Regardless of whether the Chinese eventually get a foothold in the Azores, the message going out to the Americans is clear: You mess in my backyard, we’ll mess in yours.
Compare that with the weak-kneed power projections that India has displayed so far.
Here’s what Arundhati Ghose, one of India’s finest diplomats, and the lady who bluntly told the United States what it could do with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996, once told me:
"I don't think we have a sense that we are a more powerful country today, I don't see that. Because I don't think we yet understand power. I don't think we understand power at all. Economically, today we have more power, relatively, compared to what we had 10 or 20 years ago. But we do not understand it. We do not how to use it, we don't know how to project it, we are uncomfortable with it. We are more comfortable with the powerless. If you have power, you have to be able to use it, to leverage it. Be very clear about what it is you want. Whether you are dealing with Bangladesh or with Sri Lanka. How is it that Sri Lanka, which is so closely intertwined with us because of the Tamils, it's just across the straits, and we sit here and let the Norwegians handle it?"
Image: Indian disarmament negotiator Arundhati Ghose (C) shown in photo dated 10 September 1996 watching with other delegates to the United Nations as votes on a global nuclear test-ban treaty are collected at UN headquarters.