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Archive for the ‘Diplomacy’ Category

Germany’s UN Security Council Strategy: Schöndorf & Kaim Give Their Two Cents

Posted by K.E. White on June 15, 2011

Stiftung Wissenchaft und Politik—or the German Institute for International Security Affairs—offers an excellent article discussing Germany’s role on the United Nations Security Council.  In it, Elisabeth Schöndorf and Markus Kaim ask two critical questions that’s worth anyone reflecting on:  what strategy should a country adopt when it is a UN Security Council Member, and why does it matter?

‘Big’ Picture Items:

Diplomatic Strategy and the U.N. Security Council:  Elisabeth Schöndorf and Markus Kaim premise their article (“Peace, Security, and Crisis Management”) on the need for Germany “to determine its priority objectives and to sharpen their strategic focus”—why do they really have to?  The authors pick out geographic areas—Africa and Afghanistan—and strengthening U.N.-NATO ties (but isn’t the real issue with NATO itself?).  But—really—would it not be better for Germany to focus on thematic issues, backed up by practical national and international steps forward?

For example, Afghanistan will wind down (or up) according to America’s watch, not Germany’s.  But, in keeping with Schöndorf & Kaim’s prediction of new crises and (possible) newly failed states, Germany may do well in helping the international community plan contingencies for the failures of States.  Such steps could be practical:  coordinating international responses for refugees; stepping up the ground-work for quick aid; and having sober discussions on w hat countries can and cannot offer in these situations.  This quiet diplomacy could lead to templates for the international community to respond not only to today’s crises, but tomorrow.

Finally, such a thematic approach looks ahead to new problems developing, maximizing Germany’s influence when it comes to the great strategic and military moves ‘big’ powers may make.

Also, Schöndorf & Kaim miss a vital issue plaguing international security:  battling the proliferation of WMD while assisting the world’s emerging economies energy needs.

The Importance of today’s U.N. Security Council

“The current council is probably the ‘strongest’ that has ever convened:  for the first time, all of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and the IBSA countries (India, Brazil and South Africa) and thus important regional powers are members, as are major troop contributors to UN missions, major donor states, and almost all of the members of the G8.  In addition, nine of the fifteen members of the Security Council for 2011/2012 are also members of the G20.”

This is a critical observation (even if BRIC should really be BIIC), and may be a golden moment for the United Nations Security Council to shows its ability to follow through on commitments.  Whether this is the Special Tribunal for Lebanon or Libya, it’s critical that emerging powers show that multilateral engagement—whatever its flaws—can foster peace, security, and development for all nations.

But this seems to foster Germany taking a thematic approach first; instead of replaying the same great power divides of past U.S.-led interventions in the Middle East.

The Lingering Question:  Isn’t Germany Impact Really on Changing Minds on Individual Votes, and Won’t German Diplomatic Relations Have More Effect?

One critical omission for the piece: isn’t the true measure of Germany’s Council influence whether it changes other Member’s votes?  And this will probably have more to do with bilateral relations than ‘grand strategy’ calculations.  Yet, any country must identify their vital interests, lest it goes to the mat over every Council vote.  But again, it seems a thematic approach would help more than country specific:  engaging with countries on general topics give more room to identify mutual interests than simply outlining region or country-specific goals.  And isn’t this especially the case when in one of these areas—Afghanistan—Germany will clearly be playing second fiddle to America’s strategic adjustments?

As a middle power, Germany has the luxury to not be bogged down in the ‘great power’ debates that so often cripple the Council.  Instead, it can map a truly long-term strategy that allows it to be the ‘indispensible facilitator’ when future disputes arise.

And that’s one luxury Germany should not squander.

Posted in Diplomacy, Germany, United Nations | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Ariel Cohen Thinks We Can’t Read Russian: Cohen’s Misleading Critique of Obama’s “Reset” of U.S.-Russian Relations

Posted by K.E. White on June 24, 2010

Yes, Ariel Cohen thinks I can’t read Russian.

Actually he’s right. But I can do a quick babblefish translation.

Why is this important? Because translating one of Cohen’s cites reveals his critique to be grossly misleading.

Ariel Cohen, a Heritage Foundation research fellow, launches this clumsy and fatally exaggerated data-dump on Sen. John Kerry’s defense of Obama’s “reset” strategy towards Russia.

