When marriages end in divorce and there are children in the equation who are capable of making their own decisions as to which parent they would prefer to stay with, sometimes their wishes are fulfilled by the courts and by the parents themselves if it is deemed to be in the child’s best interest to go one way or the other.
In in-house competitions, at school, for example, two captains are chosen and they pick students to have two teams to play against one another in academic or sporting competitions to see which one is the winner.
Something like this happened in the geo-political cold war after World War 11 between the Soviet Union and America as both countries vied with one another for superpower status. America championed the ideology of capitalism and free enterprise while the Soviet Union was the proponent of socialism/Marxism communism and State control.
In this class division of post-colonial graduates, both superpowers aspired to be the one and only superpower via the number of countries it was able to attract as adherents to the ideology it was offering. A lot of countries that recently became independent in that period when the colonial powers were giving away independence, leaned towards the socialist ideology because they identified America, Britain and the other colonial powers as their former oppressors and slave masters and as in the proverb, once bitten twice shy, making the Soviet Union seemed a reasonable alternative to at least play the diplomatic chess game with.
Also, there were a lot of Third World intellectual and pseudo intellectual academics who obviously suffered from the disease caused by a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, who found it intellectually chic to attack America not even realising that their freedom to speak out was possible because the free world led by America made it possible and that in the politics of the Soviet Union that freedom to speak out was not allowed.
So these political fence-sitters playing for the best deal they could get (from both camps) went out to create a Non-Aligned movement headed by Nehru of India and Tito of Yugoslavia and while that sounds like a brilliant political chess move, was it, really? Or did these pawns outsmart themselves by playing smart with foolishness?
In hindsight and retrospect (which is now) all the countries of the world that aligned with capitalism are atop the geo-political economic pie and all those who bought into the socialism idea, still, after half a century, belong at the lower end of the ladder.
And while India has reached the middle rung on its way to the top, it has not achieved what it might have had it accepted the capitalism way in its entirety considering its human and natural resources. To say when leaders mislead is a strong, incriminating statement – especially when the target is a mythic figure as Jawaharlal Nehru was. Nehru was one of those neo-post colonial intellectuals who in his struggle with Britain came to see the West as his enemy and by extension Russia of the East as an ally.
Not only that, but Nehru was an avowed socialist even before the cold war so that his playing ball with Russia was not because of any special benefits he was receiving from them but simply because ideologically he was one of them and in the proverb, show me your friend and I’ll tell you who you are, we have a classic example in this scenario.
The Non-aligned movement of 120 developing countries was practically handed over to the Soviet Union as adopted orphans with their clandestine socialism via Nehru’s towering presence in the movement. Defenders of Nehru will say it was a quid pro quo act of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours but whatever India got from Russia as payback for its alignment with it, it might have got and did get multiple times the amount from America and the West. Just remittances from Indian expats in the US helped sustain the Indian economy – as it does even now.
For instance, that instead of the military MIG toy planes India got then and still buys now, from Russia, it would have got the futuristic, hypersonic ones that Pakistan and Israel wisely acquire from America. If India, had a viable foreign policy, it would have understood that Israel was able to defeat the Arab world (hypothetically) with 10 American-made fighter planes against the thousand MIGs they had. MIGs – rubber band toy planes – which is why only recently Pakistan shot down one of India’s.
When leaders mislead their people in the manner of the Pied Piper as Putin is doing in Russia right now they should be exposed; so credit to the Russian people that they think not like rats and are protesting his actions and are resisting him.
When Nehru was playing socialist political footsie, millions of his people were doing whatever it took to get to America and plunge into its world of capitalism, while a stamped visa and free plane ticket to Russia even poverty stricken Indians would have refused or refused. And so even today, while rank and file Indians are protesting against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the leadership continues it anachronistic Nehru–esque hypocritical non-aligned policy.
Unfortunately, there are Indians here who think India is right to not vote against Putin, not understanding that it’s a policy that was formed out of the misguided narcissistic thinking of one’s man ego half a century ago. It was Nehru, his family and the Congress party which kept India in a state of socialist backwardness and which is still informing its foreign policy.
L. Siddhartha Orie