Friday, March 25, 2005

Strategic partners

Just after last November's election, David C. Mumford, the U.S. Ambassador to India, said that George W. Bush regarded India as being one of the U.S.'s key strategic partners, and promised that Indo-US relations would continue to improve--"the best is yet to come" is how he put it.

Today, Georgie started delivering on his promise:

U.S. Near Sale of F-16's to Pakistan Over Indian Objections

"The United States was reported today to have agreed to sell Pakistan F-16 fighter planes in a major policy shift that was meant to reward Pakistan for its help in combating terrorism but was also certain to deeply antagonize Pakistan's longtime adversary India.

The State Department is expected to announce the decision in news conference today. But well in advance of the session, several news organizations were reporting that President Bush had personally telephoned Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from his ranch in Crawford, Tex., and that Mr. Singh had voiced 'great disappointment,' according to a spokesman.
...
People opposed to the idea have said that Pakistan gets enough military aid from the United States as it is. And India has lobbied against Pakistan's acquisition of the planes because it fears Pakistan would use them if war between India and Pakistan broke out again, as it has several times in the past half-century."

Given that India is a growing nuclear and economic power, and was just one of two nations on the planet in which the citizens supported Bush's re-election last fall, you'd think that he'd try not to piss on their shoes. But then, getting your shoes showered on pretty much defines what it means to be one of our "strategic partners" these days. Just ask Tony Blair.

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