Saturday, July 19, 2003

And Speaking Of Imperium

From the AsiaTimes:

US won't take India's 'No' for an answer
By Sultan Shahin

NEW DELHI - Ever since the United States sought Indian military help to continue its three-month-old occupation of Iraq, speculation about the carrots and sticks attached to the request have been rife. As New Delhi dithered, suspicions grew stronger, despite denials of pressure from both sides, that the incentives were substantial, as were the potential punishments.

Now that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's coalition government has shown the courage to refuse to send troops to Iraq, both the carrots and sticks are beginning to come out into the open.

In total contrast to its very mild public reaction, expressing just disappointment, senior US officials have reportedly made American displeasure very clear in a closed-door meeting with Indian Ambassador Lalit Mansingh in Washington. One of India's largest-circulated newspapers, the Hindustan Times, quoted diplomatic sources on Thursday to confirm that the US administration conveyed that it felt "let down" by India's decision. More worrying for India, they said it could impact Indo-US ties in "critical areas".


As analyst Seema Sirohi put it: "Hell hath no fury like the US scorned." State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher expressed his concerns more diplomatically: "I am not predicting any particular problems. However, we hoped the troops would have been able to go, I think in our interests and what we perceive as their interests as well."

The Bush administration is known to have a vindictive streak. It reacts strongly to countries that don't cooperate in its imperialist ventures. Even before India's decision to reject the US request, William Triplett, former Republican counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said: "A 'No' from India will have an impact although no one will say so in public. The adults in the administration are thought to be more than a bit put out by the Indian parliament's resolution on Iraq, especially its timing. Showing that the Indian army are rolling up their sleeves to help out now will pay dividends with the Americans later."

George Perkovich, vice-president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, believes with other analysts that this administration does not forget easily. He commented earlier: "The administration would be angry or at least disappointed, and if India sends troops, it would be bailing out the Republicans from a growing crisis of occupation without international partners."

It's not as if the US press hasn't reported the various stories that illustrate the confusion of "vindictive" with "strong" that runs through-out the Bush foreign policy. In fact, the essence of the Bush doctrine is its willingness to coerce compliance with a Pax Americana.

You just don't see any of our pundits noticing in quite the open way we see here. But maybe that's beginning to change?