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January 2, 2005
Bush's Core Allows India To Flex Her Muscles

In a sign that George Bush had more in mind than just humbling the UN, Reuters analyzes the role India is playing in relief efforts for the massive tsunami damage and how that may transform India-US relations:

Within hours of the tsunami, India geared up for its biggest-ever relief operation, but not just with its own devastated coasts in its sights.

As New Delhi launched a relief effort along the eastern coast, ten warships -- backed by helicopters and transport aircraft and loaded with relief supplies -- also headed for Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Maldives, three neighbours badly hit in one of world's worst natural disasters.

A country campaigning for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, India refused to portray itself as a helpless victim.

"India has been trying to convey the image that it is a regional power, and a credible power in terms of having the ability to step in when required," said Uday Bhaskar of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.

After Bush's invitation to form the "core group" along with Japan and Australia that will run the Indian Ocean relief efforts, India expressed gratitude towards the US -- and well it might. One key issue for India is Pakistan's involvement in relief efforts in key areas, such as the islands surrounding India. India wants to deploy a forward strategy to pre-empt any militant Islamic outreach to these militarily sensitive areas, let alone Indonesia or any other areas. As I wrote earlier, the devastation that has swamped the entire region gives everyone an opportunity to pursue political goals as well as humanitarian, and India wants to be sure that Islamofascism doesn't take advantage of it. Bush knows that India provides a powerful bulwark against terrorism, and what's more, they're already on the scene and resisting the role of victim.

Interestingly, India jumped aboard this idea even though the world's largest democracy has campaigned hard for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. It measures the impact and usefulness of the UNSC that India willingly went along with Bush's plan to join the core group even though it embarrassed the aid agencies at the UN. Even those who wish to promote the UN apparently no longer trust it to deliver on its promises of aid, not surprisingly given its history (Oil-For-Food, Congo, Srebrenica, etc).

What does this tell us? No one really trusts the UN to guarantee security. If India did, they would have spurned Bush's offer and worked exclusively through Turtle Bay. The only people who still believe in the UN's "moral authority" are Clare Short and her coterie of benighted leftists around the world -- who mostly can be found in the media and on university campuses.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 2, 2005 8:42 AM

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