Sometimes you do wonder how much the so called experts can be called anything but that. The Hindu's C. Raja Mohan, an expert on South Asia strategic affairs wrote in his column on the second phase of the War Against Terrorism as announced in the state of the union address in such a 'I am so proud to be counted with the big bully' attitude that it made for some really pathetic reading. Not to mention the fact that he was gladly glossing over some facts that Dubya chose to ignore.
You do expect more maturity and perspective from an 'expert' of his stature and standing than writing with such orgasmic awe that kids on the street ogling at SRK posters cut a far better figure.
Here are some of his quips and what I think about them
The determination to pursue a total war against terrorism would inevitably be welcomed and endorsed in New Delhi.: Blah! What if all of a sudden we are called as terrorists for our attitude towards the Kashmiris? Surely, when you have a US administration for whom the Taliban [a "regime that promised stability" when they took over control in Afghanistan] can turn from best hope to the number one "evil", you can never be sure, right?
Equally strong was the message that Washington would relentlessly push for internal change in Pakistan: Sure, they do need the bases that they have occupied there, the case being which they would want to have a regime that will support thier demands.
New Delhi also has reason to be satisfied at the exclusion, in Mr. Bush's speech, of India and Pakistan from U.S. threat perceptions on the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Uhm.. would I trust it when the goon next door tells me I so appreciate the fact that you have a gun on you so long as you do not use it against me. Wishful thinking on a massive scale.
Mr. Bush's speech reflects the new U.S. view that subcontinental nuclear weapons are not a direct threat to it. That removes one long-standing source of political friction between India and the U.S.: What a truck load of crap! We cannot reach the US with a missile in another five years before we perfect the GSLV and the reentry technology to make an ICBM out of it. India's nukes were never a direct threat to the US, it is the headache that comes with a non-compliant influential regional power that was causing all the troubles.
At the level of ideas, India is unlikely to quibble with the proposition that democracy must be deepened in both Eastern and Western parts of Asia.: Ahem, would we really consider giving into public opinion in J&K and let a plebiscite happen there under the auspices of the UN? Oh and by the way I did not know that just because they are allies Saudi and Pakistan are counted as functioning democracies, while Iran and Iraq are not democracies even though they get to vote (no matter how farcical it is).
And the best bit comes in the end after leading people on so much!
India needs a serious debate within its foreign policy establishment as well as a substantive consultation with the U.S. on the implications of the new policy agenda unveiled by Mr. Bush: Debate like this? Spare me please, am I not glad that I am not a part of the foreign policy establishment.