Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Making the world safe

Cyber Age: ND Batra

Global interdependence
From The Statesman

Today, India is a much friendlier place to live and do business in than it was a few years ago. There is tremendous optimism in the country that poverty can be reduced and widespread prosperity is achievable.
Although this does not diminish the bold foreign policy initiatives taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s administration, the US goodwill toward India is quite visible.
Americans have begun to believe that the USA has a vital interest in India’s gradual but steady rise as an economic power. Asia must remain a multi-player stage and no single power should attempt to exercise its hegemony.
Though 2050 is a long way off, Goldman Sachs’ modest forecast that India would become the third greatest economic power could not be brushed away. Eight to 10 per cent economic growth is in the realm of possibility once infrastructure begins to improve.
It is important for the USA to establish a long-term cooperative relationship with India both for economic and diplomatic reasons; and President Bush couldn’t have a better person at the helm than an ex-international banker, David Mulford. Unlike political demagogues, bankers don’t throw their weight around.
As some of the most down-to-earth people with their eyes focused on changing economic horizons, bankers offer cold and calculated assessment of the situation and measure their words precisely for market effect. But when a banker becomes a diplomat, the only way he can exercise his influence is through the power of persuasion, by seeking cooperation and convergence of national interests.
America’s attractiveness in India is primarily due to its culture and values. Most people around the world perceive American culture as the culture of Hollywood, pop music, movies and television programmes suffused with sex and violence; but that’s only partly true.
American culture is a culture of openness, of open roads that lead to the free marketplace of goods and ideas. It is a culture of optimism that holds the possibility of expanding human horizons. Americans fervently believe that global poverty can be eliminated; sickness can be cured. Bill and Melinda Gates are some of them.
China has understood only one aspect of the US culture, the free marketplace. By opening its markets and shuttering its people’s mouths (suppressing all protests), China has become the fastest growing economy.
But China is not a model for the developing world. If the USA were to shut its doors on China, the Chinese export-driven economy would be hard hit. So China keeps lending money to America at rock-bottom rates by buying US treasury Bills. China has no other place to park its trade surpluses.
But why does the USA keep playing the game? The USA knows that China cannot stop there. It would open itself to other cultural influences, including free expression and democracy.Sino-US interdependence is good for keeping the peace.
A similar phenomenon of interdependence has been taking place for quite sometime between India and the USA. Although pollsters tell Americans that they are the most disliked people in the world, it may not be the whole truth. Indians, more than a billion, think highly of the American people. They might disagree with some of the US policies; nonetheless, they are fascinated with American society.
So are the French, the Germans and the Russians, in spite of occasional protests. And the Brits? From British nannies to the British Prime Minister, America needs them so badly; another example of interdependence. Professor Joseph Nye of Harvard believes that a country can become attractive by “co-opting people rather than coercing them”.
But if trade with China and rising prosperity have co-opted the Chinese people and given them new hopes and new dreams, why hasn’t a similar policy worked for North Korea and Iran? Honestly, the USA has not tried hard enough to use the power of engagement, which is the best way to exercise power.
Prof Nye suggests that international influence “comes from an effective aid and information programme abroad. What is needed is increased investment in ‘soft power’, the complex machinery of interdependence, rather than in ‘hard power’— that is, an expensive new weapons system”.
Prof Nye acknowledges that to fight terrorism both hard and soft powers are necessary but you catch flies better with honey than with vinegar.American civil society is far more persuasive in presenting the USA to other people than the government does.
But you might say, what about the moral courage of the American President who in the midst of daily terrorist bombing attacks cannot stop believing that free elections and democracy would work for Iraq? This, too, is part of the culture that makes America so attractive. Corporate America, too, makes the USA attractive.
When an American apparel maker opens a factory in Bangladesh, it creates new hopes and dreams for the people. How long would Islamic jihadists stop Bangladeshis, for example, from improving their economic condition by seeking direct foreign investment? And that raises an intriguing question.
If most US investment goes to China, it deprives smaller countries of any hope of raising their economic standards through direct foreign investments. Bangladeshi or Sri Lankan apparel makers cannot compete with Chinese cheap products made cheaper by hidden subsidies. The USA should encourage corporate America, through economic incentives and other means, to invest in small developing countries, too.T
he best way for the USA to become attractive in Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh or Indonesia is through economic investment that creates jobs. That is the job of Karen Hughes, the under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs. She must coordinate US national interests with those of other nations through bilateralism and multilateralism.India offers her a great opportunity to raise the level of cooperation and partnership between the two countries. The impact of the joint exercise of Indo-US soft power would be felt across the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean.


