Saturday, August 08, 2009

Future alliances

'India and China fought a brief border war in 1962. India lost the war, but territorial disputes with China have endured. Aside from the area that India calls Arunachal Pradesh, the two countries also differ over part of the border with China's Tibet Autonomous Region....

The sources of friction go well beyond contested territory. India continues to view with suspicion China's close strategic relationship with its arch-rival Pakistan, including recent deals to build nuclear reactors and manufacture jet fighters. China, meanwhile, has closely watched India's warming ties with the U.S., including a civilian nuclear deal that has formed the cornerstone of a new strategic partnership and its closer defense cooperation with the world's only superpower.'

If British foreign policy were up to me, this would be my plan for the next twenty-five years. India would be the strategic cornerstone of my relationships in south Asia. India seems increasingly inclined to take its rightful place as part of the Anglo-sphere, countries whose political, legal and business systems are derived from British ones. It is a functional democracy with proper legal systems and a political class who show a genuine desire to work on behalf of the less fortunate in Indian society. In comparison to China, where hundreds of millions have fallen through the gaping chasms into extreme poverty and out of functional society, India shows real signs of trying to reach out to minorities and very low castes to try to integrate them into the burgeoning success story of Indian industry and business. India has thriving political parties some of which have left behind their original caste, religious or ethnic character to become genuine political parties based on a systematic political philosophy. The major parties now genuinely compete to prove their fiscal seriousness, their humanitarian intent, and their professionalism in government.

China, on the other hand, has an ossified system based on ludicrous falsehoods. It is a relatively benign oligarchical dictatorship, but with the vestigial clothing of a communist dictatorship. That is a very unstable mix. The Chinese government has no real legitimacy, which mean all political activity is dangerous and frustrating. The pressure from below, especially the new rich middle class in China will grow and grow. And the discontent from the many hundreds of millions cut off from their land, from political power and from employment will fester too. In many places China is becoming a polluted hell on earth.

China has no proper independent, trustworthy legal system, no trade unions or organised protection from harsh and exploitative employers, no safety net for the poor and dispossessed, and no outlet for political feeling. Chinese culture allows the minuscule oligarchy some leeway, as Chinese culture conditions people to put up with harsh, arbitrary and unjust rule. But there are thresholds. When China reaches them, the results could be extremely unpleasant. At the moment, a rising tide of economic productivity gives the Chinese something good to focus on. What happens if that stalls, or worse, goes into reverse? Then the systemic faults will prove what a terribly fragile edifice Chinese society is.

The last of the great Asian powers is Russia. My goal would be to isolate Russia, give Russia as little encouragement as possible, and encourage the rest of the world to do likewise. The government of Russia, if they can be graced with that description, are simple murderous thugs. They have snuffed out civil liberties, destroyed the nascent political party system, rigged politics so only one outcome is possible, endeavoured to be as unpleasant, unhelpful, aggressive and destructive as they can in international relations, and utilised extreme xenophobia and paranoia as a way of ginning up grass-roots support for their disgusting regime. They have stolen billions of dollars from western companies, reneged on contracts, cut off essential energy supplies to neighbors in the dead of winter, invaded neighboring countries generally behaved like criminal mafiosi. Despite only recently becoming basicly solvent, Russia has already started to try to throw its weight around, like a short drunk guy in a bar picking fights with people three times his size. It is a terrible shame for the Russian people to be governed in this way. Will they do anything about it? If we are unequivocal on all occasions about the nature of the Russian regime, ordinary Russians may at some point find a way to replace their regime with a real government.

I would boost military, commercial and political ties with India, and make it clear that we would back India in any confrontation with China or Russia, especially the latter. We would supply India with our latest weaponry, and make sure they always kept a clear technological and quantitative edge over the Chinese in all the major weapons systems. That is because in my view, India will need to fight at least one major defensive war against a deranged China before China gets a proper legitimate government. Countries with very weak governments often launch into wars of conquest to try to fix the political situation at home. And for any number of reasons, we would want India to win that war.

Another good reason for becoming very long term strategic partners of India is the hopeless nature of Pakistan. Most countries dominated by islam have very weak and illigitimate governance. I don't think I need to present a list to demonstrate this, you can write it yourself. Those few which do, like Turkey, only do so as a consequence of taking the destabilising influence of islam head-on, and consciously removing it from civil society. Sadly for Turkey, the gains it made in the twentieth century under secular rule are steadily being eroded in the 21st. I expect Turkey to look more like Saudi Arabia in twenty years time, and less like Germany, with all the terrible downside that entails.

Pakistan has done exactly the opposite of what Kemal Ataturk did in Turkey- they have taken a society with a secular parliament, law courts, army, civil institutions and educational systems, and subsumed them to islamic jurisdiction. If it weren't for the positively stupendous amounts of financial 'assistance' (free money) dumped on Pakistan from every direction for the last forty years, first because of the cold war and then because of the war on terror, Pakistan would be Somalia already. The Pakistani army is not funded by Pakistanis, but mainly by Americans and EU citizens. The Pakistani army is really the last thing left in Pakistan that even vaguely works properly. If the foreign money stops coming, Pakistan will collapse like a bad souffle.

Britain should cut the extremely detrimental umbilical which connects the stone age hills of Pakistan with the post-industrial towns of the North East of England immediately. It should stop assisting Pakistan, apart from money or programs linked directly to changed behaviour; all incentives should be towards reversing the islamification of Pakistan and towards secularisation. On every substantive issue, Britain should take Indias side. Pakistan has already chosen China as its strategic ally, so we would not be jeopardising any existing good will or intentions. Any and all steps that can be taken to remove Pakistans nuclear capability should be taken. I can't understand why people who are staying awake at night over a near-future nuclear Iran aren't bothered much at all by a very much current nuclear Pakistan. Iran has a very solid foundation as a nation state, and a cultured and civilised electorate. Pakistan has neither. I can easily see Pakistan being ruled by Taliban-like individuals in the short to medium term. Pakistan is in the middle of a process of Wahhabisation- hence the burgeoning violence being meted out to Shia moslems and Christians alike.

Wahhabist islam is also destroying the hold of sunni and shia islam in Britain, mostly due to the umbilical that connects Pakistan to northern England but also because of showers of Saudi money into British mosques. If I were in charge, both of those would be stopped tomorrow morning.

I can see very few downsides to a long-term alliance with India, and many positives. I doubt the great and good of our Foriegn Office see it the same way, sadly.

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