Thursday, June 30, 2005

Our Newest Ally

Today was a very good day.

Why? Because somebody in Washington is looking ahead, that's why. I don't really care who. I'm interested in results.

Here's the deal: terrorists are a short-term nuisance, not a long-term strategic threat. They can only become a long-term strategic threat if we ignore them or fail to deal with them. As long as we keep our nerve, they cannot win.

There does exist a long-term strategic threat, though. One that hasn't gotten much airplay recently.

Who would that be, you ask?


Don't let the growing "market" economy fool you. It's still a repressive dictatorship. Chinese people do not enjoy basic freedoms that we take for granted. We know from Tiananmen Square what measures the government is willing to take to keep up the repression. What we don't know, and don't really want to find out, is what measures they're willing to take against their neighbors to prop up the regime at home.

But we now have a powerful new friend that we can count on to keep China in check. Who might that be?

Why, India.

India? When we think of India, we think of the teeming slums of New Delhi, or Calcutta. But that's changing. India's economy is also growing. They have a fairly well-educated work force. They have a strong warrior tradition, and therefore, a pretty good Army. They took good notes while the British were in charge, and kept the best of their practices. And, their technical schools are first-rate. The Indian Institutes of Technology are in the same tier as MIT as far as engineering schools go.

So, although they're not a Great Power yet, they're certainly an up-and-comer. Which is why this treaty is so very important for our future.

It's always good for a superpower to have an understudy. Britain did, while they were on top of the heap. It worked out well for them. Even though WWI and WWII between them cost Britain her empire, she was able to retain her prestige, thanks to her close relationship with her one-time protege, the United States.

Up to now, we really didn't have an ally with which we could have that sort of relationship. A nation that shared many of our traditions and values, but was on the upswing of their power curve.

Mind you, this is just a start. It's not a mutual defense treaty yet, though it will probably become one. And India gets a lot of goodies out of this, too. Access to technology, for a start. It would not astonish me to see India added to the list of nations being offered the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, once that goes into production. Nor would I be amazed if they managed to get in on the AL-1 project at some point. And, of course, there are the ever-popular joint training exercises. It gives us a chance to joust against former Warsaw Pact merchandise of the sort that China still fields.

Yes, this is a very good development. You can never have too many good, strong friends.

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