Nepal Can Defend Against China Through Stronger Alliance With America

CommentaryOn March 2, Nepal took a courageous step in denouncing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. It did so by breaking with China, India, and most other Asian nations to vote for a U.N. General Assembly resolution that deplored “in the strongest terms the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine in violation of Article 2, paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter.” The vote moved Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, away from its vulnerable position of nonalignment on global affairs to taking a stand with other democracies against the growing liberality and terror imposed by the world’s worst dictators, starting with Vladimir Putin. When he took the low road, Nepal stood proudly and courageously with Ukraine and, thus, with all truly free nations. Nepal’s Strength Is Needed by the World’s Democracies and Vice Versa Nepal is home to the world’s highest mountain range, the Himalayas. It is a land where the world-famous Gurkha soldiers defend the distinctive two-pointed Nepalese flag of sun and moon, which symbolizes longevity and the country’s ancient lineages. Nepal is a land of historical kingdoms, rich in cultural diversity. It is simultaneously the birthplace of Buddha and famous Hindu personages. Modern Nepal is the admixture of these two traditions, and much more, into a relatively peaceful nation. Nepal is also landlocked between India and Tibet, the latter controlled since a bloody war of conquest in the 1950s by China. China’s modern border, what could be called its bleeding edge, is constantly pushed by Beijing ever outward due to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) historically unremitting territorial expansionism. That expansion now puts Nepal, which used to be protected from Chinese emperors by the Himalayas, under increasing threat from China’s latest “emperor” of the CCP variety: Xi Jinping. Nepal’s Vulnerabilities to China The Himalayan mountain range in Nepal’s north no longer offers protection against China’s armies, now supported by nuclear-capable long-distance bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles. These put Nepal under threat. Unlike countries like France, Germany, Japan, and South Korea, Nepal lacks strong allies. Nepal is thus vulnerable as Beijing seeks the strategic high ground against New Delhi. Nepal is that high ground. Security arrangements with India are good but insufficient, as India has trouble defending its own territory from Beijing in the Himalayas. In the 1950s and 1960s, India lost control of Aksai Chin to China, and Beijing claimed Arunachal Pradesh. Together, these two massive territories are approximately the size of Nepal itself. With the astronomical economic and military growth of China’s power since then, Beijing could at some point decide to claim what it considers to be two more Himalayan puzzle pieces: Nepal and all of Bhutan. Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari review honor guards during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on April 29, 2019. (Madoka Ikegami/Pool/Getty Images) Stronger Nepalese and Bhutanese security cooperation with the world’s most powerful democracies that also took a principled stand against Moscow would therefore be prudent, helping prepare Nepal and Bhutan for their own defense. Conversely, Ukraine’s lack of allies made the country vulnerable to military takeover. The world is attempting to help Kyiv through arms shipments, but these are mostly limited in firepower, for example, shoulder-fired anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. These are useful, but jet fighters, tanks, and allied boots on the ground are also needed to defend Ukraine’s cities and population, now being destroyed. Given Beijing and Moscow’s Political Influence, Nepal Must Look Beyond India for Its Defense Neither do the Himalayas defend against an even more present threat to Nepali democracy: the CCP’s propensity to use its economic power to attempt to compromise politicians around the world, from Washington to New Delhi and Kathmandu. Moscow also uses its military exports to influence India. Should Nepal’s capital and most powerful friends be compromised, they would do little good in the event of a Chinese invasion. New Delhi’s economic and military ties to Moscow kept it from denouncing the invasion of Ukraine. Its even greater economic ties to China could make it an unreliable ally against Beijing. Many other democracies, including the United States, are in the same Chinese boat of lucrative trade relations. But they have shown a greater willingness to oppose China and Russia’s territorial aggression far from their shores. The more active democratic allies that Nepal has, the more likely Kathmandu can assemble a coalition when needed in its own defense. China’s territorial incursions against almost all its neighbors, including around the South China Sea, East China Sea, and against India, Burma (Myanmar), and Bhutan, as well as a recent report of China building within Ne

Nepal Can Defend Against China Through Stronger Alliance With America

Commentary

On March 2, Nepal took a courageous step in denouncing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

It did so by breaking with China, India, and most other Asian nations to vote for a U.N. General Assembly resolution that deplored “in the strongest terms the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine in violation of Article 2, paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter.”

The vote moved Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, away from its vulnerable position of nonalignment on global affairs to taking a stand with other democracies against the growing liberality and terror imposed by the world’s worst dictators, starting with Vladimir Putin. When he took the low road, Nepal stood proudly and courageously with Ukraine and, thus, with all truly free nations.

