US secretary of state Hillary Clinton only expressed concern and not apologise over the patting down of Indian ambassador Meera Shankar at an airport in Mississippi last week. Ambassador Shankar was pulled out of a security line despite the fact that she had passed through the metal frame without setting off an alarm. Indian embassy officials said Shankar was singled out because of her sari, an unfamiliar dress in this country. She was taken to a VIP waiting room despite staff being told that she was an ambassador, for a secondary screening and patting down by a female Transportation Security Administration agent.
US Homeland Security Secretary (like Indian home Minister) Janet Napolitano found noting new in it; diplomats are subject to the same basic screening as other passengers at US airports." It was a pat-down that followed our procedures, and I think it was appropriate under the circumstances," Napolitano said. "I think what was done by the ... officer was done appropriately and by the book," she added. (Mms Clinton and Napolitano, how about frisking of US diplomats and others on the basis of Vienna conventions on reciprocity etc)
"I am rather surprised by the way the Indian ambassador to the US has been treated. This has happened for a second time in three months," Ineffectual External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna moaned in New Delhi. "Let me be frank, this is unacceptable to India. We are going to take it up with the government of US that such unpleasant incidents do not recur," said Krishna. He added that there were "certain well-established conventions, well-established practices, as to how members of the diplomatic corps are treated in a given country".
The uncivilized and uncouth Americans keep it doing again and again.
In a breach of protocol, former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who is exempted from security checks due to his status, was frisked by an American Continental Airlines at the international airport in New Delhi last April before boarding the aircraft. The former president also had to "surrender" before the staff for a complete body check, the sources claimed.
"This procedure is followed by all carriers flying to the US from most of the countries in the world and there is no exemption to this rule," a statement from Continental Airlines said in the wake of a furore over frisking. It said as all carriers flying to the USA, Continental Airlines must follow TSA requirements and procedures. Aparna of the Continental said Kalam was "very cooperative" and "he happily underwent the entire process".
Defense minister George Fernandes strip-searched twice in Dulles airport in 2004
George Fernandes was strip-searched twice in Dulles airport in the US when he was defense minister and on his way to Brazil in July 2004. Department of Homeland Security officials decided the kurta-clad Indian minister needed to be frisked. After the frisking, he was taken aside for further checking, made to sit on a bench and frisked again thoroughly. There were heated words and the security officer called his supervisor, who told Fernandes to "cooperate".
Fernandes's aides said it was the Indian Defence Minister they were dealing with, but that did not make any difference. There was a protocol official present, but chose not to intervene. A fuming minister vowed to take up the incident with the US authorities, but no formal protest was lodged. This humiliation of our ‘fiery ‘Fernandes would have remained veiled but for its mention by former US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott in his book. From notes from my visit to USA in October, 1980 while posted as ambassador at Dakar (Senegal)
“While most Ambassadors from developing but cultured world personally sign the visas asked by their colleagues, even for private visits, the US and some other ambassadors, which I had not noticed in Dakar issue only ordinary tourist visas, signed by lowly Vice-Consuls. As a result apart from missing extra fuss to which one gets used to unfortunately, 1 was asked but I refused to open my suitcase in New York, when the Customs Officer so desired.
“I strongly feel that on the basis of 'Vienna reciprocity', there is no need to be extra polite and considerate to the American and other diplomats.
“Another unsavoury incident related to a steward's insistence when the plane took off at Houston that I put in the hold an overnight bag, which I was carrying with me to save time from checking in and checking out. The airlines stipulate that it should be within certain dimensions and should go under the front seat, so that the passengers can get out fast in case of an emergency. As the aircraft was practically empty, the handbag was in any case safely placed on the next seat. Many other handbags, I observed, were larger than even the prescribed limits. Nevertheless when reason failed, I defied them to take me off the plane, when the steward and the captain and the chief stewardess threatened to do so. They dared not.
“Mind you, there were many very sympathetic noises from other passengers, which made it easier. But, then there was that very charming air-hostess on New York-San Francisco flight and when famished , having had only a cup of tea since early morning, I barged into the food cabin and aware that lunch would not be served for another two hours, I remarked that if she left the cabin unattended I would burgle it. She charmingly brought a sumptuous breakfast five minutes later. I almost gave her my card to invite her for a dinner in Dakar, with the ocean waves lapping the Residence.
