My "big fundamental" is that being _left_ means working for a more egalitarian, democratic society, but also for fairness, not ethnic or other kinds of favoritism. Because the left has turned away from fairness it is lost and unpopular. I'm a small voice hoping to push the left back toward its basics and its natural popularity.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

U.S.-India Nuke Deal & [Not] 'Great Game'

The following (minus minor editing) was written in response to a tpmcafe.com post by Michael Levi called "Debating the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal":

On June 7, 2006 - 10:12am fairleft said:

Excuse me for pointing out the obvious, but the nuclear deal with India once again shows that nuclear weapons nonproliferation is not an important US policy goal except when it can be caboosed onto the Great Game (the 100 years competition by outside powers to dominate the Middle East and Central Asia, the world’s primary gas and oil region). So, from merely a PR perspective the timing of the deal _could_ be better, when the US seems ready to go to war with NPT signee Iran over its nuclear _energy_ program.

And, you don't have to read Robert Kagan too closely to understand how excited Beltway schemers are about making new moves in the Great Game: "Imagine that this powerful, prosperous, democratic nation sits on the same continent with Russia and China, two huge geopolitical problems waiting to happen. Imagine that this nation possesses a navy capable of helping patrol strategically vital waterways and a military force capable of acting as a deterrent against powerful neighbors."

So the concept is to sign up India to ally with the US and against China and Russia, make it dependent on US supplied energy (which we ‘promise’ to keep flowing) with no overland energy connections to any ‘bad’ countries allowed, enlist it in miltary adventures or intimidation against 'powerful neighbors', and in exchange we allow it to develop nuclear weapons to its heart's content.

It would be better for all to go a different direction, and let the Great Game to die. Let's call the whole immoral thing off, let the Middle East and Central Asia control their own energy resources, and rationally share (whoever pays the most gets the oil) the world’s remaining oil and gas in a conservation-oriented, peaceful future. This future will probably be imposed on the US eventually anyway, but why not get ahead of the game and save some lives and weapons expenditures? I know Central Asia, the Middle East, China and Russia (and probably India) would jump at such a deal, and right now on terms the US might like. The only centers of power this alternative future might be hard on are militaries and war industries...

[I replied to my own comment with the following:]
On June 7, 2006 - 10:32am fairleft said:
Asia Times' M K Bhadrakumar writes very knowledgeably on this topic in "'The Great Game' comes to South Asia":

"... The ultimate nightmare for US regional policy would be if the SCO were to grant full membership to Iran, Pakistan and India. Iran is manifestly keen on SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization] membership. So is Pakistan....

"The US strategic thinking remains obsessed with minimizing the Russian and Chinese presence in Central Asia. The strategy is fundamentally flawed in so far as it lacks the dynamism and creativity that can only come out of positive energy. It overlooks what is apparent to the naked eye.

"The US, in effect, having lost its petty squabbles and having been slighted time and again in the Central Asian capitals, has evacuated itself to South Asia, bringing with it the entire baggage of the Great Game. From the South Asian perspective, Washington may prove to be putting spokes in the wheel of the region's promising cooperation with the SCO."


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