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

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Posts Tagged ‘Diplomacy’

Dawn’s Iran Editorial Falls (Worrisomely) Flat

Posted by K.E. White on July 5, 2010

The Dawn, a leading Pakistani newspaper, offers a troublingly subtle critic of American policy towards Iran.

The Dawn comes out against the recent-round of U.S. sanction against Iran.  Instead it asks the U.S. to accept its limited “moral basis”:

There is no doubt Tehran has pursued policies that often appear unnecessarily confrontational. But the US-led bloc has not helped matters by failing to realise the reasons behind Iran’s hard line. The truth is that, while the western powers follow Iran’s nuclear programme with a microscope, patronising Israel, the Middle East’s only nuclear power, continues to be the basic principle of their policy. This has robbed western diplomacy of a moral basis for going tough on Iran.

One question:  Just how would Dawn propose America reclaim the moral high-ground? On that mark, the editorial falls (worrisomely) flat.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Michael Krepon’s ‘Better Safe Than Sorry’ Makes The Economist

Posted by K.E. White on February 12, 2009

Picture of Michael Krepon

The Economist gives a glowing summary of Better Safe Than Sorry: The Ironies of Living with the Bomb, by Michael Krepon–“one of America’s most sensible specialists in nuclear-risk reduction”.

Michael Krepon is co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center. He also teaches politics at the University of Virginia, where I had the pleasure to be one of his students. 

From the book review:

Mr Krepon picks out five principles from the cold war that can still apply in lesser but still dangerous circumstances today: deterrence (an irrational set of theories that, ironically, grew out of attempts to think seriously about the bomb); conventional military strength; containment; diplomatic engagement; and, one useful result of all of the above, a readiness on both sides to engage in arms control. An equal achievement was the durability of the nuclear non-proliferation regime: most governments took the rational decision in seemingly irrational times that nuclear abstinence was the safest route to security.

It was the combination that counted: a lesson forgotten after the September 11th 2001 attacks, when George Bush sought America’s safety at first, not in diplomacy, containment and the judicious use of preventive strikes, but in military dominance and a disdain for diplomacy as a strategy. It was this new sort of “better safe than sorry” approach, whatever intelligence mistakes were made over Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, that led Mr Bush to launch the world’s first preventive war for non-proliferation.

America’s new president is ready to re-engage on arms control, argue for still more radical weapons cuts and make “zero” the guiding thought of his nuclear policy. But Mr Krepon, a radical but no dove, counsels caution: zero may yet prove a better guide for the journey than a destination. Disarmament, like nuclear abstinence in the first nuclear age, has to be a rational calculation, not an act of faith; impatience can be the enemy of radicalism. Much, he argues, will depend on how those five key principles are now applied to Iran, whose nuclear ambitions are the greatest challenge to stability in the second nuclear age.

Purchase the book via Amazon here, and read his recent article Does Threat Reduction Require Threat Inflation here. A Proliferation Press review is on its way.

Posted in Nuclear Deterrence, Nuclear Weapons | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Russia Update: Ailing Economy; Successful Missile Test & Delayed Nuclear Deal with Australia

Posted by proliferationpresswm on September 20, 2008

 

AFP reports that Australia may drag its feet on a nuclear fuel deal with Russia. Meanwhile, Russia keeps up its aggressive posturing: Deutsche Welle reports on Russia’s successful testing of a new ballistic missile.

By the way, the missile can hold up to ten nuclear warheads.

But how does the recent finance-melt and US-led bailout alter Russia’s geo-political outlook. With Asian, European and Russian markets benefiting from the record $700 US tax payer-backed bailout coupled with falling oil-prices, how much saber-rattling can Russia afford?

Here’s a WSJ article examining Russia’s economic troubles. From the article:

 

The market’s collapse, down 57% since May, is linked to the dysfunctional nature of the Russian state and economy. Nearly every aspect of commerce in Russia is deeply entangled with state power, if not with Mr. Putin personally. This, for obvious reasons, does not comfort most investors.

One famous investor in particular was worried about the security of doing business in Mr. Putin’s Russia. Rupert Murdoch, speaking on News Corp.’s earnings call on Aug. 5, had this to say: “The more I read about investments in Russia, the less I like the feel of it. The more successful we’d be, the more vulnerable we’d be to have it stolen from us, so there we sell now.”

The hoped-for liberalization under new Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has turned out to be another case of wishful thinking both in Russia and the West. There’s no doubt in the business community about who’s really in charge. After his cronies’ takeover attempt of steel and coal giant Mechel was rebuffed, Mr. Putin’s public outburst of criticism in late July was enough to destroy the company’s market value.

From AFP:

The west’s relations with Russia are at a turning point after its intervention in Georgia and a pact to sell Australian uranium to Moscow is in the balance, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Thursday. 

Parliament’s treaties committee earlier recommended that the deal signed with former president Vladimir Putin last year be put on hold because of concerns about Russia’s nuclear weapons programme. 

The committee said the government should first satisfy itself that the billion-dollars-a-year (800,000 US dollars) worth of the nuclear fuel would be used solely for civilian nuclear power. 

And it should give more consideration to recent events such as the conflict in Georgia, the committee’s report said.

… 

Australia, which has the world’s largest known reserves of uranium, stipulated in its pact to sell the nuclear material to Russia that it not be used to make nuclear weapons or be sold on to any other country.

And from Deutsche Welle: 

With a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles), the Bulava can be equipped with up to 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads.

The missile test-fire comes during a time when US-Russia relations have hit a post Cold War low after Moscow’s recent military intervention in Georgia. Washington harshly criticized the military move.

Posted in Russia | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Brown and Zardari Talk Terrorism

Posted by proliferationpresswm on September 19, 2008

An interesting (if two-day old) Guardian report on anti-terrorism talks between President Zardari and Prime Minister Brown:

It is thought that Zardari outlined to Brown Pakistan’s plan to combat terrorism, which included a proposal to set up a dedicated cell inside the Pakistani high commission in London to help track British Pakistanis suspected of extremism. Most of the known terror plots in the UK have had some connection to Pakistan and often involved a visit there for training.

Zardari sought Brown’s help in promoting the idea of an anti-terror conference of Pakistan, Afghanistan and its neighbours Iran, China, Russia and India, along with Britain and the US as observers.

The idea is to reach a consensus among the countries most directly affected by the extremists based in Pakistan and Afghanistan, in an attempt to claim the ownership of the anti-terror fight as an indigenous struggle. A Zardari aide said: “We want to broaden the base for this war, to stop it being seen as … George Bush’s crusade. Otherwise, it just won’t wash at home.”

Posted in Britain, Diplomacy, Pakistan | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »