US elections: four key questions
The writer is an Islamabad-based security analyst
The 56th US elections are being held against the backdrop of an unprecedented global upheaval. Deteriorating global security, a decades-old free-market economic system in an acute crisis and the multiple threats to the human race from rapid environmental degradation have together triggered this global upheaval. This poses the unprecedented threat of global anarchy and perhaps even the beginning of the end of human civilisation. This anarchy can only be averted by a responsible consensus-based global management. Given this there are two scores US becomes a key player in such an effort. One, because Washington has the institutional, diplomatic and financial outreach capacity to play the lead role in crafting such a global consensus. Two, because Washington's security, economic and environmental policies combined with a hubris-based unilateralism has greatly contributed to the current global upheaval.
Hence, it is in this context of a global upheaval and Washington's role that the outcome of the US election, only a week away, will be of unprecedented significance. The new leadership in the White House will have to reverse Washington's damaging policy trends of the Bush decade. Those ranged from the imperial policy ways of pre-emptive regime-change to promotion of nuclear apartheid; from driving a deeply destructive psychological and political wedge along religious lines through the misconceived post-9/11 policies to accentuating Muslim rage through the illegal invasion and subsequent destruction of Iraq.
Given how crucial a role the next man in the White House will be playing in global affairs, there are many questions arise relating to the election outcome. Four are particularly significant.
One, who is likely to win? If the polls are to be believed the answer to this is obvious. For almost three weeks Obama has been leading the polls. His lead now is in double digits. But polls have to be read carefully, especially if the "Bradley effect" is factored it. Some years ago there was a guy named Bradley in California who was running for office. He was way ahead in the polls but lost badly in the elections. This indicated that, to be politically correct, people say one thing at the polls, but the results don't reflect it because they decide otherwise in the election. So, some political pundits argue that Obama may be vulnerable to the Bradley effect.
The Bradley effect notwithstanding, there are also valid reasons to put Obama ahead of McCain. The impact on voter behaviour of the current economic crisis is likely to be significant. It seems to have trumped the "fear of the terrorist" that contributed significantly towards George Bush's last electoral victory. Then, through effective fear-mongering and a deteriorating global security situation, the voter behaviour was dictated by a "siege mentality." That made them vote in 2004 for the man whom they knew and saw as tougher against terrorism. 2008 is different. Bush's policies have not made the average American feel any safer. Even if "homeland America" is now safe, still fear of a gathering "terrorist storm" ready to attack America any time is one actively promoted by the Bush administration itself. It's been a self-indictment of sorts. Americans may therefore want change for better management of security affairs.
But perhaps the more significant development that in the voter's mind could logically take precedence over the question of security is the question of the economy. The financial crisis which has hit the voters' wallet is actually much closer to the bombs that explode thousands of miles away. And for now for the American voter the "wallet hit" seems to hurt more. This appears to be working to Obama's advantage. In fact, since March he had been warning of the impending crisis. Eight years of Republican mismanagement pushing for freer and freer market, has been largely responsible for this crisis.
The second question to follow from the first would be what elements, if there are any, can upset the polls' calculations? A significant element that could upset the calculations would be if, through excessive use of race and religion against Obama, his opponent John McCain can actually activate the somewhat dormant White America's prejudice against blacks and also a more widely spread, even if for now latent, American fear of the "militant Muslim." Until now the McCain campaign has been restrained in stoking the fires of racial and religious prejudice. The other factor could be some major high casualty terrorist attack targeting Americans. Of course, the ultimate passport to electoral success for McCain, the capture of Osama, is as remote a possibility as the Cuban leader Fidel Castro or Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez supporting a McCain candidacy!
The third question related to the outcome would be, what is the specific nature of the foreign policy challenge the new occupant of the White House must successfully address? The answer is that he will have to lead the way towards instilling the discipline and culture of dialogue, genuine multilateralism and consensus-based global rule of law within the US policy-making and policy-making influencing community. That alone will be the way forward towards expedited and viable resolution of issues flowing from terrorism and specifically of Pakistan-US tensions, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, dialogue with Hamas and with Hizbullah and finally the nuclear row with Iran. The world's political problems require from the White House the speed and skill that is now being multilaterally applied to respond to the current economic crisis.
