After President Bush dropped in on Afghanistan yesterday, he was off to his scheduled visit to India - thus linking up personally with two nations critical to the United States and a free world.
Touching down in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops do toil, was a fitting show of support for that once-benighted nation. Okay, so all is not joy there - but things are a heckuva lot better than they used to be when the Taliban held sway, prison riots and Osama aside.
India is its own story. It is also a mass of contradictions. For example: Still among the world's poorest nations, it is concurrently home to one of the world's fastest-growing economies, not all that growth (stop your grousing) caused by outsourcing. Indian entrepreneurship flourishes. By 2040, according to Goldman Sachs' projections, India's will be the world's third-largest economy. Which is nothing short of stunning.
For example also: Despite "Death to America" street theater by protesters drawn largely from India's sizable Muslim minority, polls have shown Indians to be overwhelmingly pro-U.S, a thoroughly good thing, considering the economic-growth projections.
There is, to be sure, the small problem of nuclear proliferation, the prime reason for the President's journey. India needs energy to power the aforementioned economic growth. And the U.S. and the world need India to get on board with nonproliferation agreements. Helping with civilian uses of that energy source, it is hoped, will nudge India toward compliance on the weaponry side. Base line: India is not only a thriving democracy, it is a vital ally in a very troubled part of the globe. Maintaining that alliance, with mutual respect and trust, is key.