Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama euphoria must end, time for reality check


In India we have this strange situation. The people who admired right-wing George W Bush shamelessly are now the admirers of liberal (which in the United States is as bad as being a leftist and communist) Barack Obama. The answer that the unofficial American lobbyists -- some of them are not any more unofficial -- in India would give is that it is necessary to praise the president of the US and it does not matter what the White House resident's political persuasion and inclination might be because that is where the Indian national interest lies. The stupid class which admires everything American will have its pride of place in or social and political set up, and they will continue to play a disproportionately influential role to the actual IQ that they possess.
There is however a need to pull off the blinkers and look at Obama presidency with clear eyes, and to judge him not only by what he does for India but by what he does for Americans.
The decision he took to close down the Guantanamo prison is certainly a good decision in line with Obama's political liberalism, but it should not make us less critical of America's dealings with those who have been captured in Afghanistan during the war there in November-December, 2001.
Those suspected terrorists should have been tried by a UN tribunal or by the International Court of Justice. And the acccused should have been tried according international law and not by American law. Americans have no business in arresting people in other countries whom they consider inimical, and whisk them away to American prisons. That is merely the rule of the powerful. There is nothing legal or democratic about it.
If then Obama has closed down Guantanamo, he is only making amends. Neither he nor his admirers can crow about it. He has also suspended the prosecution of cases against them because he must have been briefed that many of them are innocent of an attack on the US though they all belong to extremist Islamist organisations. These extremists are not very different from the Ku Klux Klan gangsters.
We should also remind ourselves that civil liberties organisations in the US have fought the case of the suspected terrorists. The US courts after much delay took the right decision when they ruled that the prisoners at Guantanamo do come under the purview of law.
Obama's credentials of a political liberal are yet to be tested.
His gesture towards Pakistan are not yet firm. He cannot be blamed if he chooses to handle Pakistan army and politicians with kid-gloves because that is where US national interests lie.
He is yet to do something definite on the economic front which is not going to be easy.

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