Proliferation Press

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

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Posts Tagged ‘Nonproliferation’

Blog-On-Blog: What Jeremy Kahn Misses On the US-India Nuclear Deal

Posted by K.E. White on June 29, 2010

Jeremy Kahn, a former managing editor for TNR, offers a snappy piece (cautiously) defending the U.S. India nuclear.  The article boiled down:  don’t blame India for the regime falling apart; rather, blame the regime itself (and the Bush administration).

But his logic-chain derails a few times.

First, he concedes the Bush administration “gutted” the NPT regime.

While a critic of the deal myself, this claim strikes me as glaringly swallow—for either gleeful supporters or staunch defenders of the NPT to parrot.  India (and Pakistan, Israel, North Korea) have to be brought into the nuclear system.  And none of these countries will give up their weapons, or get a reform to the NPT that would gain them entry.

Ad hoc deals are the only solution.

But was an NSG exception the best way to go?  Clearly not:  logically, it demanded response a response from US rivals—a la the China-Pakistan nuclear deal.

But the biggest weakness remains its failure to promote non-proliferation within the terms of the US-India deal.  The US could–and should–have negotiated more stringent nuclear disclosure and inspection requirements.  By blatantly tying the N-deal to a sloppily thought out strategic aim (countering Chinese influence), the US caused more problems—and alienated key allies.

And India—at least in the near term—lost a chance to become a true leader on nonproliferation and disarmament.

The US-India nuclear deal did not, and has not, made the NPT irrelevant.  And the US-India nuclear deal hasn’t made it easier for Iran to get the bomb.

Iran, like most countries, will get the bomb it if decides to do so.  What the nuclear deal did was to lower the diplomatic pain it would feel.

But the real problem remains the P-5 members treating proliferation concerns secondary to other strategic interests.  Hence the real flaw with the NPT.

Kahn is right to defend India from being lumped in with other proliferators.  But, in doing so, he misses out on the costs of such an approach when it comes to nonproliferation.

In so doing, Kahn fails to imagine a world where India’s neighbors have nukes on hair-trigger alert.  Then how has either India or global non-proliferation been strengthened?

So who is to blame?  Nonproliferation remains a collective nuclear responsibility.

And, even with its flaws, the NPT has worked to prevent a nuclear attack for over 50 years.

Posted in Blog-on-Blog | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

N-Deal for Pakistan? C. Christine Fair’s Editorial in Foreign Policy Magazine

Posted by K.E. White on March 23, 2010

Update 3/24/10:  Fair’s Foreign Policy editorial post-dates a similar editorial she wrote for the Wall Street Journal last month (subscription only).

C. Christine Fair suggests the United States take preliminary steps towards a nuclear deal with Pakistan.

The reward for such a policy?  Breaking the Pakistani regime’s ties to extremist organizations.

Could such a plan work?  Perhaps.  But there are many pitfalls.  Would opening Pakistan to the nuclear market-place really strengthen America’s bargaining power?  Or would we get short-term gain, and then watch in later years as Pakistan deals with other members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group?  And what cost would America pay in its relationship with India or its efforts to strengthen non-proliferation norms if it even hinted at a U.S.-Pakistan nuclear deal?

In any case, any Obamaland discussion of this proposal seems unlikely for now.  With the State Department struggling to seal a new START treaty with Russia; Obama preparing for an international nuclear security summit latter this spring; and a once-every-five-years NPT review conference convening this summer, Obama’s nonproliferation agenda would–at best—be distracted with talk of another country-specific U.S. nuclear deal.

But Fair draws our attention to a critical and (perhaps) emerging U.S. foreign policy debate.  And any debate that links American security interests, Pakistan’s internal stability and global nonproliferation norms will expose thorny but unavoidable policy dilemmas.

Fair, a professor at Georgetown University, offers full-text links to a rich body of previously published works.  I particularly recommend Determinants of Popular Support for Iran’s Nuclear Program, India and the US:  Embracing a New Paradigm and Indo-Iranian Ties:  Thicker Than Oil.

From Fair’s article at ForeignPolicy.com:

Pakistan maintains that its dangerous policies are motivated by fears of India. A phased U.S. approach will either diminish this deep-seated insecurity or call Pakistan’s bluff about the rationale for its behavior, motivating the United States to rethink its handling of Pakistan. Either outcome would be an enormous improvement over the stagnant status quo.

Washington must transform its relations with Islamabad (and Rawalpindi, where Pakistan’s military is headquartered) with the same energy and creativity as it did with New Delhi because Washington needs both South Asian states as much as they need Washington. Such a conditions-based deal will take years to come to fruition even if dubious U.S entities and inveterate U.S. foes in Pakistan don’t stand in the way. Putting it on the table now would only be a first step in a strategic gamble that may or may not pay off down the road.

