HAS OBAMA HANDED MERKEL THE BATON OF LIBERALISM?
Modi and Merkel in Germany[/caption] It is the same trend in United States. All that which had become unacceptable in society suddenly became agreeable. Treating women as sex objects, Latinos as rapists, Muslims as terrorists, blacks as useless have become tolerable speech and behaviour in public. Racism and dreams of restoring white supremacy are on the agenda. The undercurrent is a deep insecurity in large sections of white and nationalist communities. They feel they are losing control of the world. Globalisation has equalised races, eroding the once hegemonic world of Anglo-American white power. It is not that globalisation has affected indigenous jobs that is affecting common sense, but the fact that globalisation has burst hegemony. Being white no longer carries awe or special attention around the world. The promise of ‘returning’ jobs to Americans (white Americans) from the Chinese and other racial types around the world has hit a populist nerve. Trump’s sexism, racist remarks and spiteful comments have all been ignored as have been his business practices and the riches he acquired from globalisation. That he engaged foreign companies to build his towers and has vast commercial interests around the world in the globalised economy have floated with ease above all scrutiny. American voters were just interested in the promises not who is making them. A great nation has been told that it lacks greatness and will become great again. It is, as one eminent American intellectual said, a code for saying white supremacy will be restored. Other countries are beginning to copy. Even that champion of human rights and equality, the Netherlands, is moving towards a Trumpist worldview. France which has lain claims to be the mother of modern human rights is crawling towards extremism, intolerance and racism too. In this melee of the fallen, Germans appear to be the one sensible group that has remained unruffled and continuing with the best of liberal democracy and human rights values. Post war Germany has shown little if any tendency towards extending power. It has been a reluctant leader in Europe. It increasingly finds itself pushed to the front but seems to lack both ambition and the institutional reach to do that. It is one of those ironies of history that believers of liberalism and human rights values will now be looking at Germany to show leadership and determination to get through these turbulent times. The western world will recover from this. Neither Brexit nor Trumpism is going to restore history. Eventually after some desperate attempts, white hegemonical dream will crash to reality. There is nothing much to fear this period, but it will be a folly to be carried away with it. It is important for India to chart a responsible and careful path through this period. India was the leader of the non-aligned group during the most difficult times of cold war. Those skills are wanted now more than anytime for India to emerge as a power broker in the future. It will be a mistake for India to fall under the seduction of any American campaigns against Islam and China under Trumpism. These campaigns will not succeed. Despite its apparent troubles, Pakistan is a very resilient country that has withstood several attempts at breaking it. It will be better for India to forge even closer ties with Germany now. Indian trade with Germany is the largest in Europe. It is about the 9th in the trading partners around the world. Indian exports to Germany are around 2.7% of its overall exports. It is a small percentage compared to Indo-China trade, but it has the potential to grow as Germany reluctantly begins to take its position in the world. More than trade, the Indian civilisation, despite recent proto Hindu nationalism, is liberal and pluralist. India has chosen a democratic polity. Its democracy is flawed for a very diverse country with 22 distinct languages, several national communities and ethnic groups. India chose the primitive British ‘winner gets all’ democracy despite several minority groups feeling marginalised. There is a lot it can learn from some of the sophisticated democratic models such as in Germany. As Germany emerges to be the leader of western democratic liberalism, India might find greater affinity with Germany than many other western countries now regressing into hard nationalism. A short termism romantic approach to Foreign Policy with Trumpism could backfire in the long term. //