July 15, 2005


Indo-US Relations Headed for a Grand Transformation?: The Bush administration's new South Asia policy is no longer a zero-sum game (Ashley J. Tellis, 14 July 2005, YaleGlobal)

[C]ultivating this new relationship with India carries several risks for the Bush administration. First, supporting India's acquisition of nuclear and space technology could undermine the international non-proliferation regime. While providing such technologies would give New Delhi incentives to control outward proliferation in perpetuity and join with the United States in interdicting proliferation wherever it occurs worldwide, Washington cannot simply jettison the global non-proliferation regime that it has assiduously built over the last several decades. Instead, the administration is faced with the challenge of how to selectively apply this regime in practice, spawning what Richard Haass once termed "a proliferation of proliferation policies," in which countries are treated differently based upon their value to the United States. Given India's importance for the success of US non-proliferation goals and other geopolitical objectives, treating New Delhi as an exception to the strictures of the non-proliferation order is long overdue.

Second, the new administration strategy carries with it the risk of provoking China, which could view closer US-India ties as a means of polite containment. This is another issue Washington will have to manage prudently – but without apology. The United States should always consider the new US-Indian ties in terms of its own interests, rather than in light of potential Chinese displeasure. In fact, given the violent history of rising powers, the US might need partnerships with other Asian states to counter growing Chinese capabilities, which even today directly threaten the United States and its allies. Deepened relations with Japan, India, and key allies in Southeast Asia will create structural constraints that may discourage Beijing from abusing its growing regional power. Even as Washington attempts to preserve good relations with Beijing – and encourages these rimland states to do the same – cultivating ties with these nations may be the best way to prevent China from dominating Asia in the long-term.

When has non-proliferation ever not been selectively applied in favor of allies -- like Israel and Afrikaaner South Africa? And why have good relations with China?

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 15, 2005 5:45 PM

Academic International Relations speak: detached, affectless, mechanical.

Posted by: Luciferous at July 15, 2005 6:18 PM

"...in which countries are treated differently based upon their value to the United States..."

I would expect this to be the official policy of the US government, plus that of every other sovereign government in the world. Of COURSE, countries should treat other countries according to their value and comity to & with themselves.


Posted by: ray at July 15, 2005 7:27 PM

[W]hy have good relations with China?

No point in looking for a fight.

We should have the best relations possible with China, within the framework of our own commitments to Taiwan and India.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 15, 2005 9:24 PM

why does it make any difference?

Posted by: oj at July 15, 2005 9:35 PM

Because it reduces the amount of attention the U.S. government and military have to pay to China, and keeps the cheap appliences flowing.

China is a nation that the U.S. has a lot of dealings with, commercially, diplomatically, and militarily.

Why make them the enemy ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 15, 2005 10:18 PM

They are an enemy. But where else are they going to sell their knicknacks?

Posted by: oj at July 15, 2005 10:25 PM


Because they are.

Today, on the Ed Schultz show, Senator Dorgan called the Chinese general who (in very specific language) threatened the US with a possible nuclear attack if (when) we defend Taiwan, a "nutcase". Then he said nothing must be allowed to damage our relationship with China. Then, he said China should never be allowed to own Unocal, and said he was offering a bill to prevent it. Then he said he hoped we would ignore the rhetoric and just get along.

I thought I was listening to Bill Clinton.

Appeasing the Chinese is worse than appeasing the Islamofascists. The Chinese will corrupt our politicians and they are far more likely than the Soviets ever were to actually attack us.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 15, 2005 10:27 PM

Shame on you, Orrin, for falling for the old "yellow peril" myth.

It is not crucial to China's survival to sell knicknacks to the U.S., although they'd like to, and we appreciate them doing so, and financing the purchases to boot.

The nuke-happy Chinese General is a nutcase.

Having friendly relations with China is hardly "appeasement". Is America "appeasing" India by trading with them ?

China is far less likely than the old Soviet Union to attempt to take over the world by force.

China is a rival that is primarily interested in advancing their own agenda, but since that is the world norm, it hardly makes them an "enemy".

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 15, 2005 11:33 PM

we should be pressing the prc and goading them into initiating hostilities, now, and not give them 10 more years to prepare. 5B is much nicer than 6B anyway. shame about the pandas though.

Posted by: cjm at July 15, 2005 11:34 PM


No, India is an Anglospheric democracy. China is an enemy.

Posted by: oj at July 16, 2005 12:14 AM

Michael, try convincing your wife that you should have the "best relations possible" with the woman next door "within the context of" your own marriage.

An enemy is, by definition, someone actively building up forces against you and what you represent. And, as we all know, a useful idiot is someone who cannot see what is going on.

Posted by: Randall Voth at July 16, 2005 12:53 AM

the prc self-identifies as our enemy, why not take them at their word ?

Posted by: cjm at July 16, 2005 1:59 AM

The PRC will implode in due course due to its internal inconsistencies which remain unchanged for millenia. Power is very decentralized and for every high-ranking chowderhead who threatens to nuke the US, there are several who need the Wal-Mart tube socks contract or the Target sneaker contract to keep their armies fed, housed, clothed and loyal.

The PRC is desperately banging the nationalist drum in order to hold the place together, just watch any Jet Li film from the PRC. If as Michael says, we hang tough on Taiwan, deal with them as needed on commercial matters, we'll be fine.

Posted by: bart at July 16, 2005 8:56 AM

From Dictionary.com

appease: To pacify or attempt to pacify (an enemy) by granting concessions, often at the expense of principle.

How is trading with China appeasement, and what would China gain by going to war with us to make a point about Taiwan? When the old time Commies leaders die off, their relationship with Taiwan will "normalize."

Posted by: erp at July 16, 2005 9:16 AM


I hate to say this, but the "old-time Commie leaders" are much more interested in a business relationship with USA. The young people of China are far more nationalistic than these old cynics. Improved relations with China are not inevitable.

Posted by: Brian (MN) at July 16, 2005 9:53 AM