#8 - JRL 7015
Business Line (India)
January 13, 2003
Miss you, USSR!
By B.S. Raghavan
WATCHING the US President, Mr George W. Bush, and his Secretary of Defence, Mr Donald Rumsfeld, fulminate rudely against the Iraqi President, Mr Saddam Hussein, and the North Korean President, Mr Kim Jong Il, on January 8, I could not but mutter to myself: "Soviet Union, thou shouldst be living at this hour!" For, so long as there was a second superpower, the US was kept under check and made to observe the canons of propriety and decency in dealing with other nations. It took care not to misbehave or cause offence in its international relations, lest it should swell the number of countries in the Soviet fold and contribute to the spread of communist influence - a contingency that it dreaded.
Ever since the demise of USSR, the real nature of hegemonists in power in the US is assuming more and more obnoxious proportions by the day. It will be a mistake to think that this has to do with the character of the Republican administration or the leadership of the present US President, Mr George W. Bush. It is true that Republicans are prone to be carried away by expansionist, even aggressive, exuberance, especially if it furthers the interests and bottom lines of business. It is also true that in Mr Bush, we have a personality which is ingrained in some kind of fundamentalism, going by the euphemism of "moral clarity", which is nothing but looking at the world in terms of right and wrong, black and white, and either-or. However, the American political class and power structure as a whole, vaulting over party labels, are always given to a holier-than-thou, self-centred, self-righteousness, committing egregious transgressions and visiting those of others with harsh condemnation. These tendencies which had morphed into a policy of rampant unilateralism soon after the disappearance of the Soviet Union have become aggravated after the catastrophic events of 9/11. The situation today is that the US has begun running amok, without let or hindrance, and the words and phrases used by its supposedly educated and well-bred top officials against heads and regimes of countries it wants to get rid of by fair means or foul resemble those of some low-grade ruffians forming part of a mafia gang. In the name of terrorism and its own security, it has imposed its doctrine of pre-emptive strikes and hot pursuit, arrogating to itself the authority to decide the place and the timing.
Most regrettably, there is no sign of any country standing up to the US or protesting against outrageous manifestations of arrogance of power. The UK has willingly placed itself in the pocket of the US and chosen to become its enthusiastic camp follower. Present-day Russia, being constrained by its own economic and political problems, and dependent as it is on the US support in solving them, is in no position to antagonise it. Japan has invariably kowtowed to the US regarding it as its mentor in respect of big as well as small issues. India has long ago given up even the pretence of asserting its moral right to demand adherence to basic norms of fair play and restraint by the US. Even those European nations, such as France and Germany, which previously showed some spirit, seem to have turned fatalistic in tune with the ditty "Whatever will be, will be."
The result is that the US chariot, with other nations tied to its wheel, is remorselessly rumbling on in directions of its own choosing.