Biden is off the mark on xenophobia

Apart from poor diplomacy from a leader committed to strengthening the US’s global sway, Biden's statement is off the mark. (REUTERS)
Apart from poor diplomacy from a leader committed to strengthening the US’s global sway, Biden's statement is off the mark. (REUTERS)

Summary

  • US President Joe Biden clubbed India with China, Russia and Japan as countries he claimed were too “xenophobic” for their own good. Such statements lose him credibility, especially when America’s own vaunted openness seems in such bad shape.

In the heat of elections, politicians tend to say stuff that can’t be backed up. In the US, President Joe Biden clubbed India with China, Russia and Japan as countries he claimed were too “xenophobic" for their own good. “Why is China stalling so badly economically, why is Japan having trouble, why is Russia, why is India, because they’re xenophobic. They don’t want immigrants," Biden was cited as having said. 

Apart from poor diplomacy from a leader committed to strengthening the US’s global sway, his statement is off the mark. India’s economy is not troubled, but expanding fast, and immigration isn’t an economic need in our labour-surplus scenario, unlike the US, which has a tight labour market that’s starved of immigrants by the racist inflections of its politics. True, the US is admirable for being relatively open to incomers. 

But Biden’s battle with his rival Donald Trump, who grimaces at immigration, loses credibility when he makes sweeping statements that are unfounded. As for openness to diversity, India has a long tradition of it, while America has plenty of soul-searching to do over its crackdown on anti-war protests and what signals this “land of the free" is sending out.

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