Monday, November 12, 2007

India, Germany and Democracy Promotion

I just contributed this comment to a piece written by Eckart von Klaeden, a member of the Bundestag and the and foreign-affairs spokesman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. He lays out the future development of relations between Germany, as a key European state, and India, as a rising power.

Toward the end he identifies democracy promotion as a common interest of both countries. I found this interesting. So my question was this:

Certainly I can understand why India and Germany would both have a "democracy preference"--that in dealing with other countries one would prefer to interact with an established democracy because they are much more likely to be stable, transparent and predictable.

But in terms of promoting democracy abroad--it seems to me that there is no sentiment in either Germany or India that the survival of democracy at home depends on its extension elsewhere--that German democracy is threatened by authoritarian leanings in Russia or that India would be better off if Pakistan was a democracy. And in some cases I could see where India might prefer to deal with a General Musharraf in moving the Indo-Pakistan relationship forward, and I have heard a number of German colleagues express the view that Germany has benefited from Putin's consolidation of power and that Berlin-Moscow ties are better today (more predictable) than during the uncertain years of the Yeltsin period.

So it would seem to me that there is a point where both New Delhi and Berlin would part company with the United States on this issue.

To comment further, that other democracies do have a "democracy preference" but are not prepared to stake their foreign policy on the proposition that the spread of democracy abroad is connected to whether their own democracy survives at home.


I want to see democracy in India and Pakistan for peace in Kashmir.
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