And from another article Fair wrote for Washington Monthly in April 2009:

The Need for Sober Realism

The United States needs to chart a different relationship with Pakistan, relying on different instruments of influence. It needs to lessen its dependence on Pakistan so it can be bolder in applying negative as well as positive inducements to shape Pakistani behavior. It needs to develop a suite of assistance that strengthens Pakistan’s governance capacity and the country’s ability to wage counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations effectively. And it needs to support Pakistani civil society as it debates the kind of country it wants to become and seeks to hold its government to account for its crimes of commission and omission. In the end, despite continued U.S. and international support and assistance along these lines, Pakistan may remain unwilling or unable to relinquish support for militant groups within its territory or in the region. In this case, the United States must be willing to consider Pakistan an ill-suited recipient of U.S. generosity and be willing to deploy punitive measures if need be. Indeed, a credible U.S. threat to apply these sticks may encourage the state to undertake needed steps to secure its own security and that of its neighborhood in the first instance.

Although this may seem untenable at first blush, the alternatives are even worse. If the international community cannot save Pakistan, and if it cannot save itself, then the United States and its partners will have to reorient their efforts toward containing or mitigating the various threats that emanate from Pakistan. This will be a daunting task. The enormity of such efforts should motivate Washington to adopt a realistic policy approach that mobilizes all aspects of U.S. national power to secure a Pakistan at peace with itself and its neighbors.

Posted in Nuclear Deal | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Susan Burk Returns As U.S. Representative to the High Stakes 2010 NPT Review Conference

Posted by K.E. White on April 23, 2009

Update: Susan Burk’s confirmation is still held up after Sen. DeMint’s May 5th ‘hold’ on her nomination.

Summary: Obama has made it clear he sees the “sound” Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as critical to stemming nuclear weapons proliferation. So what will Obama’s bold nuclear moves-warming up to Russia on a new START treaty, calling for eventual nuclear weapons abolition, and bringing focus back to the NPT-yield? It’s too soon to tell. But the nomination Susan Burk as Special Representative reflects the high aims Obama has for the 2010 meeting. Below is a review of Burk’s testimony to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and discussion of NPT 2010 meeting’s significance to Obamaland foreign policy.

Two key-if little noted-nominees for diplomatic roles in the Obama White House testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday.  Ivo Daalder has been tapped for U.S. Representative on the NATO Council, and Sarah Burk has been nominated for U.S. Representative to the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.

President Obama’s recently announced commitment[i] to revitalizing the NPT to stem nuclear proliferation brings Burk’s likely role special significance.

Burk, if confirmed, will play a major role in the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Held every five years, these meetings bring together the 188 treaty members to discuss nonproliferation and disarmament issues. With Iran inching closer towards nuclear weapons capability and North Korea reneging on its pledge to disarm, this meeting may be the last chance to exert multinational pressure on these rogue states.

NPT meetings have had a erratic track record. In 1995, with Susan Burk heading up Clinton’s delegation, the NPT treaty was renewed permanently. But the 2000 conference was marked more by what was avoided (fears of collapse in the wake of 1998 nuclear tests of Pakistan and India), and 2005’s has been considered “a near total fiasco.”[ii]

Iran, as a member of the NPT, holds a unique test for the treaty regime. While Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea have developed nuclear weapons since the treaty’s ratification, none were members of the NPT (North Korea left the organization before developing its limited nuclear weapons capability). Iran crossing the nuclear line would represent the treaty’s largest failure-and call into question its grand bargain of nonproliferation in return for peaceful nuclear technology sharing and eventual nuclear weapons disarmament.

Susan Burk’s opening statement offers a concise review of the Obama administration nonproliferation policy aims and the challenges it faces as it heads into the 2010 NPT Review Conference. The administration has an ambitious agenda, calling for:

continue reading article

Posted in NPT | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Proliferation Press News Round-Up

Posted by K.E. White on April 10, 2009

Gates Plan: Zakaria’s “bold” and revolutionary vs. Kori Schake’s “conservative” and backwards-looking critique

Speaking of going backwards, pirates are back with a vengeance-and it’s not funny anymore. One French hostage is dead, while American forces still gather around lifeboat holding Capt. Richard Phillips. But neo-conservatives critics of Obama seem to be playing politics and fudging history. (America has paid off pirates before; and should America really go into Somalia again right now?)

Fear the Russian bear! But I thought it was changing colors? (And will Moldova freeze improving US-Russian relations?)

Think Obama’s goal of a nuclear-free world is ridiculous? Well you better get ready to rumble with Sen. John McCain.

And Michael Reiss pulls for North Korean “malign neglect.”

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

Two Nonproliferation Press Notes: Syria Gets IAEA-OK for Nuclear Plant; S. Korea and Brazil Kick Off Nonproliferation Events

Posted by K.E. White on November 28, 2008

Interesting update from Syria, courtesy of the LATimes:

The International Atomic Energy Agency approved a contested Syrian bid for assistance in planning a nuclear power plant Wednesday after being assured that the effort would be closely monitored.     

