'It's pretty likely that Kissinger, Rice came bearing gifts (read Trojan Horses) from McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, Grumman, Northrop, and all the other Military Industrial Complex stalwarts,' argues Rajeev Srinivasan.
There is a Malayalam proverb that goes something like this: 'If a bull raises his tail, you know what comes next.'
So when a whole lot of attention is paid to India and Hindus by the Americans, and when bunches of them show up in India, you know something is afoot.
The last time there was so much noise, and many snake-oil salesmen landed up in India, there was the so-called 'nuclear deal'.
There were promises of all sorts of good things happening for India if only the nuclear deal were signed.
It was signed, (drum roll)... and nothing happened. See my sceptical column then.
Let us count our blessings these days:
- Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, Tony Blair et al landed up in India and met the PM.
- A hearing by a sub-committee on foreign affairs by the US congress slammed India on Kashmir with Ilhan Omar taking the lead.
- The 'Howdy Modi' event in Houston had Donald Trump in attendance.
- After the August 5th cancellation of Article 370, there has been a total demonisation of both India and Hindus not only in the usual suspects New York Times, Economist, Guardian etc, but even in, startlingly, the British medical journal Lancet and the MIT Tech Review.
- Tulsi Gabbard, US presidential candidate, has been targeted explicitly because she's a Hindu. Possibly the most impressive candidate in the fray, she's been dismissed as a 'cult member' even by otherwise reasonable Democrats.
What does all this mean?
I suspect there is a plan, and that the Americans want to sell something.
What better than to do a Good Guy-Bad Guy tamasha, with Henry Kissinger, who else, playing the Good Guy?
This man, a war criminal by most criteria (see his exploits in Cambodia and East Pakistan), is now a major middleman.
He was a broker to China, which, alas, was smarter than him, and screwed the Americans over.
He believes Indians are easier meat.
What could the offer be? Most likely weapons.
I suspect the F-35 is no longer in play, especially after the poor showing of the F-16 against the Mig-21 a few months ago.
There is their THAAD versus the Russian S-400, which the Americans really do not want India to buy.
It's pretty likely that Kissinger, Rice, Gates (Rob, not Bill) et al came bearing gifts (read Trojan Horses) from McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, Grumman, Northrop, and all the other Military Industrial Complex stalwarts.
There is probably also Big Tech in the fray.
Amazon, Facebook and Google are aware that India is one of their best bets for growth, and especially for vacuuming up the data of a billion-plus people.
They would like to have a free run (this is called 'free trade' or sometimes 'fair trade' in the business) which means there should be no constraints to their crushing any local competitors -- that which they were unable to do in China.
There have been rumblings about the restrictions India has placed on Amazon and Flipkart (now part of Walmart) possibly to help budding competitor Jio, which wants to offer a double-play: E-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores.
While I am in general a free trader, I believe judicious protectionism is a good idea, and that Jio should be given breathing room to bulk up and challenge Amazon and Flipkart.
So that's the mercantilism part.
What else might be going on? It's possible that there's a culture war too.
With Muslim fundamentalists ascendant in the Democratic party (Omar, Tlaib, et al), the xenophobia of the American public has to be diverted away from Muslims and towards somebody else.
Who better than passive, non-violent, but pagan (that's key: Cultural Abrahamics simply cannot stomach anything non-monotheistic) Hindus? Yeah, let's brand them devil-worshippers, ethic cleansers, 'nationalists', wife-burners, and do nasty things to them.
What's ironic is that Hindu Americans are going along with this, not realising that eventually this can lead to their citizenships being revoked as well as them being physically attacked/expelled.
In Congress, ex-Hindus like Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna are leading the charge against India and Hindus.
In Silicon Valley, my old Hindu-American acquaintances support Khanna and Sanders and Warren, never Gabbard.
Death wish, anyone?
I have seen this syndrome before: Hindus are harsh to other Hindus, basically saying: 'See, I am almost white, see how I am not at all favouring that other Hindu guy'.
All of this is going to boomerang on Hindu Americans (see what's happening already to Tulsi Gabbard) and on India.
I'm not sure what the final outcome will be, but it will not end well.
We've seen how casually the US dumps its friends (read Kurds), so, caveat emptor.
As Kissinger said, 'it's dangerous to be America's enemy, but fatal to be its friend.'
- You can read Rajeev Srinivasan's earlier columns here.