Sunday, November 7, 2010

Obama in India, part 1

Diwali and even the end of Dusshera will have wait until Obama's gone probably, sorry, but this is too important. As I write this, President Obama is meeting with students at St. Xavier's College in Mumbai, emphasizing the moral imperatives, the responsibility that we all share, and the possibilities. These students probably have never heard an Indian politician say things like this, especially to them.

Here are some images from the pre-visit coverage from Indian TV.
First, the Indian view that the Republican victory in the House in the US is positive news. Not my opinion, but this is consistent with the nostalgia for W. They remember the nuclear deal, but not how he got the world (and the US) into the mess in Iraq, Afghanistan, or the financial crisis.
Setting expectations low. Smart politics.
Excitement about the visit.
The countdown on some channels was day by day, and then minute by minute.
When they first arrived, they had a hard time getting the stairs to the plane. This took a while.
I didn't take any pictures of his interaction with the students unfortunately. Now, though, I have to shake my head as I hear the post-town hall discussion dissecting the performance.

ALL the discussion is about Pakistan, and a little about how there are no "big ticket items" so that means that India has nothing to gain. NOTHING about his call to engage with the world in responsible ways, about his attempts -- which he admits fall short -- to emulate Mahatma Gandhi, or about the need for respect for all people.

More to come.

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