Can anyone in the National Security community please explain to knowledgeable Americans, why Modi's India, is a trustworthy ally?
Also, there is no difference between MAGA's Christian Nationalism and the BJP's Hindutva. Both are cruel, oligarchical, oppression, under the color of religion.
Happiest of Thursdays TAT readers,
Well, yesterday’s arrival of a grandnephew was a family treasure. A beautiful and healthy baby boy or girl are priceless gifts. Now our grandniece has a brother to annoy as they grow older. My daughters, both older than my son often “tortured” the baby of the family, much like most families. Thanks to all for your patience due to his birth.
For today, I’d like to add some perspective to the trust that the US government, is seemingly putting into our strategic relationship with Modi’s India. In fact, I professionally believe that this alleged, “faith” requires more scrutiny. Although I have other posts on India itself, today my approach will be to explain why the US must exercise more caution in dealing with Modi’s and his MAGA-like BJP India. Modi is hard to trust for anyone who scratches the surface of what he’s doing to India’s once proud democracy.
If this sounds familiar… yup, it’s MAGA all over again and like MAGA’s Christian Nationalism, India’s BJP led Hindutva, is religious-based terrorism. This time, instead of false Christianity, Modi wields aberrant Hinduism as a weapon of violence, oppression and with the express purpose of creating an authoritarian theocracy.
“Soon after the violence began, on 5 January, Aamir was standing outside a residence hall in Jawaharlal Nehru University in south Delhi. Aamir, a PhD student, is Muslim, and he asked to be identified only by his first name. He had come to return a book to a classmate when he saw 50 or 60 people approaching the building. They carried metal rods, cricket bats and rocks. One swung a sledgehammer. They were yelling slogans: “Shoot the traitors to the nation!” was a common one. Later, Aamir learned that they had spent the previous half-hour assaulting a gathering of teachers and students down the road. Their faces were masked, but some were still recognisable as members of a Hindu nationalist student group that has become increasingly powerful over the past few years.” -How Hindu supremacists are tearing India apart -Samanth Subramanian -The Guardian -20 February 2020
The comparisons of the US MAGA movement and Hindutva are striking, impossible to ignore and leap from the page, like knives at the throat of democracy. India is at a stage in their democracy approximately where we were, just prior to the Civil War where religious ideology pitted Americans against each other. Most US families have rifts due to the MAGA crowd being under the spell of professional influencers who employ what Russia and the Soviets before them called Active Measures and its subset, reflexive control.
In other words, now that FOX and similar media has “conditioned” GOP audiences, they can largely and predictably control their behavior with relative predictability. They do this easily with a few colors, three-word chants, false, un-American narratives that support fake patriotism and Christian Nationalism. Since our national security community refuses to learn from this ongoing assault on US audiences and take responsible actions, based on innovation and experienced operations, we were and will remain acutely vulnerable to foreign and domestic influencers.
In the US case, it is a combination of both. After all, it is my professional opinion that Russian and GOP oligarchs funding the combined influence operations of both Russian and US operatives, swayed the US 2016 election and the activities of the GOP, to this day.
It was important to describe the US experience above, in order for readers to understand why, India under Modi is a calculated risk for dependable US partnership. I am NOT saying that this effort has no merit, but I am most certainly saying that Modi’s actions offer no reason for full, unverified trust. A lot is riding on the global future with this partnership and before having a “Vegas wedding” of sorts due to Chinese aggression, just maybe we should seek some thoughtful marriage counseling. An important point regarding US national security is that more than any other nation, Putin’s war is subsidized by Indian and Chinese dependence on weapons and fossil fuels from Putin’s Russia.
I have long been a fan and a supporter of India’s democracy, that has sporadically shown great promise. Modi’s version of India betrays all the promise that came before. Modi is shaping India with the same oppressive theocratic government that Trump and MAGA tried here, Bibi is trying in Israel and all with ties to Russian and Chinese authoritarianism. As I have declared in earlier TAT articles, having two of the world’s biggest economies on the Eurasian continent and 5 + 1, near nuclear armed states all collaborating to finance and supply Putin’s genocidal invasion of Ukraine, is fraught with risk. In fact, it simply defies logic.
Yes, it is true that India could be a powerful ally to corral Chinese aggression but at what cost? While there are several cooperative defense programs with India and a significant business collaboration with BJP India, when it was, “crunch time,” Modi failed his most basic test, to shut down or wean India from Russian fossil fuels. Yes, this would be difficult because despite all of Modi’s crowing about India economic success, a great deal of it is the same set of, “smoke and mirrors” as Greg Abbott’s crowing here in Texas. The truth comes in the form of economic data and expert analysis.
India’s heavy repression of journalists, violence against all, non-radical Hindus and every other minority, subjugation of lower castes, embrace of an oligarchical economy and a deteriorating national infrastructure, are just a few of India’s massive potential risks. Add to this a massive trade deficit with China and dependence on Russia for fuel and to collaborate on price-fixing grain stuffs and you can easily see the concerns.
Certainly, there is little love lost between China and India historically, but as my father would have said, “politics make strange bedfellows.” Modi acts solely on his personal interests, much the same as Trump. Both sold out their nations to Russia and both have no bottom to what they are capable of against honest global citizens, simply trying to sustain their families. Don’t even get me started on the damage to the environment embraced by all Modi, Xi and Putin, now the junior player among the three.
When President Biden said that we are engaged in a fight for the “soul of our nation” it seems incongruent to publicly praise someone more Trumpy than Trump and his horde of MAGA followers. We simply cannot afford to embrace our lofty national principles at home and enable them abroad. This is not the Cold War where we had to make a lot of, “deals with devils.” We have the tools, friends and values that the world still appreciates, if we can continue to demonstrate them at home and abroad.
A “trust but verify” relationship with Modi will not only reinforce for Americans what we stand for but will give hope to the hundreds of millions of besieged Indians being abused by Modi’s hordes called the BJP. At a very early age, I learned the hard way that people, nations, movements, groups etc., are what they do, not what they say.” Trump and his MAGA dominated GOP and activist SCOTUS should be a lesson for the world. If we do not at least state publicly, our disappointment with partner nations, our actions abroad will not be in keeping with America’s enduring and prestigious principles.
Finally, the world can ill afford the first and third largest economies to partner without comment, over the failures of nations to embrace human rights, fair and equitable government and commitments to solving the globe’s biggest threats, like climate, hunger, equitable commerce, brutal theocracies etc. I encourage everyone, right, left or otherwise to demand their elected officials maintain our commitment to our principles. We are making responsible strides in our recovery from the era of the of the former administration. I encourage everyone to stay on the path of our true values, not the false narrative of the MAGA folks. If we do, the politics will sort themselves out.
My best to all,