Saturday, May 30, 2009

India focusing more on China?

According to this article, India's military leaders now consider China their biggest threat.

China is modernizing its military at a rapid rate, including upgrades and exercises aimed at moving Chinese forces thousands of kilometers in a short period of time. China naval activity in the Indian Ocean has been on the increase.

India's headline-grabbing adversarial relationship with Pakistan, on the other hand, appears to be on the wane. Pakistan is thought to be much less of a threat to India, a realization brought about in part by the first-ever publishing of Pakistan's military budget, which produced a number smaller than expected.

Will China be satisfied with the Himalayans as a buffer? History tells us that China is not very expansionistic, particularly compared to Russia, though it does like friendly (or puppet) buffer states.

Monday, May 25, 2009

NPT's rapid collapse

(re-posted from an FP blog comment)

The nuclear non-proliferation effort and NPT have been slowly melting for decades, and now nears total collapse. This latest North Korean nuclear test is only the latest evidence of this trend. On the other hand, Fareed Zakaria postulates that Iran may not want the bomb.

Short of invasion, what can realistically be done to avoid Iran or North Korea acquiring nuclear technology? Nothing, for both NoKo and Iran well know that a nuclear device is a major bargaining chip, a major international status symbol.

Post-Iraq, it seems like any consensus for political violence (war) is absent, if it ever existed, even in blatant presence of a nuclear weapon-capable technology.

Iran and North Korea are both militarily and politically difficult to attack. Sanction regimes, the traditional carrot-and-stick, appear ineffective. The ever-rumored Israeli attack on Iran seems unlikely to induce Iranian regime change, or reduce Iranian desire for nuclear capability.

Therefore, it seems likely that Iran and North Korea will gain enriched uranium capability, and similar technology, while avoiding war.

Given that, other nations will move rapidly to acquire nuclear capability of their own. Iran and NoKo will join Israel, India and Pakistan as political cover for many nation-states to develop or acquire nuclear technology.

I could even see the Russians moving in to exploit such a situation, by playing arms dealer to a willing world. If the USA won't sell nuclear technology to the Middle East, Russia will. Iran was merely the first customer of Russia Arms, Inc.

Much appears to hinge on Russian willingness with regards to Iran... but even a best case scenario would only slow, not stop, the march of nuclear progress.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Details of China's Internet censorship leaked

Wikileaks posted extremely sensitive Chinese government-mandated censorship keyword lists and policies from the leading mainland Chinese search engine, The material is revelatory.