|Bloggage, rants, and occasional notes of despair|
I have a deep conflict over this.
To the right, we’re on the verge on missing the boat. As Suman Palit notes, the State Department is acting in a particularly harmful and clueless way with respect to India. Granting that Musharaf’s cooperation may have been useful, if not needed, for the short-term goal of smashing the Taliban, it ought not to have been bought at any price that included long-term guarantees of dismissing India. The elder Daley famously declared the purpose of the policeman is not to create disorder, but to preserve disorder. The striped-pants set at State seems to feel that the U.S. is the policeman of the world, with the same goal.
As I’ve written before, promising Musharaf, and even some of his cronies, a bolthole where they can enjoy their ill-gotten wealth and women is one thing. It is not a particularly admirable thing to do, but we might consider it preferable to the nuclear war that would very likely break out if this rat found himself cornered. It is another thing to promise him endless support against New Delhi. That promise will almost certainly be broken; a genuine assault by India would likely result in the sort of horrified clucking expected of the EU. It will also be yet another broken promise by the U.S.
Within the next 3-4 years, there will be a new political axis to look out for. I call it the I3 - axis of Israel-Iran-India. Together the I3 - axis has the potential to dramatically alter the balance of power in the region. Along with powerhouse Russia, they could open up the "southern silk route" and help integrate the growing free-market economies of Central and West Asia with those of South and South-Eastern Asia.
It would be to the discredit of the U.S., and harmful to it in every way imaginable, were we to try and insinuate ourselves into this alliance and be told, "Sorry, but you are not trustworthy enough for us to chance associating ourselves with you".
If we are to move on this, we must move now. We must formally bind ourselves, recognizing that, in consequence of our great military and economic strength, we may expect to have a dominant (but not dominating) role in any such agreement. Also, however, we must bind ourselves (and others) in such a way that recognizes that such dominance is not guaranteed to us by Heaven. As it is our role now to both be a leader and to make concessions because we can, we ought to request and require that such things are expected if another takes our place.
To the left, we have this article from Jim Henley. Adding Turkey to such an alliance would certainly mean our abandonment of the Kurds; the best that I can see happening in such circumstances is the creation of an autonomous but not fully independent Kurdistan coming about after a great deal of shifting of populations. Such a thing would be of questionable morality at best. If Turkey is not in the alliance, however, it means the abandonment of Turkey; we cannot and should not expect our allies to respond well to our saying, "Forget all your interests, and think only of relations between Washington and Ankara".
This balance of alliances and promises (which perhaps ought not to have been made; as they were made, however, they must be dealt with as a reality which can be changed but never forgotten) can be treated as Alexander is said to have treated the Gordian Knot in only one way. America must turn from the path of Empire (knowing that this rejection will not be emulated by every contender for the scepter). I fear that Americans do not have sufficient virtù now to have a republic; a hermit kingdom, à la Tokugawa Japan (but without the internal tyranny) is the best that we can do, whilst we wait for futur generations to re-learn virtùI.
John "Akatsukami" Braue Saturday, July 20, 2002