Washington's policy of opting for one-item engagement with countries like Iran, North Korea and Syria, and even to some extent Pakistan, has repeatedly proven counter-productive. For example the policy of addressing exclusively the nuclear question with Iran or the predominantly focused on militarily wiping out what Washington believes are terrorist training camps in Pakistan's tribal areas." This one-item approach has to be transformed into a wider engagement process embracing the totality of the context within which problem issues emerge within these countries. Hence, a peace process which embraces regional security, resolution of outstanding political conflicts, economic security and energy security should be adopted.
In a multilateral world there are new emerging global powers. The global powerbase is broadening and shifting to Asia, especially to China. The current financial crisis has accelerated this shift. In tackling global recession China will be the lynchpin in a strategy to tackle the threat of an impending global recession. Yet, Washington still has a lead responsibility in setting the right global affairs towards the distortion of which successive US administrations have actively contributed. While 21st-century diplomacy still requires the backing of force, it is the use of soft power economic which often guarantees greater chance of policy success.
The fourth question, and for Pakistan an important one, would be whether a Republican or Democratic president will be a more advantageous interlocutor for this country? The primary answer to this lies within Pakistan itself. How effectively do we negotiate for and are able to promote Pakistan's interests depends on skilful diplomacy, sound politics and governance at home and our use of the leverages available to us at this juncture. To some extent, the better interlocutor will also be the one who embraces the 21st-century negotiation tools, one who engages in broader engagement processes and not narrow one-item agendas.
This debate on whether the Republicans or the Democrats are "better" for Pakistan betrays a lack of understanding of how nations seek to promote their foreign policy interests. There are some lessons for Pakistan in the way Indians pursued their nuclear deal and their trade and defence interests with successive US administrations. It is a tribute to India's skilful diplomacy and politics that while the Democrat Clinton initiated in late 1998 the beginning of a strategic opening with India, the Republic Bush was keen to practically implement this strategic relationship.
Finally, in the post-US phase the critical question will be if from past strategic blunders influential US strategic thinkers, with influence on policy-making, have learnt any appropriate strategic lessons. The recognition that global security is truly indivisible and the days of constructing security and economic prosperity within a unilateral or even a US-European context are gone can only come from such strategic learning. With proliferation of frustration, violence, the power to kill, including the negative fallout of mismanaged shared spaces between peoples of different races and religions either in Europe, in India or elsewhere, there is a need for a genuine and urgent paradigm shift on how the White House will view the challenge of global security and prosperity.
Email: nasimz[email protected]
As America votes Pakistanis cast a wary eye
When the moderator in the vice-presidential debate earlier this month asked whether a nuclear Iran or an unstable Pakistan posed a greater threat to the United States, neither Joe Biden nor Sarah Palin cared to take issue with the question. Nor did they point out that one of the two countries happened to be a longstanding friend of America.
Attitudes like this explain why, for all the attention the election campaign is receiving in Pakistan's media, many people are viewing it with deep cynicism. Indeed more and more Pakistanis believe that it won't make much of a difference whoever wins because the domineering American approach that they have become accustomed to, and dislike, is unlikely to change. This mood of cynicism has been reinforced by the latest dip in ties between the two countries. Dramatic ups and downs are a familiar feature in a relationship, historically characterized by almost predictable cycles of engagement and estrangement.
The new low comes in the wake of increasing cross-border incursions by US forces into Pakistan's border zones, where Washington believes a reconstituted Al Qaeda is now ensconced. These attacks have inflamed public opinion and evoked protest across the board. And for all Washington's public assurances about respecting Pakistani sovereignty, missile strikes have continued. This has only intensified questioning of Pakistan's support for the US-led war on terror, as evidenced in the recent debate during the special session of parliament.
For the Pakistani public the utterances of the two presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama have neither been reassuring nor substantially different from each other, when it comes to how to deal with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Both seemed to have vied with the other to demonstrate that they will come down harder on so-called terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan, without however outlining a strategy on how they might elicit the consent and cooperation of Islamabad.
This tough talk may simply be campaign rhetoric, but it reflects for many Pakistanis a disturbing continuity with the approach of the Bush Administration, especially in its twilight months. People in Pakistan have also followed with great dismay the debates in which the candidates have shown a remarkable lack of understanding, much less appreciation, of the human and political price that Pakistan has paid for being a frontline state.
