Parts I, II and III of this ten part series looked at Bush's achievements in Africa, his solidarity with Israel and his fight against judicial activism. My fourth entry is the strategic relationship forged with one of the world's fastest growing powers.
From the perspective of London it is easy to be overwhelmed by the scale of anti-Bush sentiment in Europe but Europe ain't the world. In Africa, Japan and Israel Bush was always reasonably popular. China-US relations were also relatively good during most of the last seven years. But it was an improved relationship with India - and its one billion plus population - that is most notable.
I'm not going to say much on this subject as it's been examined in more detail by Duncan Currie at the Weekly Standard. There was lots of opposition to Bush's big decision to co-operate with India on civilian nuclear issues. US Democrats delayed a deal for years but it was eventually ratified a few months ago. The deal was a very significant milestone in a long transition of the English-speaking India from a state close to communist Russia to a more free market state and now a strategic (in doggedly independent) ally of American interests. Currie touches on other factors including aid policy, co-operation on natural disasters, shared defence training exercises, a preference for tech-based solutions to the environment, worries about China and also joint action against Islamic terrorism.
In terms of what this means for the future, a final word to Ashley J Tellis:
"The strengthening U.S.-Indian bond does not imply that New Delhi will become a formal alliance partner of Washington at some point in the future. It also does not imply that India will invariably be an uncritical partner of the United States in its global endeavors. India’s large size, its proud history, and its great ambitions, ensure that it will likely march to the beat of its own drummer, at least most of the time. When the value of the U.S.-Indian relationship is at issue, the first question for the United States, therefore, ought not to be, “What will India do for us?”—as critics of the Bush administration’s civilian nuclear agreement with New Delhi have often asserted in recent memory. Rather, the real question ought to be, “Is a strong, democratic (even if perpetually independent) India in American national interest?” If this is the fundamental question and if the answer to this question is “Yes”—as it ought to be, given the convergence in U.S. and Indian national security goals—then the real discussion about the evolution of the U.S.-Indian relationship ought to focus on how the United States can assist the growth of Indian power, and how it can do so at minimal cost (if that is relevant) to any other competing national security objectives."