Survey Intro - "Democratic Peace"
There is no greater challenge to American security and ensuring the advancement of individual liberties than winning the War on Terror. Like the Cold War, the Greater War on Terror will be at least a "generational" struggle. The ultimate end to the war cannot come by negotiation, treaty or unilateral withdrawal from the field of battle. Victory can only be achieved through the advancement of democratic principles around the world, the ending of regimes that support and supply terrorists, and the encouragement of liberty in every part of the globe. This belief in "Democratic Peace" or the notion that democratic nations do not war against one another and have far more stable relations has a long-proven record of empirical success. This author strongly believes that free people around the world can safeguard and defend their own freedom by advancing freedom for others.
Based on this premise, I will engage with you, the readers, in a multi-part series on regional and global perspectives on how best to spread Democratic Peace.
Survey Part I - Democratic Peace in Asia
While China and India are not considered the center of gravity in the War on Terror, the two nations combined represent two-fifths of the world's population with dynamic and growing economies in the heart of Asia. One of these two nations will become a regional hegemon within the next 20 years or so. While similar in many respects, their systems of government represent two conflicting styles: communist rule, and a British-based democratic system. How US foreign policy evolves with both nations and how they interact with each other and their neighbors will be a significant factor in ensuring security in the future.
India is a diverse democracy with over 216 different languages, 4 major religions, and a growing economy. The United States is the number one market for Indian companies, capturing 21.2% of total trade, followed by China in second position with only 6.6% of total trade, while the US is the largest exporter to India [Source Economist]. India's GDP per capita is US$3,040 (Purchasing Power Parity "PPP"). The population of 1.1 billion is growing at a 1.5% rate. Based on this rate of growth compared to China (see below), India will overtake China in population within approximately 20 years, when both countries have roughly 1.5 billion people.
China too is a diverse country, with a growing capitalist class and nationalist tendencies, especially concerning Taiwan and islands in the Pacific, with a centralized communist system of government. China's GDP per capita is US$5,811(PPP) and has grown at a faster rate than its Indian neighbor. The population of 1.3 billion is growing at a small 0.7% rate [Source Economist].
Both emerging nations benefit from a healthy educational system and governments focused on economic growth in a global economy. While China has enjoyed greater economic success in the past two decades, Indian reforms are enhancing the country's outlook. Energy is the catalyst for future economic growth, and ensuring its supply is vital to which country will ultimately succeed. This struggle is being witnessed in the CNOOC bid for Unocal and India's desire to build a pipline to Iran. The edge goes to India, due to sharing with the US core democractic values that are a part of the "Democratic Peace" concept.
Indian Prime Minister Singh was invited to the US for a first-class reception earlier this month. As a sign of respect and the importance the Administration is placing on the partnership, the President hosted only his fourth black tie formal dinner party, along with honor guard review, and the closest event to a royal reception that a country lacking in royalty could bestow. The massive US diplomatic ovetures towards India [See Sec. Rice's efforts here, here and here] have set in motion a change in the balance of power of Asia.
The US and India agreed on the following points [For a greater description see the White House]:
- Moving forward on the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) to make India a "21st Century World Power" including civil nuclear energy transfers.
- A Revitalized U.S.-India Economic Dialogue Covering Trade, Finance, The Environment, And Commerce to promote trade between the democracies.
- A U.S.-India Energy Dialogue To Strengthen Energy Security And Promote Stable Energy Markets.
- An Initiative To Enhance Joint Activities In Space Cooperation.
- A U.S.-India Global Democracy Initiative To Aid Developing Democracies. This is a part of the expanding liberty concept of Democratic Peace.
- A U.S.-India Disaster Response Initiative.
- A U.S.-India HIV/AIDs Partnership.
- A U.S.-India Agricultural Alliance.
While military sales were not announced, it is still likely that a growing relationship between the US and India will enhance, ultimately, India's robust defense capabilities. This has already been seen on the civil side as India purchased a large order of jetliners from Boeing over a rival and public diplomatic push from Airbus and Jacques Chirac.
The US-India partnership, especially if it delivers on the civil nuclear technology while bringing India into an international inspection regime, will go a long way to supplying relatively cheap electricity to a growing industrial economy. India's growth is also being supported by Japan, which is making large investments in their economy, in part to invest in an alternative to a potential Chinese rival.
While the US has not publicly committed to supporting India's bid for a UN Security Council seat, the partnership is an important step in supporting an alternative development model in Asia that promotes liberty. The best hope is that India does succeed in economic growth, thereby giving the Chinese people the desire of a free press and representative government, which is denied them by their current political leadership.
A stronger India will also be a deterrent to an increasingly nationalistic China. Hopefully, the example of Hong Kong and an emerging Chinese middle class will create the necessary internal pressure to bring about substantive democratic reform. To keep the focus elsewhere, the Chinese leadership has made Taiwan and Japan the domestic and international villains respectively. A powerful India will temper regional aspirations from China.
Economic prosperity for the roughly 13% of India's population that is Muslim will be another reason for reform in the Middle East, from Egypt to Lebanon to the Gulf States. With 2.4 billion people, ensuring and encouraging democracy in China and India is vital to securing our long-term freedom and influencing the South Pacific and thereby winning a front on the Global War on Terror.