Washington has Bigger Fish to fry!

Washington has Bigger Fish to fry!

In a display of unprecedented creativity, certain sections of the Indian ‘mainstream media’ have embarked on a quest of epic proportions: making mountains out of molehills, and in some cases, creating molehills where there are none to begin with. As the Indian election circus rolls from town to town, the Delhi media seems to be under the impression that Washington, D.C., is gripped by a feverish anxiety about India’s political landscape. Spoiler alert: it’s not.

There’s no doubt that corporate spin doctors are rotating faster than the Rolling Stones single on my record player, currently belting out “I can’t get no Satisfaction !” to ensure the hot air balloons shaped like 56-inch torsos stay afloat. [ For those of you ‘generation zee’ peeps who haven’t the foggiest idea what I’m talking about, click on this link and get the picture, eh?]

Just imagine the ‘newsrooms’ in Delhi, where hired hacks are hunched over their desks, furiously typing away narratives that suggest President Biden lies awake at night, tossing and turning, worried sick about India’s “democratic backsliding.” Some narratives floating across the social media platforms would have you believe that the U.S. is on the brink of sending the National Guard to ensure a fair election in India! Meanwhile, back in reality, America has its hands full with its own dramatic saga featuring potential presidential re-runs, economic upheaval, and geopolitical chess games.

Cartoon by Hemant

Currently, the U.S. is preoccupied with its own electoral drama, which threatens to rewrite its political, economic, and geopolitical script. The uncles of Uncle Sam are wrestling with the ramifications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China’s audacious moves in Asia, and a messy conflict in Gaza that has seeped into domestic politics. The U.S. is scrambling to counter a Sino-Russian bromance that’s causing quite the headache in Europe and among NATO allies. Clearly, the fate of Indian democracy is not exactly a burning issue on Capitol Hill.

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Despite this, Indian media coverage persists in depicting Washington as a sleepless giant, agonizing over Indian elections. One can almost picture a room full of U.S. State Department officials, frantically fielding queries from South Asia correspondents, only to see their mundane responses transformed into front-page drama in India. This daily spectacle, barely a blip on Washington’s radar, is amplified into breathless headlines back in India.

Ironically, while Indian media is busy manufacturing fantasies about U.S. interest in India, it overlooks crucial debates happening in the States. Former President Donald Trump, the ultimate disruptor, is making waves with his radical agenda. His interview with Time magazine, where he unveiled plans on border security, immigration, trade, and military alliances, was largely ignored in India. Instead, we get endless replays of a hapless State Department spokesperson’s generic statements.

The Western media’s take on Indian elections is another fascinating case of misplaced focus. Reports by Western correspondents in India are consumed more voraciously in India than in the West, thanks to the echo chamber effect. It’s a pity that foreign reportage is more about Indian perceptions than actual insights into those countries.

As for the “hostile discourse” on Indian democracy by the liberal Western commentariat, it’s barely a drop in the ocean of American opinion. The massive output of the American media and think tanks has little room for extended musings on India. Western foreign policies are driven by capitalist interests and security concerns, not by an altruistic desire to spread democracy. If promoting democracy were their primary goal, U.S. foreign policy would look very different indeed.

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Let’s not forget that America’s pragmatic partnerships often defy the rhetoric of democracy promotion. Long-standing ties with the Pakistan Army and strategic cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party are stark reminders that geopolitics and commercial interests trump ideological alignments.

So, as Delhi’s pundits craft elaborate theories about the U.S.’s preoccupation with Indian democracy, it might be wise to remember that America has more pressing matters on its agenda. The prospect of a Trump comeback, with its potential to reshape U.S. trade policies and international strategies, should be of far greater concern to India. Issues like Trump’s proposed tariffs on imports and his hardline stance on immigration are much more pertinent to India’s interests.

In the grand theatre of global politics, India’s democratic battles are fought at home, not on the editorial pages of The New York Times or The Guardian or even The Washington Post. Arvind Kejriwal’s warnings about dictatorship and Rahul Gandhi’s constitutional theatrics are far more consequential than any Western commentary.

Now, while the Indian media concocts grand tales of U.S. vigilance over India’s democracy, perhaps it’s time to get a grip on reality. The Prime Minister’s election focus appears to be on who snacks on fish during Saawan ka mahina, and Mamata may be boasting about her expertise with Illish Maach.

But Washington, dear friends, has bigger fish to fry.


2 Responses to "Washington has Bigger Fish to fry!"

  1. Comedy lover   May 16, 2024 at 11:01 am

    So much of fish, because it is the fishing season. everyone is fishing for votes. We common chaps are the poor fish who are hooked by the sharks!

  2. Robert Athickal   May 16, 2024 at 9:52 am

    Frank, thanks for reminding us of the shallow concern the U.S has for democracy in India!


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