News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


India-China alliance a troublesome signal

As the United States is increasingly aggressive in its demands for loyalty from traditional allies, countries are banding together in hopes of alleviating their dependence on a self-centered Uncle Sam.

The most recent coalition is between the two most populous countries in the world, China and India. Together the two nations account for one-third of the world's population.

While economic coalitions are bad enough when the United States is standing alone, the rhetoric surrounding the agreement suggests a more troublesome union.

"India and China can together reshape the world order," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said during a celebration of the nuptials.

The alliance focuses mainly on strengthening economic and diplomatic ties, but the language of officials praising the pact suggests they envision more. As one official said, the agreement means the governments will begin "jointly addressing global challenges and threats."

Guess who they are talking about.

Other nations have long seen the United States as a bully. Now it really is.

That is not an inherently bad thing. President Bush and friends see this as a time in which this nation can leverage its status as the only superpower into a U.S.-dominated — and peaceful — world.

Not knowing who the president's successor will be or what that successor's international approach will be, this administration is trying to strengthen the durability of a U.S.-dominated world order into the next three years.

That's an effort, however, that scares other nations, even those we call allies. Fear of an unpredictable bully has those nations scrambling for more power. As Germany, Japan and Italy figured out in World War II, the shortest route to power is multinational coordination.

India and China are merely the latest concerns. The European Union routinely challenges the United States. North Korea is forging ties with Palestine and Islamic countries.

President Bush and crew are trying to solidify U.S. power through aggressive expansion of our military prominence. That may be the best approach, but it bears renewed evaluation.

When Uncle Sam has his gun out of its holster, he provokes fear. Countries react to fear by banding together.

President Bush should not ignore another strategy. As a strong but beneficent despot, the United States may succeed in its goal of worldwide control while avoiding anti-U.S. alliances.

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