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Willisms

« New Ten Spot Debuts Today | WILLisms.com | Quotational Therapy: Part 78 -- Mark Sanford. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 285 -- India.

Indians & Americans Have Common Interests-

The United States, the world's oldest democracy, needs India, the world's largest democracy, and they need us right back. India, while certainly a work in progress, is a beacon of freedom in an otherwise hostile region of the world:

indiafreedomhouse.gif

Indeed, a strong ally in India is imperative as a hegemonic China rises onto the world stage. An economically and politically stable India is also necessary for ultimately winning the war on terror and reshaping the Middle East.

The U.S.-India relationship is hardly an arranged, forced political marriage. There's genuine love going at least one direction:

indiaprousa.gif

And despite the relatively insignificant protests (which were blown WAY out of proportion by the U.S. media) that greeted Bush on his trip there, Indians love President George W. Bush:

indiansprobush.gif

They love his straightforwardness, they love the way he speaks about freedom in the world, and they love it that he has never fallen into the politically expedient India-bashing that some U.S. politicians have taken to in recent years ("grumble, they are taking our jobs, grumble, grumble").

While American efforts to build schools, sewage systems, power grids, hospitals, roads, and other infrastructure in other countries often yields zero (or negative) credit, Indians understand that American foreign policy is not entirely selfish:

indiansloveusforeignpolicy.gif

India, even with so many Muslims living there, is one of the few countries whose citizens understand that removing Saddam Hussein was a positive thing for the world:

indiansdislikedsaddam.gif

Indians love Bush, America, and Americans:

Indians also have a strongly positive impression of the American people - 71% have a favorable opinion of Americans, up from 58% in 2002. Moreover, Indians tend to associate Americans with positive character traits, and generally do not associate Americans with negative characteristics. Eight-in-ten (81%) Indians consider Americans hardworking, and 86% - the highest percentage of any country surveyed, including the U.S. itself - say Americans are inventive. Fewer (58%) regard Americans as honest, but even among U.S. respondents, Americans receive mediocre marks for truthfulness (63%). Meanwhile, Indians are among the least likely to associate Americans with negative traits such as greed, violence, rudeness, and immorality.

And yet, despite all of this, this is what we see on the U.S. news:

burningbushineffigy.gif

Images of protests, such as Bush, burning in effigy. And reporters saying things like:

David Gregory: "Mr. Bush has already been met by large anti-U.S., anti-war protests as he tries to strengthen ties to a growing power in a vital part of the world."

and...

Jim Axelrod: “After his secret side trip, this is what awaited Mr. Bush upon his highly-publicized arrival in India: Tens of thousands turned out to protest America's presence in the Islamic world, while Mr. Bush was welcomed to New Delhi. Peaceful so far, police expect larger protests tomorrow.”

Tens of thousands of people at a protest in a country of many hundreds of millions, most of whom disagree with the protests, is not newsworthy.

It's. Just. Not. Newsworthy.

What is newsworthy is that President Bush scored a diplomatic victory in India:

Far from undermining U.S. interests, the deal will likely bring important benefits. The priorities of the United States and India overlap in many areas, from trade (U.S. exports to India grew by over 30 percent in 2004, while Indian exports to the U.S. rose by roughly 15 percent), to the struggle against Islamic terrorism, to concern over the rise of Chinese power — which could be checked, if China ever bared its teeth, through a strategic partnership between Washington and New Delhi. And with India’s economy growing at 8 percent per year, it will have a powerful thirst for energy. It’s consistent with our desire to keep oil prices low — and favorable to our national security — for India to slake that thirst without cozying up to Middle Eastern oil producers, and particularly Iran, with which it has traditionally had warm relations.

If you've been reading WILLisms.com regularly over the past year or so, you know that I have often advocated closer ties between the United States and India. This is exactly what I meant.

We need India to be with us now that we've crossed that bridge to the 21st century. We should also eschew the impulse to throw up protectionist barriers against India. Concerns over white collar jobs going to India are not without some merit, but a growing Indian economy is great for the United States.

India's middle class is already as large as our entire population. Those folks already consume American culture, brands, commodities, and so on. As more Indians enter the middle class, and as the Indian middle class becomes more like a middle class found in Europe or the United States, America's economy will benefit profoundly.

