Why Trump getting re-elected has strategic value for India

One of the things about the Corona crisis in India is that people have spoken very little of its impact so far on specific elections. Of course, there was been the usual political blame game, but nothing specific with respect to elections. That is a bit surprising in itself, because in India, we are almost always having an election or another. But the Corona crisis hit in what feels like the longest lull we have in India’s election calendar. Between Delhi in February and Bihar in November.

The word “feels” is important. Delhi usually brings an end to the election season which begins a year and half ago with 3 Hindi heartland states (now Telangana too), General Election, then Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Delhi.  Then, there is a pause and we get into the middle of the Prime Minister’s term, starting from Bihar. The last election in the “middle period” is Karnataka.  Uttar Pradesh is seen as the unofficial halfway mark.

But big elections are happening in other places which will cast a shadow on India. In the US, this is election year. Trump was really coasting along until the Wuhan Corona virus came along. I mean, what the Democrats thinking? Trump versus the failing old Joe Biden? This election was basically in the bag for Trump. But now, who knows? Trump is probably still winning. I mean, people have all but forgotten Joe Biden. He’s gone from the screens.  But there is definite uncertainty now. Corona could bring the United States to its knees. How will the electorate react then? An incumbent will find it hard to win re-election if everyone sees the country is a disaster.

Over the last three years, we have really gotten to understand Trump as a person. He is a clever man, but not very complicated. He likes to blurt it out big. In a situation like this, which requires a lot of finesse and caution, Trump is out of his depth. His big words will come back to bite him.

He has only one loud pitch that he can make to the voters in his characteristic hectoring fashion.

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He has to keep American voters constantly reminded that this is China’s fault. And the worse the situation gets, the louder and more persistent he has to be.

Of course, America blaming China is music to our ears. And of course, the charge against China is absolutely correct. China is to blame here. How could there be any doubt about that? And in this situation, blaming China also happens to be the most politically convenient thing for Trump to do.

In the meanwhile, China’s response has been a great example of what not to do with Trump. Remember that the Chinese government is under even more pressure to appear all powerful in front of its people. In the old days, they would just have blacked out the global news and nobody in China would have known what Trump is saying. But in the globalized world, this is no longer possible.

So China has to hit back, with absurd allegations of America having spread the virus. You can see the desperation with which Xinhua and Global Times are trying to troll the Americans. Which is exactly the kind of catnip that Trump needs to turbo charge his rhetoric. At one point, China even suggested that the US military might have spread the virus. Trump is not going to let that go.

In short, America and China are going to dial up the rhetoric. As long as Trump is in charge. The Democrats would probably have done the exact same thing if they were in power. But out of power, their politics forces them to oppose everything Trump says. See how a Democrat mouthpiece like CNN covers it.

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So as things stand, Republicans have a political incentive to go bitterly against China. And Democrats have no choice but to side with China.

Imagine if you were a Democrat. You would want China to be blamed as little as possible, so that most of the blame goes to Trump. If you were a Republican, the exact opposite. You blame China as much as possible to shield Trump.

It is not hard to see which side is better aligned with India’s strategic interests.

Of course it is one thing in the run up to the election and what actually comes after the election. We know it’s not easy to be tough on China. They are very powerful. The US economy and the Chinese economy are deeply interconnected.

We all know that politicians don’t make good on every promise after they get elected. But knowing Trump, we can expect some big bang promises to act tough against China. After he gets re-elected, he will be under pressure to make good on at least some of those promises.

You could ask: how can there be pressure on Trump to do anything in his second term? He can’t run for a third, so he can do whatever he wants.

First of all, don’t be so sure. Trump is exactly the kind of guy who would ask for a third term, comparing himself to Roosevelt. Contrary to popular belief, there is literally nothing in US law that prevents a President from running for a third term. It’s just a charming convention that’s been around, established by Washington himself, one of America’s many great democratic traditions.  If Trump gets a second, believe me, he will want a third.

Secondly, it was only the other day that Trump described himself as a “wartime president,” referring to the pandemic. You can see that he really wishes for that glory. And at the moment, he can only get that glory by getting tougher and tougher on China.

Needless to say, there are other strategic advantages that accrue to India if Trump gets re-elected. India’s relations with the global liberal complex are now so bad that any quick repair seems out of reach. And the Democratic Party is now controlled by Islamists like never before.

In diplomacy, there is no room for sentiments, only strategic interests. At the moment, Trump’s political interests are aligned with India’s strategic interests. And his re-election (likely) will be a relief for India.

