Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What does the Left really want ?

The Indian Left is right now in the spotlight as they have never been before. Used to calling the shots with the Congress Government, including forcing humiliating about-turns on the various reform policies tried out by the Congress, they must have found it strange that that suddenly the Congress seems to have developed a spine and refused to do their bidding. And for days now, most analysts, a lot of public reaction and media analysis has accused the Communists of being China lackeys, being fossils, anti-development and progress, die-hard members of the anti-US coalition, etc. But what does the Left really want in all the discussion on the nuclear deal ? I found this article to be an interesting pointer to what their main objections are:

In a stern warning to the UPA government against implementing the civil nuclear deal with America, the CPM said it should decide whether it would go with the US or ‘remain firmly with the people’. "The Manmohan Singh government has to decide within a few weeks from now whether to go with the US or remain firmly with the people of India," CPM general secretary Prakash Karat told a public meeting.
Asserting that the Left parties were strongly opposed to any kind of strategic alliance with the US, he said it was a tragedy that the Central government had ‘compromised’ on the independent foreign policy stand enunciated by late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

And this is exactly what their bone of contention is. They do not want a foreign policy based on reality, based on what the country can get in terms of a realistic evaluation of its strength; instead they want to stick onto a policy that is essentially anti-US. It is no matter that their patron saint China has almost essentially junked the ideals of communism except for the name of the party and its repressive one-party rule; it does not matter that China has been promising such aid to Pakistan, a concept that is against India's strategic interest; it does not matter that in international affairs, most treaties involves give and take, and India could have negotiated for decades without getting a treaty that would have given everything that it wanted; it does not matter that the concept of India's nuclear program, something that the CPM and its allied parties are getting so worked over is a policy that they have been opposing from the start; it does not matter that India has been denied technology for long because of its refusal to sign the NPT, and this treaty promises to over-turn these restrictions; it does not matter that we are a energy-hungry country and nuclear energy that we can currently get domestically is not as advanced and has been shown to be delayed every time and expensive; it does not matter that most security analysts and nuclear scientists who initially were hesitant about agreeing to this deal are much more positive in the final version; it does not matter that the constitution enables the cabinet to be able to commit to such a decision and to go back now would mean a severe loss of Indian credibility.
None of these matter. In the calculations of the Left, a going back on this deal would hurt the emerging India-US cooperation and grant them what they want; and maybe India would be better served by the friendship of tinpot countries such as Iran, Cuba and Venezuela. In the end, a foreign policy is based on the true interests of a country, and at this time, this deal is the best deal that the country will get that promises to get most of what it wants.
And if the Congress goes back on this deal, it will be the end of all their credibility. Manmohan Singh will have zero credibility, and will most likely have to resign, with the media going hammer and tongs after him about his humiliation, and the Congress will have to live with the humiliation of being ordered around by a party that has 60 seats in Parliament.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 3:32 AM