Tuesday, 5 September 2023

Ashley J Tellis- the Mean Girl of the Indo-US entente

Will any Asian country side with America against Beijing? No. They want America to protect them from Chinese aggression but don't believe America will have the capacity or inclination to do so by the end of the decade. Still, for the moment, it makes sense for Marcos to strengthen defence ties. South Korea too may respond to North Korea's acquisition of nuclear subs by signing up for another THAAD battery. But the economic facts of life must be faced. Biden's IPEF (Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity) is niggardly while Chinese investment is appreciated by countries like Malaysia which decided to stay away from Biden's Democracy Summit.

In the subcontinent, America never had any friends though, no doubt, Pakistan would frequently promise to love it long time. But Uncle Sam had come to feel a bit ridiculous for paying top dollar for a virtuous Islamic virgin on to be thoroughly buggered by bearded sand-niggers. 

Bearing this in mind, it is hilarious that Foreign Policy magazine has an article by an Indian origin India-hater titled- 

America’s Bad Bet on India

Biden's America isn't betting on anything whatsoever. It is merely trying to disguise the country's retreat into isolationism. Why not pretend that Biden's 'Democracy Summit' was a great success? Also the American withdrawal from Afghanistan was perfectly orderly. 

New Delhi Won’t Side With Washington Against Beijing

America won't side with Washington against any country which supplies them with cheap, cool, shiny, stuff. Nobody believes Americans will die for Taiwan. 

By Ashley J. Tellis

born in Mumbai though the name 'Ashley' suggests a blonde 'Mean Girl' who tweets nasty things about her obese classmates.  

For the past two decades, Washington has made an enormous bet in the Indo-Pacific—that treating India as a key partner will help the United States in its geopolitical rivalry with China.

Nonsense! America was busy fighting a stupid war of revenge against Muslims. It helped China to rise and Putin to rebuild the military strength of his country.  It did nothing in the 'Indo-Pacific'. 

From George W. Bush onward, successive U.S. presidents have bolstered India’s capabilities on the assumption that doing so automatically strengthens the forces that favor freedom in Asia.

Nothing came of the 123 agreement with Manmohan. It is true that America was less hostile to India but this was because its sanctions had become ineffective. Then came the Devyani Khobargarde affair- a pro-American diplomat of Dalit ancestry was strip searched and accused of employing a 'slave'. But the whole case had been fabricated by a low level Diplomatic Protection Service agent who hated India. He got the relative of a servant of his to apply for a job as a nanny with Khobargarde with the explicit intention of gaining American citizenship by claiming to have been 'trafficked' into the country as a slave.  

The administration of President Joe Biden has enthusiastically embraced this playbook.

No. Biden's only enthusiasm is for running the fuck away from the rest of the world. He will return America to the isolationism which prevailed before he was born.  

In fact, it has taken it one step further: the administration has launched an ambitious new initiative to expand India’s access to cutting-edge technologies,

because India will get it anyway- look at its progress in rocket and satellite technology. The problem is that America may no longer be capable of creating any thing cutting-edge.  

further deepened defense cooperation, and made the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue), which includes Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, a pillar of its regional strategy.

But America is unreliable. The Australians will probably change their mind once again about the submarine deal. Post-Abe Japan is likely to be somnolent. Will Biden give Taiwan nukes? That's all that matters. Meanwhile if China can really build the gigantic Pinglu Canal, ASEAN trade patterns and value chains will reconfigure to a new centre of gravity. 

It has also overlooked India’s democratic erosion

India is not ruled by nice Italian lady. Boo hoo! 

and its unhelpful foreign policy choices, such as its refusal to condemn Moscow’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine.

It should have condemned American aggression in Iraq. 

It has done all of this on the presumption that New Delhi will respond favorably when Washington calls in a favor during a regional crisis involving China.

No. For India- or any other country- to do favours to America, they must be getting some 'consumer surplus' from the relationship. This is not the case for India. The 123 agreement was supposed to get India to become dependent on the US for atomic energy. But the American company that was supposed to build reactors went bust. This is the real problem America faces. It may have already lost the ability to do anything 'cutting edge'. It is a power in economic, not just military, decline. 

