Wednesday, December 10, 2008

South Asian International Relations

Two thoughts:

1.  There are not nearly enough Indian realists.  V.S. Naipaul's biographer and the National Interest are two good examples, but generally people respond with either a "invade Pakistan" or "as always, Hindu nationalists are to blame" perspective, neither of which are entirely valid.  Is it too much to ask for a government which can coherently formulate national goals, and execute them with a minimum of fuss?  Apparently it is, so you have a government which is both incapable of fixing national security or intelligence, and also lashes out at Pakistan in unproductive ways.  

2.  Am I the only one disappointed at Obama's foreign policy policies on South Asia so far?  He talked about publicly declaring strikes against Pakistan, which John McCain rightly criticized as leaving Pakistan no option but confronting you.  Obama had to establish enough of a warlike posture at the time (given his policy on negotiating with Iran) so I can overlook that.  But now there are all these thoughts coming out about how Obama wants to appoint an envoy to "fix" the Kashmir problem.  Daniel Larson and Reihan both point out how this isn't a terribly feasible option, and can be pretty counterproductive.  We'll see how this fusion of realism/liberal interventionism philosophy goes, but my suspicion is that it breaks down in the next crisis.

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