Monday, September 26, 2005

iran nuke stuff

san and anonymous,
i think this iran thing is not a life-and-death issue for india. so the best thing to do would have been to keep quiet. but no, that foreign minister had to shoot his mouth off and some idiot congressman (alas, from the sf bay area) had to show he had a big mouth, too.

arvind kumar's sensible and objective op-ed that i posted yesterday makes the most sense.

iran is not india's best pal; any NAM rhetoric about helping other non-aligned nations is worth greeting with derisive laughter. what exactly has iran done for india in the recent past? it signed supplier agreements with india (and with china) partly because nobody else would buy from them.

india just did a relatively cost-free thing in supporting the iaea censure of iran. by abstaining, russia and china (remember the sino-islamic axis?) have signalled they will veto any security council action against iran. so what india says about iran in the iaea isn't going to have much of an impact. and by not thumbing our noses at the yanks, we have prevented the non-proliferation ayatollahs from having a quick and easy point to beat india with.

in other words, this was not bad diplomacy. those who rail against it are doing it for the following reasons:

a. marxists because it is good for india's national interest, and therefore the marxists obviously have to oppose it
b. mohammedan-appeasers for obvious reasons
c. bjp because this is a good stick to beat the upa with

and anonymous, you should get yourself a name to differentiate yourself. your ranting about the neo-cons kind of shows you to be a semitic fundamentalist, because you clearly are not able to distinguish nuance: there are many shades of grey. nobody is saying india should love the neo-cons. one should hold one's nose and deal with them because they are temporary alliances one makes with the less-than-savory. and dump them as soon as they become a liability.


Anonymous said...

I am the anonymous who was trying to point out the fact that Iran could
have been used as a base for ferrying arms to the Balochis - some reports
in the past indicate that it has happened. But I guess we should see how
the entire thing plays out - whether the US will keep its end of the
bargain and if San's theory would hold out - i.e. pro-US Iran and stable
Afghanistan would help India reclaim POK and thus a transit to CAS. But if
the US does not live upto its promises and/or US yields to Pak's clamor
about giving them parity on the civilian nuclear front, it would really
harm the US' image as a trustworthy country and it turn would give fodder
to all the Commies, Mullahs who with "I told you so" attitude can generate
enough anti-US sentiment.

san said...

Hi gentlemen,
I hear what you're saying about the concern on whether the US will live upto its promises, and acknowledge your point.
As you say, there is the possibility that the US could take what it wants in Iran and leave us high and dry.

But rather than relying upon the mythical force of ethics in geopolitics, I'll rely upon simple physics. The Americans, like any other power, will choose the path of least resistance/difficulty in order to achieve their objectives.

Resorting to Pakistan as their local proxy and access route into Central Asia has proven problematic for the US. Because as we've seen, when the Pakistanis are given an inch they take a yard. When given the benefit of arms and logistical assistance, they'll support Taliban, AlQaeda and all manner of uncontrollable crazies. When given the benefit of Pressler Amendment, they proliferate nukes to all the other dangerous rogues, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, N.Korea. Even in the financial world, they were up to their eyeballs in the BCCI fraud scandal.

Yet Pakistan still continues to command the American ear, because they're the only way to get into strategic Central Asia, where America percieves it has vital interests.

Rather than being headstrong, and ineffectually trying to headbutt the Americans directly, we should try to simply deflect their course by providing better alternatives to the obviously poor choice that Pakistan presents. The American river will pursue the path of least resistance/difficulty.

Theocratic and soon-to-be-nuclear Iran also presents challenges to the West and their Gulf protectorates that could down the road potentially cause us collateral damage in the form of high oil prices and unstable supplies. This will only further accentuate Pakistan's value as the remaining corridor into energy-rich Central Asia. Pak will have the best of all worlds, with all the international suitors lining up to kiss their hand.

But if the Americans are able to effect regime-change in Iran, then the newly-opened Iranian route into CentralAsia will allow them to bypass the problematic Pakistan. If they dump Pak and the double-talking Musharraf, then we win by default. Reduced American dependency on Pak means more latitude in pressuring Pak to purge its madrassa culture and jihadi infrastructure, which threaten not just us but the world. There would also be more room to pursue accountability against Pak for its N-proliferation, which even Westerners acknowledge as the most damaging thing since Claus Fuchs.

Without their monopoly on Western transit acccess to CentralAsia, Pak then has little to offer of any appeal, except of course to China which needs a counterweight to us.

As you've pointed out, voting with the US on this issue has deprived the India-baiters in the US of a stick to beat us with. But what we really need to push for is a rapid timetable for regime-change in Tehran, as opposed to some half-hearted lingering policy of mere 'containment'. Such a containment policy would only cause us pain in the interim, and also work in Pak's favor.

Hopefully, the BJP can function more as enlightened opposition here, rather than merely seeking to score brownie points against the govt for short-term gain.

Anonymous said...

I am the anonymous who posts about the dangers of listening to the neocons.

Bottom line (and this is sad to say) is that the USA has become a kleptocracy. The establishment of a puppet govt in Iran main objective will be to throw dollars at Halliburton and provide venues for Evangelicals to market their wares.

You can be sure that such a govt will bring about another guerilla war as we see in Iraq.

If anything, such a situation will only increase the value of Pakistan to the U.S.


san said...

TallIndian, I hear your many useful points. But cooperating with the neocons at opportune moments for mutual benefit is not quite the same as listening to the neocons or being in their orbit.

As far as Bush/Cheney/Halliburton being a kleptocracy, we are not directly affected by this. The Tehran mullahs are themselves an authoritarian kleptocracy. In any case, the left-wing kleptocracy and anti-meritocracy in India is the main kleptocracy we should be worried about.

I'm not too worried about evangelical conversions in Iran, but I doubt that Islamic societies are easily susceptible to conversion.

Regarding guerrilla war in Iran, I don't think that will hurt us, since we're not volunteering to be the occupying power in Iran. I don't feel that Pakistan will benefit strategically but will in fact lose, because the US/West will suddenly have a direct transit corridor into CentralAsia which bypasses Pakistan.

The main thing we have to avoid is a lengthy timetable for regime change. It needs to be done as quickly and as decisively as possible.

san said...

I would like TallIndian and others to read this article from K Subrahmanyam:

Again, Iranian collusion with Pak on N-proliferation has adversely affected India. The Iranians feel upset when we vote against them on IAEA, but don't feel upset when their collusion with Pak hurts us.

TallIndian, do you at least feel upset when such Iran-Pak nuclear collusion hurts India? Do you feel that the Iranians bear some share of blame for the damage their collusion with Pak has done to India?

Or do you feel we should be suckers, accepting their slaps with a smile, and only worrying about their feelings rather than our own?