Proliferation Press

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

Archive for the ‘Council on Foreign Relations’ Category

Tuesday Afternoon Tea: Updates from the Web

Posted by K.E. White on September 18, 2007

  • The Council on Foreign Relations offers Jayshree Bajoria’s excellent Pakistan update—loaded with excellent/informative links. (Proliferation Press won’t mention that he uses a lot of links already highlighted here.)



Posted in Council on Foreign Relations, France, IAEA, Nicolas Sarkozy, Pierre Goldschmidt, Stimson Center | Leave a Comment »

The India Nuclear Deal: On Life Support or Creeping Steadily Towards Success?

Posted by K.E. White on August 5, 2007

The Bush administration backed US-India Nuclear deal has been a diplomatic rollercoaster. On March 6th, 2006 President Bush announced the US India nuclear deal and pushed Congress to pass the legislation last summer, to only see the deal stalled owing to Indian objections. Now in the twilight of his presidency, the President is pushing for its approval.

But can a now unpopular, lame duck President seal this controversial deal?

Congress passed last summer a bundle of legislative changes allowing America cooperate with India on nuclear issues. While the changes do not amount to an official recognition of India’s non-NPT sanctioned nuclear weapons program, it gives it de facto recognition.

Bush has now unveiled a slightly reworked deal with India, forcing Congress to reconsider the matter—but with one critical change: Democrats now control Congress.

Advocates of the deal point to its realism—it deals with India’s status as a nuclear power—and hope it will foster a strong partnership between two strong democracies.

But critics view the plan as rewarding India for bad behavior, thereby encouraging other countries to develop nuclear weapons. Critics also point to an apparent double-standard: America is encouraging India’s reprocessing facilities while demanding Iran—who claims to be merely developing its civilian nuclear power—stop all nuclear repossessing.

So what’s next for this proposal? Under Secretary of State R. Nicolas Burns lays out the future hurdles succinctly in this recent interview with the CFR:

Two things have to happen before it goes back for a final vote in Congress. First, India has to conclude a safeguards agreement with the IAEA, which I expect will happen in the next thirty to thirty-five days. Secondly, the Indians will need to convince the nuclear suppliers group—this is the group of forty-five nuclear energy powers in the world—that it should give the same kind of international treatment in terms of civil nuclear trade to India that the United States would have just given bilaterally. Once those two steps are taken, then perhaps by November or December we’ll be ready to formally send this agreement to Capitol Hill for a final vote. We hope that vote will mirror the Hyde Act vote which was, of course, an overwhelming vote in favor of India and the United States by Congress.

In India the BJP opposition party has come out against the new deal. While not able to stop Indian approval, the BJP resistance could sap public support for the deal. The Hindustan Times reports on the party’s objections:

The inspections that India would be subject to and the conditions imposed on it under the agreement would be equivalent to those applicable to non-nuclear weapons nations, both he and Shourie stated. For these reasons, the BJP had consistently opposed the deal and former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had expressed his reservations on the issue even in 2005 with regard to its impact on India’s strategic nuclear programme, they added.

Expressing BJP’s objections to the provisions of the agreement, they said since each party was required to implement the agreement in accordance with its national laws and regulations, there was no doubt that India would be governed by the provisions of the Hyde Act of 2006 and the US Atomic Energy Act, 1954.

Sinha found US commitment on fuel supplies “vague and futuristic”. Besides, as the US would, under the provisions of the deal, retain the right of end-use verification of all its supplies, it would ensure that American inspectors would roam around all Indian nuclear installations, he felt.

And the NGS negotiations may hit a Beijing road block. Ravni gives a good backdrop the coming negotiations, painting China as the critical player:

India has already received broad support from Russia, Britain and France. India’s cooperation and growing engagement with Brazil and South Africa under the IBSA framework has also lead these countries to support India’s use of civilian nuclear technology. Australia [Note: Australia previously opposed to deal], too, seems to have veered around to supporting India’s right to civilian nuclear technology. In the past the NSG has always worked on a consensus and Indian interlocutors will hope to achieve this consensus in their favour. Here the position taken by China will be of great importance to India.

DNA views China as opposing the deal:

China has emerged as a source of concern as India begins the next stage of negotiations for implementation of the nuclear deal. According to a senior official who spoke on condition of anonymity, the government is disturbed by reports of a quiet Chinese effort to block India’s bid for an unconditional waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for participation in international nuclear trade.