While some Americans would prefer to close the door on India, because they don't like talking to an Indian guy on the help line, or because they see Indians as responsible for job outsourcing, you cannot blame India for being an attractive place for U.S. businesses to locate (.pdf):

offshorelocations.gif

India wants to be part of the global economy, and their efforts to engage are paying off (.pdf):

foreigndirectinvestmentindi.gif

Companies and individuals from around the world are investing in India not just because they have relatively cheap labor, but because most of those relatively cheap laborers have taken it upon themselves to attain skills and knowledge, including learning English or other languages, if necessary. Investment is also flowing into India because of that map above. India is a stable democracy. Stable democracies do not suddenly and arbitrarily confiscate factories or office buildings or other assets. Stable democracies do not break out into armed revolution every few years. Stable democracies like India are simply great places to invest.

Indians are intelligent and fair-minded people, with a fascinating history, and a bright future. They deserve our respect and admiration. And the deserve to be portrayed accurately by the American media, rather than shown as a mere heathen swath of rowdy anti-American yahoos.

And, speaking of admiration, for my money, it doesn't get any better than when Indian bhangra/pop star Daler Mehndi sings Tunak Tunak Tun.

Tunak Tun, India.

Tunak Tun.


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Independence Day.

Posted by Will Franklin · 3 March 2006 09:28 AM

Comments

Wow, you know there is something seriously wrong when the US is viewed more favorably in Morocco than the Netherlands (and France, but no big surprise there).

I chalk it up to too much leftism-on-the-brain.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at March 3, 2006 10:22 AM

I am still not real thrilled with the idea of him being there? Alqaeda and groups like them gather there. Aren't they kicked out and then they come back under a different name? The Indian President is a good guy, BUT, he gets threats on his life all the time! ...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 3, 2006 10:31 AM

Will,...You have such an interestingly diverse music collection. How do you ever find these things???

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 3, 2006 11:01 AM

Dr. Pangloss,

1)All the kvetching in the world about how much Indians in your view "love bush" doesn't make the burning in effigy of the president of the united states while he visits your country less newsworthy. Particularly since your love claim is based on the pew stat that some 54 percent of Indian respondents expressed "some confidence" in Bush. That ain't love. Particularly since 62% of Americans felt the same way, and that was when his approval rating in America was in the .40's. Learn to read a study.

2) As a consumer of Indian and Chinese outsourcing services, I can tell you that the attractiveness of India, while still strong, is increasing pressured in the face of competition from Africa and other Asian countries where they have invested in India's traditional strength of technical education and don't have India's rising wages. Stability is the third important factor, but Democracy is simply not an important part of the buy side decision, contrary to your claim. See also, China.

3)While I share your positive feeling toward the sub-contintent, the characterization of Indians as "fair minded and intelligent" is just as simplistic as the porrtrayal of them as "rowdy anti-americans". India is nothing if not complex. And as someone who does business and engages with India and Indians, simplistic boosterism hurts America and hurts India.

Posted by: Bozo Casanova at March 3, 2006 01:15 PM

Amazing post and statistics. I had no idea the importance of India. Yes, there were some protests against Bush, but they were 99% peaceful. If Muslims would just protest peacefully, things were be much better in the world. (I'm assuming the majority of Indians are Hindu and the Muslim population is small.)

Posted by: Debbie at March 3, 2006 01:44 PM

Is it just me? OR, does Jimmy Carter remind anyone else of the devil? I am thinking that if he took his shoes off he might have hoofs???

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 3, 2006 03:18 PM

Again, Marxist reactionaries burning effigies in the streets of New Delhi is newsworthy, why, exactly?

'Marxists protest American President' as a headline is right up there with 'Dog Bites Man'.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at March 3, 2006 04:04 PM

Ken,

It's newsworthy because it's disrespectful of yours and my elected representative, and reflective of the tenor of reception, whther or not in the majority.

Second, Will's post contended that this protest was somehow in contrast to some alledged "love' for Bush that isn't demonstrated in the statistics that he cites.

now I understand the tendency of the Ostrich wing of the GOP to try to supress unhappy stories, but people didn't alway burn effigies of our leaders when they visited foreign countries. And when it happens, I want to know, because it's my representative being burned whether I voted for him or not, and by extension, me.

Posted by: bozo_casanova at March 3, 2006 04:17 PM

How did Jordan get 101% in the first chart? Or am I reading it wrong?

Posted by: JohnJ at March 3, 2006 04:29 PM

Heh, the 'ostrich wing' of the Republican party?

