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World Has Not Stopped for Syria

September 11, 2013 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

Events around the world do not obligingly come to a halt while U.S. officials focus all their attention on the crisis du jour in the Middle East—this time in Syria. In fact, significant developments continue to take place, even in other portions of the Middle East. For example, the renewed sectarian violence next door in Iraq is escalating at a frightening pace, Sunni-Shiite tensions in Bahrain are at a vigorous simmer, Libya is imploding, and Egypt is perched on the verge of civil war.

Outside the Middle East, there are a number of important developments, both good and bad, involving countries that are far more significant than Syria to long-term U.S. interests. That is especially true in South Asia and East Asia. In the former region, the once-pervasive assumption that India would be the next country to enter the ranks of elite global powers has faded badly. Economic growth rates are stagnating, and the rupee is plunging in value on world exchanges, in part a victim of profligate spending by government leaders who assumed the soaring pace of economic expansion would never diminish and they, therefore, need not worry about small matters like budgetary discipline.

Events around the world do not obligingly come to a halt while U.S. officials focus all their attention on the crisis du jour in the Middle East.”

India’s new financial woes are not merely a matter of concern for regional and global economic health, although they do have troubling ramifications on that front. If predictions of India becoming one of the world’s great powers prove erroneous, or at least decidedly premature, that development also has important diplomatic and security implications. For well over a decade, U.S. policy makers have tended to view India as a possible security competitor to China and even as an emerging strategic counterweight. The crude version of that thesis envisioned New Delhi as a de facto U.S. ally in efforts to contain Chinese power. The more sophisticated version understood that Indian leaders might not be eager to play that game on Washington’s behalf and would instead seek to play a more balanced role between Washington and Beijing. Still, India’s economic and military rise, combined with the country’s history of border disputes and other frictions with China, suggested that New Delhi’s enhanced status would benefit U.S. interests and at least give Beijing some concerns to ponder. If India instead …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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