Foreign Policy in Asia

This story is an interesting update on the growing links between the United States and India.

The integration of India into the broad alliance of Western Democracies will probably be the most important geopolitical challenge and opportunity of the first half of the 21st century.

Conservatives (or for IR geeks, Neorealists) will like it because it will help contain China. Liberals will like it because it will both strengthen a democratic anchor in the heart of Asia and create a powerful ally whose values and ideals are broadly aligned with our own.

India is bankable because it is increasingly capitalistic and democratic, has an independent judiciary, and its demographics are slowly stabilizing. This puts it in sharp relief against China which is increasingly capitalistic and authoritarian, possesses a weak rule of law, and has highly unstable demographics (the one-child policy is causing both a gender imbalance and creating the longer term crisis of a suddenly contracting population). In short, China has the short term potential of being quite powerful, but over the long term, could become a source of instability. India, over the short term runs the risk of being impotent, but over the longer term could become a source of power and stability. Hence, the western economies are happy to trade with China, but the relationship ends there. With India, they not only want to trade but also explore the possibilities of partnership.

So where is Canada in all this?

Unclear. I’ve seen no evidence that we are making ourselves indispensable to the key players in this new alliance. And, as our experience in NATO has taught us, it is always good to get in on the ground floor. Alas, you have to have a reason to get in the door. It’s not clear we have one. And that is very, very, bad news.

2 thoughts on “Foreign Policy in Asia

  1. Nick Olynyk

    I somewhat disagree David. I believe China will be a viable power in the long-term due to the fact they have a quite large population, regardless of the demographics within that population. The cost of labour is ludicrous and they have had a partnership with the west much longer than India. That being said, I don’t think China’s government is progressing fast enough towards democracy and India is undoubtably gaining power. Where do you see China going in the future?

    Reply
  2. Nick Olynyk

    I somewhat disagree David. I believe China will be a viable power in the long-term due to the fact they have a quite large population, regardless of the demographics within that population. The cost of labour is ludicrous and they have had a partnership with the west much longer than India. That being said, I don’t think China’s government is progressing fast enough towards democracy and India is undoubtably gaining power. Where do you see China going in the future?

    Reply

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