The Presidential Visit

Even as the midterm elections loom ever closer, President Obama is planning a trip to India. Though this trip may be on foreign soil, the domestic impact is always considered, shown clearly the decision not to visit the Golden Temple (the holiest site in the Sikh religion and truly a sight to see) as his handlers were concerned with the perception that it would fuel the “Obama is a secret Muslim” myth since all visitors to the temple need to cover their head. Of course, the fact that they’re trying so hard to make sure that the public knows that the President is not a Muslim is borderline racist/bigoted, since his religious beliefs have no bearing on whether or not he can be an effective leader. (Yeah, yeah, and you’re expecting me to tell you that I also think that clouds are made of candy floss.)

Obama has been serious about building strong relations with India, across various areas so as to increase interdependence and draw India into a lasting alliance as the US desperately needs a somewhat strong ally in the region to maintain the peace. This is why Afghanistan and India’s stake in its future will be a hot topic during the visit. And inevitably, the question of how to handle Pakistan will also come into play, especially since al-Qaeda is gaining traction with the military occupied elsewhere.

Of course, going to India raises the question of whether not he is going to go to Pakistan. With the Pakistanis looking for the slightest snub from the White House, I don’t know if this is a good call. There is a lot of value in the seemingly ceremonial gestures that go a long way in keeping the peace. But then again, in this relationship, it is the US that has disproportionately given in to Pakistan. From an old South Indian saying: There needs to be thankfulness for the rice that has been eaten. (Of course, sounds much better in Malayalam.)

I realize I blog a lot about the United States but I guess that’s what happens when you are interested in wars and asymmetrical power structures.

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