The most common Pakistani perception of the US today is that it is a self-centred power that shows little concern for the interests of other nations, and uses and discards its allies according to the demands of the moment. Historical experience testifies to this view. Relations between the United States have been episodic and transactional, driven by shifts in Washington's geopolitical interests, and never really regarded by the American side as intrinsically important.
For all this, Pakistanis recognize that the US will continue to be Pakistan's most critical bilateral relationship - other than China - even if they disagree whether or not the renewed focus on their region promised by both Presidential hopefuls, is a good thing or not. This in turn determines what expectations they have of the next president.
A key challenge for the new administration will be how to repair its image and standing in a country that is regarded as so critical to regional and global security. The way the US is perceived can, after all, affect the amount and quality of cooperation it can get from a Pakistani government. For example, the swift humanitarian assistance the US delivered after the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan helped at the time to change public views of America in a positive way. It underlined that it is not impossible to trump cynicism with a generous dose of altruistic medicine.
What Pakistanis would like to see above all is the US radically overhaul its strategy in the region, as the firm consensus is that present policy has failed. Instead of enhancing Pakistan's security and that of Afghanistan, Washington's militaristic approach has widened the conflagration. It has pushed the conflict deeper into the Pakistani heartland, destabilizing the country. Current US policy, with its over reliance on the military approach, has multiplied enemies and spread radicalization. If this is continued, it risks submerging the region in a whirlpool of chaos and anarchy and mire Washington in a war without end.
A new strategy is needed that is truly holistic, and one that relies more on soft rather than hard power. The first step is for the United States to redefine its goals. So far Washington's objectives have been so expansively framed and pursued as to make them unachievable. It has been trying to do several things simultaneously; eliminate terrorists, defeat the Taliban, transform Afghan society and take on tribal chiefs and traditions. This has resulted in a growing fusion between Pashtun nationalism and Muslim radicalism. It has also stoked the impression that the very presence of the US in the region is a threat to the Islamic way of life.
The United States should instead shift emphasis to political accommodation and development to win hearts and minds. Political solutions should replace bombing campaigns and efforts launched to bring the Taliban into a reconciliation process.
It also needs to demonstrate in deeds not words that it cares about the well-being of the Pakistani people beyond the elimination of terrorism and that it is willing to help in ways that Pakistanis want. Pakistan's stability depends not just on containing extremism and militancy but on strengthening the economy and on addressing its long running adversarial relationship with India.
The US needs to change the way it thinks about aid. All too often aid has been seen by Capitol Hill as a quid pro quo with Pakistan expected to deliver on what Washington wants in prosecuting the so-called war on terror. This has two problems. First it ascribes to the rather modest aid a salutary impact that ordinary Pakistanis have simply not experienced. Second it offends national sensibilities, as purely transactional relationships are seen to be devoid of principles and shared objectives.
Economic help should be construed more in trade terms than in aid. A transformative step would be to give Pakistan's clothing and textiles--the lifeblood of the economy-- access to the American market on a preferential tariff, in line with other countries from the developing world. Or waive tariffs altogether for a specified period. Increased trade and exports create jobs and durable income. Aid usually does neither.
The US also needs to overcome its traditional reluctance to become involved in the subcontinent's disputes. It should launch a diplomatic initiative aimed at reaching a broad accommodation between India and Pakistan, including a resolution of the 61 year old Kashmir issue. This would help shift the Pakistan army's focus from a conventional threat from India, long its overarching priority, to counter-insurgency.
For most Pakistanis however, the litmus test of the next American administration will be whether it is prepared to treat Pakistan with respect. In the final analysis this intangible may count for as much as finding the right mix of trade and aid that goes beyond advancing America's own interest. If there is a consensus in Pakistan about future dealings with the US, it is that the advent of a new Administration will offer a window of opportunity for Islamabad to recalibrate relations with Washington on the basis of national honour, respect and reciprocity. If the new American president could understand that, it would be a major step forward for such a critical relationship.
The writer is currently a fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics and a former envoy to the US and the UK. This was adapted from a commentary broadcast on the BBC
American dream: end or beginning?
