While traveling, I had a better opportunity to read through my most recent issue of the Economist. Three good articles are worth noting:
1. An interesting perspective on the failure of China's Taiwan policy in light of the anti-secession bill and how the timing of its passage likely happened:
"China may already be regretting its decision to adopt an anti-secession law aimed at keeping Taiwan in check. For Taiwan's independence-minded president, Chen Shui-bian, it has been a political boost, enabling him to rally hundreds of thousands of people last weekend in one of the island's biggest ever demonstrations. And it has introduced Taiwan—hitherto mainly a problem between China and America—as a tricky new factor in China's relations with the European Union.
Privately, Chinese officials say the bill, which was adopted by China's rubber-stamp parliament on March 14th, arose from the perception last year that Mr Chen was likely to gain control of the legislature in polls last December, dislodging the Kuomintang (KMT) and its pro-unification allies. Mr Chen, the theory went, would then step up his efforts to assert Taiwan's independence. Unexpectedly, the electorate disappointed Mr Chen. But the political momentum in China to adopt a bill threatening war against a secessionist Taiwan proved unstoppable, or so officials now say. They may have hoped that by keeping the law's wording in line with China's existing policy on Taiwan, repercussions abroad would be minimal and that Taiwan itself would sulkily brush it off.
And China probably did not anticipate the bill's impact in the European Union, where its passage is now being cited by some officials as grounds for delaying plans to lift a 16-year-old embargo on weapons sales to China. Shi Yinhong of Renmin University of China in Beijing says relations between China and the European Union, hitherto largely unfettered by the differences over security issues that mar ties between China and America, have suddenly become 'much more complicated'."
2. "A lollipop for Pakistan; two for India" sums up most of what DEL covers on the F-16 sales to Pakistan here, here and here. It quotes the US policy of helping "India become a major world power in the 21st century", and sums up all of the US carrots being offered as well. It concludes with this line:
"Officials deny that the United States has taken a strategic decision to build up India as a counterweight to China. But between the idea of a prosperous, democratic and peaceful Asia, and the reality of American concerns, falls the shadow of Beijing."
3. The final article of note is "Today India, Tomorrow the World" on a wonderful Indian conglomerate success story. Mr. Rutan Tata, who runs the 80-company conglomerate that bears his name, has an inspiring goal:
"Mr Tata will retire in just under three years, when he reaches 70. Before he goes he wants to launch a revolutionary '1 lakh car'—one that sells for 100,000 rupees ($2,000). Tata would make the body panels and sell kits to small firms that would create jobs assembling the cars in rural workshops. The idea is to have a 'people's car' made by the people. 'When I see four or five members of a family cling to one little scooter, I become determined to provide a low-cost family car between the scooter and normal models,' he says, calling it his parting shot. He may continue as an adviser on the project after he retires."
I hope you enjoy the above articles. They are all in line with the future of the United States policy in Asia and its support of India over China.