But his most explosive charge against the “reset” seems built on little more than exaggeration. In return for sanctions on Iran and a new START treaty, Cohen suggests that Obama has given Russia a free hand in “the post-Soviet ‘near abroad’”citing to a Russian publication. Now that vague term triggers images of a new Cold War divide in Europe.

Unfortunately, the cited article states nothing close to Cohen’s implication. In fact, the article, written by a Russian researcher, actually extols America recognizing recent Ukrainian elections that brought a pro-Russian government to power.

That’s a far cry from giving Russia a free hand to the post-Soviet near abroad.

And that doesn’t even get to the article’s most egregious omission: Cohen criticizes a lot, but fails to offer any alternative.

Sloppy research and data-dumping shouldn’t be permitted by any think-tank, whether it’s a blog-post or article.

Here’s a recapitulation of Cohen’s exhaustive list of U.S. “concessions” to Russia:

1. “limiting the U.S. ballistic missile defense”

2. Recognizing “Russia’s exclusive zone of interests” in the “post-Soviet near abroad” (Again, this actually means recognizing Russia’s increased influence in the Ukraine, not a free-hand in Eastern Europe)

3. “new security architecture in Europe”

4. 123 civilian nuclear reactor agreement — $10-15 billion in new nuclear fuel reprocessing business

5. Support for Russia’s entry into the WTO

6. Secret deal to limit U.S. ballistic missile defense (how does one argue against the charge of a secret deal?)

7. Russia has allowed more U.S. and NATO traffic of Russian territory

And in return, according to Cohen, America has received remarkably little:

1. Russia still supporting Venezuela and Syria

2. Weak sanctions against Iran “In short, Russia will be milking the rest for all its worth.”

3. A new START treaty with one-sides terms in two significant ways: first, the U.S has to eliminate 80 warheads more than Russia; second, the United States must eliminate 150 delivery platforms, while Russia can add over 100.  (A somewhat biased view of the agreement)

I have two questions for Cohen. First, what concessions would he take back? Second, what pressure should America apply to Russia?

Cohen’s article acts as a rejoinder to Sen. John Kerry’s defense of Obamaland’s foreign policy towards Russia. In his Politico op-ed, Kerry endorses the “reset” of U.S.-Russian relations: heralding the new START treaty, and Russia’s support of new Security Council sanctions against Iran, decision to not sell Iran anti-aircraft missiles and open airspace to US and NATO flights to Afghanistan.

Ariel Cohen serves as Senior Research Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy at the Katherine and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Policy at the Heritage Foundation. Owen Graham, Research Assistant to the Davis Center, contributed to the blog-post.

Posted in Diplomacy, Russia | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Congressional WMD & Terrorism Commission: Upcoming Report; Gauge of Obama’s Future Policy?

Posted by proliferationpr on November 19, 2008

How is our nation doing on WMD prevention and terrorism? We’ll find out soon. Market Watch reports that the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism will release it’s findings on December 3rd. (The original press release can be found here)

The congressionally-created Commission’s ambitious mission? To assess America’s anti-terrorism and WMD prevention strategies. With the mainstream-news fixated on presidential transition updates & economic woes, we’ll see how much press traction the Commission’s work achieves.

But there’s a twist—which may just make this report a leading indicator the incoming Obama administration’s own WMD and terrorism policy priorities. Commission member Wendy R. Sherman, currently a senior partner of The Albright Group, now spearheads Obama’s policy review team for Department of State.

Here’s the Commission’s membership in full:

(Update: Member bios here—and a nice summary of Commission activities can be found here)

Bob Graham, Chairman and former Senator (D-FL)

Jim Talent, Vice Chairman and former Senator (R-MO)

Members include: Graham Allison, Robin Cleveland, Wendy Sherman, Henry Sokolski, Stephen Rademaker, Timothy Roemer and Rich Verma.

Posted in Congress, Diplomacy, Nuclear, WMD | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Brown and Zardari Talk Terrorism

Posted by proliferationpresswm on September 19, 2008

An interesting (if two-day old) Guardian report on anti-terrorism talks between President Zardari and Prime Minister Brown:

It is thought that Zardari outlined to Brown Pakistan’s plan to combat terrorism, which included a proposal to set up a dedicated cell inside the Pakistani high commission in London to help track British Pakistanis suspected of extremism. Most of the known terror plots in the UK have had some connection to Pakistan and often involved a visit there for training.