Washington’s current expectations of India are misplaced.

It has none. The Ambassador's posting was held up and he is trying to make up for lost time. But, no matter who wins in 2024, India is moving away from America for the same reason everybody else is. Meanwhile, Zelensky says Biden is trying to pressurize him into letting Putin keep a lot of the territory he has grabbed.  

India’s significant weaknesses compared with China, and its inescapable proximity to it, guarantee that New Delhi will never involve itself in any U.S. confrontation with Beijing that does not directly threaten its own security.

The reverse is equally true. India knows that it has the demographic advantage in what ultimately will be a high altitude infantry war. The question is whether India will use asymmetric methods. Probably not. The Chinese can always make peace with the Indians. What mattered to them was Tibet. They were able to get the West to boycott the Dalai Lama who was popular with ordinary people. The one remaining question is Taiwan. Will China-friendly politicians win the January elections? What about the American elections? It may that over the course of the campaign, both Parties will move in an isolationist direction. Europe is told, politely but firmly, that it must create its own Army and defend itself. As for the Pacific, why pretend American GIs want to return to the rice paddies of Indo-China?  

India values cooperation with Washington for the tangible benefits it brings

every country values cooperation with every other country only for this reason 

but does not believe that it must, in turn, materially support the United States in any crisis—even one involving a common threat such as China.

China is a threat to India but India knows that it must protect itself from that threat. Americans don't give a shit about Ladakh or Arunachal. China is a threat to American interests but those interests are declining for purely economic reasons. 

The fundamental problem is that the United States and India have divergent ambitions for their security partnership.

They don't have a security partnership. America won't sacrifice a single soldier to defend Indian territory and India won't slit its economic throat for the greater good of any American Corporation. But, the day may come when no country in the world thinks America will honour its Treaty commitment to defend them. Ukraine's territorial sovereignty was guaranteed by both the US and Russia. How did that work out?  

As it has done with allies across the globe, Washington has sought to strengthen India’s standing within the liberal international order

No it hasn't. Anyway, there is no such thing.  

and, when necessary, solicit its contributions toward coalition defense.

Pakistan was a member of CENTO. Then they Pakistanis realized that the thing was a one way road. India was never foolish enough to trust Uncle Sam. In any case, there is no real 'coalition'. America has camp followers. Nothing more . Why does this cretin not know this? He comes from Mumbai. Most Mumbaikars are smart.  

Yet New Delhi sees things differently.

No. It sees things in the same way as smart Mumbaikars. It knows America didn't lift a finger to protect India's territorial integrity. It is aware that successive Indian Governments refused to join any of America's wars in the Middle East. India did help Afghanistan but it will continue to do so because of cultural and historical links.  

It does not harbor any innate allegiance toward preserving the liberal international order

that's what the Vietnam War was about- right? But America lost that war. Its allies in the region were brutal dictatorships. Taiwan and South Korea only became democratic about thirty years ago.  

and retains an enduring aversion toward participating in mutual defense.

Whereas Pakistan is- right?  

It seeks to acquire advanced technologies from the United States to bolster its own economic and military capabilities and thus facilitate its rise as a great power capable of balancing China independently, but it does not presume that American assistance imposes any further obligations on itself.

It does not presume that America will actually assist it. France, maybe. Israel- sure. But Indians need to do the heavy lifting on their own. Still, India's moon rover has created confidence that India can pull itself up by its own bootstraps.  

As the Biden administration proceeds to expand its investment in India,

but is it actually doing so? Signing MoUs doesn't mean shit- as Indians know all too well.  

it should base its policies on a realistic assessment of Indian strategy and not on any delusions of New Delhi becoming a comrade-in-arms during some future crisis with Beijing.

India could simply give up some mountainous territory not inhabited by Hindus and concentrate on becoming a junior partner of China. There will be a united Eurasian power block, led by Beijing, which will include Iran, defang a starving Pakistan, and which may broker a final peace between Palestinians and Israelis.  