The writer is a freelance journalist with over twenty years of experience in national and international reporting
America polls for a president next Tuesday. Obama's enemies insist he's a Muslim; Barack Obama fights back keeping the 'M' word out of his life. He's visited churches and synagogues, but not mosques. He's loath to be seen in the company of headscarved women for fear that his middle name 'Hussein' could ruin his chances of becoming the first black US president.
Meanwhile, his running mate Senator Joe Biden shoots his mouth off with a scary warning. It involves Pakistan. The Democratic vice-presidential candidate knows something that most of us don't know. He has received secret briefings from the top US intelligence outfits. And seen the gathering storm coming closer. "Mark my words," he tells the Americans. "Be prepared to stick with us ... we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him (Barack Obama)." According to the Wall Street Journal "The most obvious interpretation of this ramble is that an Iran-Israel confrontation is coming, and that if Obama is president, America will sit it out with, at best, words that do nothing to support Israel or deter Iran." But the ABC news channel gives Biden's warning another twist: The threat will originate from "the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border."
Should Obama become the next president, will he attack Pakistan? The question has already been answered by Obama himself. Yes, he will. So, how the future relations pan out between Islamabad and Washington DC require no brain surgery. If we need money, arms and American goodwill, then jolly well, we will have to do what the new president – Obama 44, or McCain 71, tells us to do.
What's age got to do with it? Plenty. The American dream is not only to make money but also to live long enough to enjoy it. Hence, John McCain says that even though he's "older than dirt and have more scars than Frankenstein," old is gold, so people should vote for him. If he wins, he'll be the oldest president of the United States. And guess what? Roberta, 96, will be the oldest First Mom. She's in fine health but thinks her son needs a "miracle" to win. Her twin sister Rowena goes a step further and declares that her nephew has no chance of becoming the next president. "He's losing," she tells the press.
The McCain women – mom and aunt, make John look like a spring chicken. Just four years away from scoring a century the twins are lucid, beautiful and perky. The doubting Thomases who worry McCain is too old to become their president are re-thinking after watching these two dames talk like two enthusiastic teenagers. There must be something in the genes, they argue, that dilutes the age factor. So what if you're 71, you still can make a great president, parrot the Republicans.
The other presidential hopeful Barack Obama has no mother. She died from cancer at age 53. She was white. She never lived to see her son enter politics, though she saw him graduate from Harvard Law School with honours. Obama was raised by his white grandmother who is 86 and dying. Obama cancelled his campaign for two days to be with her in Hawaii. His mother died because she had no health insurance. He's sworn if he becomes the president he will make sure that 50 million Americans who can't afford to buy health insurance will get access to it. He has also promised to "spread the wealth" rather than concentrate it in few hands as the Republicans have been doing, making the rich richer, and the poor, poorer.
Sarah Palin is an enigma. She is either loved or hated. Whatever the case, the latest gossip on her is the phenomenal cost of her wardrobe coughed up by the Republican Party to make their vice-presidential-candidate appear swooningly sexy before crowds. She stuns. Like a Barbie doll, she's been accessorized and dolled up costing $150,000 and setting the wags talking. All those gorgeous leather jackets – flaming red and black and tight fitting skirts have been bought from high-end stores. One makeup and hairdo session cost $4,716.49.
Despite such glitzy tales emanating from the presidential candidates, America may be heading for a train wreck. Bankruptcies, foreclosures and credit charge-offs are at their highest levels in recent memory. Unemployment is rising, showing no sign of abatement. Business profits, as a percentage of GDP, are at their lowest level in 40 years. Manufacturing has left the US and has been outsourced overseas.
Americans are therefore veering towards "Change you can believe in" which is Barack Obama's slogan. They are done with the Bush presidency. But while Obama may appeal to the Americans who want a new beginning, his foreign policy is not going to be any different from that of his predecessor. It is a well-known that when American interests abroad factor in, there's no difference of opinion between Republicans and the Democrats. Both are America-centric and therefore unanimous in their foreign policy matters.
Eight years ago, on a cold blustery January morning, we watched George W Bush sworn in before the nation. His father, President H W Bush stood close by, wiping a tear of joy. He was the happiest and luckiest dad in the world. His son was taking over from the man who had humbled him. Bill and Hillary Clinton walked down the stairs, holding hands, fading into the abyss of nothingness. That night, Laura Bush in her red Chantilly lace and silk satin with crystal beading, was the belle of the inaugural ball. She glowed as she and the president in his tuxedo swirled like a pair of swans late into the night celebrating their victory.