Zardari sought Brown’s help in promoting the idea of an anti-terror conference of Pakistan, Afghanistan and its neighbours Iran, China, Russia and India, along with Britain and the US as observers.

The idea is to reach a consensus among the countries most directly affected by the extremists based in Pakistan and Afghanistan, in an attempt to claim the ownership of the anti-terror fight as an indigenous struggle. A Zardari aide said: “We want to broaden the base for this war, to stop it being seen as … George Bush’s crusade. Otherwise, it just won’t wash at home.”

Posted in Britain, Diplomacy, Pakistan | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pakistan Makes Its Own Nuclear Move

Posted by K.E. White on September 19, 2008

Business Standard reports on the liklihood of Pakistan–in clear reaction to the US-India nuclear deal–pushing for a nuclear deal with China. 

In its bid to offset the impact of Indo-US nuclear deal, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will take up the acquisition of nuclear fuel technology from China during his forthcoming visit.

The Pakistan government has decided to set up two nuclear power plants worth Rs 139 billion to overcome the country’s energy crisis, official sources were quoted as saying by the Aaj Kal Urdu daily.

Zardari, who is expected to visit China in the near future, will discuss the acquisition of fuel technology for the two new plants with the Chinese leadership, the sources said.

While one may consider India a prime candidate for nuclear commerce, many of its attributes–steady regime, peaceful political turnovers, even accepting terrorism probelms–Pakistan’s regimes have not shown themselves durable. While jockeying between weak deomcratic regimes and strong-man dictatorships, expanding Pakistan’s nuclear arsneal and power facilities comes with additional headaches: abrupt regime change and the real and potent presence of radical Islamic terror-groups.

Time will shown if Pakistan’s newly elected President and re-charged (if unity-less) Paraliament can foster the stability, liberalism and security so lacking in Pakistan’s recent past. And–addressing worse-case scenarios–the Pakastani military has shown strong and responsible control over Pakistan’s nuclear hardware. But Pakistan’s four-pronged pressures–economic woes, Kashmir, periodic political upheaval and the worrisome presence & support of Islamic terrorism–keep international concern over this country at a high level.

Posted in China, Diplomacy, India, Nuclear, Pakistan, U.S. India Nuclear Deal, WMD | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Michael Krepon On US-India Nuclear Deal: The “clear legislative intent of the Congress has been subverted”

Posted by proliferationpresswm on September 18, 2008

A solid interview with Michael Krepon, Co-founder, The Henry L. Stimson Center for the Council on Foreign Relations.

Two sections to highlight:

  • The government of India has been very clear in saying that the suspension of fuel supplies at its power plants would be grounds for removing Indian facilities from the IAEA safeguards agreement. What this means is, quite simply, that in the event of a resumption of Indian testing, French and Russian suppliers of fuel will argue very strenuously that fuel supplies should continue because otherwise safeguards will be removed—and there will be no consensus in the NSG. So the clear legislative intent of the Congress has been subverted by the Bush administration’s dealings with both the IAEA and the NSG.
  • Another interesting question is whether or not the government of Israel will seek exemptions from the typical rules of nuclear commerce, not necessarily for power plants, but perhaps for desalinization plants, that’s another possibility. I think the ramifications of an Israeli attempt to get exemptions from nuclear controls are worth considering. 

The interview succinctly shows the flaws with the nuclear pact, while fleshing out its the political and commercial consequences.

Posted in Diplomacy, Michael Krepon, Nuclear, U.S. India Nuclear Deal, WMD | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

North Korea-Syria Connection: All Neo-Con Hype?

Posted by K.E. White on September 18, 2007

Recent reports have suggested Syria may have received nuclear technology from North Korea. Such a development 1) has been a blow to administration dealings with North Korea and 2) a worrisome sign that Syria might come under quite literal fire.

The source for these concerns lays chiefly with John Bolton. From the World Tribune:

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, said Syria has long sought nuclear and other WMD capabilities. Bolton said Syria might have agreed to provide uranium enrichment facilities to Iran and North Korea, both of whom have been under international pressure to end their nuclear weapons programs. On Monday, North Korea delayed talks scheduled for Sept. 19 for an end to the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

“Syria is very aggressive in pursuing WMD capability,” Bolton told the Israeli daily, Jerusalem Post. “It’s a diversion game — to carry on even when you are supposed to have halted, as in the case of North Korea. And I’d be surprised if Syria would do anything with North Korea without Iranian acquiescence.”

