I returned to India because I believe in an India of honesty and hard work, not of corruption and crookedness. I believe in an India of openness and straightforwardness, not of hypocrisy and double-dealing. I believe in an India where opportunities are available to all, and not just to a chosen few.
I have been a frequent air traveler since I was a few months shy of my sixth birthday, when my parents packed me off to boarding school two plane rides away from home. Those days of being willingly handed from air hostess to air hostess as an 'unaccompanied minor' made me blase about the rigors of air travel.
The Beijing Olympics were an exercise in Chinese soft power. Americans have the 'Voice of America' and the Fulbright scholarships. But, the fact is, in fact, that probably Hollywood and MTV and McDonalds have done more for American soft power around the world than any specifically government activity.
The notion of 'world leadership' is a curiously archaic one. The very phrase is redolent of Kipling ballads and James Bondian adventures. What makes a country a world leader? Is it population, in which case India is on course to top the charts, overtaking China as the world's most populous country by 2034?
The U.N. guards the vital principles entrenched in its charter, notably the sovereign equality of states and the inadmissibility of interference in their internal affairs. It is precisely because the U.N. is the chief guardian of both these sacrosanct principles that it alone is allowed to approve derogations from them.
The United Nations is the preeminent institution of multilateralism. It provides a forum where sovereign states can come together to share burdens, address common problems, and seize common opportunities. The U.N. helps establish the norms that many countries - including the United States - would like everyone to live by.