what we have in order to get what we would rather have.
 

I.R.A

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The damage has been done, it is not necessary that results should become immediately visible. The outsiders specially the ones who got neglected, defamed and obstructed at each front are in a better position to evaluate this. The thing with the mobs is you can start, aggravate it while you hold the position to do so, the position where you give the channel to voice the mob suppressed mentality ..... but once it gets going there are no guarantees whether you would be able to call it back and put it off ....... you will succumb to its demands and mentality and by the time you get back the control considerable damage would have happened. Long live the cows of India and many more tenures of hugs for India ........... Jadoo ki jhappi looked good sentimental South Asian thing in Munna bai MBBS only.
 

Nilgiri

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Mobs are manipulated masses of human beings.
Well you didn't define that originally (there is a much broader definition).... and again applying to only one side of the equation is a subjective exercise....after all who is to define who is manipulated and who isn't...and then to what degrees are we talking about?

We do not have to destroy what we have in order to get what we would rather have.
Again what exactly is being "destroyed" here? ...and is something being destroyed always a bad thing? We supposedly wanted independence, thus we should have just negotiated with the British for another 100+ years right...instead of destroying their colonial rule here as soon as we could? Just taking the example of congress greatest moment here for argument sake.

Make your case to people and let them have the verdict. Or don't trust them and oppress them in line with some reference of yours... and accept the brittle consequences and even more violent cycles. Calling selective laypeople as mobs in some pejorative way is just like that guy who just called pakoda sellers as beggars...its simply a frustrated desire to bypass and simplify human society itself to some subjective idealist vision....no matter the polarisation and identity politics that are needed (and that goes for the bhakt side equally). Sorry doesn't work like that (as sustainable policy for society). Bhakts just label you guys as "sickular", anti-national mobs...who is the judge+ jury on it? It has to be the people themselves (objectively, since all other subsets are subjectively defined).

If things aren't going your way on the issue, its best to up your game in convincing minds out there....not throwing hands up in air and saying "its just mobs being mobs"...forgetting mobs help everyone rise and fall ever since the dawn of higher human consciousness. Odysseus could have blamed his misfortunes on all kinds of things and got stuck in a rut and withered away and the great sojourns and moral lessons would have never come to pass, but he didn't did he? If you have purpose to prove, then prove it....rather than lamenting about others proving theirs in one small infinitesimal drop of time. This great land that is India ultimately will chart its destiny in time and space whatever happens....several millennia bear testament to it.
 

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