But there’s another spin of this story. From BBC News:

Joseph Cirincione, director for nuclear policy at the Washington-based Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank, has gone so far as to describe the story as “nonsense”.

Selective leaks are being used to play up the Syria-North Korea connection, he writes on the online site of the journal Foreign Policy.

“This appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted ‘intelligence’ to key reporters in order to promote a pre-existing political agenda. If this sounds like the run-up to the war with Iraq, then it should,” he writes.

Neocon hype to derail positive developments with North Korea? Or proof that negotiation with North Korea–and by extension Iran–is pointless?

Posted in Diplomacy, John Bolton, Joseph Cirincione, North Korea, Nuclear, Syria | Leave a Comment »

‘Promote Liberal Democracy’: Proliferation Press Reviews David Makovsky’s Game Plan for Post-Bush Middle East Democratization

Posted by K.E. White on September 15, 2007

Summary: Makovsky looks at the future of American foreign policy in the Middle East. Fighting back the now defunct neo-conservative chant for radical change, he stresses that America not give up on Middle East democratization. He outlines a new strategy: one that eyes the region, and tailors specific liberal agendas for Middle Eastern nation-states. Deserving credit shifting out view out of Iraq and averring a middle path to eventual democracy, Makovsky neglects one important part of the puzzle: How America gets performs in Iraq will be the overriding concern of the next American president, most likely sapping energy for Makovsky’s program. Furthermore, how America gets out of Iraq will determine the efficacy of Makovsky’s nation-state specific democratization scheme.

 

Writing for Democracy, Washington Institute Senior Fellow David Makovsky tackles where to take America’s foreign policy after Bush. While surveying the flaws of the Bush administration’s neo-conservatively flavored push for democratization, he demands not a change in strategy but tactics. Pushing democratic tendencies is still the way to go, Makovsky writes, but demands a new approach—stressing the liberal underpinning any future democratic society requires.

Makovsky writes:

David MakovskyIt may be ironic, but the places where democratization seems more likely in the Middle East could be where there is an “enlightened” autocrat who holds ultimate power and enforces the rules of the game, whether it is King Abdullah of Jordan, King Hamad of Bahrain, or King Mohammad of Morocco. This enables evolving democratization to move apace. In Freedom House’s democratization ranking of Middle East countries, each are listed as “partly free.” In each case, economic growth has gone hand in hand with democratization. In these three countries, it might be more than coincidence that democratization occurs where there is no oil and there is a requirement for developing human capital. Indeed, there have already been fragile steps to build the institutional building blocks of democracy. In other countries, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where there is greater resistance by the authoritarian structure and which are listed as “not free” by Freedom House, U.S. efforts will not be easy. Specifically, while the scope of specific reforms in law should reflect the different pace of change in individual countries, the general direction should be clear. However, in all countries, there are programmatic points for the United States that could be attainable if we sustain our focus. Those seeking an evolutionary pathway to democratization know where to put the effort: women’s rights, freer media, a more independent judiciary, and education reform, alongside the greater transparency required for economic growth.

Specifically, the United States should encourage countries to reform restrictive political-party laws that could provide the legal framework for parties to form and compete. This is particularly important for non-Islamists who do not have the vast social network and organizational apparatus of Islamists. It should also encourage reform of media laws to widen the discourse on public policy. Such reforms are key to avoiding government’s prosecution of journalists who interpret any criticism as “defamation” of a head of state. Finally, it should push for reform of the judiciary laws to facilitate the operation of an independent judiciary. Such reforms must be genuine and not like the one passed in Egypt last year; in spite of that “reform,” human rights activists indicate that judges are still paid partly by the Justice Ministry, so that if they rule against the state, their salary can be cut for many months at a time.

Makovsky veers towards a straw man argument by pushing this dichotomy on American foreign policy in the Middle East: either America foolishly over commits (i.e. invades Iraq) or we bolster autocratic regimes with no concern to fostering democracy (Iran under the Shah). American foreign policy has always been between these poles. What determines whether America pushes Makovsky’s micro-liberal Middle East diplomatic track has been whether that goal overrides others: e.g. security concerns of Iran, the need of moderate allies in the region, and the current diplomatic black hole of Iraq. Typically Makovsky’s approach has fallen to other, more immediate diplomatic aims.

