Ashley Tellis Wants Trump to Continue US Policy of "Strategic Altruism" With Modi's India

In a piece titled "The India Dividend: New Delhi Remains Washington’s Best Hope in Asia" published in Foreign Affairs journal, authors Robert Blackwill and Ashley Tellis argue that the Trump Administration should continue the US policy of "strategic altruism" with India that began with US-India nuclear agreement. They want President Trump to ignore the fact that the US companies and economy have only marginally benefited from this policy. They see India as a "superpower in waiting" and urge Washington to focus on the goal of having India as an ally to check China's rise. They see Chinese support for India's archrival Pakistan and China’s growing weight in South Asia and beyond as threat to India.

Who is Ashley Tellis:

Ashley Tellis was born and raised in Mumbai, India. Back in 1999 as a “researcher” at RAND Corp, he contributed to a report for US Department of Defense (DoD) that forecast Pakistan would “disappear” by 2015. It proved to be wishful thinking.

Here are the Key Points of Pentagon's Asia 2025 Report on South Asia region that Ashley Tellis contributed to:

1. Pakistan is "near collapse" in 2010 while India is making "broad progress".

2.  Iranian "moderation" in 2010 while Afghanistan remains "anarchic hotbed".

3. Pakistan is "paralyzed" after an "Indo-Pak war 2012".

4. US launches conventional strike on "remaining Pakistan nukes" after the "Indo-Pak war 2012.

5. China "blinks at US-India Collusion".

6. Pakistan "disappears".

Source: Pentagon Asia 2025 Report

He is promoted as a South Asia "scholar" by various Washington Think Tanks he has worked for. Currently, he is with Carnegie Endowment For International Peace in Washington DC. His hostility toward Pakistan shows through in all his work.

Criticism of Trump's India Policy:

Blackwill and Tellis have praised Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama for ignoring long-standing US policy on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and for pushing US-India nuclear deal through.  At the same time, they have criticized Trump for "leaving even staunch pro-U.S. stalwarts such as Modi wondering whether India could ever count on the United States to come to its aid in the event of a major crisis with China".

The authors take President Trump to task for "focusing less on India’s potential as a partner than on its unbalanced trade with the United States". The Trump administration has  recently withdrawn India’s privileged trade access to the United States under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.

Trump's Afghan Policy:

The authors are unhappy with administration’s approach to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan for for failing "to consider Indian interests".  They complain that their expectation that "Trump might put less pressure on India regarding....its relations with Pakistan" have not materialized.

Blackwill and Tellis don't explain how Trump can end America's longest war while protecting Indian interests in Afghanistan.

Strategic Alturism:

Blackwill and Tellis want Trump administration to continue "generous U.S. policies" not merely a favor to New Delhi but a "conscious exercise of strategic altruism". They praise the US administrations that preceded Trump in the following words:

"A strong India was fundamentally in Washington’s interest, even if New Delhi would often go its own way on specific policy issues. Both Bush and his successor, Barack Obama, turned a blind eye to India’s positions in international trade negotiations, its relatively closed economy, and its voting record at the United Nations, all of which ran counter to U.S. preferences".

Summary:

Robert Blackwill and Ashley Tellis argue that the Trump administration should continue "generous U.S. policies" not merely a favor to New Delhi but a "conscious exercise of strategic altruism".  The authors are unhappy with administration’s approach to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan for for failing "to consider Indian interests".  They complain that their expectation that "Trump might put less pressure on India regarding....its relations with Pakistan" have not materialized. In other words, they want US-India relations to be a one-way street where all the benefits flow from US to India in the expectation that at some point in the future India would be useful to counter China's rise in Asia.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on September 4, 2019 at 12:46pm

Why must #Trump mediate in #Kashmir crisis and help resolve it. #Washington Times - Politics, Breaking News, US and World News by Jack Rosen, American Jewish Committee

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/sep/2/why-us-must-mediate...


You don’t have to be Jewish to know that land disputes between nations can be volatile and intractable things. Today, one such dispute finds two nuclear powers facing off, and its resolution — in which one-fifth of the world’s population hangs in the balance — is in President Trump’s power to shape.

One year before Israel was born, an autonomous region known as Kashmir came into being, a result of the end of the British Empire in India and the establishment of a neighboring Muslim-majority nation called Pakistan. And since that day in 1947, India and Pakistan have been in conflict over Kashmir, which lies between them. Two weeks ago, India announced that it would abandon Kashmir’s autonomous status and moved quickly to further militarize the region, creating a virtual blackout of information and electricity for millions of residents.