11 thoughts on “Why Trump getting re-elected has strategic value for India

  1. There is no Democratic party in the US anymore. The erstwhile Democratic party has become a Communist-Islamist party. If they get power, it will harm the interests of India and the world.

    The US is going to go through the next great depression. 25% of its workforce (or more) will be out of jobs. Americans are going to take a hard look at their borrow-and-spend philosophy in what will be very trying times for them. Hotels, restaurants, theme parks, airlines – many of these are going to go out of business.

    The focus of US and Europe in the coming months is going to be stabilization, not consumption. And without US/Europe consuming, the Chinese economy call fall like a rock. China already has the highest debt level as percentage of GDP in the world. The China virus is going to break China’s back.

    The US should encourage countries which have borrowed from China for One Belt One Road to seek debt write offs as reparation for the damage China caused.The US holds 1 trillion dollars that it borrowed from China, maybe ask for a write off there too. This will wreck China.

    This will be the time for India to dictate terms to China. Demand that it stop support to terrorist Pakistan. Backoff from the OBOR road passing through Indian territory. Put heavy tariffs on Chinese goods as a way of taxes for repairing the Indian economy. Perhaps it is the right time to take back POK too when China will be reeling.

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  2. Agree with everything except the bit about ‘taking back PoK’ ! That would be a disaster – you add many more crore Muzzies, and bring their Gazwa-e-Hind dream so much closer to fruition 😳

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  3. Actually POK is sparsely populated (surely less than a crore Muslims), most of whom are fedup of the Pakistani army. There are disadvantages but there are also many advantages – if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, then it should be retaken. Also it is part of India, we cannot just give away territory to an enemy nation

    Please read this 3 part series (of which 2 parts have been published)

    https://www.icrr.in/Encyc/2020/4/16/The-PoK-campaign-The-Virus-Outbreak-two-front-War-India.html

    https://www.icrr.in/Encyc/2020/4/30/India-PoK-campaign-vis-a-vis-China-Internal-Socio-Political-dynamics.html

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  4. Forget about Trump demanding the third term. He may even try to cancel this election. Having said that, India should prepare for Biden’s presidency and not keep our all eggs in Trump’s basket. Trump is nobody’s real friend. We have (including Narendra Modi) blinded ourselves to the fact that Trump has criticized India more than any other recent American president. He is the only president who advocated that India’s benefits as a “Developing Country” should be taken away. Repeatedly announced that India has always cheated America on the trade deal. I don’t blame Trump for looking out for America’s interest.

    As far as criticism of Trump by the Democrats and the Liberal media is concerned, they have a point in a sense only until February he was praising China (and also WHO) and its handling of COVID-19. His serious advocating for injecting disinfectants into the veins to kill Coronavirus proves how crazy that person is. Nobody who saw the video would believe he was joking.

    I recently saw some polling in 2016, both Trump and Hillary had net negatives between ‘Approve’ and ‘Disapprove’ with Hillary with a slight advantage. Hillary got almost three million more votes. Plus in three key states, if the only a total of 87000 votes had gone to Hillary instead of Trump, Hillary would have been the president. The poll along the same line between Biden and Trump is vastly in favor of Democrats as Biden has no anti-Biden feelings as there were anti-Hillary feelings among the Democratic voters. It sure looks today that the election is for Biden to lose by revealing he is forgetting important things creating an impression of onset of dementia or something.

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  5. Bro, great article, except for the mistake about there being no bar on a 3rd term for Trump! The 22nd amendment to the US Constitution, specifically bars a 3rd term for a president.
    Rest of your analysis was bang on spot!

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    1. Yes China must pay. China realized that they were going to be severely affected and purposely hid facts and exported the virus to level off things. China’s reasoning was – if we are affected, the rest of the world should also be affected.

      This is criminal behaviour. Not different from the Covid patient who spits around to ensure others also get affected.

      The liberals within the developed countries (of which WHO is a part) are also responsible because they constantly gave China a free pass (including the mayors in different cities who instructed citizens to hug the Chinese and what not).

      The West has got a hugely expensive lesson on the damage the Chinese can do. Let us hope they learn from this.

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        1. This -We must remain neutral strategy – also called non-alignment has cost us a lot in the past. We will have enemies even if we remain neutral.

          China does not remain neutral in an India-Pakistan tango, why must we remain neutral in a West-China conflict ? We must take sides in a smart manner and not be intimidated by China. Doklam showed that the Chinese are paper tigers who compromise when the time for shedding real blood comes.

          The whole of the West is not to blame, it is the liberals, leftists and Communists in the West who are to blame. But they have bitten off more than they can chew and this crisis might very likely see the end of sympathy for these liberals in the West.

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