HISTORIA | I ”Wag the Dog” låter presidentens rådgivare allmänheten tro att USA inlett ett krig. Allt för att vinna väljarnas sympati inför ett presidentval.
Snäppet värre är att verkligen inleda ett krig. Och det finns exempel på att det har fungerat i verkligheten.
Det var nämligen vad det självständiga Indiens förste premiärminister gjorde på 1960-talet, precis lagom för att det skulle påverka väljarna i en valrörelse.
Jawaharlal Nehru kunde vinna en tredje mandatperiod för det styrande kongresspartiet efter att ha ridit på framgångarna av Indiens invasion av Goa.
Gyanesh Kudaisya, som undervisar i samtidshistoria vid National University of Singapore, skriver i History Today:
On December 17th and 18th, 1961, on Nehru’s orders, Indian troops marched into Goa, an area of about 1,500 square miles on the country’s western coast, to ‘liberate’ it from the Portuguese, who had ruled the territory since 1510. In a brisk operation over 30,000 Indian troops overran this last colonial enclave, overwhelming and capturing about 3,500 Portuguese soldiers. Condemnation was swift, both from critics at home and abroad. C. Rajagopalachari, one of the country’s most respected elder statesmen, said that India had ‘totally lost the moral power to raise her voice against militarism’. Others pointed out that the military adventure in Goa was a ploy to divert the nation’s attention from the increasing Chinese border incursions (since 1959 the Chinese had occupied over 12,000 square miles of formerly Indian territory). Further afield, the action was ‘deeply deplored’ by Britain, the US, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, West Germany and other countries. Nehru was denounced as a hypocrite who preached non-violence and disarmament to the world, yet practised the use of force at home. A UN Security Council resolution against India was almost voted in favour, but for a veto by the Soviet Union.
In the election campaign that took place immediately after the invasion Nehru was able to strike a patriotic chord, capitalising on ‘restoring Goa to the Motherland’. His ruling Congress party was re-elected in 361 out of 494 parliamentary seats and was back in power for a third successive term. Yet, in spite of the criticism, no one could foresee that the triumphant note sounded over Goa also marked the countdown to the end of Nehru’s leadership. The military conflict with China that broke out in full force in October 1962 would be momentous for India, bringing about extraordinary tribulations for Nehru. In its aftermath came growing tensions with Pakistan, political unrest in the Kashmir valley and domestic criticism and challenges to his political authority.
Tidskriftsomslaget: History Today, maj 2014, vol 64, nr 5. (Fotot på framsidan är taget av den berömde fotografen Yousef Karsh. Karsh förevigade bl.a. Winston Churchill.)