“I also met many other Americans, friendly, relaxed and easy-going. But there was something missing in the whole scheme of things.It is difficult to put it, may be a lack of continuity and assurance, a lack of elegance and order, one sees in European capitals and poorer but cultured countries. “
An American professor once remarked that they had morphed from barbarism (against Red Indians) to high-tech destruction and boorishness.
Many Indians including many film stars like Shahrukh Khan have been treated shabbily in USA.
The only way is tit for tat. But we Indians pretend that our so called politeness covers our general cowardice and petty selfishness. And Indians sell themselves cheap. Scholarships, well paid seminars, book grants and even less. Look at the Indian media hacks and pimps on India’s celebrity and trivia obsessed corporate TV channels.
What Americans and others think of cowardly Indians has been revealed in Wikileaks - Ms Clinton describes India as self appointed front runner for UNSC seat - Ms Clinton, India will get into UNSC not out of any gift from US but because US led West has declined and the East has come up. She still uses the phrase ‘we ,the international community.” It now consists of bankrupt USA and UK.
One Thomas Friedman of New York Times, toast of Indian Express who crowed in November, 2003 that the illegal invasion and brutal occupation of Iraq was the noblest US mission to promote democracy recently said that US must begin nation building at home, fast. (It cannot be done, chum). A national US telephone poll showed that 47 per cent of America’s likely voters said the nation’s “best days are in the past,” 37 per cent said they are in the future. Sixteen per cent were undecided. Just before President Obama was inaugurated, 48 per cent said our best days were still ahead and 35 per cent said they had come and gone. This is a disturbing trend. (It is going to get worse).
Most Americans "Are Ignorant", so admitted former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski to German magazine Spiegel recently.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, 19th cent German philosopher, inspired by Plato's Utopia aka Republic, in turn inspired the evil genius and 20th Cent political philosopher Leo Strauss, at whose feet sat the still influential Neo-Cons and Zeo-cons, stated that Christian love and piety was an outcome of fear. The fear of the strongly built neighbour or the fear of a criminal from a policeman.
Nietzsche believed that it was not possible that a man could genuinely feel universal love, perhaps because of his self-created halo of a 'noble' man. That was perhaps meant for two combatants or knights matching their valour on level ground, not like F-16 bombers against kids armed with slingshots or rudimentary guns.
In his book on what Bertrand Russell calls history of Western Philosophy (West has generally produced linear thought , its real philosophers are ridiculed) he quotes from Shakespeare's King Lear, on the verge of madness:
"I will do such things –
What they are yet I know not – but they shall be
The terror of the earth.
(Exactly what the top US leadership has achieved in Iraq and threatens doing more of the same.)
This is Nietzsche's philosophy in nutshell.
Russell says there are two sorts of saints, saints by nature and saints by fear. The first have spontaneous love of mankind. Because to do so gives him happiness and the second, a frightened man afraid of fear. (Western leaders like Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair would fit the bill).
The use of deception and manipulation in current US policies flow directly from the doctrines of the Leo Strauss (1899-1973). His disciples including Paul Wolfowitz and other Neo-conservatives who drove much of the political agenda of the Bush administration. Wolfowitz, acknowledged that the evidence used to justify the war was "murky" and added that weapons of mass destruction weren't the crucial issue anyway. Grabbing Iraqi oil for nothing was! He had told US Congress that Iraq's development would be financed by Iraq oil revenues.
The US system and power has reached its zenith of power and now lie exposed in an abyss of cheating, chicanery, corruption, hypocrisy and total lawlessness.
The current direction of US led Western civilization, if you can call it so, is hurtling along retrograde evolution of human animal; away from the divine and spiritual moorings and identity as all religions discovered intuitively over millennia to a world of heedless and headless consumerism like an unerring laser towards self destruction, Nuclear bombs and cold nights or climate catastrophes and apocalypse.
Read: Uncivilised State of America published in October 2005