India successfully tested ballistic missile with a range of more than 5,000km-going uncriticised by USA which has shown an obsession over the years about a ‘supposed’nuclear programme by Iran, and a huge concern for the failed rocket launch by North Korea a few days earlier. India has increased its military spending by 13% this fiscalyear, to roughly US $38 billion(The Independent UK, dated 20th April, 2012 ,article titled, ”India’s nuclear ambition must not be ignored”). Yet it has not raised US ire-or eyebrows!
India, the bully of the region has happily announced its entry in an exclusive club withinthe comity of nations having the capability to hit 5,000 kilometers. Chinese newspaper,Global Times(Beijing), hit out at Western countries for double standards for not condemning the test firing of the Agni-V.”The West chooses to overlook India’s disregard of nuclear and missile control treaties,”the editorial said. “The West remains silent on the fact that India’s military spending increased by 17 percent.” LINK: http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/warns-04192012110819.html
Double standards it is!
There is a club within a club, of countries of the world who can get away with murder(literally) while others must behave or face the stick of the Master. Pakistan being the favorite whipping boy!
The question here is the geo-political interest of US in the region. The question here is the need to hold back China emerging as a super power in near future, if at all. The need here is to support a country within the region to act, or seem to act as a deterrent to China. Obvious choice: India.What USA had completely overlooked in this game of regional hegemony is when you let the genie out of the bottle, it will refuse to go back in the bottle. It can one day, turn upon the master, once his heart’s desire of being let out is fulfilled.
USA has learnt no lessons from history. In it’s short term policy of countering Russian influence in Afghanistan , it had created Mujaheddin(now re christened Taliban).Today, the specter of the ghost hounds them. But not really a ghost is it?
Now, blubbering in Afghanistan, caught in a trap of it’s own making, USA does not know how to extricate itself from her folly!This strategy has led to the need by US to involve India more in Afghanistan to the complete denial of genuine interest of Pakistan, her ‘ally’ in WOT. USA is overlookingthe fact that the security environment in South Asia has always been guided bytraditional rivalry, Pakistan and India being the two players. USA cannot wish away the reason for three wars between India and Pakistan. The reasons, no international forum has shown interest in resolving. According to a paper by Syed Shahid Hussain Bokhari for the Berkley Journal of Social Sciences, published Jan 2011, the strategic balance in the region is maintained by Nuclear Deterrence and role of major powers(USA).He correctly states that US tilt towards India will put Pakistan interests at stake.
USA desire to support India is an expression to maintain hegemonic superiority over her perceived rival in the region. India has not accepted any legal binding against nuclear,” nuclear testing by India might enable it to wield nuclear weapons with much larger explosive power than those currently in the Indian arsenal; that in turn would allow important changes in Indian nuclear strategy- for example, it might let India target Chinese or Pakistani nuclear sites that were previously safe; driving Beijing orIslamabad to develop new weapons themselves or to change their currently restrained strategies for using nuclear arms”.( Michael A. Levi and Charles D Ferguson, U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation A Strategy of Moving Forward. Council Special Report, Council
on Foreign Relations, 2006: 11). With the new Indo_US partnership in offing , India will use her status with the US to be used against Pakistan, it’s traditional rival. The equanimity with which USA has accepted the new ballistic missile fired by India is an example. This new nexus will, at some point compel Pakistan, for the sake of her survival and the need to counter India, into seeking options where USA may not figure.
For USA then, it could turn into a self defeating exercise and leading her in a trap of her own making .In this dangerous game , the double standards being indulged in by USA are being well read, “India missile test has few critics, unlike NKorea,” read the headline to a widely-distributed AP story, which said the test caused barely a ripple — even in China — just days after North Korea was globally vilified for a failed rocket launch. ( The Times of India , published 20th April 2012, titled, ”US refrains from criticizing Agni V test,praises India’s non- proliferation record” by Chidanand Rajghatta). LINK: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/US-refrains-from-criticizing-Agni-V-test-praises-Indias-non-proliferation-record/articleshow/12738475.cms
USA is a weakened nation today. After it’s long drawn out war in Afghanistan with nothing to show for it(unless you count destruction of the country and killing of civilians, urinating on dead bodies as a victory), and the war on Iraq, it needs strategic partners to help her, in spite of a weak economy due to long drawn out wars, in maintaining her hegemony over China, the upcoming challenger to USA’s status. This will lead to USA’s adventurism into forming new alliances at the expense of old ones,whatever it takes!
Leaving Pakistan, the favorite whipping boy, tossed aside like used tissue, to fend for herself. Pakistan will do well to understand the need of USA to do so. Pakistan should look for options here as her very equation in the region is at stake!
The interesting paradox of US policy is the inbuilt self defeating mechanism. By leaning completely towards India( why am I reminded here of a parallel: USA’s role in Israel vs Iran?)it control on Pakistan has to weaken. This will ensure, entrance in the corridor of the arena of others interested in having a foot in .Unfortunately, USA has over the years shown a fixation for short term policies.
The writer is a university professor based in Lahore & may be reached at