Monday, July 25, 2005

India, the country you should not miss!

Nuclear non-proliferation and the war on terror are vital issues in US foreign policy today. India is one of the key countries on these issues. Also, it is important to accept India’s aspiration to become a global power without threatening American hegemony. Last week, from July 19 to 20, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Washington DC to talk with US president George W. Bush on nuclear proliferation and South Asian security. This is a turning point in American foreign policy and the global security. I wish people had paid more attention to this news. I would like to discuss this issue from the following points: non-proliferation, terrorism, and the global power game.

Before talking of those points, let me review the US-Indian relations briefly. During the Cold War, the United States sponsored Pakistan to buffer Soviet expansion to the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Therefore, the relationship between India and America had been rather distant. However, the 9-11 has made the US-Indian relations closer rapidly. Both of them badly need to stabilize Afghanistan, and defeat Islamic terrorism, now

At the last US-Indian summit, the Bush administration has decided to offer technological help for civilian nuclear programs in India. Since India is a nuclear power out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, this deal is very controversial. Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution and deputy secretary of state under the Clinton administration, criticizes this in his article “Good Day for India, Bad for Nonproliferation” in YaleGlobal Online. He says that Bush admitted India’s nuclear power status with very little in rerurn. He is afraid that such a deal would undermine the NPT system. On the other hand, Mohhamed El Baradei, the head of International Atomic Agency, welcomes this deal.
Until ratified at the Senate, this agreement will not go into effect. Is it appeasement or a practical solution? You have to notice that America has been rejecting India’s wish.

The US has remained committed to its strong alliance with India’s nuclear-powered neighbour and rival, Pakistan. It has refused to endorse India’s chief foreign-policy goal, a permanent seat on an expanded United Nations Security Council. It opposes India’s cherished project to pipe gas from Iran across Pakistan. And it has withheld co-operation in military and nuclear technology because India tested nuclear weapons in 1998 and has never signed up to the international non-proliferation regime. (“Together at Last”, The Economist, July 19)

Therefore, some deal with India is necessary to develop the US-Indian strategic partnership. However, as Joseph Cirincione, Senior Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, points out, "Inspections of civilian facilities mean very little as long as India's military facilities are pumping out plutonium for nuclear weapons." Will India be a responsible nuclear power, as George W. Bush says? It remains to be seen.

As for the war on terrorism, India is a frontline. It sponsored anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in Afghanistan for years. Also, it confronts Shiite militants in Kashmir. In order to curb these threats of Islamic terrorism, India needs a strategic partnership with the United States. Also, the United States must be prepared for unexpected changes in the subcontinent. Currently, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan launches steadfast anti-terrorism operations throughout the country. However, there are still some pro-Taliban officials in the government, as Musharraf sponsored the Taliban before 9-11. Therefore, excessive reliance on Pakistan is risky. This is why close US-Indian relationship is desirable.

Regarding the global power game, people often talk about India’s relationship vis-à-vis China and Pakistan. Certainly, India will be a counterbalance against China. Also, if the United States makes excessive commitment to Pakistan over India, Pakistani leaders may believe that America cares little about democracy in their country. Therefore, the United States must seesaw India and Pakistan.
It is also important to notice Manmohan Singh’s comment in the interview with the Washington Post on July 20. He said that India is willing to play some role in dealing with Iran. As he mentions, India has deep-rooted relations with Iran in terms of race, culture, religion, and history. But can the global community embrace India’s ambition? In any case, more attention to India is necessary to analyze the future of the world.

India is not China. It is unlikely that India challenge Pax Americana. India is an English-speaking democracy, and it is essential for the United States to develop the strategic partnership with this country furthermore. On the other hand, it is too dangerous to overtrust India, because this proud nation has never been a wholehearted ally to the West since its independence. Managing such a delicate balance is the key to develop the strategic partnership with India.

Don’t miss India. Americans and Europeans focus on Islamic terrorism, and Japanese are keen on Chinese threats. Remember! India is an influential actor on both issues.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Blog Review: Interested in Africa?

Africa was one of the main subjects at the Gleneagles summit this summer. I would like to introduce an interesting blog published by Jackaranda, a retired lady in Perthshire, Scotland. This is around Edinburgh, and quite close to Gleneagles. She spent much of her life in Africa in her youth.
In her blog, “News-Views-Thoughts-Photos-Animals”, she talks of news, reports, and some comments on Africa and wildliefe. Currently, terrorism, underdevelopment, and environment pose serious challenge to the global community. These problems are deeply associated with repressive regimes.

One of the most oppressive government know in Africa is Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe maintains his dictatorship since the independence in 1980. He impoverishes his country, canes white citizens, and tortures wild animals. On her blog site, Jackaranda shows a letter from Cathy Buckler, well-known writer on Zimbabwe.

For those whose interest is on terrorism and Middle East democracy, she writes some posts of North African issues. Countries like Egypt and Algeria are key focuses.

