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Game of Thrones Update: New Dehli and Beijing Meet at the Pipeline

Amid ominous rumblings in the Pacific over very small bits of land, there appears to be some encouraging news about two very big Asian nations. China and India have struck a new agreement enabling their state-owned oil companies to jointly bid and invest in infrastructure. The first project is a pipeline through Burma into southwest China. The Diplomat reports:

The pipeline through Burma, due to be completed in May 2013, is an integral part of China’s plan to diversify energy trade routes and will significantly shore up China’s energy security. As pipelines are built, developed, and used across borders, the risks and rewards are shared among all countries involved.

Energy cooperation between India and China appears to be increasing; the signing of this MoU points to a maturing energy relationship between New Delhi and Beijing. This agreement may also set a precedent and provide a foundation for greater regional integration of the Asian energy market, which will be essential for stabilizing conflicts rooted in energy security concerns.

This is the kind of cooperation that can build an interdependent, and thereby secure and friendly, Asian neighborhood. That, not containment of China, is the endgame for U.S. foreign policy in the region. There’s no effort by the State Department to block or slow down these kinds of bilateral agreements. The more of them that come about, the easier our pols’ and policymakers’ jobs will be.

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  • Anthony

    Perhaps both countries recognizing vital future energy needs and fact that they not only share a border but also operate economically in same neighborhood obviously view cooperation as both energy and strategic advantage.

  • Luke Lea

    “an interdependent, and thereby secure and friendly”

    Interdependent does not mean secure and friendly necessarily. Sometimes it can mean just the opposite. There’s an interesting discussion near the end of The Fat Years in which China’s strategy to create in effect an East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere is based on just that idea: make Japan and China’s other East Asian neighbors “interdependent” with its much bigger neighbor. Europe was quite interdependent on the Eve of WWI too, unless I am mistaken.

    Bromides can be dangerous. Don’t swallow them.

  • Atanu Maulik

    But the problem is, history has shown that China cannot be trusted in the long term. All such gestures of friendship and co-operation almost always turn out to be Chinese ploys to buy time until it gains the upper hand.

  • Luke Lea

    Nothing would make China’s neighbors feel easier than if China were a democracy. That is the end we must work for. A Party dictatorship is inherently dangerous: instable within, likely to strike out in defense.

  • Luke Lea

    Remember when the Kaiser decided to start WWI it was partly to cement his unstable German empire, which was growing restless. It is easy to forget that Germany was not a country back then, let alone a democracy. The various German states had been conquered and were being held by force.

  • cas

    Perhaps I missed it, but I could not find in this article any statement that mentions Burma / Myanmar’s agreement to this pipeline…

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    “That, not containment of China, is the endgame for U.S.”

    We aren’t in the endgame, and as long as China doesn’t drop its unjust and outrageous territorial demands on its borders, the US will use containment as leverage to gain closer association and influence with all of China’s neighbors.

  • Kris

    Luke, have you formed any opinions regarding the hold aggressive nationalism has on the Chinese population?

  • Luke Lea

    Kris asks have I formed any opinions regarding the hold aggressive nationalism has on the Chinese population?

    Well, yes, two things. One is that the Chinese are not a martial people culturally or historically. Neither is the United States. The other is that a cynical party dictatorship could, if it chose, manipulate the Chinese people’s sense of historical grievance and humiliation in the cause of military aggression. They would do it, most likely, to maintain power in the event their governance loses its legitimacy for reasons of failure at home. That danger would be much less if China were a representative democracy with the rule of law.

  • Kris

    Luke, this seems quite plausible to me. A concern I have is whether liberalizing moves could be cynically short-circuited by faux-populism mixed with aggressive nationalism.

    (This most definitely does not mean that I oppose liberalization. I’m just unsure over how to best get there from here.)

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