Thursday, July 21, 2005

The nail in the coffin of the non-proliferation treaty?

Howard LaFranchi's analysis of Bush's plan to give India more access to nuclear technology raises serious questions about what this administration's goals are.

The proposed extension of nuclear access to [India, which the] White House likes to call "the world's largest democracy" raises questions about potential impact on other countries with nuclear ambitions and designs for international status...especially...just days before the European Union is to return to negotiations with Iran to end its nuclear-weapons programs and six-party talks are to take up again in Beijing on North Korea's nuclear program.

But perhaps the greatest significance of the plan is what it says about 21st century geopolitics and in particular about a Bush administration vision for dealing with China, some analysts say.

"The crux of this announcement is what it tells us about the US grand strategy, and that behind whatever else is going on here the US is preparing for a grand conflict with China and constructing an anti-China coalition," says Joseph Cirincione, head of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "In that scenario, India is even more valuable as a nuclear power, rather than as a nonnuclear country."

The White House plan, which would allow India broader access to international technology for its nuclear power industry in exchange for India granting some access to international inspections, still faces high hurdles: Opposition is expected to be strong both in the US Congress and among other nuclear powers who along with the US would have some say.

In the view of some specialists, the plan would certainly erode and perhaps mean the scrapping of decades of international nonproliferation effort in favor of an ad hoc, case-by-case approach that rewards certain countries while punishing others. "This is a plan that chooses good guys and bad guys, and says that what matters is power politics and not nonproliferation principles," Mr. Cirincione says. (emphasis mine) |Link|
This move shouldn't surprise me given Bush's niave tendency to see the entire world in terms of good and evil.

It is true that India is already a nuclear power and China is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world. Can't we all just see the light and start installing solar powers?

And what's going to happen to India and Pakistan's nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants and nuclear waste when the sea levels rise and much of India and Pakistan go underwater in a few decades?

(See Captain Sea Level's Links for a discussion of climate change.)

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