Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

The New Republic Comes Out Against US-India Nuclear Deal

Posted by K.E. White on September 12, 2007

Not to shocking, given the number of critical pieces TNR has printed on the deal.

A section from TNR editorial:

So, in mid-2005, the president tried to buy India’s friendship. Skipping over less radioactive carrots (like arms sales or G-8 membership), Bush offered India nuclear fuel and technology, in effect signaling acceptance of India’s atomic arsenal. All that remained was to hammer out the terms of a “123 agreement,” named for the section of U.S. code governing nuclear sales. But it took five rounds of negotiations before the agreement was finalized, as diplomats haggled over whether the Indians would allow us to restrict how they might use our technology. Yes, the administration that doesn’t negotiate negotiated the terms of its own gift–and lost.

Now we have even less leverage with which to encourage India (and therefore Pakistan) to join the nonproliferation regime. Burns has claimed that the deal itself ties India to the regime, but the 123 agreement does no such thing. It does not, for example, require India to eschew nuclear testing. It does not forbid India from producing further fissile material for weapons (in fact, it will facilitate the production of plutonium). It does not require India to place all its nuclear facilities under international safeguards. It does not commit India to pursuing eventual nuclear disarmament. What it does is reward bad behavior.

Of course, the Bush administration has never cared much for rules. Robert Blackwill–one of the deal’s architects and now a lobbyist for the Indian government–has dismissed nonproliferation as a concern of “nagging nannies.” The implication is that he, Rice, and Burns have greater geopolitical vision, that they recognize the value of closer relations with a “natural ally” like India. But that argument is backward: It is precisely because India is a natural ally that bribes were unnecessary. Was India ever going to support Islamic terrorism? And now administration policy will have the effect of spurring nuclear development in a politically unstable country that has a horrible proliferation record and is thought to be harboring Osama bin Laden. Perhaps chess just isn’t their game.

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