Archive for May, 2006
The fall of the Berlin wall marked the end of the “first” cold war, heralding the demise of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the “iron curtain” the communist collosus had thrown around the East Europe. With the US emerging as the only Superpower in a unipolar world over the last 15 years or so, almost all former Warsaw Pact countries, freed of the Soviet yoke, have been lining up to join NATO and/or the European Union (EU). On the other hand, long-term allies of the US have increasingly lost the capacity, accentuated by the attitude of the neo-cons in the Bush administration and Britain’s blind support for all US initiatives, for the positive consultation once respected by the US. Bogged down in Iraq after its go-it-alone strategy, the US has been trying to obtain consensus from its traditional allies for further pre-emptive actions, impatient with those not immediately supportive. Under Angela Markel Germany is expected to fall in line, till (and if) conservative Sarkozy comes to power the French will probably still exercise some independence. With Russia in economic and military shambles over the last two decades, the only credible opposition of sorts was left to the Chinese, and even the Chinese tread carefully given the military and economic might of the US.
The end of the Cold War has brought about a flourishing relationship between the US and the billion and a half people of South Asia, albeit on a pro-rata basis with India as the priority. People in this region value human rights, oppose terrorism, and want to protect their increasingly endangered environment. Free markets in South Asia are relatively new, but economic reform has strong intellectual support, and a growing middle class is committed to opening the economies of the region. A little over a decade ago South Asia was regarded by the United States as a third-class backwater, today it stands on the brink of becoming a major economic and military power. The dependance of many multinational firms a the service sector has made India (and increasingly other regional countries) a permanent priority to American policy makers.