“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Saturday, November 06, 2010
The India Visit: Obama and India
The US is now looking to India. Why?
US trade policies with China have been a disaster for US manufacturing and have resulted in a huge transfer of wealth and power to China. There are very few Americans that will argue otherwise. China is increasingly becoming a hostile competitor to US interests and certainly not the partner envisioned by the naive proponents and architects of the Chinese and American relationship.
Now we arrive in India, tarnished and weakened, with a president that is also tarnished and weakened. Our strategic objectives are our concern with Afghanistan and Pakistan and of course China. The naive and optimistic expect that we can gain much from a renewed and strengthened relationship with India.
India has placed high trade barriers to much that the US could sell to India. India has sold much in the way of outsourcing to US corporations, but outsourcing is a job killing machine and hugely unpopular with Obama's core constituency.
India resents the past high handed moralizing made by the US towards India when they were developing their own nuclear defense. The Indians are aware that Obama and the US recognize the need for a closer relationship with India. They will negotiate hard for what they want and expect a lot in return for what they concede. This is an opportunity that comes with strategic risk. A politically weakened Obama, dealing with India, does not give me a sense of security that we will come out the winner with India.