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INDIA: Those Debbil Americans

2 minute read

India’s Prime Minister Nehru last week surveyed the world around him, as he likes to do in rambling speeches to Parliament. He concluded that 1) things are getting worse, 2) the U.S. is to blame. “There is a passion for military pacts,” Nehru said. “Such pacts do change the world, but they change it for the worse . . . The world has fallen into a dangerously simple way of looking at things—that everything and everyone must be Communist or anti-Communist . . . Because a person has a hydrogen bomb, it does not mean that his mind has become as powerful . . . Are we going into this madhouse also, behaving like lunatics like the others?”

Nehru did not like the rearmament of Western Germany, and he did not like the new Turkey-Iraq defense pacts which “have caused new weakness . .. The Middle East is today split into hostile groups.” He thought that Red China should have Formosa; he judged it “certain” that Red China will get Quemoy and Matsu. And he put it to the U.S.: “What are you planning for? The great war to happen?” The new SEATO pact signed at Manila fundamentally “upset any possibility of peace—as well as stability—in the Indo-Chinese area.” Nehru accused “both blocs” of “interference” in other nations’ affairs. “Even if the whole world is fighting,” he went on, “we shall not go to war.” M.P.s drummed on their desktops to signify their approval.

Sometimes, said Nehru, he reads in foreign newspapers that “I am inclined this way—or that”—in the cold war. “The world must realize that I am an Indian, and I am inclined only towards India.” The best guess was that Nehru was just practicing the Song of India he intends to croon at the mid-April conference of Asian-African leaders at Bandung, Indonesia, where he must share top billing with that old spotlight-stealer, Red China’s Chou Enlai. Nehru’s ambition is to establish an “area of peace” around the Indian Ocean. Taking Chou En-lai’s professions of peace at face value, Jawaharlal Nehru is stuck with the thesis that those old debbil Americans must be causing all the trouble. It was getting to be an old song. The words made no sense, but in India the tune was undeniably popular.

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