New Delhi , Aug.28 : Manan Dwivedi has presented in the book a comprehensive study of the American Dream, from the early days of the Mayflower Pact and the American Bill of Rights to the present day. The book presents the changes in U.S. foreign policy and the impact of the United States on world affairs.
The book also presents a study of the impact of the role the United States played on the American society itself, including the impact on literature and films.
According to Dwivedi, America, the ideal amalgamation all imaginable races and ethnic clusters was considered the land of milk and honey, but it also saw racial discrimination and gun culture.
The author has studied the impact of the United States on major events that happened since its founding in different parts of the world and their impact on the American society itself.
Major events have been the first and second world wars. Of interest is the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and the US Army's role in World War II, both in Europe and in East Asia. The author has pointed out that following Pearl Harbour and D -Day, U S aircraft factories built nearly seventy thousand planes per year.
After the conclusion of the Second World War, the United States was engaged in a Cold War with the Soviet Union.
The United States fought bitter battles during the Korean War and the Vietnam conflict. In Vietnam, It suffered casualties which made an impact on the American society itself.
The author has pointed out that the coverage of the war in Vietnam shook the American dream. It vehemently challenged and encouraged the counter-war movement in the United States. Hollywood too played its own part in the Vietnam War era.
The Vietnam War was also the American first television war. War correspondents covered the battles held during the war, and because of the impact of such coverage the U S changed its policy and started the policy of having embedded journalists. The My Lai massacre has remained an ugly stain in the history of the West and the battlefields of Vietnam are remembered as the 'Killing Fields" for the American forces.
The author has made a detailed study of the US policy in regional security in West Asia. The film Lawrence of Arabia, presents a narrative of the Western role in the region. The Iran Hostage crisis in the year 1979, the effort to control sources of oil, or 'black gold' gave rise to many actions.
A fundamentalist vacuum was created in Iraq after the American action in Iraq and the death of Saddam Hussein in December 2003 and the situation has not settled down. Dwivedi has made a study of the rise of ISIS and its role in Jehad.
In the Hollywood construct Mad Max the raging fury of the male protagonist Mel Gibson is symptomatic of the American Marines and Seals which seek to find redemption after the demise of Saddam Hussein.
The book has sections on India, South America, and Afghanistan. The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan was followed by action by the Western Powers to evict them in which Pakistan played a major role. The exit of the Soviet Union gave rise to the Taliban, and Al Qaeda and was followed by the attack on World Trade Towers in New York, which saw U S action against terrorism in Afghanistan, and involvement of Pakistan.
The Navy Seal action in Abbottabad led to the assassination of Al Qaeda Supremo Osama bin Laden which had an impact on U S policy in the region.
Dwivedi has presented a detailed study of the Cuban crisis and the letters exchanged between President Kennedy and Nikita Krushchev.
As far as India is concerned, there have been changes in the American foreign policy from the days of Jawaharlal Nehru. Initially, India as a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement had a cold relationship following the American military aid to Pakistan, following its membership of pacts with the West against the Soviet Union, to which Jawaharlal Nehru quipped "I have never heard of a gun that fires only in one direction."
The U S help to India following the Chinese aggression in 1962 had a positive impact. But the stand taken by India during the uprising in East Pakistan and the emergence of Bangladesh gave rise to a confrontationist trajectory.
The U S reaction to the Indian explosion of a nuclear device in Pokhran resulted in a slew of American sanctions on India. But changes and arrangements are being worked out with the operators and the corporates residing in the United States. The April 2016 nuclear security summit brings out a convergence in the realm of nuclear terrorism.
Dwivedi points out that the Indian Diaspora too has played a significant role in the firming of nuclear cooperation agreement between both the nations. The films "My name is Khan and I am not a Terrorist" and "Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam " makes the Indian expatriates in United States part of the moral fibre of the kind and welcoming nation.
President Obama, during his first term, deleted American insistence of mediating on Kashmir as part of the official American policy. . President Obama has realised that India prefers to tackle Kashmir bilaterally devoid of any international mediation and arbitration. There have been positive signals since the visit to India by President Obama attending the Republic Day parade in Delhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the US Congress in June 2016. The 'shadows of hesitancy which have generally mired the India-US relationship, have become a part of the hoary past and it has been supinely replaced by the three C's of "convenience, candour and convergence", says Dwivedi.
The book would be of interest to Indians who want to understand the American mind, and also to Americans who want to see how the world looks at them. America beckons "serendipity "
Book Review: Serendipity and the American Dream, United States' Foreign Policy in a Changing Global Order , by Manan Dwivedi, pages 306, Pentagon Press, Price Rs 1295/
Mr. I. Ramamohan Rao is a former Principal Information Officer of the Government of India. He can be reached on his e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org