Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Now They Tell Us

Remember the article of faith across most of society from early 2003 at the latest, whereby George Bush was uniformly hated the world over, and his removal was an essential, urgent prerequisite for healing America's relations with humankind? I'll bet you've heard this line before, unless you spent the past six years in the Amazonian jungle, perhaps.

Well, it ain't necessarily so. People who preferred nuanced reality to articles of faith always knew that in Eastern Europe many people rather liked the American President, many in Africa likewise – and of course, those pesky Israelis demonstrated their general obnoxiousness by thinking him perfectly acceptable.

Now that the nightmare of his presidency is over and past, however, the Economist lets slip that actually, in the world's largest democracy and soon its largest country, Bush was much liked.

WHEN she landed in Mumbai on July 17th as the first front-rank visitor from Barack Obama’s administration, Hillary Clinton, America’s secretary of state, faced an unfamiliar difficulty. India was uncommonly keen on his predecessor, George Bush. In the words of Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, its people “deeply loved” Mr Bush for his efforts to strengthen bilateral bonds between the world’s biggest democracies.
At the heart of this strengthening was a nuclear co-operation agreement that made India an exception to the global counter-proliferation regime and a more legitimate nuclear power. By contrast, many Indians have looked on Mr Obama nervously. On the campaign trail, he threatened protectionism against their outsourcing industry. In office his team has paid more attention to Pakistan. America has also been paying court to China—against which Mr Bush had wanted India as a counterweight.

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