For most of the Cold War, India and the United States did not engage in any serious conversations on national defense, as New Delhi attempted to escape the entanglements of joining either the U.S. or the Soviet bloc.

No. India had no objection to joining the Soviet block once it became clear that Moscow didn't want Indian Communists running things in Delhi. This was because, as Stalin had quickly learned, Indian Communists were stupid and shitty.  The problem with America is that it often decides to pull the rug from under a puppet so as to replace the fellow with somebody more useless yet. Biden referred to President Ghani as Mr. Ghani in a scripted TV appearance. Afghan confidence in the regime collapsed. Government troops hastened to find some one to surrender to so as to get safe passage back to their homes. America had previously toppled Karzai who is still around in Kabul. 

The two countries’ security relationship only flourished after Bush offered India a transformative civil nuclear agreement.

It couldn't flourish became Manmohan was a 'Prone Minister' while Anthony, at Defence, wouldn't sign off on any files for fear he'd be accused of taking a bribe. Modi wanted to improve relations and, I suppose, he has. But he isn't stupid. America is declining. So is Russia. Still, a transactional relationship can be kept up. The problem is both have a declining ability to deliver.  

Thanks to that breakthrough, U.S.-Indian security cooperation today is breathtaking in its intensity and scope.

No. It is mainly cosmetic. True, something may come of it but America is unreliable. France and Israel are better partners.  

The first and most visible aspect is defense consultations. The two countries’ civilian leaders, as well as their bureaucracies, maintain a regular dialogue on a variety of topics,

India has had 'confidence building' dialogues with Pakistan. The thing is a waste of time. American legislators do crazy shit. But so do American Presidents. We simply don't know whether America will give up on Quad just as it gave up on 'regime change' in the Islamic world.  

including China policy, India’s procurement of advanced U.S. military technologies,

which may turn out to be shit coz a cheap AI equipped drone can destroy it 

maritime surveillance, and undersea warfare.

China may have taken the lead in this. Still, thanks to American sanctions, India had to get into the Space Race on its own. That strategy paid off.  

These conversations vary in quality and depth but are critical for reviewing strategic assessments, defining the parameters of desired cooperation, and devising tools for policy implementation.

i.e. wasting time till some cabal of crazy Congressmen put the kybosh on the thing.  

As a result, the United States and India work together in ways that would have been unimaginable during the Cold War.

They were imaginable in 1962-3 

For example, they cooperate to monitor China’s economic and military activities throughout the wider Indian Ocean region and have recently invested in mechanisms to share near-real-time information about shipping movements in the Indo-Pacific region with other littoral states.

But that information says China is rising for economic reasons while America is falling behind. There is a 'gravity model' of trade. It is already favourable to 'near-shoring' in America. But this reinforces isolationist sentiments.  

A second area of success has been military-to-military collaboration, much of which takes place outside public view. The programs for senior officer visits, bilateral or multilateral military exercises, and reciprocal military training have all expanded dramatically during the past two decades.

It can collapse because of American budget cuts or some crazy cabal of Congressmen demanding sanctions against India because Rahul Baba has not been provided with a wife and a son and heir.  Al

High-profile exercises most visibly exemplify the scale and diversity of this expanded relationship: the annual Malabar exercises, which bring together the U.S. and Indian navies, have now expanded to permanently include Japan and Australia; the Cope India exercises provide an opportunity for the U.S. and Indian air forces to practice advanced air operations; and the Yudh Abhyas series involves the land forces in both command post and field training activities.

But they haven't caused Chairman Xi to lose even an hour of sleep. Sooner or later, the American tax-payer will pull the plug on all this. 

Finally, U.S. firms have enjoyed notable success in penetrating the Indian defense market.

Twenty years ago, they sold India nothing at all. Now they get about 11 percent of foreign procurement. Russia still gets about 45 percent. But it is France which will take market-share. It already has 29 per cent. We don't know the extent of India's cooperation with Israel. 

