Feb 20, 2024
Feb 20, 2024
There is a story about two devout friends who swore that they had such common goals and principles that they would stand by each other in dire needs. They went camping and were surprised by a grizzly that entered their camp suddenly. The friend who had a gun, ran away leaving the unarmed one at the mercy of the bear. He lay still feigned death. Supposedly, a bear does not maul or eat a dead person, so the grizzly rolled him over, sniffed him by putting his snout close to his face and then exited the camp dragging away the food package. The armed friend who had sworn a mutual defense treaty returned after watching the departure of the bear and a safe interval and asked the saved one, "What did the bear whisper to you?".
The angry and hurt friend promptly quipped," It told me to beware of false vows of friendships and mutual defense treaties".
India has learnt its second lesson currently and as "Proconsul" could not quote correctly, "Once you fool me shame on you; twice you fool me, shame on me". Russia stood by India for decades, but with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yeltsin's need for IMF money and American approval, the relationship nearly died. Putin has resurrected it but not without warnings. Vajpayee and Brajesh Mishra's grand overtures to America including support for Bush's ABM deployment and serious consideration about sending troops to help the American occupation was applauded by emotionally unbalanced Indians and mavens like Subrahmanyam as the dawn of a new Indo-American rapprochement and technology and defense co-operation. India is peripheral and of little importance to America or its foreign or trade policy. America's primary concern is to have control of Middle Eastern and Central Asian energy resources, eliminate Islamic terrorists and prevent Pakistani nukes from falling into their hands. It also does not want to allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. For all this it needs Pakistan and all his talk of spreading democracy is pure hogwash just like his lying scheme to gut social security, while calling it reform. As the Proconsul said in his inaugural speech he wants the kind of democracy that his four Arab spouses, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan and his sundry concubines in the Gulf States and Pakistan have. India should never forget Lord Palmerston's words which Indira Gandhi the only Indian PM with "cojones" knew, "Nations have no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests". The new sale of F-16s capable of nuclear bomb deliveries, the sale of long range P3-C Orion anti-submarine, surveillance, electronic warfare and super-missile planes to match India's navy and sophisticated helicopters better equipped for high altitude warfare, all under the pretext of combating terror should give India de ja vu of an earlier era where F-104s and phantoms and US supplied tanks to fight communists under CENTO were used against India and East Pakistan in 1965 and 1970-1.
Damon and Pythias stories are myths and rarely occur. The reality is that of Drona and Drupada that became the cause of the Mahabharata war when the humiliated Drupada, who failed to keep his word to share his wealth with his college friend Drona, undertook a Yagna for his revenge and obtained as boons Dhrustadyumna,, the Nemesis of Drona and Draupadi, the lethally beautiful weapon that destroyed the Pandavas and Kauravas who had been the means of Drona's revenge. As the Latin saying goes--Premonitus Premunitus . Forewarned is forearmed and persistent stupid behavior with the hope of different results is the history of India from Islamic and European subjugation to the present. And to paraphrase George Santayana, those who do not profit by experience are condemned to re-live the past.
More by : Gaurang Bhatt, MD