It was the golden age of America. Bill Clinton was leaving behind a couple of trillion dollars in the treasury. The stock market was fantastic. College geeks were becoming millionaires overnight in the dot.com world of business. Immigration was at its peak – men, women and children were queuing up to come to the land of plenty to live their American dream. I was one of them. Jobs were plenty; racism was scant. One was not racially profiled for having a name like 'Mohammad,' or being of 'Pakistani origin.' One was not discriminated for being a Muslim by those wanting to hire you. Few had then heard of a country called 'Pakistan.' Even the president-elect George W Bush didn't care to know who the president of Pakistan was. General Pervez Musharraf was his lowest priority as was Pakistan.
On September 9, 2001, everything changed in a blink. People distanced themselves from 'Arab-Asian-looking foreigners;' Pakistani immigrants seeking a job never got an interview call from prospective employers despite floating their resumes right, left and centre. Islamic centres and mosques came under surveillance while many Pakistanis were arrested for petty crimes, imprisoned and finally deported home. It was humiliating and heartbreaking for the families of many who had made America their home, never dreaming they would one day be kicked out.
Suddenly Pakistan was in the news on every TV channel. Cities like Quetta and Peshawar were being mentioned as though all Americans were expected to know their geographical location. It was surreal for a Pakistani living through these dark times in America. Many packed up and left for home, unable to bear the discrimination at workplace and neighbourhoods, while others moved to the security of South Asian ghettos.
Striking fear at the heart of Powell, Bush's former secretary of state who whipped up hysteria against Muslims after 9/11, was a photo of a mother grieving beside the grave of her 20 year old son. Engraved on the tombstone was the name of Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, his awards -- the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star -- and a crescent and a star to denote he was a Muslim. "His Muslim faith did not make him not want to go to Iraq," his father Feroze Khan told the press. "(But) He looked at it that he's American and he has a job to do."
Colin Powell went on "Meet the Press" recently and talked about the tragedy. He did not approve of John McCain and Palin lying about Obama being a Muslim in a bid to prejudice the ordinary American voter declaring that millions of Muslims around the world are being "offended by the slimy tenor of the race against Obama."
Obama, if he wins next Tuesday needs to change his views on ordinary Pakistanis who till now have been misunderstood by his predecessors and the American administration. Make friends not enemies of us.
Email: [email protected]
The land of the free
By by Aakar Patel
Whether or not Barack Obama becomes president, his story demonstrates the greatness of America. Few other nations could produce his narrative. Obama is a black man in a society that was forcibly integrated in his early years, and where his community has been loathed for centuries.
He is a senator, and the presidential nominee of America's largest party. America's presidents have all been white, Protestant and male -- except for one, John Kennedy, who was Catholic. So it would be a stretch to see Obama, one man, as representing American egalitarianism. But it would not be incorrect.
Obama is not the nominee of a select group of powerful people. Sixteen million Americans voted for him in the Democratic primaries where he defeated Hillary Clinton (who also got 16 million votes). That is what separates America from other nations that have also had minorities as leaders. Obama represents change in America.
Till 1954, America was legally a segregated society and whites had their own schools and reserved seats on public transport. Blacks had separate facilities, toilets and even bars and restaurants. Black military units were separate from white and in some states marriage was disallowed between the two races.
Even after a court ruling struck down segregation, America's south remained a society where blacks were unequal citizens. The movement for civil rights in the 1960s under Martin Luther King ended the remnants of state racism, 100 years after the American Civil War ended slavery in 1865.
The Democratic Party's nomination contest this year was unprecedented because its top contenders were a black man and a woman. Other nations also have a history of minorities or women as leaders. India has a Sikh (a community most Indians consider a part of the wider Hindu faith) as prime minister. But not even Manmohan Singh would believe that he would have got the job if prime ministers were directly elected.
