Now, why would the President of the United States deliberately seek to reduce American power?

I had intended to quote this story from The Philadelphia Inquirer, but, even though it was on the front page, I could not find it on the Inquirer’s website!

Oh, well, it was a New York Times story in the first place!


Countering China, Obama Backs India for U.N. Council


By Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jim Yardley

NEW DELHI — By endorsing India for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, President Obama on Monday signaled the United States’ intention to create a deeper partnership of the world’s two largest democracies that would expand commercial ties and check the influence of an increasingly assertive China.

Mr. Obama’s announcement, made during a nationally televised address to the Indian Parliament, came at the end of a three-day visit to India that won high marks from an Indian political establishment once uncertain of the president’s commitment to the relationship. Even as stark differences remained between the countries on a range of tough issues, including Pakistan, trade policy, climate change and, to some degree, Iran, Mr. Obama spoke of India as an “indispensable” partner for the coming century.

“In Asia and around the world, India is not simply emerging,” he said during his speech in Parliament. “India has emerged.”

Mr. Obama’s closer embrace of India prompted a sharp warning from Pakistan, India’s rival and an uncertain ally of the United States in the war in Afghanistan, which criticized the two countries for engaging in “power politics” that lacked a moral foundation.

Much more at the link!

OK, this is really foolish, on two levels. First of all, the permanent members¹ of the United Nations Security Council have veto power. It’s been difficult enough at times to get things through the Security Council when we had to persuade China and the old USSR; President Bush couldn’t get his proposed authorization to use force against Iraq passed even our ostensible ally, France. Why on God’s earth would President Obama want to add yet another potential stumbling block in the Security Council, and a stumbling block in the form of the originating nation of the so-called “non-aligned” nations, countries with cultures and goals very different from the developed nations?

It’s very simple: proposing permanent membership for India directly weakens American power. Why would any American president want to do that?

Second, we are doing everything we can to keep Pakistan as an ally against the militant Islamists, and that’s a difficult task. Pakistan was the only netion to recognize the old Taliban government of Afghanistan, and Pakistan is loaded up with Islamist militants, madrasahes . . . and has atomic weapons to boot. Pakistan’s greatest enemy is India. President Obama going to New Dehli and advocating permanent membership status for India is tantamount to spitting in the face of Pakistan. Now, sometimes in diplomacy you have to do things for one nation which will displease another, but this step did not have to be taken.

There are things we hope to gain from India’s support; they’re noted with some detail in the article. It’s not like we’d gain nothing from closer ties and even better relations with India. But in a moral sense — Pakistan used the word “moral” in its protest statement — granting India a permanent seat on the Security Council, and veto power, would be saying to the Pakistanis that yes, India is simply a better, superior nation to you, India is just plain more important than you are.

This is a wholly foolish move on the part of President Obama.
_______________________
¹ – The United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Russian Federation, and the People’s Republic of China

20 Comments

  1. In an alternate universe, this post is rife with pictures of Neville Chamberlain, and how Obama’s afraid of angering a tiny nation, a nation that’s practically in bed with terrorists, and this move is costing American companies billions in lost trade agreements.

    Yes, Obama is wrong either way.

  2. I absolutely detest BO leaving the Country and telling the world how bad we are and he’s working his butt off to bring us down to a third world power.

    Times of India:
    ‘Obama Acknowledges Decline of US Dominance’

    Posted on November 9, 2010 at 12:25am by Meredith Jessup

    Are America’s best days behind us?

    That seemed to be the message presented by President Barack Obama during a town hall-style meeting he held Sunday in Mumbai, India. The Times of India picked up on the underlying message of Obama’s remarks in a story headlined, “Obama Acknowledges Decline of US Dominance”:

    Implicitly acknowledging the decline of American dominance, Barack Obama on Sunday said the US was no longer in a position to “meet the rest of the world economically on our terms” …

    Obama, who just lost control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans, unbashedly said the objective of his visit was to find jobs for his voters. “I want to make sure we are here because this will create jobs in the US,” he said, but stressed he was for a kind of relationship which will create jobs in India as well. As he put it: “A win-win proposition.” …

    While replying to a question on how Republican gains would affect US policy towards India, he switched to a larger exposition of how he saw new realities shaping geo-politics and the economy. Saying the competition from India and China was potentially a good thing, Obama suggested that the US had to face up to a changing world order. (Seems to be the Soros mantra)

    “I do think that one of the challenges that we are going face in the US, at a time when we are still recovering from the financial crisis is, how do we respond to some of the challenges of globalization? The fact of the matter is that for most of my lifetime and I’ll turn 50 next year – the US was such an enormously dominant economic power, we were such a large market, our industry, our technology, our manufacturing was so significant that we always met the rest of the world economically on our terms,” Obama said. “And now because of the incredible rise of India and China and Brazil and other countries, the US remains the largest economy and the largest market, but there is real competition.”

