February 7, 2002
4:58 PM   Subscribe

New World Order? As Israel and India form a new friendship, it seems that Israel's arch enemy, Arafat, is forming alliance with China, India's arch enemy. Apologizes for linking to DrudgeReport for the Arafat story, but that's all I could find.
posted by Rastafari (15 comments total)
Remember when a while back, a bunch of countries had all kinds of alliances (albeit secret) that made a tangled mess, using the motto "my enemy's enemy is my friend"? Remember all the good that came out of that.
posted by geoff. at 5:04 PM on February 7, 2002

Remember when a while back, future President Bush sold arms (albeit secretly) to Axis-of-Evil contestant #3, Iran?
posted by ssdecontrol at 5:08 PM on February 7, 2002

There is that might be suggested: India and Israel are both democracies; China and Araft's PLO autocratic, though much more dissent within PLO than in China.
If only people could just love.....and Valetine's Day right around the corner.
posted by Postroad at 5:26 PM on February 7, 2002

Since when is China India's arch-enemy? What about Pakistan?
posted by Potsy at 5:26 PM on February 7, 2002

As long as the Cobra commander doesn't make an alliance i think it will be ok.

China and India fought a border war/scrimish/conflict in 1962 or 63.
posted by th3ph17 at 5:37 PM on February 7, 2002

except india and china's leaders have been visiting with one another recently. (russia, too i think.)
posted by kliuless at 5:59 PM on February 7, 2002

Its more complex than "India is moving closer to Israel and Arafat towards China". True that India and China have fought a war, but recently relations have improved somewhat. Last month, the Chinese President visited India and talked a lot about economic cooperation: "our hardware, your software" type economic cooperation. At the same time, China wants to contain India, part of the reason for very strong ties with Pakistan. But China does want stronger economic ties with India. It is in both India and CHina's interest.
posted by rsinha at 6:01 PM on February 7, 2002

Potsy, India is ultimately much more concerned about China, as both represent regional superpowers. They've fought more with Pakistan, but that country is only about 1/8 the size of China. Pakistan and China have long been buddy-buddy precisely because of this regional rivalry.

This doesn't mean that they don't have more-or-less cordial, business-like relations. We have cordial, business-like relations with China, although we consider them a long-term rival in the Pacific.

As for China and the Palestinians, that goes back a long, long way, really. Back during the Cold War the communist nations all made a big deal of their support for anybody the Americans didn't like. Generally they knew to keep their noses clean as far as Palestine, though -- it would have been too direct a provocation. I don't think this is really as important as Drudge would like it to be. It's certainly not rising to the level of support that Iran has given them.

ssdecontrol: will you and all your ilk stop it with this poseur, stick-your-hip out, one arm akimbo, and the other wagging a finger: "gosh, we supported them once upon a day". It's getting to be really childish. It doesn't suggest a reaction to the present situation. And it doesn't suggest a reasonable structure of action for the future. Face it: if you don't have a philosophy of international politics that offers a realistic matrix of options for leaders, you're going to be completely useless in the debate.
posted by dhartung at 6:53 PM on February 7, 2002

Remember when a while back, a bunch of countries had all kinds of alliances (albeit secret) that made a tangled mess, using the motto "my enemy's enemy is my friend"? Remember all the good that came out of that.

Some would also argue that this strategy kept the Cold War "cold," and that bipolar systems tend to be more stable.
posted by lizs at 6:57 PM on February 7, 2002

The article does a great job, in my opinion, explaining how India and Israel have gotten closer over the years. After all, historically, India has maintained that "Palestine" belongs to Arabs. Besides both countries being democracies, both have long experienced terrorism, have enemies on their border, and have a secular government which governs a very religious populous.

Personally, I am very happy about the India-Israel relationship. Both countries have much to gain from each other's friendship. I hope and believe that Indian Muslims put their countries first and not be antagonized about this development.

