Sunday, June 19, 2005

Mandela 'N The Hood

Jailed Burmese Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kui turns sixty today.

This Asian Mandela, schooled in Delhi, rots in India's backyard and seemingly no one cares. These days, we're more interested in pipelines, even if via anarchic Bangladesh & tyrannical Burma, than in evangelizing -- & where necessary, enforcing -- the Indian values of pluralism & freedom.

Our friends tell us that Indian values will spread on the wings of cross-border commerce & the consequent mutual prosperity. To us, a prosperity built on the chains of our neighborhood people is morally bankrupt.

Afterall, when apartheid South Africa had Nelson Mandela in chains, did India -- & the world -- clamor for cross-border trade with Pretoria, or did we isolate that evil regime? Was it not global scorn & isolation that prompted the release of Nelson Mandela? Was India's firm stance there not a shining moment for our diplomacy?

Regrettably, in modern India, we've swung much too far from morality to pragmatism. This is a tragedy.

We really need to find ways for reconciling our necessary pragmatism with our defining morality. We will likely never fully succeed in this, but if we don't even try, lest we upset, for example, our energy suppliers, we might as well run our internal combustion engines on the blood of their victims. Conversely, if we are at all successful, we would blaze a new trail with a worthy idea for fellow democracies to emulate.


Laks said...

Primary Red:

Why isolate India?
From CIA factbook:
Exports - partners:
Thailand 37%, India 14%, China 6.2%, Japan 5.1%, UK 4% (2004)

Imports - partners:
China 28.3%, Singapore 20.6%, Thailand 19.1%, South Korea 6.2%, Malaysia 4.7%

Primary Red said...

For leadership reasons.

Best regards.

Gameboys said...

It's ironic that you consider yourself to be on the 'right' and decry India putting pragmatic considerations ahead of moral ones. Surely, finally, India is doing what serves its own interest better! India should do exactly what the 'developed' nations do - preach freedom and democracy and protect interests with an iron hand, even if it mean propping up tinpot dictators (a la Pinochet, Musharraf et al).

Nanda Kishore

Primary Red said...

Well, we've called ourselves neo-conservative (see: This means, at some level, we are idealists for freedom & equality.

Obviously, idealism needs to be balanced with pragmatism. We just think, in this case, the pendulum has swung way too much on the side pf pragmatism.

Best regards.

Laks said...

How about the neo-cons asking Bush and his petro-buddies to sell-off Chevron-Texaco's Burmest assets. He won't coz, if they sell these oil fields, it would be immediately acquired by Chinese oil firms. Similar case with France's Total oil co and billions worth of Burmese teak which adorn European homes.

In India's case, we are not even talking about big investments so far. If we stay out as you want, it will be repeat of the oh-so idealistc Nehruvian years providing 'Third World Leadership'.

doubtinggaurav said...

No offense intended, but I think this whole business of neo conservativism is just lots of day dreaming.
India is not US and ideals are the last thing we can afford.
We supported suu kyi in past, the result is Mayanmar is an extension of chinese strategy.
Infact, I appreciate Indian emergence from this Nehruvian la- la land


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