'Post polls US policy to undergo change'

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, February 4: | Updated: Feb 5 2008, 01:24am hrs
Aftermath of the Presidential polls would usher in a change in the US foreign and trade policies. The country would not pursue aggressive market-oriented policies, it would become more protectionist in trade and it would go slow in its proposed bilateral and free trade agreements with other countries and regional groups, according to a senior fellow in the US-based Council on Foreign Relations, Charles A Kupchan.

The US would try to come closer to India and would expect more cooperation from India. In disbursement of foreign aid it would be bullish to win over many developing countries, he said.

Addressing a session on After Bush: The Collapse of Bipartisanship and the Implication for US Foreign Policy organized by the apex industry body, CII in collaboration with The Aspen Institute-India in Capital on Monday, Kupchan said: "US is facing a serious downturn in the economy, regional divide is increasing, the wages of the middle class employees is stagnant since 15 years. Globalisation has created problems for the US economy. All these will make it difficult for the new president to operate."

Kupchan further said that the overall global situation would be fluid aftermath US presidential polls. "With the wars with Iraq and Afghanistan, the US has lost its legitimacy. The world now stands divided. It would be difficult for the US to come back to its bipartisanship policy after the presidential polls. Rather it may revisit its political and economic policies that existed in pre-Pearl Harbour days."

He blamed George Bush for creating "a mess in global politics", by following an ideology-based foreign policy. He said that India benefited by Bush's foreign policy as it wanted to win over India to its side after the 9/11 terrorist attack on US and China also benefited from the policy by default as US lost its focus of containing that country.

Kupchan said that John MacKane would likely to emerge as the Republican presidential candidate, but have only 20% chances of winning the Presidential election. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have 50-50 chances of becoming the Democratic Presidential nominee. A democrat was likely to be the next US president, he said.

He termed George Bush as an accident in the US politics and alleged that he overrode the Senate and the Congress and pursed his militarized and unsustainable foreign policy. "I hope that the next president would respect the democratic institutions in the country and pursue a pragmatic policy," he said.

He slammed Bush for creating division within the Republican Party and pushing it to right conservatism. "Bush was motivated to preserve US conservatism and a uni-polar world, which evidently did not work," he said.

He differentiated two terms of Bush presidency, by terming Bush 1 and Bush 2 and said Bush 1 foreign policy was a debacle. In the second term there was some revival, he said.

He said that the Bush administration made some flow of foreign aid to developing countries like India and African countries, only to revive its sagging image.

Kupchan said that the new president would have a difficult task ahead and there may be a period of retrenchment as was witnessed aftermath Vietnam war. US would no longer try to thrust the uni-polar concept but would try to work with nations irrespective of ideologies, with a view to boost its sagging image.

On proposed signing of the India-US civilian nuclear pact, he said that if the deal lapses, the Democrats may revive the pact but may remove some aspects from the original deal which might have proved beneficial to India.