Finally, I would like to mention wildlife. Environmental groups and activists tend to pay much attention to multinational corporations. However, the most devastating factor to the ecology is corrupted despot. In Zimbabwe, for example, Mugabe encourages starved people to kill wild animals for food. It is his economic policy that starves his people.

Jackaranda presents news and her viewpoints on African affairs in her blog. Once you read her posts, you will understand her deep love to Africa, and wholehearted affection to the wildlife.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Vive la France!

It is the Bastille Day today. You don't understand? It is the day of the French Revolution in1789. Both the United States and France share common values: liberté, égalité, and fraternité.


For Marianne and Uncle Sam

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Love and Hatred in International Politics (2): Solutions

In this century, emotional aspects have become increasingly important. Unlike realist and idealist points, there is no rational solution to manage love and hatred. However, something can be done through the following perspectives.

(1) Consensus building:
I would like to quote the following parts from Henry Kissinger’s article “Realist vs. idealist” in the International Herald Tribune.

The implementation of the freedom agenda needs to relate the values of the democratic tradition to the historic possibilities of other societies.

We must avoid the danger that a policy focused on our domestic perceptions may generate reactions in other societies rallying around patriotism and leading to a coalition of the resentful against attempts at perceived American hegemony.

A strategy to implement the vision of the freedom agenda needs consensus building, both domestically and internationally. That will be the test as to whether we are seizing the opportunity for systemic change or participating in an episode.

(2) Divide the counterpart:
The West must find truly reliable leaders in the Islamic world to prevail democratic values. To my regret, the media took up condemnation by Tony Blair and George W. Bush in the London terrorist attack. It is also important to pay more attention to anger against this terrorism among Islamic leaders of common sense. Otherwise, global citizens will regard it as a conflict between the Anglo-American alliance and the Islamic world.
In order to manage the hatred, Japan needs to find good friends in Chinese and Korean citizens. For example, in South Korea, pro-American internationalists share common values and understandings of the world with Japan. Therefore, it is necessary for Japan to establish good relations with them. This will be the first step towards weakening anti-Japan voices in Asia. Start it now Japan! Otherwise, Asian adversary to Japan never ends.

(3) More effort for good image:
In the era of emotionalism, more effort to improve the image of the nation is necessary. More mutual understandings to the grassroots level are getting increasingly important.

Above all, love and hatred is playing more and more greater role in international politics. This is an unprecedented challenge to us, because there are no rational solutions to this problem. Long-term perspectives are required to tackle this issue.

Love and Hatred in International Politics (1): A Review of Hatred

The 7-7 terrorism in London has impressed us that emotionalism plays a substantial role in international politics. We have been arguing world affairs through realist and idealist perspectives. Whether we talk about state actors, or non-state actors, like corporations, pressure groups, NGOs, and civil societies, we tend to focus on values and the balance of power. But people do not so much attention to emotional aspects. Terrorists and rioters’ behavior is based on love and hatred, which makes it quite unpredictable. When people act on realism and idealism, we can understand their way of thinking through rational expectation. But this is no use to understand behavior based on emotionalism. While the role of love and hatred plays increasingly important role in international politics, this sentiment is not necessarily well grounded. Hereafter, I would like to discuss anti-Americanism, the West-Islam clash, anti-Japan sentiment in Asia, and European integration.

Anti-Americanism Worldwide
Regarding emotionalist aspects in international politics, pro-Americanism and anti-Americanism is the most frequently discussed issue. Anti-Americanism can be found throughout the world, but can they explain clearly why they hate America? It is quite doubtful. Most of them are jealous of overwhelming power of the Unites States. In Europe and Japan, many people participated in anti-American demonstrations during the Iraq War. Most of the participants were not keenly interested in world affairs. They diverted their daily frustrations, simply by denouncing American hegemony. They enjoyed the event as a kind of picnic. It is leftist organizations with sufficient money and networks, which mobilized so many people to their events.
While anti-Americans use conspiracy theory, it is not well grounded. Just read my article on June 22. You will understand it very well. Most of these conspiracy theorists are leftists who lost their ideological foundation after the Cold War. They develop finesse theories, but what they have in mind is emotional hatred to the global power. Simply, they blame America for everything bad around the world.
As to America’s image to global citizens, people talk about the latest research by the PEW center. In the aftermath of this research, Anne Applebaum, columnist of the Washington Post, writes an interesting article in the latest edition of Foreign Policy, titled “ In Search of pro-Americanism.” This article shows differences in the pattern of anti-Americanism in developed and developing countries.
In developed countries, pro-Americans are self-made men. They are not well-educated, but moving their social position upwards through hard work. On the other hand, Anti-Americans in developed countries are establishments with good educational backgrounds. Typical anti-Americans are ENA (École Nationale d’Administration) graduate elitist bureaucrats in France.
In developing countries, pro-Americans are highly educated yuppies working for Western companies, and anti-Americans are marginalized people in the rural area.
In both cases, those who admire vitality and macho dynamism tend to be pro-American. On the other hand, those who feel their vested interests are threatened, or those who are marginalized in the global economy, are likely to be anti-American.