India’s military has gone from having virtually no U.S. weapons in its inventory some two decades ago to now featuring American transport and maritime aircraft, utility and combat helicopters, and antiship missiles and artillery guns. U.S.-Indian defense trade, which was negligible around the turn of the century, reached over $20 billion in 2020.

India understands it needs to pivot to cheaper, newer, tech like drones. Look at Turkey.  

But the era of major platform acquisitions from the United States has probably run its course. U.S. companies remain contenders in several outstanding Indian procurement programs, but it seems unlikely that they will ever enjoy a dominant market share in India’s defense imports. The problems are entirely structural. For all of India’s intensifying security threats, its defense procurement budget is still modest in comparison with the overall Western market. The demands of economic development have prevented India’s elected governments from increasing defense expenditures in ways that might permit vastly expanded military acquisitions from the United States.

Also the US places restrictions on the use of such acquisitions. The aim is to lock the recipient into the American strategic picture. But that picture is stupid shit because, as Obama said, American foreign policy is stupid shit.  

The cost of U.S. defense systems is generally higher than that of other suppliers because of their advanced technology, an advantage that is not always sufficiently attractive for India. Finally, New Delhi’s demand that U.S. companies shift from selling equipment to producing it with local partners in India—requiring the transfer of intellectual property—often proves to be commercially unattractive, given the small Indian defense market.

US defence firms and even ancillary suppliers face a nightmare in terms of compliance. A recent example was of a Company which was required to hire only US citizens being sued by a Government Agency for not hiring asylum seekers.  

While U.S.-Indian security cooperation has enjoyed marked success, the larger defense partnership still faces important challenges.

It will evaporate. Either India gets to sell defence equipment to America- which is what comparative advantage dictates- or else this whole QUAD business is a mirage. China will rise and rise for economic reasons. America will return to splendid isolationism. 

Both nations seek to leverage their deepening ties to limit China’s assertiveness, but there is still a significant divide in how they aim to accomplish that purpose.

America will give up. It knows this deep in its bones. Its aim is merely to camouflage its retreat. India will continue to rise for purely economic reasons. But the Hindus and the Han Chinese have no real quarrel. In twenty years time, the Chinese will realize that their Belt and Road has brought in a lot of non-Han people. By then most Chinese will be old and rich and as complacent as American boomers were. 

The U.S. goal in military-to-military cooperation is interoperability: the Pentagon wants to be able to integrate a foreign military in combined operations as part of coalition warfare.

But it hadn't achieved this even with Britain as the Iraq and Afghan campaigns showed.  

India, however, rejects the idea that its armed forces will participate in any combined military operation outside of a UN umbrella.

Which Presidential candidate in America is saying US forces should be sent to a foreign theatre? Which European politician is saying they will send troops to some future American War of regime change?  

Consequently, it has resisted investing in meaningful operational integration, especially with the U.S. armed forces, because it fears jeopardizing its political autonomy or signaling a shift toward a tight political alignment with Washington. As a result, the bilateral military exercises may improve the tactical proficiency of the units involved but do not expand interoperability to the level that would be required in major combined operations against a capable adversary.

Biden may want to sell Erdogan F-16 upgrades but Menendez in Congress can block it. This is the crux of the problem. American diplomats and generals can make agreements with anybody they like. But they can't deliver. The bigger problem is compliance costs for contractors in America. These can rise without limit. At a certain point the whole 'intellectual property' based chrematistics of current Western Capitalism can simply evaporate. If you have forgotten how to make the thing from scratch within your own shores, you are fucked.  

India’s view of military cooperation, which emphasizes nurturing diversified international ties, represents a further challenge.

This guy has just admitted that US share of defence sales to India has peaked at a little more than ten percent! There is no challenge here.  

India treats military exercises more as political symbols than investments in increasing operational proficiency and, as a result, practices with numerous partners at varying levels of sophistication. On the other hand, the United States emphasizes relatively intense military exercises with a smaller set of counterparts.

