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March 30, 2005




I completely disagree with your conclusion. India's history has been one of non-alignment. They are slowly moving towards friendlier ties with the US, but will not give up on such strategic partners such as Russia and France. It's prudent diversification.

At the same time I'm not sure the India as a counterbalance to China idea has legs. India and China are moving closer at the same time but it harks back to my earlier comment: you can't keep framing these things as "goodies" and "baddies". These days there are far more shades of gray and both China and India sit inside the spectrum. In some cases they are rivals, in others they are partners. That balance is titling to the latter and will continue to do so.

I don't see China as "aggressive" in its rise. It will only be so if America (and others) treat it as such.

Bill Rice


Thanks for your comments. While I respect your opinion and value your input, I do believe that 9/11 was a watershed event for this US administration. Realist objectives powered by an Idealism in foreign policy is the new foreign policy objective of the US. Promoting democracy save all else, or putting legs to JFK's
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

I do not view it as black and white. However, I do believe that the US is putting its weight and foreign policy objectives behind promoting democractic governments.

I believe the US would like a democratic China and is working diplomatically to those ends. However, China is a rising power both politically and economically. It's interest and US interests coincided during the Cold War to balance against Soviet power in Asia.

Without the Cold War, the US is a long term obstacle to Chinese power. I do believe the Chinese view it as a zero-sum game with the United States.

While we can all hope for peaceful mutual cooperation between the two nations, both countries are setting themselves up for potential future conflict over Taiwan. Neither nation will back down.

Germany and France were each other's two largest trading partners prior to the World Wars. While economics is important, it never trumps "hard power" politics, because nationalism, like any emotion is often stronger than long term logic and patience.

China has something to prove versus the United States desire to defend and promote democracy. They are conflicting goals, just as they were for the Soviet Union and the United States.

When the dust settles on the Greater War on Terror, the US and China will still be left with fundamental differences along with massive militaries with different aims.

I hope and pray for China's move towards democracy prior to a true battle over Taiwan.

Kind regards,

Bill Rice
Dawn's Early Light


We'll have to agree to disagree. China could become a rival, but it could also become a partner. There are few areas of fundamental national interest where America and China conflict with the notable exception of Taiwan.

That said, I also think China will eventually move towards a more democratic system. If that happens will China still appear to be a US rival and threat?

Bill Rice

I agree that we will have to agree to disagree, but your opinion and comment is much appreciated. With respect to your final question:

"I also think China will eventually move towards a more democratic system. If that happens will China still appear to be a US rival and threat?"

I would answer that it would no longer be a threat. The United States has not gone to war with any other democracy. I believe that no two democracies to date have declared war on each other. China becoming more like Hong Kong or Taiwan would mean a lessening of tension in Asia and the Pacific and would be a tremendous boom to an already exploding Chinese economy.

Kind regards,

Bill Rice
Dawn's Early Light Blog


Both Bill are Simon are largely right.

Simon is correct that the India will not forget its old friends. That helps world stability. Freedom has real enemies (al Qaeda), real problems (modern terrorism and the economic isolation/stagnation that feeds it), and real worries (China gets dumb over Taiwan). The differences between the US, France, India, and even Russia are nothing compared to that. It does not harm India or the US for India to have other ties.

Simon is right that China is no longer aggressive. Beijing's most controversial acts are demanding that status quo -- that nothing change.

Bill is right about how vital it is to maintain liberalization's forward momentum in China. China is opening up and getting better. Time is on the side of freedom in China.

An aside: if the F-18 sale goes through, it will be a great signal to China. Beijing is not yet at a place where the West is comfortable selling them anything. New Delhi is being offered everything. It certainly shows Beijing the path to modern weapons!

Bill Roggio

I have to agree with Dan, both Simon and Bill Rice are correct here. The problem is that China is BOTH a competitor and rival. This is a function of globalization and the opening of free trade. Economically, China is a partner, however geopolitically, China is a rival - mainly over issues like Hong Kong, North Korea and Taiwan.

