I get why US diplomats don’t publicly comment on human rights issues in India – just becomes catnip for the BJP and its base, who gleefully link it to George Soros, “regime change,” etc; it probably on average just makes things worse.

But US diplomats get paid – by American taxpayers – to offer real, independent analysis to their government. Which is why this, from a Politico piece on the “softly, softly” approach the US has taken toward India, suggests the need for some changes:

“A second State official was more blunt, saying the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi was well-known among diplomats for having “clientitus” — meaning it tends to parrot a host country’s line or at least avoid looking at it through a critical lens.

“Delhi is terrible on any kind of human rights reporting,” the second official said of the embassy there. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.”

This is especially problematic because so many US government officials with responsibility for India and Pakistan seem to have later gone on to become de facto lobbyists needing things from the Indian and Pakistani governments. Hard to imagine a worst set of incentives for producing autonomous or credible analysis. There are plenty of places to get bland, euphemistic takes on India and US-India relations; internal government communications, paid for by the US public, shouldn’t be one of them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s