There’s an interesting foreign policy contrast currently in the news that graphically illustrates the difference between a country that is confident of its place on the world stage and one whose elites are weak and no longer believe in the nation’s founding philosophy.
Recently, Devyani Khobragade, an Indian consular official, was arrested in New York City on charges of visa fraud. She was accused of bringing a nanny into the country and then paying her much less than U.S. law and the visa application stipulated. The penalty for conviction is up to 10 years in prison.
The arrest outraged the Indian government.
In retaliation, New Delhi has unilaterally removed some security measures designed to protect U.S. diplomats, limited U.S. diplomatic privileges, and demanded the release of Khobragade along with a complete apology from Washington.
There are a number of problems with the Indian response beginning with scale. We arrested a single individual who as a consular employee did not have the diplomatic immunity granted to embassy employees. India’s response targets all U.S. diplomatic personnel and may be putting them in danger.
But what’s important is how the government of India takes immediate and unmistakable steps to protect the person and dignity of its citizens when other governments infringe on what India considers to be their rights.
Contrast that with the actions the Obama administration took when the U.S. ambassador to Libya was murdered along with three other American employees in 2012. Secretary of State Hillary "the hero of Benghazi" Clinton essentially did nothing except try to shift blame for the attack.
The Obama administration did not attempt to mount a rescue while Americans were under attack. In fact, the administration told the military to stand down and leave the ambassador to his fate.
After the attack Obama promised a full investigation and said the perpetrators would be brought to justice. Then nothing happened. And nothing is still happening.
India is more than willing to upbraid an ally when Indian officials feel wronged. The Obama administration wrings its hands and sends the message to our citizens and the world that Americans are on their own after they leave the country.
It’s a pathetic state of affairs that makes a mockery of the United States and everything for which it stands.
I think the government of India is wrong in this case. Khobragade does not have immunity and if she broke U.S. law, she should pay the price. If India is offended, then an equivalent U.S. diplomat should be expelled from India and the Indian officials should work behind the scenes to free their diplomat.
But I’ll tell you this, if I was interested in joining a foreign service I would feel better knowing New Delhi has my back than I would knowing John Kerry and the Obama administration were responsible for my safety.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.
© Mike Reagan