The move to sell arms to India allows for the establishment of close ties between two influencial democracies, and hedges bets against China. If China moves towards a functional democracy (which I believe is inevitable) then there is no harm is building relations with India. If they remain Communist and become aggressive (Taiwan invasion), then India would also be concerned and the relationship with the United States becomes valuable.

I think it is a mistake to view the arms deal and a closer relationship as aimed only at China. The potential for a NUCLEAR Islamist Pakistan must also be contained, as well as other errant neighbors (fears of of an Islamist Bangldesh come to mind). Strengthening India's military would allow it to exert its own power in the region to contain and destroy Islamists, which they have their own problems (Kashmir and Jammu, Bangladesh). Also, a robust India would allow for it to be used in a UN peacekeeping role, easing the burden on US forces.

India is entering the 21st Century and it is reassessing its prior policies of non-alignment.


Rogg's got it right, in my view, which I guess means all have a share...now isn't that a little milquetoast?

I have never been comfortable with our 'ally' of neccessity in Pakistan. India has always been a natural ally and it's high time we drop the nuance and geopolitical history and get down to the business of common sense.

That being said, I have always been a big believer of...

Zalmay Khalilzad's "Congage China"

I tend to believe in more containment than engagement, but Khalilzad is essentially on the money.

Ross' The New Chinese Empire is worth the read, though it is entirely likely all here already have.



I'll second Roggio's point. It is important to remember that different problems require different tools. Indian interdiction of enemy planes requires nifty fighters, while squashing insurgencies involves guys with boots, guns, and knowledge of the local language (not always easy in India)!

Hopefully India will focus on both.

Robert Mayer

I am SO glad that I'm not the only one who thinks China's democratization is inevitable.


Hi all,

The US-China equation cannot be completely analysed until you consider the position of Taiwan. If the United States is willing to let go over Taiwan, then China would be less inclined to get into a geostrategic tussle with the United States. That depends on what the Taiwanese people end up doing too.

In the event that the Taiwanese declare independence, or the United States strengthens its committment to the defence of Taiwan, then an adversarial relationship is inevitable. China is well prepared for this scenario --- it has got North Korea to hold down America-Japan-South Korea in north/east Asia; and Pakistan-Myanmar to hold down America-India in south Asia.

That makes it important for the United States to gain a foothold in Central Asia, which, post-Afghanistan seems to be happening.

China turning into a democracy would help change the equation, for that may make a reunification with Taiwan easier. But seriously, how many of you think this is going to happen any time soon?


Renouncing the security agreement, or otherwise abandoning Taiwan, would be a terrible mistake.

# Taiwan and Japan have historically friendly relations. Taiwan and Japan are also both virtual nuclear powers. It does not promote stability to make these nations worry about their security, just as a nuclearized Western Pacific does not serve American interests.
# Taiwan serves to deter China from having a blue-water navy. Japan, extending through Ryukyu, and Taiwan parrellel the Chinese coast for a considerable distance. This should not be sacrificed cheaply.
# When has allowing a dictatorship to grow geographically detered it from further expansion? Abandoning Taiwan would encourage the wrong elements of China's leadership.

China is on the right path, but we must still hedge. For example, what if in 20 years China has a decayed leadership and a flat economy? China is not a nation, and like all Empires it may crumble. If the Chinese leadership were to lose legimitacy, China itself could fall apart. In that situation the world might benefit from promoting seperatism. Allowing China to incorporate Taiwan would make the "peaceful collapse" option much harder.

Bill Roggio


I do not see China becoming a democracy in the near or midterm future, I see this in the long term. Also, I wrote a post on US involvement in Central Asia that you might be interested in, called Great Games. I think defending Taiwan plays to our real strengths as long as we have the political will to do so (again, I have to refer to a past post, The China Syndrome, for the reasons why, my apologies). To sum it up: Defending Taiwan would require our air and sea power, our real areas of strength, and we can choke China's oil supply and crush her economy if needed. Granted there is the nuclear variable, but China would be mad to go there.


Abondoning Taiwan would be a monumental failure, I agree completely. I think the goal is to hold out on Taiwan until China makes real progress towards democracy. The question is can Taiwanese keep there demands for independence at bay.

najeeb afridi

i need a complete assingment on economy of pakistan.thanks

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