I don't know who you are talking about.

Republicans are realists, far more realistic about human failings and bad news certainly than the left. We are not utopian in any sense of the word.

We aren't afraid of bad news, we just don't revel in it, and we believe in actually pointing out good things when they happen. We are optimistic - that does not make us 'ostriches' nor does it make us Panglossian either.

I can't speak for Will, but knowing as much about current events as he does, I am sure he comes across bad news every single day. He doesn't need to dwell on that here - we have the MSM to take care of that for us. I for one feel that it is my job here to point out occasional good things that do not fit the MSM Bush = Evil template, and to harp on the media when it intentionally skews things toward a certain ideological bent.

It happens constantly.

And the reports coming out of the news implying that throwback Leninists burning effigies somehow represents the pulse of India - it seems that no news story out of India is complete without it - is just flatly contradicted by poll numbers such as those Will cited. And naturally you have to search high and low to find mention of that - because it does not fit the template.

So yeah, the Marxists are not news. Dog bites man.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at March 3, 2006 05:53 PM

I keep having to play that song!... Tunak Tunak Tun!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 3, 2006 06:10 PM

"Search high and low"? yeah right. Because the Pew center is so obscure. Please.

I'm also curious as to this implication that you say you see everywhere that the protests are indicative of the general attitude of India towards America. I have't gotten that implication, but then I don't share the pajamadeen MSM fixation and don't think there's a bias hiding under every bed.

And even if they were, the stats Will cites don't say that India "loves" Bush, only that a spare majority has at least "some" confidence. I don't think Will is trying to be misleading, I'm just not sure he read his citation, and I did.

In any case, if you can't handle the news, stick your head in the sand. My country can take it, though, and so can I. And it's a shame that you think so little of your fellow Americans that we are as easily shaken as yourselves.

Posted by: bozo_casanova at March 3, 2006 10:04 PM

Can't handle the news? Easily shaken?

What the hell are you even talking about? You are attacking some kind of claim (I think, not quite sure here) that I haven't even made and haven't even hinted at.

I don't know what either Will or I said said that makes you think we are 'easily shaken' but it doesn't seem to matter to you - you are stuck on your little 'ostrich wing' theory that you seem to think is quite clever, and will not let it go regardless of what I or Will say.

I pore over the news every day, yes I can handle it quite nicely, bad news is part of being a member of the human race. Nor do I think there is a bias under every bed - but there are enough biases to cast doubt on a great deal of what the MSM presents as objective truth.

And I have studied enough American history to know that Americans are anything but 'easily shaken', so go preach your strawman theories to someone else. It doesn't apply to me.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at March 3, 2006 11:40 PM

Ken,
Did I touch a nerve?

I'm beginning to think that you didn't actually read the post.

1) The totally unsupported claim is that India "loves" Bush, which links to a Pew trust study which doesn't support that notion.

2)The news you guys apparently can't handle is the protests, which have you and Will's drawers in such a twist that you question the legitimacy of yourselves being able to find out about it in the press that you claim to "pore over".

3)The was no strawman. It's a terrific rhetorical technique, though, which you put to good use, above.

Posted by: bozo_casanova at March 5, 2006 10:57 PM

O,4 cryin' out loud! The main complaint of some in India relates to the recent Pakistan "Al-Qaida" directed bombing that killed some civilians. You know, "collateral damage" which translates to blood of innocent civilians on the hands. There's an article in The Hindu that goes into it---sorry don't have the link on hand right this minute but you can go there and do a search. Btw, I am a capitalist and I don't condone killing innocent people so maybe we need to be more careful about where and when we fire those rockets. Bush said he values human life in while in India so let's walk the walk with out talk. (I'm former Air Force too so don't jump on my back about it.)

Now having said that, looking at the numbers of how many NRIs currently reside in the United States, how many Indians graduate from our Universities,and the fact that Americans have been the leaders in every industry the world has known, India relishes the opportunity to emerge from its poverty. The people are very driven to change the circumstances in their nation and have the youth to do it.

And before anyone pooh poohs my take on it, I am a double MBA and married to a NRI. Now our students who are graduating from college without critical thinking skills, or writing skills, or 21st century skills need to get off of their asses and see the opportunities in India's huge middle class. Then get out there and compete or shut up and let someone else.

Posted by: Telluride at March 6, 2006 07:35 PM