As an intern at The Heritage Foundation, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., I had the opportunity to see and hear a number of congressmen and Senators, but one of the first, and by far my favorite such occasion, was an event with Senator Rand Paul on 6 February 2013 entitled “Restoring The Founder’s Vision Of Foreign Policy” in which Senator Paul discussed the rise of Islamic radicalism and his containment policy regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. Aside from my own background research I did in regards to Heritage’s and other’s studies of Iran before and after the event itself, I found Sen. Paul’s application of George Kennan’s early Cold War policies, namely containment, applied to a modern and, forgive my pun, radically different geopolitical foe than the former Soviet Union very interesting, to say the least.
My second favorite event I attended during my tenure at the think tank, which was as head and shoulders above the rest as the Senator’s was above this one, was an annual lecture on 20 March 2013 entitled “The Enduring Legacy Of America’s Commitment To Asia” with an address from Representative Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Committee On Foreign Affairs, and, as you might expect, the major topic at issue was U.S. policy in the Asia-Pacific region. A course I took on the Politics Of East Asia last semester only served to highlight the dynamic evolution in Asia. However, the trade driven development seems more and more to be slowly but surely leading to nationalism on both sides of the ocean, which makes for a much less peaceful Pacific, but, interestingly enough, Representative Royce points toward the failure of America’s North Korea policy as the cause of an even greater threat than nationalism itself. Certain aspects of his solutions for continuing to build trade relationships we have been constructing for generations is a bigger role in India, trade and investment in Taiwan and dealing the rise of China better than we have dealt with N. Korea.
I can say with confidence that I learned a lot of new information and am now able to better process old information just for attending these events and others, and I would strongly encourage anyone and everyone with the opportunity to do so to get out into the District and hear these great thinkers speak if your goal is, like mine, to continually grow your knowledge of the world Washington helps shape every day.
On the 29th of April 2013 I went to a discussion on U.S-India Relation. Speaking at the event was the ambassador of India and a panel of U.S India Relations Experts Consisting of Raja Mohan, Vikram Sood, Derek Scissors, Lisa Curtis, and Sunjoy Joshi. On the table for discussion was Economic relations and counter terrorism.
All of the speakers were very positive about the future of the United states relations with India and saw it as only growing positively except Derek Scissors who was more fearful and negative about the years to come. He discussed a lot about trade and the economy. He said that India needed to focus on a better internal trade relation before we could establish a working bond with them.
I thought that what Lisa Curtis had to say was very interesting. She discussed where India has bought their weapons and aircrafts from in the past. She stated that in recent years they have been buying them from france, that comment sparked much debate when it came to the question part of the presentation. Many people argued that they have bought weapons here as well.
Over all i think i learned a lot about India that i didn’t previously know. In the future i will be more curious to see where out relationship with them goes.
On April 29th I attended the event of U.S-India Relations in D.C that greatly covered the current and ongoing diplomatic relation of India and U.S. for the past 2 decades. The speakers were many but the two prominent were James Jay Carafano, Ph.D Derek Scissors, Ph.D and Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan Ph.D. The much heralded partnership between New Delhi and Washington has not lift up to its promise that was made during the Bush Administration and Bill Clinton’s visit to India in 2000. The Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi and The Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. is keen to understand this paradox and find ways to rekindle the strategic enthusiasm that has plateaued between the two democracies for the past several years. The event covered heavy sectors such as economy, regional security in East and Southwest Asia, counterterrorism, defense and non-proliferation. The progressive relationship between both countries for the past two decades is not denied, specially throughout and after the Cold War, it was in the first decade after the Cold War that the tension raised over nuclear nonproliferation. The U.S. role in India-Pakistan relation over the dispute of Jammu Kashmir and the undeniable fact that U.S. allied Pakistan over India in against of the use of 1998 nuclear tests that caused a major confrontational footing between U.S. and India which made New Delhi the target of international nonproliferation regime. Despite their high profile disputes, he engagement between the political leaders is inviting a stronger foundation for partnership. The bilateral engagement between them now is truly impressive for the economic system which is the major sector that can help build the U.S. economy and make India an economic dynamite in the coming future. Although the current political situation is not as it was expected to be between these large democracies, and to comprehend sources of frustration like strategic culture, the differences in bureaucracies of both countries and policy missteps in New Delhi and Washington is necessary for sorting out the road map for the future of both states. What I found impressive and something new to my knowledge was that the trade and investment relationship between both countries, India has imported nearly $10 billion worth in the past few years in major defense equipment and India’s armed forces exercise more with U.S. military system more than any other military in the world. I didn’t have any idea about this fact.