Therefore, while Makovsky deserves credit for splitting democratization (i.e. the form of government) from liberalism (the values a government embodies) and for redirecting focus out of Iraq, Iraq is still stands as America’s core dilemma in the Middle East.

An American president tasked with managing either a buildup or draw down of American troops will simply not have the capital to spearhead Makovsky’s strategy. And the mood of the American public come 2009—most likely one of enthused or embittered isolationism—augurs poorly for Makovsky’s diplomatic platform.

But Makovsky does earn praise for unlocking American foreign policy discourse, however briefly, from its ‘Iraq Jam’. And more importantly, Makovsky deserves credit for laying out a diplomatic paradigm that it built on the obvious: Iraq is not the only rubric for America’s success in the Middle East.

Posted in America, David Makovsky, democratization, Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, Iraq, liberal democracy, United States, Washington Institute | Leave a Comment »

‘These Boots Were Made For Walking…’ ElBaradei Walks Out During EU Speech During IAEA Meeting

Posted by K.E. White on September 11, 2007

IAEA head ElBaradei acted anything but diplomatic during an EU speech at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting today. After hearing an EU speech that seemed to undermine his new plan for resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis, he walked out.  The IAEA Board of Governors reviews the nuclear watch dog’s performance. The group, comprised of representatives of thirty-five member, meets five times a year to make recommendations chief operating body: the General Conference.

This rare expression of disapproval highlights the continuing tensions between IAEA member-nations in how to deal with Iran. While the United States and Europe (as represented by the EU) are pushing for continued sanctions on Iran if this new deal isn’t acted out immediately. But other IAEA members, particularly Cuba, want more of a carrot approach: insisting that if Iran abides the agreement, current sanctions will be lifted. 

Below is a section from an AFP press clip. The report views the incident as evidence of an acrimonious split between Western countries wanting heavier pressure on Iran, and members of the Nonaligned Powers wanting a peaceful, and less hard-line response to Iran:

UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei walked out on an afternoon session Tuesday of his IAEA to protest an EU speech which did not fully support his deal for new inspections in Iran, diplomats told AFP.

“He walked out because the EU did not support the Secretariat,” a diplomat who was at the meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation board of governors said.

The timetable, in a report ElBaradei submitted to the board on Monday, is to resolve outstanding questions in the agency’s over four-year-old investigation of Iran on US charges that Tehran is using a civilian energy program to hide the development of nuclear weapons.

The speech focused on Iran’s lack of cooperation, including its refusal to provide early design information on new nuclear facilities, and called repeatedly on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

After walking out, ElBaradei stayed away until the session was adjourned at its regular time until Wednesday. The Portuguese speech was followed by speeches from Canada and Norway.

This International News Herald report gives more insight into this high-level diplomatic feuding. It shows, in detail, the two takes on Iran at the IAEA:

The statement said the EU has “taken note” of those efforts — the most noncommittal of diplomatic terms that falls substantially short of approval. A diplomat who spoke to the AP on condition anonymity because she was not authorized to divulge proceedings at the closed meeting, said ElBaradei subsequently left the conference, apparently to show his disapproval of the EU’s lukewarm approach.

In contrast, a nonaligned statement delivered by the Cuban ambassador cited the pact under which Iran is cooperating with the IAEA as saying Iran will be treated “in a routine manner” if it holds to the agreement and fully answers all questions posed by the agency.

That would mean an end both to U.N. sanctions and the threat of new ones for Iran’s refusal to end uranium enrichment — a position strongly opposed by the United States and most other Western countries.

The International News Herald goes on to show how this fight over diplomatic interpretation went in a pro-US direction, provoking the ire of Nonaligned IAEA member-nations.  

Nonaligned nations on Tuesday rejected “interference” in attempts to close the file on Iran’s past nuclear activities — an allusion to U.S. concerns about the International Atomic Energy Agency’s newest Tehran probe. But Europe sided with Washington.

Norma Miguelina Goicochea Estenoz of Cuba also expressed support for the work of the agency and its head, Mohamed ElBaradei, in her separate capacity as head of the agency’s nonaligned board members.

Her statements outside the agency’s 35-nation board meeting reflected the main dispute at the gathering: whether a pact committing Iran to cooperate with an agency probe of past nuclear activities will blunt attempts to pressure Tehran to scrap uranium enrichment — technology that could be used to make a bomb.