    “This will keep America on its toes. America is going to have to compete. There is going to be a tug-of-war within the US between those who see globalization as a threat and those who accept we live in a open integrated world, which has challenges and opportunities.”
    ——————-
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/times-of-india-obama-acknowledges-decline-of-us-dominance/
    And BO with his promise to Fundamentally change America is right in there helping as much as he can.

    Did anybody catch Beck Tonight?

  3. It’s very simple: proposing permanent membership for India directly weakens American power.

    Interesting – is it that you believe the American President should only seek immediate short-term benefit in all overseas policy actions and ignore the advantages that a UN that remains viable in the long-term offers the US, or is it that you believe that the United Nations exists only as a means of furthering American power, and doesn’t serve other purposes that might be advanced by adding India to the Security Council?

    I don’t recall where that was written in the Charter, Dana. Could you please elaborate, from the depths of your expertise in these matters?

  4. Implicitly acknowledging the decline of American dominance, Barack Obama on Sunday said the US was no longer in a position to “meet the rest of the world economically on our terms” …

    Presumably, Yorkshire, if you simply wish hard enough, reality will change to meet your patriotic wishes.

    Oh, and you still haven’t explained why my earlier comment was “assinine”…

  5. Apparently you’re insecure that I won’t answer, when I already provided the answer in Bold. Dana, I think Pho’s infatuated with me, or he’s a stalker. Haven’t worked out his PHOEbia when he gets the wrong answer.

  6. But in a moral sense — Pakistan used the word “moral” in its protest statement — granting India a permanent seat on the Security Council, and veto power, would be saying to the Pakistanis that yes, India is simply a better, superior nation to you, India is just plain more important than you are.

    Population of India: 1,190,000,000 people (nearly 4 times the US)
    Population of Pakistan: 171,000,000 people.

    GDP of India: US$3,500 billion (PPP).
    GDP of Pakistan: US$440 billion.

    Government of India: Democratic republic
    Government of Pakistan: Alternating between democratic republic and military junta

    Active armed forces, India: 1,300,000 (almost the same as the US)
    Active armed force, Pakistan: 620,000

    Number of ships, Indian Navy: 170 (including an aircraft carrier)
    Number of ships, Pakistani Navy: 11

  7. Apparently you’re insecure that I won’t answer, when I already provided the answer in Bold

    Alas, I don’t think you did.

  8. Phoenician in a time of Romans says:
    9 November 2010 at 20:58 (Edit)
    Apparently you’re insecure that I won’t answer, when I already provided the answer in Bold

    Alas, I don’t think you did.

    Then there is not much I can do for you. Now this is the third thread stalker.

  9. The Phoenician wrote:

    Interesting – is it that you believe the American President should only seek immediate short-term benefit in all overseas policy actions and ignore the advantages that a UN that remains viable in the long-term offers the US, or is it that you believe that the United Nations exists only as a means of furthering American power, and doesn’t serve other purposes that might be advanced by adding India to the Security Council?

    I don’t recall where that was written in the Charter, Dana. Could you please elaborate, from the depths of your expertise in these matters?

    The purpose of the United Nations, from our point of view, ought to be to further American interests; only a fool sticks with an organization designed to restrict his own interests.

    Retaining as much power in American hands as possible isn’t just a short-term interest, Phoe: it’s something that every President should pursue, for both the short and longer terms.

    You seem to have the wholly strange notion that a country ought to be part of the UN for some great, worldly, magnanimous reasons. Sorry, but nations pursue their own interests; if the UN helps, great, but if it doesn’t, then you don’t subordinate your own interests to those of the UN.

  10. So, Phoe, in your list of areas in which India outstrips Pakistan, where on there do you find the part where Pakistan wouldn’t see the elevation of its greatest enemy — and Pakistan and India have been at each other’s throats ever since the partition of British India — as an insult to Pakistan? Do you somehow think that nations just swallow their pride in matters like this?

    And note, you’d sure never say that about other nations you believe the US is trying to subjugate into our imperium.

  11. Nangleator wrote:

    In an alternate universe, this post is rife with pictures of Neville Chamberlain, and how Obama’s afraid of angering a tiny nation, a nation that’s practically in bed with terrorists, and this move is costing American companies billions in lost trade agreements.

    We aim to please! :)

  12. Then there is not much I can do for you.

    You could simply provide a link.

