Former US President Richard Nixon came into prominence as a strong anti-communist crusader in 1952 and became vice president under Dwight D. Eisenhower. At the time he became president in 1968, anti-communism was still a major theme in the US, and anti-China views even more so, especially since China was arming North Vietnam in its battle against American imperialism. Since 1948, the oldest democracy in the world, America, had not recognised the political reality of China. Liberal and intellectual opinion was for recognition, but no Democrat could take this radical step for fear of political suicide.
And no Republican could recognise China because they were staunch anti-communists. How could one recognise the right of the largest, most populous, Communist nation to exist?
In November 1968, in a close battle with Hubert Humphrey, Republican Nixon won the presidential election and walked into the China stalemate. Ping-pong diplomacy was initiated, and in 1972, Nixon went on an official visit to China. Seven years later, America formally recognised China as a nation. This Nixon visit to China has become a political metaphor to describe, according to Wikipedia, “the ability of a politician with an unassailable reputation among his supporters for representing and defending their values to take actions that would draw their criticism and even opposition if taken by someone without those credentials”.
Recognition of the many political, economic and social failures, and new policies to change them, is India’s need today. We have continued for too long in postponing decisions, and governing with a philosophy that is embedded in outdated mindsets. India needs a prime minister who can take bold, non-traditional and non-predictable steps to get us out of our own self-made traps. Fortunately, there is a PM election round the corner, and all those wishing for a better India can vote with their feet, hearts and minds for the candidate of their choice.
There are several prime ministerial candidates on offer, at least 16. Fifteen of them are chief ministers or former chief ministers and one belongs to the world’s oldest political dynasty, Rahul Gandhi. According to three recent opinion polls, Narendra Modi is first on the number of seats in the Lok Sabha list and Arvind Kejriwal brings up the rear with 9 expected seats.
Important policy decisions, as a practical matter, are rarely made by the establishment, by the existing political order. It cannot, because it has too much vested in it. What we as voters need to decide is who among the candidates is best placed to go against the expected Indian grain of lots of discussion and no action. Modi seems to be distinctly different than continued…