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Angry India Kills Goodwill Military Mission to China

India has canceled a military delegation visit to China on a ‘confidence building’ tour after Chinese authorities refused to give a visa to one member of the delegation.  The rejected officer is a native of Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India; China claims that most of the territory in question is part of southern Tibet.

The ability of disputes like this one to disrupt relations between the two Asian giants is cause for concern.  Both countries are likely to become more nationalist and assertive in coming years; governments will not want to antagonize nationalist opinion and risk angry press and internet criticism if they are seen as acting ‘soft’.

If the US goal in the region was to isolate and contain China, such incidents might be welcome. But the US prefers the development of a peaceful and integrated Asian system to an angry standoff or a new cold war. Good relations between Japan, India and China are good for the United States; border disputes between nuclear powers are never good news.

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  • Toni

    I think one problem with China, meaning for everyone else, is that it’s already hyper-nationalist because it’s been a nation for so long.

    If I’m wrong, please advise.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    China will continue with the belligerent territorial demands as long as they think they can get away with it, when someone stands up to them and threatens to kick their ass, they will back down. Communists are inherently bullys.

  • J R Yankovic

    I’m inclined to agree with Toni here – though I’m not sure “nationalist” is the best word to describe the malady. Might it be equally true to say that mainland China has been an imperial civilization for far too long? I.e., that for too long the mainland Chinese have considered themselves a kind of quintessence of civilization itself (a la Roman Empire – all others beyond the pale being barbarians)? And that now, in this unprecedentedly competitive world, it behooves them to acquire a military empire and sphere of influence commensurate with their “true” – read limitless – stature?

    For MUCH too long – approx. 3 decades – it seems to me the Western world has been increasingly kowtowing to the Mandarin Chinese, almost as if they were not only the divine essence of modernity, efficiency and progress (admittedly on steroids), but also the epitome of what it means to be China. In Heaven’s and history’s name, whatever happened to the diaspora? To Canton and Fukien and Hongkong and Singapore? And I’m just getting started (naturally I daren’t mention a certain unmentionable entity beginning with the letter T). Aren’t they also a part – albeit a highly subversive, un-Mandarin, un-IMPERIAL part – of the broader Chinese story? (I know, I know, none of them have gone nuclear – yet. All the same I doubt that Beijing’s nuclear capability has been the deciding factor in what I can only describe as, OTW, a consistent policy of Western economic appeasement since c. 1990)

    One way or another – one hopes both gently and compellingly – we need to disabuse Beijing of the dogma that Chinese = human. Until then I’m afraid we shall go on tussling and haggling with a competitor who’s not just increasingly touchy and chip-on-the-shoulder, but who regards one form or another of global homage as merely its due. Worst of all we shall lose a vital ally in what, frankly, I’m coming more and more to believe is the great struggle of our times. I mean the contest of ALL countries against two corrosive forms of political nihilism:

    1) the religious kind – jihadism whether “Islamic,” “Christian,” “Hindu,” etc – the belief that NOTHING matters except God, and what matters least of all are those whom He commands us to love;
    2) the organizational kind – the belief that nothing matters except a god we call the Future, along with its power and efficiency and conquest of nature (including human nature), however great the cost to intervening generations.

    So long, it seems to me, as Beijing prefers to regard itself less as a nation than as THE civilization, it will always be tempted to throw in its lot with the nihilists. And that pattern will intensify so long as we all – or at least Those of Us Who Count – continue to esteem China as Everybody’s Favorite Nation That Thinks Like a Corporation.

    On the more southerly end of things, I can’t see how it is in India’s interest either to be the frontline of some NATO-like strategy of containment of China, or to be a Chinese vassal state (or, as is more likely, the main object of Chinese containment or encirclement). The question is, how does one presuade to this

  • J R Yankovic

    Sorry – the last sentence should read: But how does one persuade to this effect an increasingly “Hinduist” India (and partic. so in those regions that show the most economic dynamism)?

  • J R Yankovic

    “For MUCH too long – approx. 3 decades – it seems to me the Western world has been increasingly kowtowing to the Mandarin Chinese . . .”

    Foot in mouth disease again. The verb I was looking for was actually “deferring,” not “kowtowing.”

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