Kashmir is a delicate issue that the United States and the United Nations, as well as India and Pakistan, have worked hard to balance over the years, especially given the nuclear stakes. India’s move is thus a break with this tradition of diplomatic even-handedness and military restraint. If the lessons of Israel-Palestine teach us anything, it is that blunt, unilateral force is not a true solution but a path to conflict and war. Indeed, pressure is building upon the Indian and Pakistani leadership to take decisive action.

Given that India and Pakistan are both nuclear powers, escalation of tensions between the two countries is incredibly dangerous. Just last month, President Trump, in a meeting with new Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, offered to personally mediate the dispute.

America is now in a complicated position on the issue. We have forged trading and security alliances with both India and Pakistan over the decades. Each country has a large diaspora in the United States. While nuanced diplomacy has ensured that the United States has not faced a zero-sum game between the two, it is time the United States use its moral and strategic leverage to get both sides to the table to address the issue of Kashmir once and for all. There are humanitarian, legal and security interests in such intervention.



The first step is for the United States to convince India to return to the status-quo-ante: the Line of Control prior to the recent crackdown. That step will build confidence, calm simmering tensions, respect long-standing international agreements and create room for negotiations. Those negotiations — given the scale and gravity of the Kashmir issue — must be mediated and multilateral. Indeed, until President Trump’s offer to mediate, the dispute has festered as a bilateral standoff.

The most immediate benefit to talks will be to the the 12 million people of Kashmir, who continue to suffer. Their plight must be addressed and a number of international organizations like the United Nations and NGOs such as Amnesty International are sounding the alarm bell over human right violations — including persecution of minorities — in the region. Peace between India and Pakistan means security for them and the possibility to at last develop and grow.

It would be hard not to see the applicability of Israel-Palestine. Like Kashmir, this delicate piece of land the size of New Jersey hangs in a balance maintained by international organizations, the United States, and neighboring countries. The U.N. Partition Plan for Palestine sought to give self-determination to two groups, the Jewish people and Palestinian Arabs, in a region that had chafed under British and Ottoman rule. 

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 4, 2019 at 8:18pm

#America's ex #defense secretary #Mattis calls for #US, #Pakistan to maintain cautious relationship. Says in book "Call For Chaos" there is an active self-destructive streak in its political culture. “They don’t have leaders who care about their future.” https://www.dawn.com/news/1503608

Their common interests demand that the United States and Pakistan maintain a cautious relationship with modest expectations, ar­gu­es former US secretary of defence James Mattis.

In his autobiography Call Sign Chaos, President Trump’s first defence chief notes that Pakistan’s complicated relations with India force Islamabad to seek a friendly government in Kabul.

Mr Mattis, a much accomplished general from the Marines Corps, was inducted into the Trump cabinet with great expectations but he resigned in January 2019 after differences with the president over Afghanistan and other issues.

The general, who has served in Afghanistan and commanded the US Central Command, opposes a rapid US withdrawal from Afghanistan. His book hit the stands on Tuesday afternoon.

Former defence secretary says both sides should have modest expectations from each other

“Ultimately, it’s in our common interest that we maintain a cautious, mind­ful relationship, with modest expectations of collaboration,” Mr Mattis wrote while reviewing US relations with Pakistan.

“We could manage our problems with Pakistan, but our divisions were too deep, and trust too shallow, to resolve them. And that’s the state of our relationship to this day.”

On Tuesday, Gen Mattis also participated in a group discussion at the US Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, where the moderator asked him why he described Pakistan as “the most dangerous country” in his book.

“The radicalisation of their society. By the way that’s also the view of members of the Pakistan military,” he said. “They realise what they have got going on there. They recognise it.” He said the relationship between the US and Pakistan was “very twisted”.

“When you take the radicalisation of a society and you add to it the fastest growing nuclear arsenal, I think in the world, you see why … we need to focus right now on arms control and non-proliferation effor­ts,” he said. “This is a much worse problem I think than anyone writing about today.”

At several places in the book, Gen Mattis highlighted old ties between the US and Pakistani militaries, but expressed very low opinion about the country’s political leadership.

“Pakistan was a country born with no affection for itself, and there was an active self-destructive streak in its political culture,” he wrote. “They don’t have leaders who care about their future.”

Gen Mattis claimed that Pakistan “views all geopolitics through the prism of its hostility toward India” and that has also shaped its policy on Afghanistan as Islamabad “wanted a friendly government in Kabul that was resistant to Indian influence”.

The former defence chief also noted that the Pakistan military had lost more their troops fighting terrorists on their side of the border than the Nato coalition had lost in Afghanistan.

