The United States has now declared that it is going “to help India become a major world power in the 21st century. We understand fully the implications, including military implications, of that statement.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity. (here. Read the whole thing.)
If this is true, it is a major, major step.
The alignment continues to shape up. Anglosphere (Australia, hopefully UK will stay in) + Japan + India + (Israel?) + others on one side. China, Iran, Hezbollah, NK, France, maybe Russia, on the other. I like our cards.
The Bush administration is remolding the world and building an alliance structure to keep the peace and preserve democratic capitalism for decades, maybe centuries. Bush the supposed dolt is a visionary on a breathtaking scale. His recent appointments show that he is absolutely serious about kicking the UN and the World Bank into being useful. Picking Karen Hughes, his most trusted consiglieri, to run the USA’s public diplomacy means that this is a top-rung priority. Everything he is doing is meant to achieve world-transforming results.
Meanwhile, what is Chirac doing? He is draining his bladder in his pants at the prospect of having to compete with Estonia, nickle-and-diming on the deal that would allow some competition in services. Some Union. It isn’t even a free trade zone. What a joke. Europeans have forgotten how to reproduce. They once overran the world and grabbed much of it at swordpoint, and ransacked it and kept the proceeds. You don’t have to like it, but they used to be players. They can’t even face the prospects of a fouled diaper anymore, let alone playing in a league that includes the mammoth world powers of the next Century, India and China. Stick a fork in Old Europe.
What are the Chinese doing? Everything wrong, politically. Scaring their neighbors into an alliance against them. Very much like Kaiserian Germany, another economic powerhouse but political retard. Ludwig Dehio said that a country which feels itself rising to the status of a world power is overcome by a demonic sense of its own energies and potential greatness, which leads it to act provocatively, cause an alliance to arise around it and against it, and then lunge for hegemony in defiance of the odds. But the European countries based on land could not grasp the nature of the offshore power, England, then America, and one after another went down to defeat — Imperial Spain, Bourbon France, Napoleonic France, Kaiserian Germany, Hitlerian Germany — then on a worldwide scale, Soviet Russia. Will China play this role next? What I hope will happen is that China will be confronted by such an array of power that it won’t roll the iron dice. Instead, it will get across the chasm of political and cultural reform needed to become a free and open society with legitimately elected government. All this will of course be “with Chinese Characteristics”, as they might put.
Keep your eye on this India business. It is perhaps the biggest thing going amidst a whole boatload of major initiatives.
16 thoughts on ““to help India become a major world power””
Actually, the number of countries pissed at China always amazes me. I don’t understand how this country can have border disputes with practically EVERY SINGLE COUNTRY along it 22,000km border. Buncha amateurs, dude.
The people, though, truly just want to be left alone. They want to get back what they believe was stolen from them (namely Taiwan), and then stop all this military nonsense.
Unfortunately for them, all the bordering countries have tried to cross the Party. There were “Inequal Treaties” that must be re-negotiated. Land must be given back to it’s orginal and rightful owners. The mainland must be protected from all of the assults from countries like Vietnam and Russia.
Of course, that these assults are marked by a preceding military buildup by China, and a near instantaneous invasion of the offending country just goes to show how strong China is.
But in all seriousness, every Chinese I’ve spoken about this with just wants China to be left alone (politically/militarily, at least… everyone’s all for economic interference). They’re all very libertarian that way. The problem is that the Communist Party has two incentives: (1) it’s strong, and can bully surrounding countries more and more, and (2) it’s easy to convince Chinese that they’re victims, and that “past wrongs” must be righted.
To no one’s surprise, I agree completely. The alignment is even more interesting when you consider the countries left out. I submit they are with few exceptions, Cuba, Venezuela, etc., at bottom on our side, even though they may not want to come out there in public.
Take Pakistan. They have had a long term relationship with China due to their mutual hostility to India. Yet they have not gone to the dark side because Perv wants to stay alive and it’s their only chance not to completely retrogress to the 11th century. So for a few jet fighters, they stay on our team.
You did not mention any of the New European countries that are clearly on our side.
Non-Francophone Old Europe is also on our side when the game really starts. Schroeder’s departure in 2006 should let the Spanish know they made a mistake.
The one country that counts that is unmentioned is Saudi Arabia. Their heart is clearly on the dark side but their brain is on ours. I hope Bush has time to address this one before his term is up.
The other countries that will probably be on our side but are far from it today are our neighbors to the north and south. It is natural to resent a big rich neighbor especially when there is no common threat. France and Sppain are providing encouragement to this sentiment in their former colonies. I suspect it will all work out in the end, but we should recall that the primary cause of American entry into WWI was the Zimmerman Telegram, not the Lusitania.
Richard, good tour d’horizon. I am more or less in agreement. But I wanted to keep this short and if I got into all these places they’d each need a paragraph. Old Europe, other than France? Their voters have big decisions to make. I don’t know where they are going to end up. I sometimes think we should refer to New Europe as The Old Warsaw Pact, OWP. I didn’t mention Saudi Arabia because I don’t know enough about it and I don’t know if it is going to continue to exist for a lot longer. I left out Latin America entirely. It is a mess and what happens there matters to the people who live there, but it is a backwater.
