Winds of Change?

Harried at home and abroad, Donald Trump became a universally condemned political figure in the dying days of his presidency. In truth his notoriously ultra-right approach to everything in Asia, Africa and Latin America made him an enemy of people right from the day one of his presence in the White House. He was the only president impeached twice in American history. And historians struggled hard to define or re-define the Trump moment while comparing it with other periods of enormous challenge like the Great Depression, World War-II, the Civil War the McCarthy era and Watergate. Trump is gone. But his one-time friend and well-wisher in this part of the globe is unlikely to leave the centre-stage any time soon. Not that Biden is going to change America's India policy radically. And Indian Prime Minister Narendra  Modi has nothing to lose or gain from change in American dispensation so long as he remains the cheerleader of American geo-strategic and commercial interests in the region.

Meanwhile, the departing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo re-listed Cuba as a "state sponsor of terrorism" before leaving Trump's office. The bitter reality is that Cuba is  itself  a victim of terrorism financed and perpetuated by the American government. America has maintained a crippling economic blockade—estimated to cost Cuba some $753.69 billion—on the country since its 1959 revolution. In April 2020 the US administration blocked a shipment of masks and ventilators from China from reaching Cuba as it battled global Corona virus pandemic. Trump's inhuman action was criticised  by all throughout the world. If anything Cuba's medical internationalism has no parallel. It had shown exemplary solidarity and courage in helping poor nations to fight corona. Re-listing of Cuba as a terror-exporting country is widely believed to be a bid by Mr Pompeo to jeopardise to roll back Trump's hard-line policies. During his election campaign Biden pledged to reverse policies that "have inflicted immense harm on the Cuban people". Pompeo was somewhat unlucky in the sense that most democrats and liberals around the world, including some members of US Congress rejected his idea of bashing Cuba.

It remains to be seen whether America's policy of regime change gets any jolt under the Biden dispensation. Cuba apart  Pompeo also put the Houthi insurgents in Yemen on the "terror list". Pompeo makes him a laughing stock by saying  that poverty-stricken Houthi insurgency is a threat to US security. As per Unicef report 12 million Yemeni children are in danger of starvation and disease. The Yemeni catastrophe has actually been created by the global military industrial complex backed by Britain and America through their proxy Saudi Arabia. Yemen is a disaster zone in which every problem is magnified by the war the Saudi regime imposes on this poor nation. For one thing the Saudi theocratic state "is a classic beneficiary of foreign intervention in that its ruling family was elevated to royal status by the British crown and given suzerainty over the sands of Arabia in exchange for a guarantee that keep the region's oil resources safe for the West". Pompeo's act is not accidental. It is an exercise entirely consistent with the foreign policy followed by every US administration over decades. What was true in Roosevelt's time continues unabated—"Speak softly and carry a big stick". Trump, however, spoke harshly , showing a ‘big stick’ all the time. The USA has a chequred history of serious interventions in Panama (thrice), Honduras (twice), Cuba (thrice), Nicaragua (twice), Haiti (twice), Mexico, the Dominican Republic (twice), Costa Rica, Guatemala, Paraguay, Chile and Venezuela. To list US interventions in and beyond its self-declared 'backyard'—South America—is simply horrifying while Washington true to its imperial design arrogates itself  as a world leader in coup business. America has so far reportedly intervened in 100 countries.

The fact is that the myth of uni-polar world is vanishing quickly and rapidly. The superpower status is now being challenged by China. So encirclement of China is now a steadfast policy of The Uncle Sam. India-China face-off in eastern Ladakh in recent months came as a blessing for the American administration to refashion South Asian strategic theatre. It was also an opportunity for Modi to make India more subservient to America in view of Chinese Aggressive postures in the Himalayas.


Vol. 53, No. 30, Jan 24 - 30, 2021