“Yet, they thought they could or at least manipulate the terrorists. But, once planted, terrorism was growing in ways that no one — not even Pakistan’s secret service could predict or control,” he noted.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 13, 2019 at 10:25am

#Biden2020 in #DemocraticDebate debate in #Houston last night: "We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases — insist the Pakistanis provide bases..." #Pakistan #Afghanistan https://taskandpurpose.com/biden-us-troops-pakistan

Biden, who is attempting to secure the Democratic nomination for president in the 2020 election, mentioned his plan during Thursday night's Democratic debate in Houston.

When asked if President Barack Obama's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 was a mistake, Biden said no and quickly changed the topic to Afghanistan.

"We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases — insist the Pakistanis provide bases for us to airlift from and to move against what we know," Biden said. "We don't need those troops there. I would bring them home."

But given the Pakistani military and intelligence service's connections to the Taliban and terrorist groups, it is extremely unlikely that Pakistan would agree to host a U.S. counter-terrorism mission, said Bill Roggio, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank in Washington, D.C.

Pakistan has long supported the Taliban's efforts to defeat the United States in Afghanistan, said Roggio, managing editor of The Long War Journal. Meanwhile, the Taliban continues to shelter Al Qaeda.

"American political leaders seem to have magical theories about what to do in Afghanistan and don't really want to do the heavy lifting in order to take on the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other jihadist groups there," Roggio told Task & Purpose. "The sooner American political leaders realize that Pakistan is an enemy and not an ally of the United States, the sooner we can move forward and deal with the problem."

Thursday's debate also gave Biden an opportunity to re-litigate the Obama administration's decision in December 2009 to drastically increase the number of troops to Afghanistan. Biden said he was opposed to the troop surge because he favors a more narrowly tailored mission in Afghanistan.

"The whole purpose of going to Afghanistan was not to have a counterinsurgency – meaning that we're going to put that country together. It cannot be put together. Let me say it again: It will not be put together. It's three different countries. Pakistan owns the three counties – the three provinces in the east. The point is that it's a counter-terrorism strategy."

It was not immediately clear if Biden is in favor of partitioning Afghanistan. In 2006, he co-authored an opinion piece in the New York Times calling for Iraq to be decentralized into Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish autonomous regions, but he later denied that he advocated for Iraq to be broken up.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 15, 2019 at 7:56pm

#US-#Pakistan Relations Getting Back On Track. Pakistan to become an important U.S. key strategic partner following the U.S. troop withdrawal from #Afghanistan, says former acting special representative for AfPak Laurel Miller. #Taliban #India https://nayadaur.tv/2019/09/us-pakistan-relations-are-getting-back-...

Miller said, “the U.S. will look to step back up to some degree its military relationship with Pakistan. The U.S. will look to Pakistan as a significant counter-terrorism partner in the region.”

Initially, she explained the U.S. will seek “the first option for the U.S. to have a reliable and capable partner in Afghanistan,” but she said “if that is not a long term solution…. then my prediction…” she emphasized, “not a policy recommendation” the U.S. would turn to Pakistan to partner work with them in the region — as they have previously.

She added, “I suspect once a U.S. withdrawal finally happens, we will hear the pentagon say…. even those who said we need to maintain a presence will shift their narrative to – ‘we can look after this form over the horizon’.”

But she added “there will be a desire to have a relationship on the ground within the region.” That is when she predicted the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in the region will be resurrected, “if the Pakistan and Afghanistan area looks to be a fertile ground for terrorist groups, “she said, “then I suspect the U.S. will look again to Pakistan.”

READ Pak-US Relationship After PM Imran Khan And President Trump Meeting Based On Dynamic Process Models
Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Jarett Blanc, echoed Millers views. Blanc distinguished between the geostrategic and counterterrorism areas that were going to drive the strategic outcomes in the region.

He explained that from a geostrategic perspective U.S interests are only served by a withdrawal from Afghanistan as the U.S. military was limited in scope, “our troops are hostage to the G locks and the A lock in Pakistan…” he said, “we have no choices with our relationship with Pakistan if that becomes the necessary form of objective in our relationship.” Although if the U.S. leaves Afghanistan, this opens up the possibility for a different course in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

Blanc agreed with Millers “prediction” for resurrecting the U.S.-Pakistan military relationship in the region.

Eds: This event was held before President Trump cancelled the talks.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 1, 2019 at 8:53am

#WTO says #India violated global #trade rules by providing $7 billion in #export subsidies to its companies, after #UnitedStates had challenged #NewDelhi’s incentive schemes. #Trump revokes trade preferences for #imports from India. https://www.ft.com/content/66e5b84e-fc06-11e9-a354-36acbbb0d9b6 via @financialtimes


The decision was hailed by Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative, as a “resounding victory” that would allow American companies to compete “on a level playing field”, despite the fact that the Trump administration has questioned the effectiveness and fairness of the WTO’s dispute settlement system. 

