Herald View: What a weakening United States of America means for India

Trump is the weakest US President in recent times and the global world order has changed. The US, notwithstanding its military and financial muscle,has ceased to be the only arbiter of global disputes

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
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NH Web Desk

Few US Presidents have faced such a backlash in recent times as Donald Trump following his summit meeting with President Putin of Russia in Helsinki. Even as staunch an ally as Newt Gingrich described the US President’s initial statement that he believed Putin more than US Intelligence agencies as treasonous.

Newspapers went to town with insulting headlines stating that Trump is Putin’s poodle. For once, even Fox News was unable to defend POTUS.

Though Trump later said he ‘misspoke’ and said he agreed with American intelligence agencies’ findings that Moscow had interfered in the US presidential elections, the damage had been done. Putin had the US President saying on camera that he believed Putin more than his own country’s agencies.

Speculation that Putin and Russian intelligence have incriminating evidence against Trump that could destroy his political career have circulated since his election and Helsinki appears to have cemented it.

But amid the clamour of treason and withering away of the American Deep State on the social media, one thing has become clear. Trump is the weakest US President in recent times and the global world order has changed. The US, notwithstanding its military and financial muscle, has ceased to be the only arbiter of global disputes.

New Delhi should also take a leaf out of their books and strive for an independent and non-partisan foreign policy which has served India well in the past. Establishing strategic defence relations with the US at the cost of neighbours and time-tested ally Russia will not benefit India in the long run.

The Russian intervention in Syria on behalf of Bashar al-Assad and strengthening of the regime’s hold on distant parts of the West Asian country is a pointer. As is Washington’s climbdown vis-à-vis Pyongyang. Just before the Helsinki talks, Trump had admonished the US’ NATO allies for not sticking to their commitment to spend at least 2 per cent of their GDP on defence.

While dropping hints that he wanted it raised to 4 per cent, he made it clear that the United States of America was tired of footing bills for Europe’s defence. On the other hand, he reprimanded European nations for conducting trade and business with Russia.

While the US is struggling to contain an ascending Russia and a determined China with which it has entered into a trade war, its trade relations with North American Free Trade Agreement partners of Canada and Mexico, and European allies are also at their lowest. Moscow and Beijing have played their gambit, waiting for the opportune moment to assert themselves.

New Delhi should also take a leaf out of their books and strive for an independent and non-partisan foreign policy which has served India well in the past. Establishing strategic defence relations with the US at the cost of neighbours and time-tested ally Russia will not benefit India in the long run. It’s time policy makers in South Block recalibrate India’s foreign policy goals and strategy.

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