George Soros, Hungarian-American businessman (File photo)
The Indian Express newspaper featured today two reports relating to India’s indirect partnership with George Soros in a worldwide democracy project under the UN umbrella. The main report is behind paywall while the second report titled “UN Democracy Fund launched in 2005 on sidelines of India-US N-deal” is accessible.
The first article titled “In New Delhi, George Soros is old, dangerous and on a watchlist — at UN, he isn’t a problem” is a stunning investigation report by the daily’s National Editor Nirupama Subramanian who did some brilliant truth digging and uncovered that much as the Modi government’s foreign minister S. Jaishankar recently found the American billionaire-investor Soros “old-rich, opinionated and dangerous,” that always wasn’t the case when both were in the business of proselytisation to instil beliefs in democratic values.
This goes back to the time when India and the US were “natural allies” and jointly created a trust fund in 2005 under the rubric UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF) with a mission to promote democracy across the world through local and international NGOs and civil society organisations, “many of which were linked to Soros’ philanthropic empire,” per Subramanian.
Of course, the mother of all ironies is that the Manmohan Singh government and the George W Bush administration conceived the UNDEF project only two years after the US’ invasion of Iraq and within months of the bloody operation in 2004 by American forces in the ancient Iraqi city of Fallujah.
The Faustian deal behind UNDEF was to target China. Curiously, Jaishankar penned an article roughly at that time asserting that India’s China policy aimed to convert that incorrigibly communist country to the cherished values of democracy and liberal internationalism.
Succinctly put, all this only goes to show that the Indian ruling elites pursued a rather cynical trajectory throughout while professing democratic values and marketing the country abroad as the world’s largest democracy. Soros became passé only when he wagged his finger at Prime Minister Modi.
Soros has a consistent record for being at the barricades working for regime change to create comprador leaderships in foreign countries who served US interests (and advanced his own business interests as an investor and hedge fund manager.)
Soros works hand in glove with the US establishment, Deep State and Wall Street. India should have been careful about associating with Soros — even if the Faustian deal was about creating headaches for China’s communist government.
But Jaishankar exaggerated when he called Soros a “dangerous” man. The point is, instigating a colour revolution in India is virtually impossible, given the vastness of the country, its diversity and civilisational traits, the national security state, etc.
Also, foreign NGOs do not have a free hand and their fundings are under close scrutiny. Besides, trappings of democracy, howsoever corrupted and worn out today, continue to distinguish India from classic repressive states.
But beneath that threshold, Soros, perhaps, saw a window of opportunity to create a “level playing field” in Indian politics as the country approached the general election in 2024. This is more or less what has been happening in Turkey, which is heading for crucial parliamentary and presidential elections on May 14.
But then, the strategy that seems to be working in Turkey did not work in Soros’ own native country, Hungary, where a shattered opposition and an amalgam of Christian democratic politics, conservative civic politics and patriotic politics fetched the arch-nationalist PM Viktor Orban yet another landslide victory.
Orban himself listed the “overwhelming force” that he said his party had struggled against in the election — “the left at home, the international left, the Brussels bureaucrats, the Soros empire with all its money, the international mainstream media, and in the end, even the Ukrainian president.”
Basically, at the end of the day, Orban won because of the “structural impediments” to defeating him — pervasive pro-government bias in the public media, the domination of commercial news outlets by Orban allies, a heavily gerrymandered electoral map, etc. Put differently, he won under a system of his own making. There are some similarities to the Indian situation.
Now, the chronicle of colour revolutions shows that if they don’t have conditions to succeed, there’s always a Plan B to create innovative situations where regime remains but things change radically at the policy level under the same old personages who are left in situ.
The Biden Administration tried it out recently with the Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva who returned to power after years in the political wilderness. Biden insisted that Lula should first visit Washington, DC — even before he set out for China. Lula obliged. But the visit to the White House turned out to be a flop.
Biden misread Lula’s intentions and mistook him to be a capitalist roader in a socialist’s clothing. In reality, though, Lula has an ambitious economic agenda to redress income distribution and unemployment, which is also integral to his vision for social transformation with focus on the Afro-Brazilians — the problem of “racial caste”, contact and mixture in northeastern Brazil. (Lula is expected to push for a federal affirmative action programme.)
Suffice to say, Biden had nothing to offer Lula. However, Biden’s Plan B would have a productive outcome when it comes to India. India’s ruling elite traditionally finessed the art of placating the US when differences took a serious turn— such as over the US’ proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. Certainly, the 4-day high-profile visit to India by the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova is well-timed.
However, make no mistake, India also has a strong motivation today to tilt toward the Biden administration. For the first time since the Sino-American detente in the early 1970s, here is an administration that is dominated by the neocons who are openly pursuing hostile policies toward China.
Put differently, the scale of the US-Indian congruence of interests is unprecedented. Indeed, it is highly symbolic that US nuclear capable heavy bombers, including two B-1Bs, are heading to India to participate in the Cope India exercise at this juncture when tensions are spiking around Taiwan.
At one stroke, the forthcoming state visit by Modi to the US assumes profound significance not only in the Asian power dynamic but internationally, as India stands up to be counted as the West’s quasi-ally. The Pentagon must be feeling elated.
We may never know how far this wild swing in Indian policy is a “butterfly effect.” What is obvious is that Soros himself must now stand down. If the thought hasn’t occurred to him, Biden will surely urge him. Either way, Soros ceases to be dangerous.