|Barack Obama with Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha|
Poor Indian English language TV news channels. They have been mesmerised with the US presidential election and the victory of Democrat candidate Barack Hussein Obama for a second time. Of course, none of them understands the complexities of the election verdict. First and the most important aspect seems to be the changed demographic profile where the minority groups -- the Latinos, the African-Americans and those from India -- have voted overwhelmingly for Obama while the old white majority, including the out-of-job poor white workers, have voted for Republican Mitt Romney. Of course, the whites still remain the majority and it is not that they did not vote at all for Obama. They still consitute 72 per cent of the electorate. But with the Latinos, who now constitute 10 per cent of the population, voting for Obama the balance tilted in favour of Obama. The middle class white majority also voted for Obama. The businesses in the eastern and western seaboards did not trust Romney either. Romney preached the slightly-outdated American/Victorian virtue of self-reliance at a time when the economy is in the dumps. Perhaps Romney would have made sense in better times. Obama does not have a definite plan to create jobs, to revive the economy. His measures seem to help more the businesses that do not deserve any help because they caused the recession and they are not willing to face global competition. This is America and Americans looking for the comforts of the nanny state. The English-speaking journalists in India are the vocal market morons and they think subsidies are all wrong -- the Romney message. But they are blindly celebrating the Obama victory. The conservative English-speaking Indians want to be seen as liberals not knowing that being a liberal also means, in the American sense, being sensitive to the poor and the ethnic and religious minorities. The Hindu middle class majority is absolutely right-wing. So what are they celebrating? They do not know what they are celebrating! That is why, so many of them are so ecstatic about Obama's victory acceptance speech which was nothing but hot air and he has no clue as to what he is going to do to deal with the failing economy coming back to life so slowly.
|Hu Jintao with Jiang Zemin|
But it was outgoing Chinese president and communist party general secretary Hu Jintao's speech at the party congress on November 8 that should have got greater attention in the English-language Indian media and among the English-speaking Indian middle class. But the Indian middle class is America-struck. So they cannot see China and they are dumb enough not to understand the importance of China and the real grit and heroism underlying Hu Jintao's speech. The Financial Times and the others in the Western media are going hammer and tongs against his realistic and conservative stance and view of the conditions in China.
Hu rightly emphasised that China cannot afford to adopt the Western political democratic systems. It needs wisdom to understand why he is saying so. China cannot afford chaos, instability of a vibrant democracy. There are many who argue that it is unfair to the Chinese people to say that they cannot manage democracy or that they are not fit for democracy. But it is the harsh truth that it will be difficult for a country like China with stupendous economic and social challenges to open themselves up to the winds of political liberalism. It would come at a great price. The history of democracy in the United States, Britain and France in the 19th and 20th centuries is enough to show the many problems along the way and the many distortions of the democratic polity that had to be overcome over a long period of time.
That is why Hu said that China cannot follow the Western political system but favoured political reform: The reform of the political structure is an important part of China's overall reform. We must continue to make both active and prudent efforts to carry out the reform of the political structure, and make people's democracy more extensive, fuller in scope and sounder in practice.
Hu reiterated the theme of the party congress to hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, follow the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development, free up the mind, implement the policy of reform and opening up, pool our strength, overcome all difficulties, firmly march on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and strive to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
The bureaucratic formulation is sure to evoke nothing but derision in the Western media and among the Indian liberals but that dead pan formulation contains the harsh Chinese economic and social reality. The most important phrase in that formulation is the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
It is unlikely to appeal to the undisciplined Indian mindset but that is the only solution in a populous country. There is not much scope for rivers of milk and honey when there are so many mouths to be fed, when there is need to create work for more than a billion people, homes and schools and hospitals, water and drainage, villages and towns and cities for more than a billion. China is different in terms of history and culture and it has to find its own solutions. This is the view of not just dictatorial Chinese communist party leaders but it is also the sentiment of the majority of the Chinese except those in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, and other big cities.
We are told in People's Daily, the Chinese communist party newspaper, that Scientific Outlook on Development was formulated in 2003 at the central committee meeting of Communist Party of China (CPC) in the face of "excessive consumption patterns, environmental pollution and the issue of resources. That is why, Hu reiterates Together with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development is the theoretical guidance the Party must adhere to for a long time.
Hu is aware of the magnitude of the challenges that China and its people face. Obama is in a different situation, where the population is small compared to the size of the country and its natural resources. Obama can afford to sound sanguine and no one can fault him for that. But it is Hu who makes and should make more sense to India and Indians, including the stupid middle classes.