With a transfer of power in Sri Lanka, a complicated situation has become even more complex and the tension between geopolitics and human rights or justice is not a zero-sum game.
President Barack Obama made some progress on his agenda in his passage to India. But events in the Middle East and Washington demonstrated again how hamstrung his administration continues to be.
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Rather than committing India to cap its emissions, the U.S.-India deal called for "enhancing bilateral climate change cooperation" in advance of the United Nations effort to reach an international agreement on emissions and finance in Paris in December.
What about "shared values" that Obama and Modi have flaunted? They help in dealing with a shabby world but only up to a point. The pragmatist in Modi knows that since India is China's neighbor, it is imperative to calm a neighbor's angst -- and the angst of distant neighbors -- rather than to merely revel in the effusive cordiality of a country located beyond the seven seas. The basic instincts of the two ancient civilizations might yet astound the world.
Wobbly nationalistic middle classes are not to be underestimated as political forces. They tend to have a stronger sense of their own importance than lower social classes, which explains why the spectacular global growth in incomes of the bottom 50 percent seems to have so little direct political valence, however huge it is in terms of how well humanity lives. Middle classes in more authoritarian states like China might indeed make even stronger demands, as a class, than in democracies, since their ascendance under "state capitalism" could lead to greater expectations of the state. One can imagine income inequality becoming a genuinely strategic question.
However neatly wrapped, self-interest is the underlying theme of foreign policy. India will have to tread with extreme caution on this path of a joint strategic vision for the Asia-Pacific. The U.S. will only walk on this path up to a point. Australia and Japan have not exhibited consistency in their China policy.
With close to a billion adherents around the world, Hinduism is a major religion concentrated predominantly in the Indian subcontinent, and among individuals of Indian origin.
The thugs who cut down a dozen Charlie Hebdo are the international descendants of those who murder alleged blasphemers and apostates in Muslim nations.
Aside from the rich cultural heritage, there are priceless pearls of wisdom that continue to be passed down through the generations, even today. These heirlooms have grown to be an important part of our lives.
Pakistan needs to understand that it has to set its priorities right and shake off its paranoia about India. Our neighbor is no longer interested in annexing Pakistan. It has moved on to bigger things whereas we have just remained stuck. It is time to move on.
Both Obama and Narendra Modi (NaMo) have waxed eloquent on stronger economic ties and friendly cultural relations, but their statements on climate change need to go beyond platitudes and into action.
"Murder." "Rape." "Corruption." "Dying from poverty and hunger." Open an Indian newspaper these days, and these are the stories you are likely to find. Out of these stories, our collective consciousness is built, which affects what we believe and how and why we choose to act.
Having a policy and enforcing the policy are two totally different and separate things. After all, law without enforcement is no law at all.
Since the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Saudi Arabia has enjoyed the protection of the United States in exchange for providing the world with cheap oil. And the wider Middle East has enjoyed excessive U.S. strategic and military interest for the same reason.
Given the difficulty in achieving a breakthrough in any of the major problem areas, why is Obama going to India? What does he hope to achieve? I think the primary objective is to reinforce the strategic nature of the relationship by finding ways to enlarge the scope for joint action that are not dependent on what happens at the transactional end.