Friday, February 01, 2008
Taking China and India Seriously as Global Powers
First, we do seem still to think of India and China in terms of where they were rather than where they are now--and that further changes and developments even over the last five years have major impacts on the global balance of power. To the extent that Republicans and Democrats in 2008 want to turn the clock back to 2000--case in point Rahm Emanuel's op-ed a few days ago in the Washington Post--the India and China of 2008 (not to mention Russia) have surged far beyond where they were in 2000. There is no reset button.
Second, with the exception of discussions about energy, climate and currency, we still think of India and China as "regional" powers. We--and here I mean a Washington audience--seem still to be very unused to the idea that we need to pay as much attention to New Delhi and Beijing on "world affairs" matters as we do Moscow and the major European centers.
A caveat here: I do think that there is a prevalent line of thinking in both India and China that would say, what happens in Europe stays in Europe (e.g. we have no interest in European affairs)--as long as there is a reciprocal understanding that what happens in Asia stays in Asia. The problem is that I don't think either New Delhi or Beijing will accept the proposition that the U.S. and the EU have some sort of global mandate and they in contrast should restrict their zone of involvement.