December 24, 2008


After Barack Obama's election victory in early November, I wrote an essay for India Currents based on some reactions I had seen in India. (Some of the ideas there were part of this post).

India Currents has just published the essay, Better for India.

Comments welcome.


Anonymous said...

"..Is that best accomplished by a nuclear deal? *Or* by bringing peace and justice to Indian lives as a number one priority?.."

Many years have I been reading you, Dilip, and thanks for crediting that, but I have yet to decipher how you come up with the


above. and this when I am nearly as ambivalent on the N-deal as you seem to be.

I'll give it another 5 yrs or so and maybe I will get it. Anyways happy holidays :-)

zap said...


I couldn't make the connection between the nuclear deal and peace & justice for indian lives. Its completely out of context.


Samir said...

I am not sure whether you're saying that Obama will be good for India, or whether you're not sure either ways. Would be great if you could be more explicit on that.

The arguments in the essay don't seem to be clearly pro-Obama... they just seem to be anti-Republican, which is a bit unfair.

After all, while Bill Clinton has made a lot of trips to India, the Bush 43 administration invested a lot of "political capital" -- for better or for worse -- to work closely with India and you can't take that away from them. Friends are those folks who work for you, and Bush+Rice did their fair share of the heavy lifting.

Dilip D'Souza said...

On re-reading this now, I see the lack of clarity in what I wrote, and what seems like a tenuous connection.

Let me try to explain briefly. The nuke deal, in much of the press, was made out as almost unquestionably good for India. Yet I don't remember it being explained thoroughly to us, to persuade us that it was good rather than bad. Which is why I can't make up my mind about it.

But what I do think is certainly good for India is, as zap says, "peace and justice for Indian lives." What's going to deliver that for us, and why don't we talk about that?

Maybe it's about priorities.

Samir: I can't say whether Obama will be good for India. I'm saying, the argument that Republicans are, by definition, better for India economically than Dems is an unpersuasive one. Case in point: Bush. In what sense has his administration been better for India economically? Case in point: Reagan. Were we in India better off after 8 years of Reagan (1988) than we were after 4 years of Carter (1980)?

Maybe you're right, Bush and Rice did their share. But where's the evidence that this is a better place after 8 years of Bush? When I ask this question, I usually have the nuke deal thrown at me ... and we're back to square one, because I'm unable to decide whether that's a good thing for India.

Dilip D'Souza said...

And related to the last comment: arguably our lowest point economically came close to the end of 12 years of Republican rule in the US. 1991, the moment I'm talking about.

Rahul Siddharthan said...

If the global economy, and particularly the US economy, does well, India does well.

Clinton, perhaps more by luck than judgement, presided over an economic boom (which was perhaps more a bubble than a boom). India did well. Bush has presided over a meltdown, some of which was the fault of laws passed in Clinton's time, but a large part of the blame goes to Bush-administration laws and the Republican ideology of minimal regulation and markets knowing best. The meltdown is hitting India too.

It's all economics ultimately. It is not clear to me, either, in whose interest the nuclear deal is. We do need clean energy but is nuclear energy the best option today? Even if it is the best option in principle, is it wise to make ourselves so dependent on the nuclear suppliers? Anyway, the Bush admin pushed the deal through because of economics (they want to sell to India) and not because of ideology. Money rules.

Anonymous said...

peace and justice for Indian lives

I think we need more clarity here. What do these words mean? Do they mean that the government should tolerate violence and not punish the perpetrators of crimes? Do they mean that we should tolerate NGOs that bribe witnesses to fabricate stories? Do they mean that we should tolerate theocracies and not take a strong stance against those who want to set up theocracies (like in Kashmir for example)? Do they mean that we believe in conspiracy theories just because these conspiracy theories brand our Hindu brothers and sisters as evil?

Anonymous said...

Obviously Dilip has the gift of the 'gab'.....