Sunday, November 22, 2009

2 Much G2?

President Obama recently finished up a three day visit to China in order to court China's cooperation on a number of foreign policy issues, but such a trip didn't do much to re-assure India of its relationship with the United States. Although President Obama and President Hu Jintao refrained (thankfully) from using the phrase G-2, such was the tone of the visit.

I understand the importance on getting China on board with the direction that the U.S. desires. Almost every issue that the United States is pursuing globally relies on support and cooperation from Beijing - economic crisis, climate crisis, North Korea and Iran crisis, etc.

Personally, I think the President did a much better job in China than you might read about and wasn't even offended at Obama's respectful bow to the Emperor of Japan. But let's not forget about how strategic India might become to the interests of the United States, especially, if the War in Afghanistan is actually a proxy for keeping Pakistan stable.

Health relationships with India are extremely important - increasingly so, as the U.S. becomes more involved in the region. Our growing connection with China should not, at the same time, marginalize India and put them on the back burner. If Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to deteriorate, the United States will have to rely on a positive relationship with New Delhi to prevent the domino effect of violence. It's not hard to imagine a city in India -Mumbai perhaps- being attacked by terrorists from a neighboring country -Pakistan perhaps. It's not hard to imagine because it already did happen this time last year. Thankfully, both India showed more restraint and patience in response to the terrorist attacks than did America's last administration.

The Financial Times quoted a south Asia expert saying that, "The Indians don't trust this White House. They're already pining for the Bush years."

Hopefully relations on that bad yet. Let's hope Obama's meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is able to convince the Indians of the U.S.'s commitment to them and their involvement within the region.

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