I wasn't aware, until dhartung pointed out, how far back the Chinese-Palestinian relationship goes back. If this is indeed the case, then the Arabs can stop wondering, as was pointed out in the local newspapers, as to who lost India? Because the issue is not so much as who lost India, it's it's about time India and Israel realized how much in common both nations have, and how natural it is for them to be friends.
posted by Rastafari at 7:38 PM on February 7, 2002

I've been thinking along the same lines as geoff: the situation does read a bit like an early 21st century/Asian reprise of the early 20th century/European alliances leading up to WWI. Similar musical alliance games have been operating at full force in Africa as well since the fall of the USSR.
posted by mlinksva at 8:11 PM on February 7, 2002

one way to look at it might be as an escalation in competition for foreign direct investment. china's been a huge sink for FDI sucking up large amounts of capital over the years. israel like everyone else has been seeking entry into the potentially lucrative markets that people seem to think china represents (w/ 7%+ growth rates).

i think it's only been recently that technocrats in india have come up and began courting foreign investment and it's paid off. they're prolly growing 10%+ and companies like infosys are even listed in the US now. my former boss is from hyderabad and he says the place is a basically a blur.

but it's tough to know how much and how fast they should open up their countries and i think both countries are acutely aware of what a disaster privitization in russia has been. arundhati roy just wrote a piece in the nation about some of the problems india is facing, btw (via cowlix :)
posted by kliuless at 8:36 PM on February 7, 2002

will you and all your ilk stop it with this poseur, stick-your-hip out, one arm akimbo, and the other wagging a finger: "gosh, we supported them once upon a day".

Ooh er, get the buns out, someone wants to throw a few.
posted by wackybrit at 9:35 PM on February 7, 2002

Enjoyed the TNR link. Its true most Indians tend to have warm feelings towards Israelies. My father handed me Oh jerusalem when I was in high school.

But I feel India's traditional support of Palestine and relationship with China are derived from more complex reasons. It is certainly possible that Gandhi's objection to the state of Israel was grounded in morality. However, I always felt that above and beyond being a moralist, Gandhi was canny Gujarati lawyer who desperately wanted to avoid partition along religious lines. While palestine has not become important to the masses at that time, it was certainly important to the Muslim leadership who were very clued in on what was going on worldwide.

Nehru - the first prime minister - was fiercely secular. But he wanted to architect the 'non-aligned movement'. His whole foreign policy would have fallen apart without the active support of the middle-eastern states. Let us also not forget that Muslims in India have almost always voted en masse for Congress - then the ruling party. (The only time they moved away were in 1777 and in the mid-eighties - Both times Congress lost the election). It was a captive vote bank with certain quid pro quos observed by both sides. BJP - the rightist party that is now in power had no such handicap.

Dhartung is right about China and India. We have always been uneasy as friends. If you look at China's official maps there are large parts of North Eastern India to which they lay claim. There has been periods of intense tension between India and China. Many commentators feel that Indian nuclear and missile ambitions are really fueled by India's unease about China's defence capability rather than by Pakistan (In any kind of conventional war India could defeat Pakistan handily without resorting to nuclear weapons. It doesn't need the 'nuclear deterrance' there.)

China incidentally has always sided with Pakistan in all our border conflicts with Pakistan and supplied them with technological wherewithal to build missiles.

Then there is Tibet ......China likes to pretend to itself that Dharamsala and Dalai Lama dont exist (with ample help from successive Indian governments I might add). But it continues to come up.

BUT we are also friends. Neither India,nor China want problems with each others. Both want to focus on economic development, both are trying to convince the international community that their countries are stable places for investment. So they really want to make nice with each other.

China and Palestine to my mind is a highly opportunistic alliance. China's Muslims in Xinjiang get much less freedom to practice their religion than most others. Also, largely thanks to their rebelliousness, there hasnt been much development in there. Arafat of course would go on pretending all is well with China.

....I remember telling (rather passionately) an Israeli backpacker in Kathmandu way back when I was in college that we in India, usually manage to resolve issues across the table. That terrorism is fueled by poverty and illiteracy and the associated frustration. That we are going to resolve the Kashmir problem without it developing into the kind of problems that they had in Palestine. He was fresh out of the army. He looked me in the eye and told me that one day you guys would realize that there are some people you simply can't talk to. Famous last words .....
posted by justlooking at 12:30 AM on February 8, 2002

dhartung... snippiness and devilish advocacy notwithstanding, there's much that can be *lost* in approaching 'the present situation' without recognizing the role of the Reagan/Bush^1 administrations in geopolitcal-ly landing us in this whole mess.

go uighurs!
posted by ssdecontrol at 6:01 PM on February 9, 2002

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