President Trump is paying a triumphant visit to India. Yesterday he delivered a speech to a cheering throng of more than 100,000. You probably have seen video; this CBS report is reasonably balanced:
Of course, press coverage of the president’s visit is grudging. Reuters, for example, acknowledges the president’s enthusiastic reception but takes a shot at India’s Prime Minister:
Modi, a nationalist who won re-election last year and has shifted his country firmly to the right with policies that his critics decry as authoritarian and ethnically divisive….
Just like Trump, right? Then:
India is one of the few big countries in world where Trump’s personal approval rating is above 50%.
And much press coverage has focused on Trump’s mispronunciation of some Indian words, for which it is hard to blame him. This is the kind of thing that always went unmentioned when reporters were covering Barack Obama.
The main news to emerge from Trump’s visit so far is a $3 billion helicopter sale, part of a move toward making the U.S. “the premier defence partner of India.” While it has been lost in the minutiae of political press coverage, this military purchase reflects one of the most important global developments of recent years. During its early years of independence and throughout most if not all of the Cold War, India was a socialist-leaning and Russia-oriented “nonaligned” nation. More recently, India has adopted more progressive, free-market economic policies, and has turned decisively toward the West. Its alliance with the United States is one of the most positive geopolitical developments of recent years, and it is properly being celebrated by President Trump.
Don’t expect to hear much about that on the evening news, however.