Friday, November 12, 2010

T.G.I.F., November 12th

President Barack Obama’s post-election state visit to India is an indication of the incremental but genuine change measured in decades that marks the coalescing of U.S. and Indian global interests. Media coverage tends to portray the trip as either a presidential escape from an anticipated midterm electoral defeat or a multibillion dollar weapons-peddling expedition with the president as salesman in chief.

These short-term interpretations both partly true, but they shouldn’t obscure the important story: the great U.S.-India re-association is one of major historic events. To illustrate, let’s go to the 21st century map of India, and view it and President Obama’s visit from the perspective of a Chinese admiral sitting in Beijing.

The Indian subcontinent physically dominates the Indian Ocean. China, seeking to assure a steady supply of raw materials and energy for its expanding economy, has invested a lot of time and money in Africa and the Middle East. Tankers carry oil from Sudan and merchant vessels cobalt from the Congo to Chinese ports. These ships pass through waters patrolled by the Indian Navy, which is a rather formidable and increasingly modern force.

Our Chinese admiral knows his history. China’s 1950 invasion of Tibet riled India. China’s military support of Pakistan and its clandestine encouragement of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program also irritate New Delhi. In 1962, India and China fought the Sino-Indian War along their Himalayan frontier. That war remains something of a “frozen” conflict politically, and given the altitude, literally. Despite negotiations, the border dispute is not quite resolved.

Should another conflict erupt, the Indian Navy is positioned to damage if not strangle China’s economy. Moreover, India just might have America on its side. For over two decades, American strategists have touted the logic of an Indo-American alliance based on linguistic and cultural connections, accelerating economic cooperation and — well, here’s the gist of it — an increasing interest in curbing Chinese hegemony in Asia.

Sept. 11 and Islamist terrorist attacks in India forge another common cause. As for mutual economic interests, an Indian technician fixing an American computer from a call center in Bangalore is a telling indicator. The Indian government, unlike China’s, does not fear global connectivity.

Chinese admirals aren’t the only ones who see the implications of this strategic merger. Diplomats in New Delhi and Washington are quite aware of it.

Mention “alliance” and the U.S. in the same sentence, however, and India’s left-wing parties go berserk. Indian ultra-nationalists who still rail about British colonialism remain deeply suspicious of political entanglements with the U.S. — though there seems to be little objection to cooperating with other former British colonies like Australia and Singapore.

The relationship between India, the developing giant, and the U.S., the developed giant, is maturing — and Obama’s presidential visit is part of this long, involved and delicate diplomatic process that began developing as the Cold War ended. It is in both India’s and America’s long-term interest that this process continue.

I believe we are natural allies. We have much to learn and gain from each other. India and the United States should do what is natural. We should deepen our ties. Our relationship must be sincere and bonded.

Also: Why should we want an even playing field between India and Pakistan? Pakistan exports terrorism. India does not. Pakistan is sliding backward. India is moving forward. India is a natural partner with the United States. Pakistan will stab us in the back. Indeed has stabbed us in the back many times. Pakistan is an unnatural ally. More to the point, Pakistan is no ally at all, and the tenuous relationship is founded upon largesse. A relationship with India would be natural. In fact, a reciprocal defense relationship (i.e., U.S. comes to the aid of India, India does the same for the U.S., weapons and intelligence is shared, etc.), is the only solution to Chinese regional hegemony. A security agreement with India would be in my estimation far more valuable than even the relationship we currently have with NATO.

Mr. Obama’s trip to India, which stupidly and arrogantly involves a platoon of Marines in the Taj Mahal, is only significant in its usurpation of India for a “feel good” drug after a poor election cycle. India deserves more respect than that, and the U.S. deserves a President that will understand allies and enemies for who they are.

The former pastor of a parish in Haverhill, Mass. is facing some serious charges. Police say Rev. Keith LeBlanc of St. John the Baptist Church stole more than $83,000 and used it pay off $25,000 in pornography-related credit card debt. "Because this is an ongoing legal proceeding, it would be inappropriate for me to comment. That said we continue to pray for Fr. LeBlanc, for the parish of St. John the Baptist and for all those impacted by these events," Terrence Donilon, communications director for the Archdiocese of Boston, told CBS station WBZ-TV in an email Sunday. LeBlanc resigned in June after six years as pastor of St. John’s. He was arraigned last week on larceny and forgery charges and released on personal recognizance. A police report said LeBlanc had a credit card he used for online pornography and that he admitted to an investigator for the Boston archdiocese that he needed help for a pornography addiction. The report said LeBlanc had gone to a recovery center in Pennsylvania for priests with behavioral issues.

On this day in history in 1933 the Nazis Party receives 92% of vote in Germany; in 1944 the German battleship "Tirpitz" sunk off Norway; and in 1979 US halts Iranian oil imports & freezes Iranian assets 

Pat And Mike

Pat and Mike had been drinking buddies and friends for years.

After having a few drinks in a bar, Mike said to Pat -
"We have been friends for years and years and if I should die before you do would you do me a favor? Get the best bottle of Irish whiskey you can find and pour it over my grave."

Pat replied, "I would be glad to do that for you my old friend.
But would you mind if I passed it through my bladder first?"

Live Long and Prosper....

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