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