Writing any kind of political blog, especially one about foreign policy, attracts PR firms to send you offers to conduct interviews or receive press releases on a variety of topics (sometimes you wonder if they even bother to read your blog). Even though I make no money from writing Losantiville, I see no reason to share my readership with some politician or pundit for free.
The reason for my rant is about a week ago I got a press release about Secretary State Kerry's Vision 2020 for India. It was a professional press release full of all of the superlatives requisite for such a grand vision of partnering with a developing economic power. I also thought it was perfectly ridiculous. Kerry has never been to India as Secretary of State. Neither had Hillary. Kerry has been so tied up with Iraq, Ukraine, Israel, Egypt, Iran and Russia that I doubt he even remembers India.
Then I was perusing my news feed and came across an article from the Washington Post. India elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a landslide victory back in May. Here is where the story gets interesting. The U.S. government had denied Modi a visitor’s visa for almost 10 years because of his inability to stop deadly religious rioting in 2002 when he governed Gujarat state. An independent Indian panel concluded there was no evidence to charge him with a crime.
Ah but now Modi is the Prime Minister of the world's 10th largest economy (according to IMF figures for 2013), with 2nd largest population. India also has nuclear weapons and does not get along with our "ally" Pakistan. The US has completed ignored South Korea and Japan after announcing the "Pivot towards Asia" and left on their own, the two countries have found other things to occupy their attention. South Korea has to worry about Kim Jong Un to the north. Japan can't seem to make up their minds if they want to pick a fight with China or Russia over territory.
No wonder the US has to make nice with India. But in typical fashion, the US is ready to jump on-board with another leader before they even understand what his government will be all about. India is still sore after the arrest of an Indian diplomat last year. India, like China, really does not have copyright laws so there is little appreciation for the US concern about protecting intellectual property rights.
Kerry has to dump everything that's been on his mind about the Middle East, including being lambasted by the Israeli press, and now try to lay the ground work for Modi's visit to Washington in September. Kerry had this gem of a quote, "the moment has never been more ripe to deliver on the incredible possibilities of the relationship between our nations" (Washington Post). A newly elected Prime Minister, that the US denied a visitor's visa for over 10 years, and the time have never been more ripe? What a doof.
The foreign policy track record for Kerry and Team Obama in the last 8 months has been unimpressive. India and Modi will not be so easily swayed, especially now that they are part of BRICS. I wonder if I will get a press release about that?