All this seems to only lead to the same murky conclusion: The fate of the US-India nuclear deal, clouded in doubt for over a year, is still uncertain.

Posted in Bush administration, Council on Foreign Relations, India, Nicolas Burns, NPT, NSG, Nuclear Deal, U.S. India Nuclear Deal | Leave a Comment »

‘Containment 2.0’: Edwards Addresses the Council on Foreign Relations

Posted by K.E. White on May 23, 2007

Hailing a new foreign policy “based on hope, not fear” presidential candidate John Edwards merged a call for global justice with global security. His speech to the Council on Foreign Relations covered a host of issues: Russia, the rising states of India and China, America’s bureaucratic deficiencies, the folly of missile defense, and new strategies on educating and supporting the world’s poorest members. But at heart, Edwards sketched a strategy of containing the threat of international terrorism through a renewed moral and internationalist foreign policy.

John EdwardsBut Iraq, while addressed often in the speech’s opening, was noticeably absent latter on. Why? Because an Edwards presidency would see U.S. troops leave Iraq. Yet Edwards crept in an admission to his well-known pull-out insistence: his call for U.S. troops within the Green Zone and a Gulf force of unspecified size.

The speech showcased a populist rift on liberal internationalism. What differed this speech from the usual liberal accord for returning to traditional alliances and multilateralism, were three aspects: 1) specific plans to educate and feed the world’s poor through a cabinet-level department, 2) elevating genocide-prevention to the same status as self-defense, and 3) an articulate discussion on how to refocus America’s defense strategy from a war to containment footing.

Hope and boldness were theme hit often by Edwards. Edwards did not promise an eternally safe America, rarely using the word ‘safety.’ Instead he demanded “substance not slogans, leadership not labels.”

But this did not stop Edwards from pledging to feed the world’s hungry and “educate every child in the world.”

Edwards laid out many specific proposals, including the creation of a rapid-action force to stabilize fragile states, a $5 billion increase in foreign aid, and synchronizing the national defense strategies of the State, Defense and Energy Departments. Edwards also called for giving room to non-Pentagon—which he sees as “on steroids”—in matters of national security.

Building up and defending fragile states again and again became the main theme of the speech. Edwards spoke of a fence-sitting generation: a clear allusion to the battling raging between moderate and radical Muslim forces. “It’s America’s job to attract them to our side like a magnet,” Edwards stated without a using only the “hammer” of military power.

But this did not stop Edwards from elevating the need for counter-proliferation efforts, especially in regards to Iran and North Korea. In fact, Edwards placed nonproliferation before fighting terrorism when it came to the uses of American military power.

And instead of discussing how to hunt down terrorists, Edwards spoke more on how restore America’s legitimacy and respect: demanding the closure of Guantanamo, more engagement in NATO and the United Nations, and restoring habeas corpus/banning torture towards foreign terrorists.

Throughout the speech Edwards slammed the Bush administration on every aspect of security. Edwards views Iraq as an insistence of “misuse and misdirect[ing] the extraordinary power America has.” Edwards criticized the administration’s conception of civilian rule over the military, pledging to keep “tactical” aspects of military operations in the hands of professional military staff. Edwards noted Bush’s support for missile defense, in particular, as a prime example of waste on unworkable policies.

While Edwards bemoaned the Iraq monopoly on discussion of America’s foreign policy, one wonders how the many policies Edwards hope to pursue can overcome a possibly disastrous American pullout.

What succeeded after WWII can succeed again, Edwards stated. Again and again Edwards returned General George Marshall and the tremendous impact of the Marshall plan in ending the Cold War. It was this economic assistance, in tandem with America’s alliances and—far less described—military capability that permitted America to win the Cold War.

Edwards argued that the “power of example” should be used to “spread the dream of freedom across the globe.”

Whether or not this speech covered all the bases, one wonders if the power of example will solve a possible Iraq conflagration after a U.S. withdrawal—or for that matter a flawed escalation. (Granted, this flaw is shared by every presidential contender.) But by publicly presenting his view of a post-Bush U.S. foreign policy, Edwards has given the American public–and his opponents–a series of policies to contemplate, debate and respond to.

Posted in Council on Foreign Relations, John Edwards, May 23 speech, Nuclear, proliferation, Terrorism, United States, WMD | Leave a Comment »