Singh is in power because he is the nominee of the Congress Party's leader, Sonia Gandhi. It could be argued that in electing Sonia Gandhi leader of the Congress Party, India showed its greatness. She is Italian by birth, Roman Catholic and was married to a Parsi. But Sonia Gandhi's true power lies is her name. She is the inheritor of a legacy that legitimises her. Sonia Gandhi's policies can never be her own; she must repeat the Nehru-Gandhi family doctrine.
Obama stands for himself.
South Asia is a world leader in having women leaders, with Indira and Sonia Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Chandrika Kumaratunga in Sri Lanka and Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia in Bangladesh. All are heirs of their father's or husband's political adoration. This is not to say that these women were incompetent. In her 50s, Benazir became the finest, most mature and most competent leader in Pakistan -- and one of the best in the world. The terrorists who killed her knew what she represented. She became a superior leader to her flawed father in every way, but till she was able to build herself she had to use his name.
There in an exception in India to inherited power and that is Mayawati, leader of India's biggest state, Uttar Pradesh (population: 200 million). Mayawati is a Dalit (an untouchable, as loathed in India as blacks were in America). She is from a poor family, single and the most powerful leader her party has ever had. She has put together an amazing coalition of Dalits and Brahmins to rule the state, defeating Mulayam Singh Yadav's coalition of Muslims and peasants.
But Mayawati's votaries are those of her community. The Brahmins are associated with her because they see the alliance with Dalits as a pragmatic way to achieve power. That is what separates her rise from that of Obama's. The majority of Barack Obama's supporters are white. Blacks are only 12 per cent of America's population. Without the support of whites, Obama would not be where he is. Obama's constituency is Americans and not any particular group. Obama's rise marks the decline of the Republican Party's ideology, which is being forced by Americans to reinvent itself.
The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln, the man who ended slavery. But at the turn of the 20th century the party was racist. Republicans leaned on the federal nature of America to resist integration, citing the rights of individual states. This drove black Americans to vote for the Democratic Party, angering southern whites who used violence through the Ku Klux Klan.
In the 1960s, as racism became increasingly hard to defend, two men changed the nature of conservatism in America, the presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and the editor of a small magazine, William Buckley. They defined a new conservatism that centred around strong resistance to communism, strong resistance to an increase in the size of government, and Christian values. The movement reached its peak during the presidency of Ronald Reagan (1980-88), the most revered figure in American conservatism.
The collapse of communism and a broad consensus between Democrats and Republicans on the size of government under the centrist Bill Clinton led to the crystallising of the Christian identity in the 1990s as defining the Republicans. Under George W Bush, opposition to abortion and homosexuality became the cornerstone of the Republican Party's domestic policy and was responsible for the strong conservative turnout that helped Bush defeat John Kerry in 2004. But even this idea is withering.
The Republican Party's nominee, John McCain, is actually a moderate on abortion and a liberal on homosexuals' rights, but in this campaign he has constructed a more conservative position to appease Southern voters. The man who naturally represents Americans on social issues and increasingly on economic ones is Barack Obama. Americans are turning uniformly liberal and less influenced by race. This is the seminal change that Obama represents.
More bankers and lawyers now support and donate to the Democrats than the Republicans, whose base is rural America. Republican values are now spread by conservative columnists and talk show hosts like Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, who are not intellectual. They are angry and their rhetoric is similar to political discourse in Pakistan and India.
The founder of the modern conservative movement, Buckley, was embarrassed by the shrieking that passes as conservative debate. Buckley's brightest protege, David Brooks, is supposed to be one of the New York Times' Conservative columnists, but could be mistaken for a liberal -- so repelled is Brooks by what conservatism has come to represent. Incidentally, Brooks was denied editorship by Buckley because he is a Jew.
In America, college-educated professionals lean towards Democrats because of the party's liberal social policy and fairly conservative economic policy. Bigotry is being defeated in America by this shift.
The American constitution was produced by farseeing men in 1787. For more than 150 years, it did not fully produce the greatness it held for almost two centuries. But it is revealing itself to a population that is in alignment with its great egalitarianism.
India also has a great constitution, but it has only begun the journey that America is close to ending. Pakistan has a constitution which violates fundamental human rights, including that of freedom of religion (Second Amendment) and the right to equality (Article 41.2).
It is unlikely to produce a society from which a figure like Obama can rise.
The writer is a former newspaper editor who lives in Bombay. Email: aakar. [email protected]