Left to his own devices, Joe Biden would have no hostility towards India. I mean, the man is a middle of the road, establishment Democrat from Delaware. He’s not the problem: the problem is his party. Rather, what his party has become.
Let us first establish what we mean by “friend” or “enemy” of India. We should neither expect nor are we entitled to any emotional connection in the common sense of the word. The US President puts the US first. India’s PM puts India first. That’s exactly how it should be. The only reason we can “expect” friendship from the US is because, at the moment, India and the United States share several geopolitical interests.
It does not take very much for a US President right now to be a friend of India. In fact, all that the US President has to do is put American interests first and it will automatically work in India’s favour. That’s why under ordinary circumstances, an establishment Democrat like Biden would have been a “friend” of India — easy peasy.
The only way that could make a US President hostile to India is if they have a specific agenda against us. Which will hurt the US as well. Biden has no such agenda, but his party does. In fact, if I was an American, I would worry whether the current Democrats are even friends of America. India comes much later.
A lot of people are tempted to compare the Democrats to the Indian National Congress. I don’t agree. The Congress is and continues to be, opportunistic. The Congress panders to the ‘secular’ community because they are the last remaining core voters of the Congress. The Congress makes, every now and then, feeble attempts to pander to Hindus.
The Democrats are worse. More dangerous, rather. They have an outright anti-American agenda. The party now runs on twin engines of Islamism and Communism. Folks like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are bigger fans of Stalin and Castro than Washington or Jefferson or Lincoln. They genuinely hate America and the American way of liberty. People like Rachida Tlaib or Ilhan Omar despise the United States and everything about it (except its prosperity, which they soak up like parasites). These people would rather lose the election than give up on their anti-American agenda.
The Indian National Congress puts power first. The Democrats put their radical anti-American agenda first.
I should admit this characterization is grossly unfair to the average American Democrat. Why would a hardworking common Democrat bred in California or Oregon or Ohio or New York hate America? They don’t. Rather their party has been hijacked by an anti-American gang.
In fact, I suspect that Biden’s candidature itself is a silent uprising by rank and file Democrats that hardly anyone is talking about. The most vocal and radical elements in the Democrats wanted Stalin’s ghost brought back from the dead and made President of the United States. The ones militating from college campuses and Hamas bases in Palestine.
Meanwhile, the ordinary Democratic voters in the primaries quietly longed for a return of the Obama years. They didn’t like the cruel tone of Trump’s politics. They wanted someone who tinkers with America around the edges: not abolish the country. That’s why Biden is the candidate, Obama’s vice-president.
The problem is that Biden is old and weak. And losing it with every passing day. The fear is that the radical elements in his party will take over. Or at the very least, he has to give them something.
This is where the risk to India comes from. India could be that something that Biden tosses in front of the wolves from the radical wing of his party. To tear apart and devour.
When I express these fears, some people rush to say that India is not that significant to American politics. I would argue that is exactly why I am worried. Because India is a bundle of contradictions that makes it an absolutely perfect target for the Islamist radicals in the Democratic Party.
The contradiction around India is exactly the point. India is not Swaziland or Cameroon that nobody has heard about it. Everyone has heard about India, but almost nobody knows about India.
I dare you to give another example of a country that fits into this strange gap. A country that all Americans have heard about, but know nothing about. Americans have heard of Germany or Brazil but they also know a lot about Germany or Brazil. Americans have never heard of Swaziland and they know nothing about Swaziland.
Only India. They’ve all heard of us. They know nothing about us.
That’s what makes India the perfect target for hate. You take the blank mental space that India already occupies in the mind of every American and fill it up with lies, causing them to hate us. That’s what the New York Times and Washington Post are doing with their relentless propaganda. They are filling up the vacant space with lies.
Indians are easy to demonize. They follow a religion that is completely alien to most Americans. I am really talking about Hindus here. Because we all know anti-India hate is really about anti-Hindu hatred.
What else makes India the perfect target? When people hate, they don’t like to feel like bullies. India is a large and powerful country. That makes it easy to hate India without any sense of guilt.
More about the demography. When thinking about a country, people start with the assumption that the minority is persecuted, not the majority. Hindus are a majority in India. That makes it easy to adapt the standard global rhetoric of majority-minority and demonize the Hindus.
This is where Americans not knowing about India comes in so handy to the left. Americans don’t know that the supposed majority lived in slavery to the minority for 800 years. They don’t know how the majority paid a tax to the minority simply for the right to keep their religion. They don’t know about the destruction of our places of worship, about the cultural genocide of centuries that we faced.
That’s the difference between India and Israel. Everyone knows what the Jewish people have been through. So when someone points out that Israel is a Jewish majority nation, Americans can contextualize that with well known history of anti-Semitism. They can see why Jewish people would need a homeland.
The problem is nobody knows what we Hindus have been through. Nobody understands why Hindus would need a homeland. They just hear about a Hindu majority and assume that the majority would be dominating the minority.
Another thing that makes us easy to demonize is the Indian model of ‘secularism’ and simply the way our constitution is framed. And how it differs from the American model. Tell the Americans that India is giving refuge to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, etc and they will ask: why is the government making a law with a religious test?
The confusion is understandable. The average American simply does not understand the Indian model of secularism, nor the Indian model of social justice. Americans are taught to believe that the state should not discriminate between people in any way.
But that’s not the Indian model. Our model is “positive discrimination” in thousands of ways. In roughly one-third of panchayats across India, the post of pradhan is reserved for women! Nobody sees this as disenfranchisement of men. Do Americans know this? Do they know that across one-third of India, no male is allowed the most basic democratic right to represent his village?
We Indians just don’t see it that way. We see it as a good thing for empowerment of women.
To give an even more fun example, Yogi Adityanath’s govt has decided that all the jobs at one station on Noida metro will be reserved for transgenders!
An American would find this sort of obvious discrimination unthinkable. But our model is simply different from theirs. So when the New York Times pulls out just one thread of CAA from this vast fabric of thousands of strands of positive discrimination that make up India, Americans think it’s wrong.
They have never seen the rest of the strands. To say nothing of the outright unfair ones, like the government of India controlling all Hindu places of worship.
So let me itemize:
(1) India is far away from America.
(2) It’s major religion is different from everything Americans know.
(3) Nobody knows what the majority in India has historically faced at the hands of the minority.
(4) Our constitutional model is very different from theirs.
(5) We are big enough that you can hate us without feeling like a bully.
(6) AND you get points from the Islamist lobby for hating us.
From the point of view of Biden: India is the perfect target he can throw before the radicals in his party. He has to give them something to use their energy on. A target to tear apart causing minimal damage to the American establishment, which Biden really cares about.
And the choice of Kamala Harris just made it worse. The Democrat case against India had only one weak point. What if white Americans feel like they are being racist when they hate us? Americans are very sensitive to this charge. Now that Harris has a sliver of Indian heritage, they are immune to that accusation as well.
And make no mistake. The Islamist overdrive against India is target practice for their much more difficult target: Israel.
This is a pretty dire picture for India. Is there hope? Maybe.
As I said, I don’t believe the average Democrat hates India. Why would they? It makes no sense. But what do you do then with the radicals in the Democratic party? Radicalism, by its very nature, tends to thrive among those who are not in power. A Democratic President in the White House would have a mellowing effect on radicals in his party. They are the incumbent. They have to keep a grip on themselves. By his core nature, Biden isn’t radical. He is not even close. If he bats out one mellow term in office, it might actually push the Taliban takeover of the Democratic Party back by a generation.
Like I said, excuses to find hope. But straws in the wind, nevertheless.