But the US lost the War on Terror. Doing stupid shit means you will have fewer and fewer 'counterparts'. India, like other countries, has been watching what has happened to the US-Turkish defence partnership. The thing is in the crapper. An Armenian caucus could, at any time, tip the balance regardless of NATOs strategic interests. Turkey got nothing in exchange for its support in Iraq and Afghanistan. But then, neither did America. Iran and the Taliban were the big winners.  

India’s priority has been to receive American

or Russian or French or Israeli 

assistance in building up its own national capabilities so it can deal with threats independently. The two sides have come a long way on this by, for example, bolstering India’s intelligence capabilities about Chinese military activities along the Himalayan border and in the Indian Ocean region.

India knows it can't rely on America in this respect. That's why it started launching its own satellites.  

The existing arrangements for intelligence sharing are formally structured for reciprocity, and New Delhi does share whatever it believes to be useful. But because U.S. collection capabilities are so superior, the flow of usable information often ends up being one way.

Again, this is not something the Indians can become reliant on.  

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has increasingly focused on defense industrial cooperation as the key driver of its security partnership with the United States. Its underlying objective is to secure technological autonomy: ever since its founding as a modern state, India has sought to achieve mastery over all critical defense, dual-use, and civilian technologies and, toward that end, built up large public sector enterprises that were intended to become global leaders. Because this dream still remains unrealized, New Delhi has now prioritized Washington’s support for its defense industrial ambitions in tandem with similar partnerships forged with France, Israel, Russia, and other friendly states.

India saw that America, for no reason at all, alienated both Myanmar and Bangladesh. The latter has been driven into China's arms and its internal problems are no affecting the Indian state of Manipur. The worst thing which ever happened to Aung San Suu Kyi was Obama's professing admiration for her. That changed soon enough. But then the Americans are very changeable. Why? Their true national interests are not well served by its crazy foreign policy and its even crazier military adventurism.  

For over a decade, Washington has attempted to help India improve its defense technology base, but these efforts have often proved futile.

Because American Presidents are useless.  

During President Barack Obama’s administration, the two countries launched the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative, which aimed to promote technology exchange and the coproduction of defense systems. Indian officials visualized the initiative as enabling them to procure many advanced U.S. military technologies, such as those related to jet engines, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, and stealth capabilities, so that they could be manufactured or codeveloped in India. But Washington’s hesitation about clearing such transfers was matched by U.S. defense firms’ reluctance to part with their intellectual property and make commercial investments for what were ultimately meager business opportunities.

This is foolish. Your Apple phone is put together by poor people in some far away country. But the profit on the Intellectual Property comes back to America. India has cheap labour and smart engineers. America should be getting royalties on I.P while letting poor Indians assemble stuff.  

The Biden administration is now going to great lengths to reverse the failure of the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative.

But the Biden administration is shit. It will achieve nothing or, if does, Congress will soon put the kybosh on it.  

Last year, it announced the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology, which aims to fundamentally transform cooperation between the two countries’ governments, businesses, and research entities pertaining to technology development. This endeavor encompasses a wide variety of fields, including semiconductors, space, artificial intelligence, next-generation telecommunications, high-performance computing, and quantum technologies, all of which have defense applications but are not restricted to them.

Yes, yes. Government 'Initiatives' always succeed right? Why not have an Initiative to fundamentally transform the nature of Time so it is always a sunny Sunday afternoon?  

For all its potential, however, the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology does not guarantee any specific outcomes. The U.S. government can make or break the initiative, as it controls the release of the licenses that many joint ventures will require. Although the Biden administration seems inclined to be more liberal on this compared with its predecessors, only time will tell whether the initiative delivers on India’s aspirations for greater access to advanced U.S. technology in support of Modi’s “Make in India, Make for World” drive, which aims to transform India into a major global manufacturing hub that could one day compete with, if not supplant, China as the workshop of the world.

Modi understands the principle of comparative advantage. India has lots of people who can make stuff. America has smart and rich people who create Intellectual Property. But such property can disappear if patents can't be enforced in foreign jurisdictions.  China has stolen plenty of American tech. The problem is that they might now be ahead in crucial areas. 

