The only difference between Powell and Rice may be in style
The Indian Express reports that India’s foreign policy establishment is mighty pleased over Condoleezza Rice’s appointment as Secretary of State in the second Bush administration. That, it suggests, not only because her predecessor was naturally chummy with Pakistan’s military rulers, but also due to Rice’s ‘unconventional’ perspective of relations with India.
Rice argued in an article published in Foreign Affairs that America â€˜â€˜should pay closer attention to Indiaâ€™s role in the regional balance.â€™â€™
She went on: â€˜â€˜There is a strong tendency conceptually (in America) to connect India with Pakistan and to think only of Kashmir or the nuclear competition between the two states. But India is an element in Chinaâ€™s calculation, and it should be in Americaâ€™s, too. India is not a great power yet, but it has the potential to emerge as one.â€™â€™
It is Riceâ€™s recognition of Indiaâ€™s prospect as a global power and her determination to discard the South Asian prism that helped shape the paradigm shift in US policy towards India under the Bush Administration.
In the controversial National Security Strategy document unveiled by the Bush Administration in September 2002, the White House, for the first time, put India in the section of global powers rather than in the traditional chapters reviewing US regional policy. [IE]
That last part is interesting, because one would assume that India was counted as an emerging global power in 2002 because it was beginning to look like one.
Many commentators are falling into the trap of attributing the improved US-India relations to individuals — the reality is that by the end of the Clinton years, American and Indian foreign policy interests were already gravitating towards each other. After 9/11, this became pretty obvious. Although the dance began between President Clinton and Prime Minister Vajpayee, the tangoists currently on the dance floor are their respective political adversaries.
Apart from style, Condoleezza Rice’s arrival is not about mark a substantial change in the Bush administration’s South Asia policy. If anything, Osama bin Laden’s capture will. And for that reason, Gen Musharraf is not about to deliver bin Laden to the Americans any time soon.
Related Links:In The Command Post, Richard writes that Rice, like Powell must pay attention to developing better relations with Pakistan because it is ‘a hostile and more complicated state’ (read, love thy enemies);
George F Will proposes that senators ask her if she is in favour of expanding the UN Security Council to include countries such as India, and consolidate the European Union’s representation into one seat (read, out with France);
The Asia Foundation’s latest report on America’s role in Asia recommends that the United States ‘must continue the general movement towards normalization and cooperation with India that began in the late 1990s, reflecting Indiaâ€™s emerging influence in Asia and the world’ (via FE).