Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mr. Modi and Mr.Monroe

I never thought that I would write any thing even remotely favoring Narendra Modi, so this comes as a surprise. But the thought of the current US administration preaching human rights to any one is horrifying. In fact Narendra Modi, who displayed a very studied restraint in the after math of the Gujarat bomb blasts, recently comes through as a statesman in comparison. And the whole episode really goes onto prove that might is right in international relations.

Of course there is little doubt of Narendra Modi’s explicit and implicit involvement in the Gujarat riots, but the tough act to swallow was the moral grand standing by the Bush administration, which to protect its view of the way in which the world should function happily trampled upon the rights of several sovereign countries and governments without thinking twice.

The thing with the American law by whose provisions of course Bush is abiding is Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act that confers discretionary powers on the administration and using that provision, the administration is trying to legistalate for the world at large a morality which the administration itself does not follow.

The Bush administration has long tried to pass off its own transgressions and trespasses under religious and patriotic cloaks. Way back in 2002, Bush said to West Point graduates and future US Army Commanders that “We are in a conflict between good and evil. And America will call evil by its name,” A little further down the road, chronologically, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister in 2003 said to the BBC: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did.”

Of course Bush is not the first American president to promote American interests through any means possible. For that, we can back to 1823, when president James Monroe outlined a pillar of American government policy- that the American continents(north and south) was the exclusive playing field of the United States and no other country’s involvement and interference would be tolerated. The influence of the doctrine was first seen in Latin America and subsequently post World War II, through out the world. The US State Department web site clearly describes this pivotal doctrine of American foreign policy and says that it “provided precedent and support for U.S. expansion on the American continent. In the late 1800s, U.S. economic and military power enabled it to enforce the Monroe Doctrine. The doctrine's greatest extension came with Theodore Roosevelt's Corollary, which inverted the original meaning of the doctrine and came to justify unilateral U.S. intervention in Latin America.”

The initial application of the Monroe doctrine was of course territorial but over time, it today connotes now just American territorial hegemony but the hegemony of the American way of life and their ideology. And so democracy human rights, religious liberty and other facets of American life are imposed on the world. Not that these things are necessarily unimportant but the manner in which these virtues have been introduced and imposed in the world often give offence and give off a whiff of arrogance.As Mr. Modi is discovering to his chagrin unfortunately.

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