Islam vs. the West
Currently, Islamic terrorists are the most critical threat to the West. Anti-Western elites agitate the poor to stand up for terrorism. Most of the Islamic fighters are educated at madrasa (Islamic mission school). They recite the Koran at the school. Since the text of Koran is written in classical Arabic, students do not necessarily understand it well. They are brainwashed easily. Some Moslems, such as Pakistanis and Afghans, are more likely to be brainwashed, because they are not native speakers of Arabic. As a result, they are driven to violence, without understanding Islamic thoughts and international politics. Terrorists, who attacked New York, Washington DC, and London, have no realist and idealist perspectives. They hate the West. Nothing else in their mind.

Anti-Japan Sentiment in Asia
Asians’ hatred to Japan has been a serious problem since the end of World War II. It is difficult to evaluate how much Japanese apology is enough for Asians. Asians themselves may not know. The world is moving towards the new order of the post-Cold War era. However, in East Asia, Japanese aggression during the World War II is still critical diplomatic issue. Whether Asians’ case is right or wrong, it is quite odd that Japanese and Asians still argue criminal behavior in the past. China and South Korea complain the content of history text books used in Japan. They insist that those textbooks must explain Japanese misconducts to Asian people during the World War II much more in detail.
However, it turned out that China and Korea exaggerate Japanese war crime in their school textbooks. It is not clear why they attack Japan so much. Above all, they satisfy their jingoistic pride, simply by blaming Japanese behavior in the past. They may use some sort of fineness theory, but I think this is their underlying sentiment. Just as the case of Islamic terrorists, their motivation is based on poorly grounded hatred. Quite often, such hatred leads them to violence against Japan.

European Integration
Love and hatred does not necessarily cause adversary sentiment and violence. People in Europe rejected EU constitution, because they were scared that their social and cultural tradition would be destroyed by Brussels bureaucrats. This sentiment is illustrated very well in the cartoon of this blog on June 27. One civil society organization in London, called the Democracy Movement, raises the case against EU constitution. However, they do not oppose further integration itself.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The 4th of July: America stands at the crossroads now.

It is the Independence Day of the United States of America today. At present, the United States is fighting the war on terror and struggling for global democracy. I would like to argue the following points.

1. Nation still divided
To my regret, America has not healed the division yet. It is true that the current administration faces many challenges to manage Iraq. Middle East democratization has just started, and not necessarily made sufficient progress. However, it is not rational to pull out the US-lead forces from Iraq quickly. Liberals does not show the blueprint after the withdrawal. Leaving Iraq when the job is half-done makes it extremely dangerous throughout the Middle East. Party politics is a part of democracy, but the whole nation must be firmly united in case of emergency like this. Liberals need to indicate persuasive alternatives. Otherwise, things get worse.
Also, it is quite unusual that the Senate still delays to approve the nomination of the ambassador to the United Nations. In this term, critical issues, like arms control, Iran, and North Korea, will be discussed at the Security Council. Without the ambassador, the United States will fail to take leadership and act quickly in case of emergency. Liberals may not like John Bolton, but wrong ambassador is better than no ambassador.
Right or wrong, conservatives show us the design of leading America and the world. Liberals need to propose alternatives.

2. Perception gap between the USA and the allies
The United States is extremely sensitive to the threat of terrorism and WMD proliferation, this is not necessarily the case with its allies. Such a perception gap makes the rift between the United States and the allies greater. Continental Europeans is getting more reluctant to commit themselves to the war on terror. With a single bomb explosion, the Spanish chose leftist Zapatero, and withdrew its troops from Iraq. The Japanese confront Asian xenophobia.
The United States may be forced to pursue a go it alone policy, if this trend continues. Fortunately, Tony Blair, America’s staunchest ally, has been re-elected. It is time for the United States and its allies to narrow the perception gap. Do it, before it gets too late.

3. The Country of Good Hope
Despite these problems, the United States is the country of good hope. In the article, “In Search of pro-Americanism” (Foreign Policy, July/August 2005), Anne Applebaum, columnist of the Washington Post, mentions that those moving their status upwards tend to be pro-American, while establishments and lower class tend to be anti-American. In other words, the United States has the global constituents of highly motivated, vigorous, and prospective people. They are the most crucial actors to move the world towards good direction.

Americans must be firmly united, regardless of ideological differences, in order to defeat terrorists and rogue states. Perception gap between their allies must be filled. It is the Independence Day, and a good chance for both Americans and global citizens to think of the future. The United States will continue to be the country of good hope, if it manages this historical turning point successfully.