Saturday, November 13, 2010
"Going forward, no nation should assume that their path to prosperity is simply paved with exports to America."
That's something the rest of the world already knows. Particularly India & China, which view their own populations as the greatest potential markets for their own goods.
We shouldn't judge the President too harshly for his failure to turn this overseas trip into a series of smiling photo ops & announcements of trade agreements. The multi nation summits were scheduled long ago, & he used them to add on State visits to India, Indonesia, & South Korea he no doubt now wishes he hadn't. Presidents usually arrange for some done deals in advance of their trips, requiring only their ritual public signatures when they arrive.
The emerging global economic order is not something America has the power to prevent. We could've channeled it more to our advantage, but that would've required consumer adjustments (sacrifices) we were not willing to make. The average American's view of India is not only outdated, but colored with caricature. I like Indians. Why not take advantage of our job out-sourcing & loose immigration & work visa policies? The educated, hard-working middle class Indians back there are just like the ones here, their number is growing. India is also an ancient culture (or cultures), which America is not. They are rooted in it, but it also holds some heavy baggage of caste, class, seemingly intractable poverty, & regional contention. Remarkable how much of it they've managed to lighten in sixty years. We must find a way to be friends & allies. We can help each other in so many ways, standing up to China, against Islamic fundamentalism, providing markets for our goods - if we manufacture goods they want & need. India will not be bullied by us. They never were. We weren't their colonial power (although we supported England), & they hovered in the Soviet Union sphere-of-influence as we favored Pakistan when Pakistan was an important piece of our USSR containment policy. They're not a Gandhian nation, yet they still honor Gandhi; something about the Mahatma has always appealed to Americans. We also went up against England when the odds were against us, & with far fewer grievances. Bur where we had the guns, Gandhi only had the numbers - & a longer view of history. We need to take a longer view now. Our current President has the capacity for that view - no potential Repug president does - & for planning & acting upon it, but we haven't the patience. Americans aren't noted for patience. We need a "new frontier," or something.