Friday, April 25, 2008

Harding, Hedging and the Kober Challenge

At yesterday's magazine event, I thought Harry Harding made a critical point during the discussion. In an uncertain international environment, fraught with instability and risk, countries hedge. This is natural and should not be misinterpreted. Countries may hedge by reaching out to the United States--this should not be exaggerated into a prelude towards a close and meaningful alliance. Countries may hedge by trying to balance against the United States--this should not automatically, however, be seen as a priori proof of implacable hostility towards us.

As part of that discussion, Stanley Kober raised a question to the audience--and I'm taking advantage of the blog to spread his question further afield. He said that he was curious as to whether in the Chinese media there had been any major criticism either of India's continued military buildup or Russia's role as India's main supplier of advanced weaponry. TWR readers that may have any information or citations are urged to post links.

The interesting question this raises is whether Beijing sees India's buildup as directed primarily against China (and thus hostile) or whether, despite complications it may raise for China, whether it is seen as making India feel more independent and secure--and thus less likely to seek close relations with other major powers.

Nick, if you haven't already seen, some commentary and commentary-within-commentary on this event:
I thought Russia was selling weapons to both sides. Could the strategic balance change as a result of the kinds of arms India is buying?
They are--the question Stanley had is why that doesn't seem to arouse a negative Chinese response--
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