Geopolitical Notes From India
M D Nalapat
THE Democratic Party establishment in the US worked unitedly to ensure that the nomination for the 2016 Presidential election went to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is the Czarina of the Washington Beltway in much the same way as Sonia Gandhi has been of the Lutyens Zone. Both Hillary and Sonia have spent decades cultivating officials and politicians in their respective national capitals, for example ensuring that “deserving” (through the accident of DNA) children of key officials got scholarships to study in prestigious US universities or well-padded sinecures were provided on retirement to officials who refused to reflect even a second before obeying orders from either.
During her tenure as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton worked hard to try and finish off the political career of Narendra Modi, including by arranging of teams to visit Gujarat to try and discover human remains from the mass graves her supporters claimed were dotted across the state. Finally, after much searching, a pile of buried bones were discovered.and there was much excitement in the US embassy in Delhi as well as the State Department in Washington. However, on examination, these turned out to be the remains of buffalos rather than of human beings. Hillary Clinton and her friend Sonia Gandhi were disappointed, but refused to end their anti-Modi quest. Officials who obeyed the commands of Hillary and Sonia found themselves promoted and their (sometimes deliberate) errors ignored by higher authorities.
Although Barack Obama prevailed over the Clinton machine in the race for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination, he made up for it after the polls by making “his” administration a collection of Clinton associates, while Obama’s own loyalists such as David Axelrod were pushed aside in the administration of the country’s first African-American Head of State. Obama needed (or believed he did) the backing of the Clinton machine during the 2012 race, and for this he was willing to sacrifice his shot at establishing a legacy as deep as that of Lincoln, Roosevelt or even Lyndon Johnson, the under-appreciated architect of the Great Society and of the removal of several of the detestable “Jim Crow” restrictions that had been placed on the country’s vibrant African-American community in order to slow down their progress towards material equality with the white population.
Hillary Clinton was a much weaker candidate against Donald Trump than Bernie Sanders, who ought to have won the Democratic Party nomination but for the unrestrained efforts of the Clinton machine to defeat him, efforts that were partially detailed in emails leaked from (and most likely by) Democratic Party insiders. In order to divert attention from their own bag of tricks against the straightforward but politically naive Senator from Vermont, the Clinton machine set in motion the smokescreen of Russian involvement in the US Presidential election. Certainly Russia must have been involved, but so would a dozen other countries, each eager to ensure a favourable atmosphere for selected policies after the polls. Russophobia suits the Atlanticist-Orientalist lobby in the US and Europe, as it promotes the continuation of primacy of Atlanticist policies in a world where the Indo-Pacific has emerged as the geopolitical heartland.
The longer Washington delays in developing and implementing policies that are based on Indo-Pacific reality rather than Atlanticist-Orientalist romance, the worse it will be for US interests. Coming from the hard-nosed school of the business of property development, Donald Trump appreciates the need for such a policy change. However,judging by the questioning on June 13 of Attorney-General Jeff Sessions by a US Senate Committee, it is clear that the Atlanticists continue to control the US Senate. Interestingly, both Senator Marco Rubio and Senator John McCain tried to damage President Trump through skillful questioning designed to further the cause of those seeking to impeach Trump and thereby weaken the Republican Party before the next Presidential election in 2020.
Senator Rubio clearly hopes to be the Republican candidate in that race, and this would be facilitated were Trump to lose his job through impeachment, the way the Clinton machine seeks to do, including with assistance from the Bush and Romney factions of the Republican Party that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has ensured still carries enormous clout in the administration. Priebus is clearly a believer in quotas, as he is trying to fit in Romney, McCain and Bush loyalists into key slots at the expense of those who had backed Trump during the 2016 Republican primaries. However,unlike the 44rth President Barack Obama, the 45th US President does not seem willing to jettison his loyalists under pressure, despite an early stumble through the removal of National Security Advisor (NSA) Michael Flynn.
The salty-voiced general was a target of Hillary Clinton because of the knowledge that he would use some of his vast powers as NSA to get her prosecuted. In contrast, the new NSA, General H R McMaster, has never taken sides in any political battle, and indeed has several friends within the list of those who are Clinton supporters Whether Republican or Democrat, the manner of questioning of Attorney General Sessions by the Senators was as if the US and Russia were at war with each other. What the Senators did was to sacrifice US interests in order to promote those of certain European states such as France, Poland and Germany. These want Russia to remain isolated and subject to punitive sanctions from the NATO bloc that would make it inevitable that Moscow turn to Beijing for succour, as indeed has been the case. Such a move is not in the US interest, which would get boosted were Moscow and Washington to work closer together in the Middle East and elsewhere, as sought by Trump and Putin.
However, not if the US Senate can help it. That institution remains committed to continuing the Cold War between the USSR and the US more than a quarter century after the fall of that entity created the conditions for the emergence of the Indo-Pacific as the world’s premier zone of activity. Both the EU as well as China will be happy at the US Senate and at the Atlanticists, including increasingly within the Trump administration, for their refusal to follow the clear-visioned US President in adjusting to 21st century realities, which inter alia mandate close ties between Moscow and Washington
—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.