Sean, this may all be correct. But the leadership there is what it is and we will have to deal with it. I have no doubt whatever that once China has a governmnet which reflects the will of its people, it will act with common sense along the lines you mention. I am not surprised that China has border disputes with everybody. It used to be the absolute ruler of that area. Now it is a large country with neighbors whose existence and autonomy are a source of resentment. This is all going to take a while to sort out. The best thing is that the Bush team understands that strong deterrence is the way to keep the peace. If China knows a war against Taiwan is futile, it will opt to do other things. They should be working toward the day when Taiwan voluntarily wants to rejoin them.
I have no doubt whatever that once China has a governmnet which reflects the will of its people, it will act with common sense along the lines you mention
Actually, I’m not sure it would. Strong countries naturally try to take what they think should be theirs. The situation now is as such because the Party keeps the “no interference” mantra, and spins every media report to make China the victim. In fact, I have no doubt that if China were democratic, it would still be willing to go to war for Taiwan (eventually). Fortunately, we’d be willing to give it to them then.
I also note that of these two groups you’ve created, that the one side seems dedicated to “preventing hegemony”, or simply hindering the US. While the other doesn’t seem to mind much, and actually benefits from America, strong or weak. It’s very indicative of the Socialist vs. Capitalist mindset.
And another thing… when did India go from being a Non-Aligned state to be wary of, to a strategic partner? It always SEEMED it should be that way, but wasn’t official until now, I guess.
The dichotomy is not so much economic, socialist v. capitalist, as political, centralized v. decentralized power.
The Chinese have chosen the capitalist system and after experience with both seem unlikely to switch. The interesting question will be how far down the capitalist road they can travel within the confines of centralized political power and what happens when they go too far.
If the Chinese were democratic and nationalistic, that would be the best combination. They would work things out with Taiwan by cutting a good deal. Plus, while I do not 100% buy the Democratic Peace argument, there is something to it.
Also, it is correct that the anti-American entities do not share much in the way of common interests or common ideology. Nor do they offer any universal vision which is particularly compelling. Still, it is a group of wily, smart and determined people. And I do include the anti-American French leadership in that category. So, there will be much drama in the years ahead.
As to India being “non-aligned”, that is a Cold War relic, and I think all interested parties are seeing that. I hope so.
One of the wild cards here, and it of course applies to all of the big geopolitical issues, is turnover in US leadership. Among recent US administrations Bush & Co. are exceptionally skilled in international politics and war. But in less than four years from now a new team will come into office, and based on nothing more than regression to the mean is likely to be less adept than the current one. If I were the Chinese leadership I would avoid adventures, and instead try to run out the clock in hopes of dealing with Bush’s successor. Of course by doing so the Chinese junta may not be able to play the nationalist card and increases the risk it will be overwhelmed by democratic revolution.
We like to talk about the long view and how current struggles will take many years to play out. But because Bush has no control over who will succeed him, it is very important that he waste no time and play his hand as aggressively as possible. He must maximize the odds that the world political changes he is pushing happen on his watch.
One of these days, China is going to get around to turning all that new-found economic power in serious military power. If European history is any guide, they’ll come gunning for the US, just as the French, Spanish and Germans went gunning for the British.
Couter-balancing China with India is the smart move. For all their problems (corruption and ethnic strife being the worst) they have all the ingredients for world power status. Sounds like a plan.
The encirclement policy is the best approach to take toward China. Central Asia (including Afghanistan), India, Japan, Korea.
Keeping Taiwan out of Beijing’s grasp is important. Taiwan is a huge obstacle to Beijing’s regional naval expansion. Observe on any map how the Japanese islands descend from the northeast, and the Philipine Islands ascend from the south–both stretching toward Taiwan, and acting as a screen across likely routes of naval movement.
Lex, I saw that same article & nearly blew coffee all over my keyboard. I love it. Do they still think Bush is stupid? Getting Pakistan on side eliminates the possible Chinese counter of stirring up trouble in the west to distract India from the threat in the east. We can’t be sure how long Musharraf can stay lucky, though. We should hope the two countries can continue improving relations with or without him.
One thing besides the corruption and communal/caste/tribal issues that India has to deal with is a serious deficiency in its industrial base, a legacy of the “license raj” of Nehru. They have some catching up to do in that regard.
Mitch, agreed that India has a lot of catching up to do. The good news is, they are doing it. I am very optimistic about India’s prospects.
Me, too. I can’t figure out why, but they seem oddly akin to us. My Indian colleagues are very pro-American and seem eager to stay. I don’t think it’s just economic, either. India is trying to get past the caste issue, and see our more egalitarian society (starting from an even worse position) as something they could use and learn from. When I told them how I had bussed tables, washed dishes, cleared brush, and cleaned toilets while earning the money to stay in college, or that I never fail to leave a tip for the hotel chambermaid because my wife had once had that job, they were at once horrified and delighted.
At the most fundamental level, I think America and India recognize each other as sister states, children of Great Britain. Separated by age and distance as we may be, there is an unmistakable family resemblance.
The breadth of this (and of Bush) is heartening. Thanks for pulling this together in such a clear sighted way.
If India and US can come together that will be really exciting!
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