Nepal’s Strength Is Needed by the World’s Democracies and Vice Versa

Nepal is home to the world’s highest mountain range, the Himalayas. It is a land where the world-famous Gurkha soldiers defend the distinctive two-pointed Nepalese flag of sun and moon, which symbolizes longevity and the country’s ancient lineages.

Nepal is a land of historical kingdoms, rich in cultural diversity. It is simultaneously the birthplace of Buddha and famous Hindu personages. Modern Nepal is the admixture of these two traditions, and much more, into a relatively peaceful nation.

Nepal is also landlocked between India and Tibet, the latter controlled since a bloody war of conquest in the 1950s by China. China’s modern border, what could be called its bleeding edge, is constantly pushed by Beijing ever outward due to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) historically unremitting territorial expansionism.

That expansion now puts Nepal, which used to be protected from Chinese emperors by the Himalayas, under increasing threat from China’s latest “emperor” of the CCP variety: Xi Jinping.

Nepal’s Vulnerabilities to China

The Himalayan mountain range in Nepal’s north no longer offers protection against China’s armies, now supported by nuclear-capable long-distance bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

These put Nepal under threat. Unlike countries like France, Germany, Japan, and South Korea, Nepal lacks strong allies. Nepal is thus vulnerable as Beijing seeks the strategic high ground against New Delhi. Nepal is that high ground.

Security arrangements with India are good but insufficient, as India has trouble defending its own territory from Beijing in the Himalayas. In the 1950s and 1960s, India lost control of Aksai Chin to China, and Beijing claimed Arunachal Pradesh. Together, these two massive territories are approximately the size of Nepal itself.

With the astronomical economic and military growth of China’s power since then, Beijing could at some point decide to claim what it considers to be two more Himalayan puzzle pieces: Nepal and all of Bhutan.

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari review honor guards during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on April 29, 2019. (Madoka Ikegami/Pool/Getty Images)

Stronger Nepalese and Bhutanese security cooperation with the world’s most powerful democracies that also took a principled stand against Moscow would therefore be prudent, helping prepare Nepal and Bhutan for their own defense.

Conversely, Ukraine’s lack of allies made the country vulnerable to military takeover. The world is attempting to help Kyiv through arms shipments, but these are mostly limited in firepower, for example, shoulder-fired anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. These are useful, but jet fighters, tanks, and allied boots on the ground are also needed to defend Ukraine’s cities and population, now being destroyed.

Given Beijing and Moscow’s Political Influence, Nepal Must Look Beyond India for Its Defense

Neither do the Himalayas defend against an even more present threat to Nepali democracy: the CCP’s propensity to use its economic power to attempt to compromise politicians around the world, from Washington to New Delhi and Kathmandu. Moscow also uses its military exports to influence India. Should Nepal’s capital and most powerful friends be compromised, they would do little good in the event of a Chinese invasion.

New Delhi’s economic and military ties to Moscow kept it from denouncing the invasion of Ukraine. Its even greater economic ties to China could make it an unreliable ally against Beijing. Many other democracies, including the United States, are in the same Chinese boat of lucrative trade relations. But they have shown a greater willingness to oppose China and Russia’s territorial aggression far from their shores. The more active democratic allies that Nepal has, the more likely Kathmandu can assemble a coalition when needed in its own defense.

China’s territorial incursions against almost all its neighbors, including around the South China Sea, East China Sea, and against India, Burma (Myanmar), and Bhutan, as well as a recent report of China building within Nepalese territory, point to the need for strong Nepalese alliances based on shared democratic values.

Nepal is a democracy and, thus, privileged in being able to expect other democracies to lend support and provide at least some protection in case of invasion. Such support to Nepal would not be domination of the cultural or political kind, though the CCP and perhaps some in India will attempt to put it in this light. Neither would it be domination to formalize expectations of democratic mutual security assistance in case of an attack.

A democratic promise of assistance would not be control of Nepal but a counter to the authoritarian threat against Kathmandu. Allied democratic counter-pressure would simultaneously decrease the threat of dictators to all other democracies. Democracies, including Nepal, are stronger when allied together.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Anders Corr has a bachelor's/master's in political science from Yale University (2001) and a doctorate in government from Harvard University (2008). He is a principal at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe, and Asia. His latest books are “The Concentration of Power: Institutionalization, Hierarchy, and Hegemony” (2021) and “Great Powers, Grand Strategies: the New Game in the South China Sea" (2018).