"We’re for freedom of speech everywhere. We’re for freedom to worship everywhere. We’re for freedom to learn… for everybody. And because in our time, you can build a bomb in your country and bring it to my country, what goes on in your country is very much my business. And so we are for freedom from tyranny, everywhere, whether in the guise of political oppression, or economic slavery, or religious fanaticism. That most fundamental idea cannot be met with merely our support. It has to be met with our strength. Diplomatically, economically, materially. And, if Pharaoh still doesn’t free the slaves, then he gets the plagues or my cavalry, whichever gets there first. The Commerce guys will go crazy and say that we’re not considering global trade. Other will go crazy and say we haven’t consulted enough. And the Chinese will just go indiscriminately crazy. We have in the past bent over backward, been fooled time and again, been perceived as weak, corrupt, divided. That streak’s gonna end tonight. We know our border. Do not test our resolve for it is strong and resolute.”
That is what the Indian PM should have said to the Chinese on the latter’s recent visit to India to discuss border disputes. The words are not mine, but amended by me from scriptwriter Aaron Sorkin.
I’ve just finished the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview covering China and the EU. From when I was a Washington intern in the US Congress the one thing about China that was clear is that as long as you trade with them, you can criticise their human rights record (much like most countries). By coincidence I just looked at some photos of a trip I made to Kashmir and Leh, Ladakh.
Money and strong talk are understood by China.
In 2011, Chinese troops undertook over 50 incursions into Indian territory ‘at will’ according to the well regarding India Today magazine. These ‘incursions’ include everything from Chinese soldiers setting up camps inside India to encouraging locals to join the Chinese army. Pakistani soldiers a month ago decapitated Indian soldiers in Kashmir.
In case you don’t think this has anything to do with Britain, then I remind you, that India is nestled next to Pakistan, a nuclear-armed unreliable Western ally which housed not only Osama Bin Laden, and widely considered a training ground for International terrorism. North of India is Russia – a Western adversary – whether we like it or not. And of course then there is China.
Remember in the most recent test of values in international relations and the type of world we want, India, US and Britain, all members of the UN Security Council voted in favour of action in Syria. China and Russia used their veto; thereby encouraging crimes against humanity in Syria.
‘War is hell’ said General Patton and there are many a macho arm-chair General who will advocate strong armies. But I speak as a believer in deterrence. Without strong deterrence, your adversaries will seek to incur in your territories and China and Argentina and Russia are bedfellows.