Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Nixing Security Council Expansion

Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has extended support to India's Security Council Dreams. At the same time, he has strongly questioned similar claims by Japan.

In China, meanwhile, Government-sanctioned rioters have been tormenting Japanese interests. (Update: After we wrote this, a friend alerted us to this website that alleges all manner of evil acts perpetrated by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. It's definitely worth a click-through.)

Notwithstanding the likely validity of Chinese allegations, the timing of this choreography is hardly coincidental -- it's likely designed to prevent the development of a pro-West Indo-Japanese axis competing with Chinese geo-political interests. Therefore, as we argued recently, India should view China's tactical warmth with a cynical eye.

On the specific matter of Security Council reform, we've long believed that there will be no near-term expansion to the Council. Why? Because, as this Indian Express op-ed argued, there is no free lunch in power politics -- nations do not become influential by their pathetic lobbying for power; rather, power is demostrated by forcibly grabbing it. Also, like in the mafia, Godfathers don't cede power just because supplicants make nice to them; they cede power only when all hell breaks loose.

Well, last we checked, all hell's neither broken loose yet, nor will it even if the Security Council expansion is deferred. Ergo, it shall be deferred. Q.E.D.

The mechanism to achieve this appears simple enough. U.S. will not accept any expansion that excludes Japan. China will veto any expansion that includes Japan. U.S. will protest China's veto, but will be secretly thrilled since this blocks any possible expansion. That's game, set, and match, folks.

Given this, what possibly does China lose by extending support to India's (not-going-to-happen) Security Council dreams? We sincerely hope Mr. Wen hasn't recieved any favors in return for this zero-value gesture.

Incidentally, if India wants to demonstrate real power, it needs to assert itself by humbling a major rival. Hmmm, who could we possibly have in mind?

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