  1. Cannot be more stupid than this auther.

    China and US depends on each other in biz. This is a two way action. Can US shut down the trade with China? No way!! China can make products cheap but keep the reasonable quality. China improves tech to make everything in a fast pace. Can India do this? Can US companies find another place like china as a manufacturing base? So far, the clear answer is :NO! Can you imagine that US sttops buy the products fro China? NO!, the living cost in US would grow substantially and in return it would hurt US's competetivesness in the world. Keep in mind, many other countries have the similar tech as US. Politically, Can US afford to push China to enemy side?

    Also the trade between China and US is only 1/4 of China's international trade.

    Can US make a country of the size of India rich or powerful? Impossible. All depends on yourself. US can help a little bit, but you can never depend on others. US is not the biggest investor in China as you think.

    Do US like India to be a competitor? No way! India can only be a tool! India to counter China? who cares? at least Chinese does not care too much as India has such a weak industry, weak military, such a divided country. Even more, China and India are vastly divided by the highest mountains.

    Comparing with Chinese economy, India is still far far behind. Chinese agriculture is much bigger than India's. Chinese's industry is at least 4 times of India's. Chinese service is much bigger than India's.

    BTW, the recent adjustment of China's GDP is about the half of India's total GDP. Can you feel the difference? That's only the adjustment of numbers.

    India will have about $40 billion of international trade deficit. That's a serious problem comparing India's small trade numbers.

    Another question: Do US like India to be a global superpower or even regional power? No way. Do a research you will find India is on the US's block list of tech trasfer.

  2. I like to tell you how far away India is behind China:

    In military, in 1962, Indian troops were diven like ducks by brave Chinese PLA. Do you know India got a lot of support from both USSR and US?

    China could design and make tanks, jet fighters, ICBM, nuclear subs... almost every thing before 1978 when China started reform. These were the garuantee of China's national security. The national security was the most important condition of China's reform.

    Can India make those today? India has to import tanks, jet fighters. has to rent nuclear subs from Rassia. Had to buy rocket engine from Russia even in 1995. What a pity!!!!!!!!!!

    China could produce the similar amount of iron and steel as India can do today!!!!

    Today, China can make the supercomputer of the power of 10 trillion FLOPS. Thanks for US's embargo. Cn India do it? No way.

    Indians alwasys boast India's software industry. Don't forget China has the similar software industry in the size. But CHina depends on her own market. China has her own operating systems (not Linux class), database systems even in 1980s. Can India do these?

    From any aspects, China is far ahead of India in technologies.

    India cannot counter or hurt China. But China can use India's neighbours to counter India and hurt India painfully!!

    China is independent. India always to to be a prostitute to sell itself to others. What a pity!!!

  3. Democracy practice in India, Philippines, Taiwan are three jokes.

    Philippines used to be rich, but under the democracy, a bad leader was selected with the support from US. Philippines is today the porrest country in SE Asian.

    Taiwan island is another example. The leader could win election by bullets. With more than 90% of the population is Chinese. The politicians can created a "race hatred". Funny? it is true. With the democracy, Taiwan's economy has been stagnent for almost 10 years.

    India? Big joke. India was much better than China in 1950s. But China is much better than India today. Mumbai wanted to be another Shanghai and removed the slums for more than 300000 people. I read Indian newspaper. Few readers paied sympathy for the poor. Indian gov stopped the process because of the presure from the outside not from Indian people. Keep the fact in mind: 60% of resident of Mumbai live in slums. But they cannot get their rights in a democratic country. Isn't it a joke?

    There are still 200 million of untouchbiles in India. They don't have any rights at all.