Iran does not stand in the way of better US-India relations

Non-hyphenation works both ways

Citing Russia’s continued support for Iran and the EU’s ineffective attempts to prevent Iran from going nuclear, Bill Roggio over at The Fourth Rail (via Winds of Change) argues that the United States needs to cultivate India as a strategic ally in Asia.

The time is right to actively pursue a strategic relationship with India. The loss of Russia as an ally on the war on terror is both disappointing and difficult to offset, but a strong relationship with India can mitigate the damage and improve our odds in fighting against the enemies of civilization. [The Fourth Rail]

In the discussion on Bill’s post, Praktike the blogosphere’s peripatetic commentator, contends that this is not likely to happen given the co-operative relations between India and Iran. India has struck several major energy deals with Iran. A defence co-operation deal is believed to be in place, giving India use of Iranian territory in the event of hostilities with Pakistan.

The question is: does this get in the way of better US-India relations, or even an alliance?

India needs Iran for very much the same reasons as the United States needs Saudi Arabia. Both countries are run by autocratic fundamentalists who have exported terrorism in pursuance of their ideological and geopolitical goals. So India would have as much of an appetite to enforce a violent regime change in Iran as the United States would have with respect to Saudi Arabia. Therefore if the sole purpose of an alliance between the United States and India is to challenge Iran (or Saudi Arabia), then such an alliance, as Praktike puts it, is not going to happen any time soon.

This does not, however, mean that prospects for the US-India ‘strategic tango’ are bleak. The rise of China, peaceful or otherwise, will challenge the twentieth-century security arrangements, leaving the United States and India on the same side of the fence. Jihadi terrorism has already done so, regardless of the Bush administration’s unfortunate dalliance with Pakistan’s military dictatorship. And not to forget the growing Indian economy — one which allows Americans to go on about loss of white-collar jobs, and Indians to rant against exploitation by American multinationals.

Isn’t de-hyphenation a great thing?

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