17 February 2006

Will the real superpower please stand up?

I remembered that I meant to write about this issue when Chris Choney commented on my american sports post below. I am disappointed with the way that the USA has chosen to exert its considerable power and influence in the world. It seems to take decisions based on how much its government will profit in monetary terms and everything else be damned. Their actions supporting dictators around the world have resulted in many countries being under some form of military rule, with the general population disenfranchised and unable to pursue life, liberty, or happiness. The american dream has cost the people of Africa and some Asian countries very dearly. The current situation is no better, with the USA stampeding around the world causing great upheaval, truly the 1000 Kg elephant. The underlying reasons for this doormat-like treatment of the world are that the leaders of the USA see themselves and their country as separate from the world, the vast oceans disconnecting them from the rest of mankind. The politics causes them to think in terms of just the next 4 years and they decide to pollute the environment, increase greenhouse gases, and in general degrade the quality of life for everyone else and ensure an Earth bereft of many species. They are just not willing to sacrifice a small percentage of economic growth to ensure the future. Of course, they may be right, and we may find alternative sources of energy / planets to move to with all of the hightened economic activity, and I hope that this is the case.

I was one of these people who thinks that should India become a superpower, we would behave differently from the United States. But would that really be the case? In order to gain such power we have to make decisions that are quite difficult given our moral standpoint of 'satyameva jayate' (truth alone triumphs). In order to keep such power we have to make decisions that will compromise on our basic belief systems, as the next potential superpower will have to be stopped from reaching our stage. I hope this is not the case, and that we will manage a multipolar world where powerful nations are not engaged in denying technology and education to weaker nations, but are active participants in the development of these nations. The dream of the United Nations is to have a peaceful and prosperous world, and this should be the dream of any superpower. India does not have such clout in the world yet, and it remains to be seen whether it ever will. If it does, I hope that it acts differently from the superpowers of the past and tries to think about the long term future of the world, not just what would keep its politicians in office after the next 5 years. I wish such a country would keep the dream of Pandit Nehru alive, with armed conflicts giving way to peaceful negotiations among the enemies. The United Nations was created so that nations would not have to go to war with each other but could iron out their differences over a few pints of New York's best bitter.

Why should India be any different from the USA? The attitude of the people themselves is different, with the study of the impact of any decision involving the whole world as well as taking into account the opinions of various factions. This is necessary for survival within India itself, as every day people have to deal with others who may not speak the same language, have the same religion, etc. This creates a mini-UN that all Indians have to negotiate even as they are taking their first baby steps. India is a superpower in cricket, generating most of the revenues as well as the fans. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has recently been throwing its weight around as a result to ensure a more equitable distribution of profit. To do this, they want to play more games with the top cricketing nations, and less with the developing nations. So Bangladesh is out in the cold because their visits to India do not generate as much money as, say, Australia or England. This would be good for profits, but how about developing the game of the other countries? The weak sides can't play each other all the time, that way they do not learn anything. More competition is good for the game as it spreads in different countries and the Indian board should not just focus on narrow interests as the US government is doing. Well, since they just started, maybe they will think of spreading the game in other countries as well, but right now, the Indian board is doing things in its own best interests, not necessarily world interests. I support them in their stand to make the distribution of matches more equitable, as the cricketing seasons seem to revolve around the convenience of Australia and England right now, but they should definitely arrange to play teams that are not as strong, otherwise they will never get better. Of course, cricket and the world stage may be completely different things, but it is the attitude of the people running it that are in question here.

In conclusion, I think that the next superpower has to be a mature country that takes into account the aspirations of the world and not just its leaders. I think that probably India would do a better job than the USA when it gets to this position, because it already has to do it for one-sixth of the world population and so it has lots of experience. As long as the Indian cricket board is not running the government at that time :)


lova said...

right on point, mate ! A concerted effort for more balance in the world should be THE focus point of any world power because it would be beneficial for themselves first. No more worries about illegal immigration,unsustainable debt,untraceable pollution and general dislike from the rest of the world. As you know, the cricket world is a bit lost on me but I for one, don't have much issue with scheduling more matches between superpowers to generate revenues. What they do with the profits is the crucial part ( i.e. build a strong league where people from any nations can compete). Anyhow, great post ! Be ready for more scrutiny from Big Brother from now on :-).

Chris Choney said...

Great post my friend. I appreciate alternative views. Your posts are always written with a basis of hope underlying your thoughts. Hope for a better world, hope for humanity, and the eternal search for truth.

Andrew said...

Nothing would make me prouder than for my own country Australia to determine the balance of power. We are less financially motivated than the US. I hope my fellow Australians will have more children now and in the future so we can grow a big enough population, couple this with economic and military growth and Australia would be very formidable indeed.