The Asian Pivot and the Pivotal Asian StateDecember 3, 2012
The Obama Administration’s much discussed “pivot to Asia” has numerous problems – it is not clearly defined and there are probably not enough physical resources to accomplish those tasks that have been laid out. But, those points aside, the key aspects of the pivot are going to be diplomatic – getting the relevant nations on board as allies and partners in US goals. Two of the three most key players – Japan and Australia – are virtual givens at this point, but the third is far from a confirmed US ally. Indeed, India has been largely opposed (though not openly hostile) to many US policy objectives through most of her post-independence history. Relations between the US and India began to thaw during the Bush Administration, but that relationship has somewhat atrophied during the Obama years and the US is casting about for a way to renew and strengthen it. Meanwhile, China has been working very hard at developing their own strong relationship with India. Trade ties with China are important for India, and they are the nation’s second most serious security threat, so it makes sense for India to try to forge a lasting and peaceful entente with the second most populous nation on the continent. A successful Sino-Indian bloc would likely doom the efforts of the US to remain a key player in Asia. This is one of the most important stories to watch in the coming years.