Washington and its allies fear too much emphasis on the pact and its successes could weaken efforts to impose new U.N. Security Council sanctions should Tehran continue defying the council and expand uranium enrichment. They also feel the text of the pact is flawed, imposing limitations on what the agency can look into and giving Tehran wiggle room to back out if those conditions are not met.

But Cuba and the majority of the other nonaligned nations, which make up about a third of the board, insist the pact, agreed to last month, represents a potential breakthrough in more than four years of diplomatic maneuvering meant to reduce any nuclear threat from Iran.

Posted in Cuba, Diplomacy, ElBaradei, EU, European Union, General Conference, IAEA, IAEA Board of Governors, Iran, Nuclear | Leave a Comment »

China’s Take on the US-India Nuclear Deal

Posted by K.E. White on August 29, 2007

Below are two takes on China feelings toward the troubled US-India nuclear deal. Both articles reveal the complicated relations between both India and the United States, and India and China.

Why would China be bothered by the US-India nuclear deal? If India takes an American tilt owing to America’s ad hoc sanctioning of their nuclear arsenal, China could feel entrapped. To the east China will face remilitarizing Japan, and now an emerging regional power to its west.

But in a post-Cold War world, dividing the world in pro-US and pro-China camps doesn’t get you very far. Perhaps a more appropriate view would be a four-layered approach: looking at the tensions between India and Pakistan, and then how those tensions interact with those nations’ relationships with China and America.

Reuters reports on Chinese approval of the US-India nuclear deal, in order not to alienate India:

However, experts said China was unlikely to stymie the nuclear deal and risk pushing Delhi closer to Washington — just when Beijing is seeking to avoid a destabilizing confrontation with its rising Asian neighbor and longtime rival.

“The United States has decided that using India to check and balance China is of more importance than non-proliferation, and that worries China,” said Shen Dingli, a nuclear security expert at Fudan University in Shanghai.

“But China does not want to push India towards the United States. I don’t think China will stand out to oppose the agreement; it doesn’t want to offend the United States or India.”

“But out of its own strategic interests, India is most unlikely to form an alliance with the U.S. to contain China.”

As it seeks to sway New Delhi, Beijing is instead likely to promote its own civilian nuclear technology. When President Hu Jintao visited India in November last year, he pitched for such cooperation.

But China is also likely to seek expanded nuclear cooperation with India’s rival, Pakistan, where Beijing has already helped build an atomic reactor — and it will be able to point to the U.S.-India deal to counter any criticism, said Shen.

From the Times of India is this take by K Subrahmanyam:

China’s strategy does not appear to be one of direct confrontation with India. By arming Pakistan with nuclear weapons, China is using Islamabad to counter India. This was noted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his address to the Combined Commanders Conference on October 20, 2005 when he said: “We cannot also ignore the strategic cooperation that Pakistan secured from China in many ways. We cannot rule out the desire of some countries to keep us engaged in low-intensity conflict with some of our neighbours as a means of getting India bogged down in a low equilibrium”.

The Chinese strategy of dominating Asia, which all other major powers view with concern, needs India to be kept tied down perpetually by a nuclear-armed Pakistan. The reason why liberating India from technology apartheid sponsored by the US is popular with Russia, France, UK, France and Japan is their desire to see a balance of power in Asia. In the 21st century it is not envisaged there will be wars among major powers. But there would be a constant balancing of power. China when fully developed can only be balanced by a billion-strong India if it develops itself. The other major powers of the world have a vital interest in this. Hence, the US nuclear agreement, India-specific IAEA safeguards and NSG waiver.

Will India accept this opportunity and help the world to balance China — a neighbour posing a surrogate nuclear threat to this country — or continue to talk only of US imperialism? India can stand up to US dominance, but it cannot wish away the India-specific nuclear threat emanating from a Chinese-armed Pakistan.

These two views on China show how many variables must be weighed by these four nations’ leaders when juggling diplomatic relations. Is Pakistan a Chinese-backed threat to India, or an emerging moderate stated owing to American pressure? Or both?

What does seem clear is that Pakistan is the most volatile part of the equation. If America can successfully bring on a moderating, democratic and peaceful (or just those tail-ends) Pakistan, the security calculus in the region dramatically changes.

Posted in America, China, Diplomacy, India, K Subrahmanyam, Nuclear, Pakistan, U.S. India Nuclear Deal | Leave a Comment »