Monday, May 19, 2014

Delhi-Washington prospects

The words in bold below (my emphasis) jump out at me from this piece by Tunku Varadarajan on India's incoming prime minisater, Narendra Modi, and his likely awkward relations with President Obama:
The foreign leader he [Modi] will bond with best is unlikely to be Obama, an American president who has none of the instinctive feel for India, or for the enormous potential of a U.S.-India alliance, that George W. Bush had. The withering of that alliance has been one of the bleak, untold stories of Obama’s period in office, and one senses that India will have to wait for Hillary Clinton to reach the White House before the Delhi-Washington relationship blossoms again.
What's interesting is not just that Varadarajan, a conservative writer, seems to assume or strongly suspect that Hillary Clinton will be the next president, but that among the major Republican prospects there's nobody that would fit easily into the sentence. "One senses that India will have to wait for Rand Paul..."? No way. "One senses that India will have to wait for..." Ted Cruz? Paul Ryan? None of the biggest hitters has distinguished himself on foreign policy. If Bobby Jindal's star had risen higher in recent years, the idea that he might repair relations with India might have been noteworthy, because it's his ancestral homeland if for no other reason. (Or would he be under pressure to show he's not engaged in favoritism on that basis?) Obama foreign policy looks likely to leave a legacy of great mediocrity, but who in the Republican Party is positioned to make a strong case about that?

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