Political Bedfellows: The Maxiavellian Way

Robbery - Francisco de Goya 

"Politics makes strange bedfellows" -- Charles Dudley Warner

In the race for resources, states will often make deals with reproachable regimes - i.e. a nation whose leaders are autocratic (even when hiding behind the democratic mask) and do not respect basic values such as: freedom of expression, of association, of religion; the right to life, education, health and security. Once states step into that threshold, their sense of ethics and morals will have to be left at the door, without any guarantees of restitution.

Because nations are bound by agreements, they will often have to make difficult calculations: if ally A is less threatening than associate B, than they will have to accommodate B lest it wreaks havoc in their territory or play against their interests. Although this sort of calculation may work for a certain amount of time, it won't work forever as appeasement policies always have a way of resulting in domestic conflict (be it political bickering or civil unrest). And how does ally A fit in all of this? A will simply play along as long as the status quo fits into its own national interests. But what happens when the status quo begins to clash with A's present interests?

Nations will often make weapon deals with abalisah. Selling arms to certain states knowing that they will pass them along to non-state actors is sometimes perceived as a necessary measure for two reasons:
1- Governments, in the absence of a strong manufacture industry, will need to keep their economy afloat by boosting their military industry (that generates billions of euros).
2- Governments feel that by selling weapons to those countries they will be able to include them in their sphere of influence and control them better.
But what happens when the weapons they sell are used against the supplier's own people?

A rogue non-state actor can be extremely useful. When nations need to wreak havoc in certain countries or need to wage proxy wars against a nemesis (to maintain a safe margin of deniability); they will often resort to undisciplined non-state actors to do the dirty job on their behalf. What happens when the monster gets too big to control and turns against them?

Political leaders will say one thing in public and another in private. Notwithstanding, analysts will say, words are less important than actions - maybe so, but in a world where perceptions and image are everything, how can words not be a significant factor? If a state declares that A is an important ally but keeps rebuking it in public (even though behind doors it supports it 90% of the times), it will contribute to harden associate B's position. Again, this strategy will only work as long as ally A is interested in playing the game. Nothing is forever, though.

Yes, understandably so, politics makes the strangest bedfellows. However, history has shown us that certain manoeuvres can bear nefarious results - especially when politicians do not plan their strategies properly, often due to the need to yield fast results.

"Fiascos occur when policy makers do not have the willingness or the intellect to take all possible future scenarios into account." -- Rob de Wijk


Comments

  1. Max, Everywhere where there is strife, arms and ammunitions are used. Both sides to any conflict have access to these. All manufacturers of all arms and ammunitions are known in all countries and governments. It does not take too much imagination to see who benefits from all the conflicts. What stops any government pontificating about conflict and peace from just closing down the guys who manufacture these arms and ammunitions?

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    1. Would that include India's military industry?

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    2. We hardly have any, and what we have is almost entirely in the public sector, but yes, it would. But India is the largest importer of arms in the world. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/3/17/india-still-worldslargestarmsbuyerasasianrivalriesheatup.html

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    3. Rummuser, if India hardly has any it is about to change:

      "With Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressing on the need for increasing arms exports, DRDO has said India can sell combat aircraft and missiles whose production cost would be “much lower” than some of the weapons sold by countries such as China."

      http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/india-can-export-fighter-planes-missiles-drdo-chief/

      I wonder to whom India intends to sell, Afghanistan?

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    4. Mr Rummuser, thank you for your answer. yes India is the biggest importer of arms in the world, I mean look at her neighborhood! So yeah, 65% of her weapon needs are procured abroad. But now that Russia is upset with India threatening to stop selling arms, will India turn to the US or will it increase her purchases from Israel?
      http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/newdelhi/miffed-russia-may-stop-arms-sale-to-india/article1-1049963.aspx

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    5. As an Indian libertarian, I would plunk for producing within India to the extent possible for not only strategic reasons, but also for economic ones. The geopolitical sceanario in my part of the world is getting more and more murky and overt alliance with Israel seems to be a distinct possibility in the near future. And, Russia and the USA are not the only arms suppliers. We have the British and the French falling over each other as well.

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    6. Ana Antunes, we need for our own protection. Export will be a, ahem, collateral benefit! And selling to Aghanistan is certainly a possibility. In fact we are already training their officers in our Military Academies. I also visualise a very dominant role for India in the South and South East Asia stretching up even up to Japan and closer overt relations with Israel in the next few years. Quite how arms sales will feature in that development is yet to be seen

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    7. Rummuser, and I understand that very well. Hehehe 'collateral benefit' I like that! I am looking forward to seeing India assert her power and have closer over relations with Israel, what a day that will be! Once India improves the quality of her arms, which I was told are already very good, the possibilities of trade are almost endless!

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    8. Hi Rummy,

      Indeed, indeed. Such is politics...

      Thank you for your input, my friend.

      Cheers

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  2. There's no morals or ethics in politics even though countries like the US and the UK like to preach on such values, despite their terrible record. I guess we do what we gotta do.

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    1. Hi Anon,

      True.

      Anon, thank you so much for your comment.

      Cheers

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  3. Aye, lass! Politics is a dirty business, still we love it. In human relations all sorts of dealings will be conducted to achieve certain ends; it's not different in politics, is it? We tend to deify politicians, forgetting they are people too, with all the flaws and qualities being a person entails, but at the end of the day they make mistakes just like us. The only problem is, the consequences of their mistakes bear much bigger consequences! I missed you, lass.

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    1. Hey Joe, great to see you!

      Have you heard of the latest news? I am beyond sad.
      True, despite all things we love politics.

      Cheers for your comment, my friend. You were missed.

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  4. Every country sells weapons nowadays and if they do it's cause there's a market, somebody is willing to buy! No one is innocent in this story but for this once I agree with Max: maneuvers must be done in politics!

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    1. Hi Celia,

      Whoa, you agreeing with me...that's odd :)
      Cheers for your comment, Celia.

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  5. You have to have a stomach to endure politics! If the heat is too much for you than get the hell out of the kitchen, I say to people who bitch all the time about it! When you have millions of people to protect and keep happy, you better do whatever you can, cause even if you don't somebody else will do it against you, so might as well play the game, right? Awesome article, Max!

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    1. Hi Ana,

      True, true. Thanks, I am glad you liked it.
      Cheers, girl, for your comment.

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  6. Oh well...clap, clap, clap, I could just feel every word that you have written came just from my mind. No more words today, people ought read this post again and again.

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    1. Hey Kalyan,

      Thank you *bowing*. And cheers for your comment, my friend.
      You were missed.

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  7. "Fiascos occur when policy makers do not have the willingness or the intellect to take all possible future scenarios into account." (Rob de Wijk) - I couldn't agree more with professor de Wijk! Our politicians lack the ability to foresee outcomes beyond their term in office.
    Other than this, I agree with Kalyan, no more words needed. Let people absorb your words! Excellent job, my dear!

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    1. Hi Celeste,

      Cheers, girl, for your comment and support.

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