What’s behind Bush’s South Asian maneuvers?
Published Mar 9, 2006 12:10 AM
In the world of diplomacy, it’s often
what’s left unsaid that requires the most careful
George W. Bush has generally not been regarded as shy when
it comes to naming his “enemies.” In fact, his menacing bluster
against Iran, Iraq and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as an
“axis of evil” in 2002 was about as crudely open as any president
could be in laying out before the world his aggressive plans.
But that was
the “old” Bush. That was before his plan to easily conquer Iraq with
a few weeks of “shock and awe”—and then roll on to impose
Washington’s dominion over many others—turned to ashes. It was
before the Iraqi resistance shipwrecked the global empire plans of
Washington’s neocons and breathed a renewed spirit of struggle into parts
of the world that were supposed to be passively carved up by Bush’s
friends in the oil business.
These days, Bush draws huge, angry
demonstrations whenever he goes abroad, unless he sneaks in and out in the dead
of night. His approval rating even at home is in the low 30s, undercut only by
that of his vice president, who sunk to 18 percent approval after shooting his
hunting friend in the face.
So when Bush went on a recent trip to
Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, he avoided sounding bellicose. He talked about
promoting “democracy,” of course, and fighting
“terrorism,” but he didn’t talk about an endless war this
time. His emphasis in India especially was on building a partnership of economic
cooperation and development.
Leaving aside style, however, the content of
this trip has plenty of menace for the billions of people in Asia.
Bush didn’t talk about was how his overtures to India are linked to U.S.
imperialism’s desire to offset China’s growth as a world power. Nor
is the English-language press in China saying anything about this, either. It is
maintaining a calm demeanor in the face of what could be a serious
In New Delhi, Bush announced a deal by which the U.S. would
actively cooperate with India’s development of nuclear power, even though
India withdrew from the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and has developed nuclear
This move has left many in the imperialist world who have
applauded the U.S. hard-line stance against Iraq, Iran and the DPRK not knowing
what to say now. Of course, it’s now known that Iraq never had nuclear
weapons, while Washington’s ally Israel has secretly produced many of
But this latest move by Bush toward India proves that the
non-proliferation issue is as phony as a three-dollar bill. What kind of
credibility will the administration have as it tries to haul Iran before the
Security Council for building nuclear power plants, claiming that is a dangerous
development, when nuclear weapons are sprouting up in countries all around
The British publication Guardian had this to say on March
“The U.S. is now treating India like its uniquely special ally
Israel, also outside the NPT, which maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity
about its nuclear capacity and is believed to have 200
“Part of the rationale for the agreement is helping to
reduce the dependence of India’s booming economy on oil and thus cut
greenhouse gas emissions. Another element is accepting a fait accompli which is
likely to benefit a U.S. nuclear industry that is keen to sell fuel and reactor
components. The hard-fought terms mean that 14 of India’s 22 reactors will
be placed under scrutiny; military ones will not. The military will also retain
control of fast-breeder reactors, highly efficient producers of the plutonium
needed for warheads—whose numbers could rise from an estimated 50 today to
300-400 in a decade. That is a stunning reversal after 30 years of efforts to
deny India nuclear technology, including sanctions when it conducted a nuclear
test in 1998.
“The U.S. has defended this volte-face in terms of
Realpolitik and shared values, while China (a ‘big five’ nuclear
power under the NPT) is clearly another key, common factor.”
pushed the “shared values” argument hard. India is a democracy, he
said repeatedly, as though that somehow made it all right. Yes, India has
capitalist democracy—and has had it for decades. When the Indian
government was close to the Soviet Union, the fact that it had many political
parties didn’t stop the U.S. from threatening it with sanctions. Nor did
it keep Washington from building up a military dictatorship in neighboring
Pakistan that threatened India. On this trip, however, Bush was almost insulting
to Pakis tani dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf, after all that Musharraf has done
for the Pentagon, allowing the U.S. to use it as a base for its war of regime
change in Afghanistan.
India’s capitalist democracy hasn’t
brought much to the vast majority of people in India, either, which has the
largest population of extremely poor people in the world. U.S. investment in
information technology in India in recent years has only widened the gap between
rich and poor. (See accompanying article on protests over Bush’s
So this isn’t about democracy. And it isn’t just about
trade or economic cooperation with India. This move was decided on by the brain
trust in the Pentagon and State Department, headed by Donald Rumsfeld and
Condoleezza Rice, respectively, that sees China as the biggest problem for U.S.
imperialism down the road, and is starting to prepare for that now.
all the other things that the U.S. should be doing with its great resources and
technology—dealing with the enormous threats looming from global warming
is just a start—the last thing the people of any country need is a
U.S.-instigated arms race in Asia.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: [email protected]
Subscribe [email protected]
Support independent news DONATE