Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
HVK Archives: Blessed are the tyrants

Blessed are the tyrants - Indian Express

Kuldip Nayar ()
July 7, 1998

Title: Blessed are the tyrants
Author: Kuldip Nayar
Publication: Indian Express
Date: July 7, 1998

Practically every day brings an evidence of
America's bias against India. The latest is that President
Clinton wants Beijing to be South Asia's policeman. New
Delhi is right in describing it as a reflection of
"hegemonistic mentality of a bygone era."

More than that, the suggestion challenges our sovereignty.
How can we be supervised by a country which attacked us
in 1962 and which still occupies a large part of our
territory in the Aksai Chin region? And the trouble with
China was not essentially due to a dispute over some
territory: it had deeper reasons.

Two of the largest countries in Asia confronted each other
over a vast border. They differed in many ways. And the
test was as to whether either of them would have a more
dominating position than the other on the border and in
Asia itself. As Jawaharlal Nehru explained India's case
before hostilities: "We do not desire to dominate any
country, and we are content to live peacefully with other
countries provided they do not interfere with us or commit
aggression. China, on the other hand, clearly did not like
the idea of such peaceful existence and wants to have a
dominating position in Asia." This is as much true today
as it was then.

The Chinese always, in their past history, had the notion
that any territory which they had occupied at one time
necessarily belonged to them subsequently. If they were
weak, then they could not enforce their claim, but they did
not give it up. If they were strong, then they tried to
enforce that claim and seize territory with the firm
conviction that they were right and they were only taking
back what belonged to them. The past view has now been
perhaps confirmed by the present government there and a
sense of growing strength has given them an additional
measure of arrogance.

That President Clinton does not understand, much less
appreciate, the danger at the hands of China, is nothing
surprising. He does not mind even the China-Pakistan
axis. After all, Beijing has helped Islamabad to acquire the
nuclear device. What is distressing, however, is that the
arrogance of power that has made President Clinton
enunciate for South Asia a dictum which will put more and
more pressure on such free societies as have pledged to
stay open. For Washington, it is only black and white.
Those it likes - China is its obsession these days - can
literally get away with murders and those it dislikes - India,
for example - have to be in the dog house and bear the

New Delhi and Beijing represent two different systems.
Both started more or less at the same time. We may have
been a soft state but we did not sacrifice man at the altar of
state. We preferred a slow rate of growth, towards gradual
social and economic change, based on constitution or
government, to rapid economic revolution based on the
police state. Maybe, success is all that matters. But letting
millions die for the miracle of change would not have been
possible in a country like India, which is still particular
about its pluralism and the spiritual side of life.

Most Indians have themselves regretted the irrelevance and
irresponsibleness of nuclear tests by New Delhi.
Washington's indignation has been understandable. But
the spate of abuses, which still continue, only reflects a
lava of its prejudice which was seeking an outlet. One may
give America the leeway of being a brash, arrogant country
but words like India is lying, as Secretary of State Albright
has said over and over again, cannot be forgiven, not
forgotten. They have been directed against the country, not
against the BJP-led government.

Still America's bias or anger cannot obliterate certain basics
in world affairs. India is a democracy where people change
the government. China is a dictatorship where the
government changes people. The powerful Congress party
was defeated at the polls when Mrs Indira Gandhi wronged
the country during the emergency (1975-77). The BJP-led
coalition will pay dearly in the next election for having
landed the nation into a situation which has hurt it in every
way - militarily, economically and politically.

But compare all this with China, President Clinton's new-
found love. The Communist Party responsible for
Tiananmen Square massacres has remained in power.
None has been held accountable. None has been punished.
The business is as usual and America's President gives the
massacres a stamp of justification by paying a visit to the
Tiananmen Square. It is not that the Chinese love personal
freedom less, or that they are not sensitive to injustice; it is
that they have been suppressed by dictatorship and they
have lost their voice. Dissenters are detained or beaten up
without the law coming to their help. People know of no
free polls whereby they can throw out their rulers. The
system has no freedom of expression. There is no free
press and the judiciary is a tool in the hands of the
government. Still President Clinton has considered China
the best country to supervise peace in the region of South
Asia. In the past, the thaw in Sino-US relations that had
taken place did not necessarily mean that Beijing was in
favour of peace. It was an indication that both the US and
China wanted to foreclose their commitment in Vietnam,
the former because of domestic pressure and the latter
because of fear of Soviet "aggression" then. This time, the
two, with Russia still stuck in the quagmire of economic
disaster, want to divide the world in spheres of their
tutelage. Democracy and dictatorship are being yoked
together. However impossible, President Clinton is
adumbrating a thesis which is difficult to accept.

By joining hands with China, the strongest dictatorship,
America, the strongest democracy, is betraying the
principles of liberty and individualism. A country with
traditions of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and
Abraham Lincoln has been forced by the US administration
to the opportunism of economics. But then President
Clinton has always assessed the concept of freedom in
terms of market. During his entire trip to China, he talked
about the growing purchasing power of the Chinese, not
about the tyranny which has made them a machine. He has
given a new definition to democracy, which will ignore
individual and sacrifice him for what is considered good of
society. America will take long to rub off the prints
President Clinton will leave behind.

Should India await the visit of such a President? Maybe, he
will cancel the trip on his own. The prejudice in which he
wallows will not allow him to see any good point in India.
We would rather have a person like John Kennedy who,
soon after Nehru's arrival in Washington in 1961, asked
him again and again about India's plans and needs. Nehru
remained reticent. Probably, democratic countries have to
feel each other, not to ask what they need. America has
been taking hostile posture against democracies. This has
been the biggest loss at the end of the cold war.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements