India to join US-led elite democracy club?

August 29th, 2008 - 1:38 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 29 (IANS) India is a candidate to join a small and exclusive grouping of US-led “great democracies” that could end up rivalling the United Nations for global power, a leading British academic has said.US presidential hopefuls Barrack Obama and John McCain have pledged to create an elite club of leading, like-minded democracies to neutralise the power wielded by China and Russia at the UN.

However, both candidates say their new institution will uphold UN values.

Countries most likely to join will be Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India, says professor Inderjeet Parmar, head of politics at the University of Manchester.

The grouping would seek to enforce the aims of a little-known organisation called the Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD), the brainchild of leading foreign policy advisers to previous US administrations in the 1990s.

With a strong belief in the theory that democracies do not go to war against one another, shared by former US president Bill Clinton and current Republican Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice among others, the basic aim of the council is to spread democracy across the world.

The grouping will not hesitate to enforce the aim by military intervention if necessary, Parmar said.

“India will play an important role in the grouping as a supplier of manpower and as a rising world power,” Parmar told IANS in an interview.

“It will send a strong signal to a lot of other people that this is not just an American vehicle. India will give the grouping legitimacy.”

The CCD was set up in Warsaw in June 2000 by representatives of 106 governments committed to “cooperation among democracies worldwide”.

One of the backers was Madeleine Albright - US secretary of state at the time of its launch. She is now a key adviser to Obama.

Parmar, who has studied every speech made by Obama since 2000 and is a leading academic on US foreign policy, said he sees no difference between the policies of President George W. Bush and Obama as far as India is concerned.

“There will be a continuation of the Bush policy in terms of recognising India as a nuclear power to offset Chinese influence. I don’t see any discontinuity in it.

“There are common fears in the McCain and Obama camps about Pakistan - that it is unstable and not playing the role expected of it in the war against terror,” Parmar said.

There is bipartisan support in the US for the idea of a small democratic grouping that would give future US-led interventions the kind of legitimacy that they have lacked in the Security Council so far.

In a jointly-written article published in the Washington Post last year, McCain’s foreign policy adviser Robert Kaplan and Obama’s adviser Ivo Daalder buried party political differences to argue for the formation of such a grouping of “the world’s great democratic nations”.

The influential Americans wrote: “If not the Security Council, then who? The answer is the world’s democracies, the United States and its democratic partners in Europe and Asia.

“As the war in Kosovo showed, democracies can agree and act effectively even when major non-democracies, such as Russia and China, do not. Because they share a common view of what constitutes a just order within states, they tend to agree on when the international community has an obligation to intervene. Shared principles provide the foundation for legitimacy.”

The article was titled “The Next Intervention”.

Parmar said the grouping is shaping up to be “an exclusive and aggressive formation of democratic nations - very superior”.

“It could give the United States and its allies a means to legitimise an attack on a sovereign country with or without the sanction of the UN,” he added.

“Obama is rhetorically different to Bush - but you would expect that in opposition. In effect, his policies on Iran, Iraq and Israel are almost entirely the same. Military action is definitely not off limits against some countries.”

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