The Accidental Superpower: Ten Years On
With a new “10 years later” epilogue for every chapter, comes an eye-opening assessment of American power and deglobalization in the bestselling tradition of The World is Flat and The Next 100 Years.
A US federal grand jury has voted to issue indictments against a handful of ethnic Indians (with alleged ties to the Indian government) who the US Department of Justices claims participated in an assassination program in North America.
This program has reportedly targeted individuals alleged to support Sikh separatist groups in India. As a result, one Canadian citizen has been killed, and the program has targeted an American resident with dual American-Canadian citizenship.
If there is any validity behind these claims, relations between India and North America will need some patching up.
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Hey, everybody. Peter Zeihan here. Coming to you from my bed because I’ve thrown out my back and I’m going to be here for a couple of days. The news aside from that is that there’s a lot afoot in relations between Canada, the United States and India. Recently, the United States has issued an indictment of a number of folks in India, many with ties to the government for an assassination program in North America, which, according to the Americans, has killed at least one Canadian citizen and targeted unsuccessfully someone with dual American Canadian citizenship.
Both these people are ethnic Indians, and as the indictment goes, there are factions within the Indian government who have used state resources to set up a murder program in North America and take out folks that they say are supporting separatism in India. Now, the reality of the situation on the ground in India is that separatism peaked probably back in the 1980s.
Not that it wasn’t serious then, it was, but now it’s really been talking about in any sort of meaningful way in the last 20 years, unless you happen to be an ultra nationalist and the BJP, which is the ruling party in India and is pretty much a shoo in at this point for reelection next year, has a severely ultranationalist faction.
And that means we got to pick this parliament. Okay. First of all, a lot of the negative stereotypes about India when it comes to things like government inefficiency are true. A lot of societies think of government as a cash cow where you get jobs, you don’t necessarily have to do anything. And there’s going to be some truth to that in any society.
But in India, it’s particularly robust because we do have the world’s largest administration and oftentimes it’s considered a minor miracle. If anything gets done, because there are so many clashing authorities, not just between the local, the state and the national government, but within the different bureaus of the national government. And the government is absolutely treated as a cash cow for whoever the ruling party or parties happen to be.
And in that sense, the BJP is no exception. But what that means is, as a rule, getting anything done within the Indian government, especially when it involves foreign security policy, is next to impossible because the institutions are just so lethargic and overpopulated and under supported. What that means is whoever did this, it’s entirely possible that it was done without the knowledge of the BJP leadership in general, the Prime Minister in particular, Modi.
The Prime Minister is certainly a nationalist in himself, but he’s not like advocating going out and killing someone else’s citizens on a different continent. But it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that there’s a faction of the BJP who is ultra nationalist, who has used their links to the state now to launch something like this independent of the federal government.
When Justin Trudeau first announced almost in passing that a Canadian citizen had been killed by Indian agents, you know, it sparked a bit of an uproar. But then the Canadians started releasing details about the people who did it and to be perfectly born, a lot of them were kind of chubby. And, you know, the world of international espionage is many things, but it doesn’t spend a lot of time at the buffet at Caesar’s Palace.
These are folks that have to be really pretty much geared up and goers and Trump are not known for being particularly agile assassins. So, you know, they got caught both in Canada and in the United States in particular. And now the question is, what is this going to mean for relations? Now, if this theory is correct, that this was just kind of a rogue faction within the political sphere as opposed to actual professional intelligence agents?
Then someone’s head can be put on a platter. When it was just Canada and maybe some countries quietly back in Canada, that was one thing. But when they moved into the United States and attempted to kill someone. my. Even at the height of the Cold War, the Soviets would have never even dreamed of that. Even with relations as bad as they have become with the Chinese, the Chinese would never even think about going after an American citizen in America.
But apparently there was someone in India. They thought they were exempt. And, you know, that’s a hard pause. Yes, you can suck up a lot in great power politics when it comes to the treatment of your allies. But if someone’s coming after your citizens, that’s a very different sort of picture and that generates broad spectrum retaliation. And if this is a proto ally like India may be to the United States, that pretty much sinks all statesmanship options between the two countries right there.
So I would guess, especially if this theory is correct, is over the course of the next few weeks, tensions are going to cool. The Canadians are already being fairly smug about saying that they’ve already cooled quite a bit and that the United States is directly involved. Canadians love to be smug and eventually someone will be. Carl pulled to the carpet, maybe not publicly, but in the eyes of the governments in the United States and Canada, we know that this is something that has drawn attention from the very top because the White House in the United States has now leaked that Joe Biden actually talked to Prime Minister Modi about it at the last big summit.
I think it was the G20 summit. So this is now a top tier issue. And if Modi is serious about wanting to have a partnership with the United States in order to get better defense equipment because they know no Russian equipment sucks or to have a friend against the Chinese should anything break down there. Well, you know, you don’t go to your potential allies homeland and start killing people.
I’m sorry. That’s just that’s just rude. So this is probably not going to exactly get swept up under the rug. We will prob ably have someone who has to pay and there will probably be an extradition before all is said and done. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be loud unless of course they try to kill someone else, in which case all bets are off.