India’s ministry of commerce and its embassy in Washington declined to comment on the ruling and whether it would appeal. 

The Trump administration launched its case against India’s export subsidy programmes in March 2018, alleging that India gave prohibited, rapidly expanding support in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, textiles, steel and technology products.

New Delhi said it was entitled to pursue those policies under exemptions allowed for developing countries, even if they were transitioning away from that status. The panel rejected the claim. The WTO urged India to withdraw the export subsidy schemes within six months. If it fails to comply, it could eventually face punitive tariffs from Washington. 


The WTO ruling comes at a tricky time in US-India trade relations. This year, the US administration said it would revoke preferential tariff treatment given to Indian imports, amid rumblings that Washington might launch an investigation into unfair trade practices similar to the one that forms the legal basis for its tariff war with China.

But good relations between Donald Trump, US president, and Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, have staved off any serious escalation in tensions between the countries. 

Although the Trump administration has been vigorously litigating cases at the WTO and trumpeting any decisions to its benefit, Washington has blocked the appointment of judges to its appellate body after disagreeing with its methods and some of its rulings. By December, the appellate body will not have a sufficient quorum of judges to continue operating, throwing a spanner in the works of global trade dispute settlement.

The US has called for reforms of the system, but officials in Geneva, where the WTO is based, said there had been little progress towards a solution.

The EU, Canada and others have been working on developing alternative dispute settlement regimes while the WTO appellate body is frozen.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 17, 2020 at 9:50pm

#US court rejects challenge to #Trump administration's requirement for #IT service companies (aka #Indian body shops) to file more evidence when hiring #H1B workers. 70% of 85,000 workers each year come to the #UnitedStates from #India. http://toi.in/ugtlTa72/a24gk via @timesofindia

-------------------------

Trump to Visit India as Trade Fight Overshadows Strategic Ties. #Trump removed #India from preferential #trade program, cut #H1B visas, then went further, and removed India from another program that shielded low-income countries from #US trade reprisals

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/us-cour...


India and the United States hope to reach a limited trade agreement in time for U.S. President Donald Trump’s first visit to the country this month, but experts question whether the larger strategic relationship both sides have cultivated for more than a decade is being sacrificed to Trump’s niggling trade demands.

On the one hand, U.S. administrations beginning with George W. Bush and continuing under Barack Obama have indicated they need India as a strategic partner to help counter China’s growing influence. On the other hand, under Trump, Washington is now publicly browbeating India over the price of walnuts and Harley-Davidsons.

“The administration does not have an integrated policy toward India or anyone else for that matter,” said Ashley Tellis, an India expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

U.S. national security officials have their own view of India’s place in America’s Indo-Pacific strategy and have built on the Obama administration’s efforts with closer defense cooperation, especially in the navy, and through increased arms sales. But U.S. trade officials, obsessed by trade deficits, have their own narrow agenda focused on prying open parts of the Indian market—a view entirely divorced from the bigger picture.

“The fruits of a schizophrenic policy are becoming evident,” Tellis said.

Ahead of Trump’s big state visit on Feb. 24-25, U.S. trade officials led by Robert Lighthizer have been trying to secure a tiny trade breakthrough with India that will give Trump some sort of trade victory with a country long known for hardball negotiations and a reluctance to open its market.

The trade talks are the culmination of three years of escalating tension between the United States and India, which kicked off when the Trump administration levied tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from India (and many other countries, especially allies). India eventually responded with higher tariffs on agricultural goods and restrictions on U.S. medical devices—prompting the United States to retaliate by removing India from a decades-old preferential trade program that gives developing economies a chance to export on favorable terms to the world’s biggest market. Just last week, the Trump administration went further, removing India from another program that shielded low-income countries from U.S. trade reprisals.

The Trump administration’s approach to trade talks with India, like those with China, Europe, and others, is driven by the president’s obsession with the trade balance: Countries that export more goods to America than they buy in return, he feels, are cheating the United States. India is a top 10 trading partner for America, and the United States runs a trade deficit of about $25 billion—a small fraction of the huge trade gap with China.

To remedy that, U.S. trade officials have tried to force open the Indian market to more U.S. exports, including farm goods, medical devices, and dairy products. The mini trade deal taking shape this month appears to include some Indian concessions on agricultural tariffs and a slight reduction in tariffs on industrial goods like motorcycles—but is a far cry from any sort of comprehensive trade agreement that would address big underlying issues like India’s penchant for protectionism or its treatment of data and e-commerce.

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