Thursday, August 14, 2008
Consolidate the U.S. Position: Serbia and India
Washington needs to be prepared for this. It was eminently predictable that some countries would raise major objections. But I fear we have nothing on offer to India that might send the signal that the U.S. does prioritize the rapprochement with New Delhi.
In the wake of the Georgia debacle, now is not the time for further diplomatic defeats handed to the United States. Putting India on the front burner is also important given that the Singh government nearly didn't survive its no-confidence vote. And I don't know whether having India go as an observer to the Shanghai summit later this month, especially with the perceived resurgence of Russia as a major power, and hear the same message that the U.S. can't deliver on its promises to India, but that China and Russia are there for New Delhi, is an outcome we want.
The other matter: Serbia. Events in Georgia have emboldened those in the Balkans who feel that Russia is back on the move. We have a pro-Western government in Belgrade and stalemate in Kosovo. Perhaps the time is now to 1) give Belgrade some credit for Karadzic and 2) start a new diplomatic process on defining a final status relationship between Serbia and Kosovo--confederal, partition, parallel relations, entities, whatever. Something creative (see, for instance, what Gordon Bardos and others have talked about). Something that helps to restore the credibility to the U.S. position on why territorial integrity of states matters. Get the Kosovo question moving in the direction of a solution that Serbia can endorse, and get Serbia moving on its Euro-Atlantic integration path--that is what serves U.S. interests.
Yes, I know it is August. But perhaps curtailing some vacations is in order. But I have no hope at all that we will work to solidify our position in the Balkans or with India.
(And it is because of statements like these that I have my disclaimer in the blog).
And this is a BIG part of our problem. Other countries make gestures and concessions, and we pocket them without reciprocity, only doling it out minimally when we *really* need something, like now.
Obsessively hoarding leverage.
It is this very behavior that has brought US-Russian relations to their present state. It was so funny to read Joe Biden write, in effect, "We're not going to repeal Jackson-Vanik now, just because you're soooooo bad!" Frankly, the Russian government are correct to conclude that if it wasn't repealed for Russian assistance to US ops in Agfhanistanin 2001-2002, it never will be.
And look! Now we have no leverage on Russia! The RF government don't believe we will ever do anything for them, and have no fear of anything we can do to them! Whodathunkit???
It's sad that this "leverage" obcession infects even relatively sane members of the US foreign policy elite, like Nik.