The November Surprise
Rajeev Srinivasan on why the Obama visit is likely to be a disaster for India
Bitter experience has convinced me to be wary of dignitaries' state visits – usually no good comes of them. I was terrified that Manmohan Singh's so-called First State Visit would culminate in something negative. Fortunately nothing much happened. Now I am extremely worried that Barack Obama's visit to India in November is likely to end up in a major setback for India's national interests.
There is a tradition of 'October surprises' in the US: just before the biennial November elections, one of the parties (usually the incumbent) is accused of coming up with some ruse – often a crisis – that enables it to come out smelling of roses, thus swaying public opinion in its favor, and thereby winning the elections.
This year, indications are that Obama and the Democrats will lose their majority in the House of Representatives (the lower house) and possibly in the Senate (the upper house) as well. It appears there is no 'October surprise' this time. Just in time for his India visit, Obama will be seen as a lame-duck with little chance of getting his agenda through a hostile US Congress (the parliament).