'Hillary Clinton is no friend of India,' says Rajeev Srinivasan. 'Not that Trump is necessarily one, but at least he gets the benefit of the doubt.'
I could say a couple of things about the US elections nobody would disagree with: First, these are the most nail-biting and most uncertain US elections in our lifetimes; second, whatever the result, we are all sick and tired of the constant stream of abuse by both sides, and so we'll welcome the calm and peace and silence come Wednesday.
Beyond that, there's nothing most of us will agree on.
The latest polls are a dead-heat, but as has happened before, Hillary Clinton could in the end squeak home by a whisker even if she loses the popular vote, by dint of the winner-take-all nature of the Electoral College.
That would be a shame. Because I think she does not deserve to win.
Let me be quite up-front with my biases. I have never been so worried about a US Presidential candidate as I am about Hillary Clinton. (Not that I am blissfully happy about Donald Trump: I support him mostly as a protest against Clinton, as I suspect large numbers of people do.)
This surprises me because I did not take an instant dislike to her. There are several others whom my political instincts made me nervous about the moment I came across them: Barack Obama, Huma Abedin, Arvind Kejriwal, for instance, and they have proved me right.
I am worried both for America and for India, and for the world in general. The media has portrayed the battle as one between a boor and a liar; better have the finger of the former on the red button.
Years ago, when Hillary Clinton first came into the limelight, she didn't appear so dangerous. Maybe she wasn't. Maybe she wasn't born to greatness, or become great, but had greatness thrust upon her? Maybe it was the taste of power with her husband as president that corrupted her.
Somehow, Bill Clinton was able to get away with abuse of power because he is a charming rogue. Hillary isn't charming, so the dirt sticks to her.
Just a few facts about her candidacy concern me: The reputed $1.14 billion war-chest she raised (the donors, some of whom are quite dubious, will surely demand their pound of flesh); the cavalier treatment of corporate governance in the Clinton Foundation which appears to not make any distinction between the charitable foundation and the Clinton family's coffers; the unexplained and yet-to-be audited consequences of her classified emails ending up on insecure server.
These would be enough to kill off a normal candidate's chances; the fact they haven't is itself suggestive that something is awry.
On the other hand, there is also the concern that if Hillary Clinton wins, that would mean a perpetuation of dynastic politics in the US: The Bush dynasty, then the Clinton dynasty, with a brief non-dynastic Obama interregnum.
And the gender card, which seems to be Hillary Clinton's trump card, isn't enough to overcome all these negatives. The idea that it's about time that a woman became US President is laudable, but that alone doesn't mean this particular woman is the right candidate.
On top of all this, there is the possibility of a constitutional crisis.
Given the unclear status of the email server issues (the FBI, in its wisdom, appears to claim that it evaluated 650,000 mails in as many seconds to reiterate today its July recommendation to not prosecute her) it is possible that Hillary Clinton will end up charged, found guilty and impeached.
Which will, of course, bring her Vice-President, Tim Kaine, to the presidency, and he is not exactly a shining star in the political firmament. (And the FBI's antics, which will surely be investigated, will make it look like the famed Caged Bird of India, equally subject to political pressure).
And that's not to mention persistent concerns about Hillary Clinton's health. Some people allege that she's suffering from all sorts of diseases, including the results of mild strokes, or early stage Alzheimer's: You could attribute this to conspiracy theories, but again remember the red nuclear button in the hands of someone who is not quite there.
All that is about America, and by extension the impact of Hillary Clinton on the world. But the likely impact of her presidency on India is not even open to speculation: It is demonstrably the case that Hillary Clinton would be simply awful for India, based on her prior actions.
Here are a few examples of the Clinton family's and friends' attitudes towards India (the research courtesy Arvind Kumar):
- In 1992, Trade Representative Carla Hills, a Clinton friend, imposed Super 301 sanctions against India.
- In 1992, the US blocked the sales of Russian cryogenic engines to India. This, and the fake Maldivian spy case and the ruining of Nambi Narayanan, chief engineer, set India's heavy satellite launch capability back by 19 years.
- In 1993, Bill Clinton as POTUS blocked the sale of a Cray supercomputer to India, but permitted the same to China.
- In 1993-1994, Bill Clinton refused to appoint a US ambassador to India.
- In 1994, Robin Raphel announced that Kashmir is not a part of India.
- In 1994, Robin Raphel announced the sale of F-16s to Pakistan, in Delhi.
- In 1998, Bill Clinton imposed sanctions against India after the nuclear tests. Madeleine Albright, never pleasant, excelled herself by calling this 'a felony against the future.' But the duo extended MFN to China.
- In 2001, the USCIRF was created to harass Hindus and India.
- In 2005, India was advised to give up nukes and join the NPT as a non-weapons State.
- In 2009, Hillary Clinton proudly released the USCIRF report which unfairly slammed India.
- In 2009-2012, Hillary Clinton and her cronies, including the American ambassador to India, ran a crusade against Narendra Modi.
- In 2014, Robin Raphel was accused by the FBI of spying for Pakistan.
- In 2015, Tim Kaine praised Pakistan.
Then there is, of course, Huma Abedin, who clearly takes after her Pakistani mother in temperament and tastes.
For instance, it is quite likely it was Huma who astro-turfed the formidable Khizr Khan, a Pakistani, as though the far more numerous Arab Americans could not supply a suitable hero.
So the pattern is clear. Hillary Clinton is no friend of India.
Not that Trump is necessarily one, but at least he gets the benefit of the doubt.
Besides, it can be argued that Indian Americans should not care about a candidate's impact on India, only on the US. That is not unreasonable, but in my opinion, she'd be a far worse POTUS for the US as well.
I have tried, but I fail to see why anyone should vote for Hillary Clinton. She is possibly the worst candidate in living memory for the US Presidency.
Forgetting the dead US ambassador to Libya, the Arab nations that have been destroyed on her watch, and a whole trail of dead bodies would be unfair.
Atlanticist Democrats on average are dangerous: Think Kerry, Brzezinski, Albright. Hillary Clinton would listen to the worst of them, try to corner Russia, and succeed in further driving it into the arms of a welcoming China. And that would be disastrous geo politically for all of Asia.
I do hope that Americans do not make their biggest mistake this century by electing Hillary Clinton.