‘CHANAKYA NITI’- COULD IT HELP THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ?


CHANAKYA, KAUTILYA OR VISHNU GUPTA – INDIAN STATESMAN AND PHILOSOPHER

‘CHANAKYA NITI’ :

Chanakya could be described as the pioneer economist of the world. He is known for his shrewdness, astuteness and diplomacy. He may have been influenced by Zoroastrians who had arrived in India from Persia( present day Iran). He became a counsellor and adviser to King Chandragupta(reigned c. 321- c. 297) of the Mauryan Empire in India. King Chandragupta was a contemporary of Alexander the Great. Chanakya was instrumental in helping Chandragupta overthrow the powerful Nanda dynasty at Pataliputra, Magdha. Chanakya is praised for his sound political wisdom and knowledge of human nature. Because of him the Mauryan Empire under Chandragupta and later under ASHOKA( reigned c. 265- c. 238) became a model of efficient government. Chanakya wrote a classic treatise on polity, ARTHA SHASTRA. Artha means property, economics or material success. It incorporates Principles of Economics and Administration. The book discusses monetary and fiscal policies, welfare, international relations and war strategies. His book NITI SHASTRA deals with the ideal way of life. The book CHANAKYA NITI enunciates his policies.

AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY – ‘ HEGEMONISM ‘ :

Dr. Henry Alfred Kissinger who was chief foreign policy adviser and Secretary of State to Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford is described as the architect of American foreign policy which he named as ‘ HEGEMONISM ‘. At the end of the cold war, America has assumed the role of World’s only SUPERPOWER(HYPERPOWER) and is willing to dominate the globe in all aspects including that of being the sole military, political, economic and socio-cultural power.

WHAT IS GOOD FOR AMERICA SHOULD AND IS GOOD FOR THE WORLD :

If Chanakya is called upon to evaluate the performance of American foreign policy, he would naturally first look at the impact of American military spending. The total amount of year 2008 supplemental funding for American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is $ 189.3 Billion and $ 158 Billion is for the Iraq war. The total spending for the Iraq war is $ 617 Billion and would be increasing on a daily basis. The total U.S. casualties in Iraq has reached a grim milestone of 4,000. America fought battles in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and the human toll was very heavy.But, in terms of the costs of waging wars, the present costs are astronomical. Does this military spending boost the national economy and create jobs ? The verdict is that the military spending is draining resources from the productive economy. It has a detrimental impact on many sectors of the economy. It has resulted in slow economic growth, less investment, higher trade deficits and fewer jobs. American economy has now slowed down and currently it is the biggest concern of the American public and the concern for economy is greater than the concern for the future course of war in Iraq.

In the United States, the national debt is expanding by about $ 1.4 Billion a day. It means about $ 30,000 in debt for each man, woman, child and infant living in the United States. Currently, the national debt stands at $ 9.2 Trillion. In the fiscal year 2006, United States government spent $ 406 Billion on interest payments to the holders of the National Debt. The interest payments keep compounding, and could in time squeeze out most other government spending. The national debt is projected to grow beyond $ 10 Trillion by January 2009 when the Americans would have chosen the next President to lead their country.

HOW WOULD AMERICA DEFEND ITS NATIONAL SECURITY ?

American national security will remain hostage to events on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no easy way out. The next President of the United States would not be in a position to pull back the troops in spite of the election time rhetoric. The moment America pulls out of Iraq, the power vacuum would be filled up by Iran which would be against American interests in the Middle East. The situation is much worse in Afghanistan. Their economy survives on foreign support and as of today the government in Kabul rules very little of its territory. America had claimed a big success for its foreign policy in the break up of the State of Yugoslavia and for creating the State of Kosovo. Kosovo has no economy of its own and is currently dependent upon the American and European troops who spend their money while they are stationed there. American military spending in Europe is projected to increase much more on account of the new missile and radar bases it would have in Poland and Czech Republic. None of these foreign policy initiatives for global dominance could help America to balance its federal budget and control its deficit spending which is the root cause of the problems that its economy is facing now. If American economy suffers, it would definitely cause a ripple effect. I am not surprised to hear that the merchants in the New York city are willing to accept payments in EUROS as an acknowledgement of the fact that the U.S. Dollar has become weak and will continue to remain weak in comparison to major global currencies.

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