Sunday, February 12, 2006

Europe And India

Europe has been on our radar lately for its pathetic cultural and economic bigotry.

In this context, Fareed Zakaria's Newsweek column on The Decline and Fall of Europe is worth reading.

The decline of Europe means a world with a greater diffusion of power and a lessened ability to create international norms and rules of the road. It also means that America's superpower status will linger. Think of the dollar. For years people have argued that it is due for a massive drop as countries around the world diversify their savings. But as people looked at the alternatives, they decided that the chief rivals, the euro and the yen, represented economies that were structurally weak. So they have reluctantly stuck with the dollar. It's a similar dynamic in other arenas. You can't beat something with nothing.

Given this dynamic, myopic critics of the Indo-US strategic partnership -- a key pillar of which is the nuclear deal -- ought to think carefully about their position. Instead of watching history from the sidelines by taking yet another isolationist detour, India has the opportunity to partner with the sole superpower to actively shape such history.

That's what we are talking about here. If the nuclear deal goes down, this opportunity will sustain enormous political damage. Will our political left take the responsibility for this outcome? Our religious right? Our Lilliputian neighbors seeking to tie down India? Of course not. None of these groups have ever done anything valuable for India -- this is hardly the time to start listening to their petty politicking.

As Europe falls, India can rise -- and, as we've noted previously, America can be our ally in this. This is a real delicious gift of globalization. Let's negotiate hard with America but, please, not blow this singular opportunity.

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