The bigger question, however, is whether Washington’s generosity toward India will help accomplish its strategic aims.

Washington is not generous. It has no 'strategic aims'. It merely engages in tactical deception that it is not in terminal decline or that it cares about Democracy or Human Rights?  

During the Bush and Obama administrations, U.S. ambitions centered largely on helping build India’s power in order to prevent China from dominating Asia.

They failed. Xi now has Russia in his pocket.  

As U.S.-China relations steadily deteriorated during the Trump administration—when Sino-Indian relations hit rock bottom as well—Washington began to entertain the more expansive notion that its support for New Delhi would gradually induce India to play a greater military role in containing China’s growing power.

India is forcing the Chinese to waste money and manpower on its high altitude border. That's worth something.  

There are reasons to believe it will not. India has displayed a willingness to join the United States and its Quad partners in some areas of low politics, such as vaccine distribution, infrastructure investments, and supply chain diversification, even as it insists that none of these initiatives are directed against China.

What would be the point of telling such a stupid lie?  

But on the most burdensome challenge facing Washington in the Indo-Pacific—securing meaningful military contributions to defeat any potential Chinese aggression—India will likely refuse to play a role in situations where its own security is not directly threatened. In such circumstances, New Delhi may at best offer tacit support.

Who will play a role? Australia? No. Japan? Don't be silly. The thing is dead in the water. New Delhi might see things differently if America had been more generous to Vietnam.  

New Delhi’s relative weakness compels it to avoid provoking Beijing.

India does not provoke its neighbours whether they are strong or weak.  

Although China is clearly India’s most intimidating adversary, New Delhi still seeks to avoid doing anything that results in an irrevocable rupture with Beijing.

Why should it? The fact is India is a growing market. Pakistan is unstable. Iran may become so. Nobody really knows what will happen in Russia once Putin pops his clogs. There are economic reasons for India and China to cooperate. Let us see the result of the January elections in Taiwan. The question is whether a reunited China will press territorial demands on Russia and Central Asian neighbours. The other big question is whether radical Islam will reappear in Central Asia. Meanwhile, China faces a fiscal cliff. It may have no choice but to concentrate on the littoral and let the non-Han territories fend for themselves.  

Indian policymakers are acutely conscious of the stark disparity in Chinese and Indian national power, which will not be corrected any time soon. New Delhi’s relative weakness compels it to avoid provoking Beijing, as joining a U.S.-led military campaign against it certainly would.

Ashley is a genius. He sees that if you send troops to fight against a country, that country might feel your behaviour is highly provoking.  

India also cannot escape its physical proximity to China. The two countries share a long border, so Beijing can threaten Indian security in significant ways—a capability that has only increased in recent years.

And India can tie-up Chinese troops on arid mountains. The thing works both ways.  

The United States should certainly help India to the degree compatible with American interests.

This is the problem. What are 'American interests'? The answer, for American voters, is their own security and well-being. It has nothing to do with exporting Democracy or bothering with Human Rights.  

But it should harbor no illusions that its support, no matter how generous, will entice India to join it in any military coalition against China.

This is foolish. If India is exporting defence hardware while importing Intellectual Property from the US, then it has a direct economic interest in joining an American war. After all, Americans were more inclined to intervene in two of England's wars against Germany because England was buying or 'leasing' American hardware. In return, America got some British 'Intellectual Property' which helped it develop the atom bomb. It refused to share this technology with Britain or France which is why they had to develop their own deterrent and delivery system.  

The relationship with India is fundamentally unlike those that the United States enjoys with its allies.

Because India is not an ally.  

The Biden administration should recognize this reality rather than try to alter it.

Also Biden should recognize that Indians- like Narendra Modi- are not from Indiana. Ashley thinks Biden is trying to alter this reality. But then Ashley himself is probably not from Mumbai at all. He is a 'Mean Girl' living in Manhattan.  

No comments: