Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to India saw her make an appeal for India to be more assertive in world affairs. She wants emerging India to have a foreign policy to match it’s vastly increased economic clout.
An instinctive reaction to this is to accuse the US of wanting a counter-balance to China. The US State Department is losing sleep over China’s rather intimidating growth and will warmly welcome any ally to stem it’s charge.
But is it a given that India will take a China negative stance? Despite the two country’s rocky history could India and China form an informal alliance against Western powers that still regard their military and economic dominance as a birth right?
I certainly feel that for India to tow the American line is no done deal. Indeed India may loosely join ranks with the Red menace. Disrespecting Clinton’s strong desire for India to go aggressively hard on countries that perpetuate human rights violations.
India can see Clinton’s wish is ridiculous. Both the US and India hold no true shining torch aloft for the rights of man. One a serial occupier of Muslim States where they habitually interrogate and torture suspects and India who in Kashmir and the North East are equally hospitable.
Sceptics would propose that this American preoccupation with human rights is because this moral high stand is used as a bargaining chip in international trade rather than any warm Christian spirit. I don’t know if it’s that contrived but certainly walking up to this lofty pulpit is terribly bad for business.
China is Africa’s leading trading partner. They conducted 120 billion dollars of trade with the oil rich continent last year. This was achieved in a handful of years without giving a moment’s pause to reflect on the niceties of dealing with militias that machete children and electrify peasant’s genitals. In fact that has been China’s huge advantage. Supplying raping and pillaging Sudanese fighters with anti aircraft guns pays off a million fold when oil exploration rights are awarded.
Obama said India is not emerging it has a risen, and in this new paradigm it is energy starved. If an already energy famished India is to have an even vague future semblance of the Western consumption of hatchbacks and stainless steel fridges this famine will become far more acute. India will have to become markedly more aggressive and take a page from China’s musket and blanket diplomacy.
India will have to flatly ignore American histrionic pleas for her not to trade with badly behaved States. This will be far easier to execute if India and China form a disobedient cooperative. Countries that refuse to interfere in other States human rights affairs and certainly a refusal to be assessed by other States. A sulking and anti-social, non-alliance movement.
Could this eventuate? Rather than India indulging the West by pointing a finger at China’s appalling human rights record I think they could, for a time at least, pretend to have a relationship of convenience with China. These countries could enjoy sharing the commonality of furiously wanting to reclaim their destiny, at what ever cost, no matter how dear.
For in the vast scale of history it is really only late yesterday evening that Western powers have become born again greenies and well dressed social workers. Much like the condemned murderer who, out of sheer terror, on the eve of his execution finds Jesus.
Australia, lately plagued by bribery cases and animal rights atrocities(My Hindu wife nearly passed out), is a classic example. They are struggling to be competitive in a world that has increasingly powerful players who don’t give a waterboarding about any rights abuse, or environmental agenda, in any form.
Australia’s competitively expensive and embarrassingly incompetent attempt to join New Zealand in some form of emissions trading scheme and it’s precursor the carbon tax is bewildering for a country that survives almost exclusively by embracing it’s carbon footprint. Expecting Asian countries, deprived of a hundred years of industrial progress, to follow the piper is a bedtime story. It is as futile as an Australian tourist visiting a Hong Kong gambling den and ill advisedly insisting that all the punters immediately stop smoking because you’d get a fine in St Kilda.
Another great example has recently presented itself. The Securency scandal has thrown several executives into a terminal state for allegedly bribing wonderfully colourful Colonels of shady intelligence agencies in every backwater of the world. India and China would see that as standard operating procedure, hardly worth the effort of a memo.
In Australia it is corporate armageddon and voluminous fill for newspaper broad sheets. This compels these companies to awkwardly compete in an international business environment that does not play by the Queen’s rules. Fighting bare knuckled Thai kick boxers with a pair of woollen mittens knitted by Mommy.
India needs to take full advantage of this handicap. She must enter countries that make Bihar look like Sussex. Build oil rigs on fields that no sane man would even spit on. Dam rivers with political prisoner labour, wipe out cute endangered otters and flood areas the size of the Waikato. Much like the Western hemisphere has done for hundreds of years. Allowing them to lord it over nations much lower down the food chain.
Clinton had better pray India does not find this inner shark. Ambitious India is not the Ganga Din they know and love.