    That you are unable to do so speaks absoultely volumes

  13. So, Phoe, in your list of areas in which India outstrips Pakistan, where on there do you find the part where Pakistan wouldn’t see the elevation of its greatest enemy — and Pakistan and India have been at each other’s throats ever since the partition of British India — as an insult to Pakistan?

    Since I was replying to your implication that there was no objective reason to value India over Pakistan, Pakistan’s feelings are irrelevant, Dana. India is a world power; Pakistan isn’t. India belongs on the Security Council whether Pakistan celebrates or abhorrs the idea.

  14. The purpose of the United Nations, from our point of view, ought to be to further American interests;

    A wise person would, of course, note that this is self-defeating; a UN run for US purposes is a UN with which no-one will cooperate.

    You seem to have the wholly strange notion that a country ought to be part of the UN for some great, worldly, magnanimous reasons. Sorry, but nations pursue their own interests; if the UN helps, great, but if it doesn’t, then you don’t subordinate your own interests to those of the UN.

    Now think carefully, Dana. It may be difficult, but think very very carefully – what happens if other countries adopt the same attitude?

  15. Phoe, it’s real simple: nobody subordinates his own interests to the United Nations. At best, the UN can serve, in areas of competing interests, to help build coalitions in which one group can defeat, whether militarily or diplomatically, the resistance of the recalcitrant country.

    Please tell me that you aren’t so naïve as to think that the United Nations is supposed to be some sort of world government, or the precursor to one.

  16. Stalker in a time of Upheaval says:
    10 November 2010 at 04:31 (Edit)
    Then there is not much I can do for you.

    You could simply provide a link.

    That you are unable to do so speaks absoultely volumes

    Wonder what Freud would say about a stalker following a person through three threads asking for an answer he already got? I suppose he could fill a whole shelf in your library about the stalking and insecurity.

  17. First off, our power is already limited by the other veto nations. Adding another nation to the security council does not diminish our power in any way. Our veto still stops resolutions dead in their tracks, and so does China’s. The proposal to make India a permanent member wouldn’t give them a veto, but even if it did it wouldn’t matter. SeCo’s not getting anything done unless it’s cool with both the U.S. and China anyway. Status quo maintained.

    Second, Pakistan hasn’t really had its act together for a while. Remember that they have been cutting off supplies to Afghanistan in order to protest our drone strikes. They’re not actively hostile, but they’re hardly as valuable a partner as they were at the beginning of the Afghan war. So there are a lot of things we want from Pakistan that we’re not really getting.

    Now the balance of power in that region is maintained generally by the fact that the main powers have, for the most part, stayed out of the India-Pakistan thing. If the U.S. starts advocating for India to join the Security Council permanently, that puts Pakistan in a bit of a pickle. They can either a) convince another power to side with them, thus restoring the balance of power for the most part; b) roll over and give India whatever they want, including control of much of Kashmir; or c) roll over and give the U.S. what we want, most notably more substantial help in Afghanistan and in finding al-Qaeda hideaways, in exchange for having us stop indulging India’s security council dreams. Option a) is unlikely – China and Russia would be the only ones that would join Pakistan, and they’ve shown no inclination to do so. A government that picked option b) would be signing its own death warrant. So the only option left is c) – help the U.S. out in exchange for us shutting up about India.

    So Obama’s trying to whip Pakistan back into line with us without giving up anything of note. What’s wrong with that?

  18. Phoe, it’s real simple: nobody subordinates his own interests to the United Nations. At best, the UN can serve, in areas of competing interests, to help build coalitions in which one group can defeat, whether militarily or diplomatically, the resistance of the recalcitrant country.

    *sigh* Am I really going to have to dig out the political science journals here? It’s a pain to have to dig through back issues, and wingnuts just ignore actual research anyway.

    You are assuming “interests” are unitary. There is an interest in havibng a coordinating body which reduces conflict which transcends short-term interest Dana.

    Your family life must be really interesting – if decisions such as where to go on vacation don’t go your way, do you scream that you’re going on vacatin there alone anyway, or do you insist that your decision must be followed regardless of anyone else’s interest? Or do you recognise that there is a value in doing things as a family which is seperate from whether you get your every whim indulged?

  19. And here is some informed comment on India:

    Rising Asia

    If you want to measure the scope of American decline since the height of the Cold War era, remember that back then Iran and Pakistan were American spheres of influence from which other great powers were excluded. Now, the best the U.S. can manage in Pakistan is the political (and military) equivalent of a condominium or perhaps a time-share — and in Iran, nothing at all.

    Despite his feel-good trip to India last weekend, during which he announced some important business deals for U.S. goods, Obama has remarkably little to offer the Indians. That undoubtedly is why the president unexpectedly announced Washington’s largely symbolic support for a coveted seat as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a ringing confirmation of India’s status as a rising power.

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