The United States, Canada and Australia had led Western efforts to freeze the project while allegations of covert activity that could lead to nuclear weapons were investigated. But the U.S. and its allies finally joined a consensus in favor of the aid since they could not have won a vote, diplomats in the closed meeting said.

Syria’s request for the power plant aid, something rubber-stamped for many nations, degenerated into a political tug of war after an agency report suggested Damascus might have tried to build a nuclear reactor in secret…
And I want my tickets to Jeju Island and São Paulo, as any seriously aspiring non-proliferation should–at least this week.
From Brazzil Maganize’s coverage of two United Nations Conferences aiming to focus world-wide attention on WMD proliferation:

São Paulo, BrazilIn the Brazilian city of São Paulo, UN’s Office for Disarmament Affairs has organized a week-long workshop on implementing Security Council resolution 1540. That resolution, adopted by the Council in 2004, focuses on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The workshop aims to enhance national capacities for the management of export control processes at a practical level as well as to improve information and experience-sharing between national expert control and enforcement authorities.

Meanwhile the seventh annual Joint Conference on Disarmament and Non-proliferation issues, organized by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs and South Korea, is taking place on Jeju Island.

This year’s conference will focus on such concerns as revitalizing the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) process, the nuclear renaissance, a multilateral assurance mechanism for nuclear fuel supply, and non-proliferation challenges in North-East Asia.

Jeju IslandSome 40 representatives of governments, international organizations, academic and research institutions, as well as civil society are expected to participate.

The annual event, which has been hosted by South Korea since 2002, is a forum for dialogue and the exchange of views on pressing security and disarmament-related issues facing the international community, addressing particular disarmament and non-proliferation concerns in the Asia-Pacific region.

Acknowledging that obstacles to nuclear disarmament are daunting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last month that it is more imperative than ever to make it a reality given the twin economic and financial crises the world is currently facing.


Posted in IAEA, Nonproliferation, Nuclear, proliferation, Syria, United Nations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Senate Approves US-India Deal: Two Wrap-Ups of the New Nuclear Nonproliferation Wrinkle

Posted by proliferationpresswm on October 4, 2008

Time Magazine teases out the practical and symbolic effects of the nuclear deal to India. Yes, they get can now receive more sensitive technologies—but the real impact is breaking the India-Pakistan ‘hyphen’.

But—as Mother Jones notes—will the deal risk a break-down of global non-proliferation efforts? And Asia-One News tacks the deal’s winners and losers.

But one thing is clear: US President George W. Bush just profoundly shifted the international system, and with little fanfare or even notice from Americans. (Though a teetering economy, riveting presidential campaign and two on-going wars would push almost any other story before the fold)

 

Source Material

From Time.Com:

But one thing India does not doubt is that the 123 Agreement will transform the way the country is viewed in the eyes of world. According to strategic affairs analyst Manoj Joshi, without access to international nuclear trade, India “could boast of our bomb, our BPO prowess, economic growth, invites to the G-8 meetings and candidacy for the UN Security Council seat. But we were firmly at a different level from, say, China. They could import powerful computers, uranium, sensitive machine tools, software and components for satellites that were denied to us.” Today, that changed, as did the international community’s policy of equating India and Pakistan as nuclear weapons states. As Indian and U.S. officials have repeatedly pointed out, the deal has “de-hyphenated” India from Pakistan. “For decades India has chafed at the world’s tendency to lock India into a bipolar South Asian framework with Pakistan,” says Joshi. “Now, decisively, the rules have been changed for India, and pointedly not for Pakistan.” The deal also has a bearing on the regional balance of power, making clear the U.S.’s proclivity to India and sending a signal to Beijing that it has other options in the Asian region.

On a slower news day, the deal might have gotten more fanfare. But in Washington, immediately after voting, the Senate went back to deliberating the financial bailout package. The Bush administration had achieved one of its most important foreign affairs successes, but there was more pressing business to be sorted out at home. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected in India later this week to ink the agreement with Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. In India, news channels interspersed images from the deal being passed with footage of Oct. 2 bomb blasts in the northeastern state of Tripura. Neither of the governments that led these historic efforts will benefit from it today. But for both, the deal will be a significant and unprecedented legacy.

From Mother Jones

The consequences of the U.S.-India nuclear deal will show themselves slowly, and perhaps in part for that reason, not much has been made of it in the press or in Congress. Immediately after casting their votes last night, Senators returned to debating the financial industry bailout package, the India deal just another piece of business checked off the list. For a measure so important to the future of the spread of nuclear weapons, said Dorgan, “never has something of such moment and such significance and so much importance been debated in such a short period of time and given such short shrift.” 

Posted in Bush administration, India, Nuclear, WMD | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

US Treasury Department Designates Iran’s National Shipping Line ‘Proliferator’

Posted by proliferationpresswm on September 16, 2008

The Wall Street Journal reports on the recent US Treasury decision to label Iran’s national shipping industry a ‘proliferator’. The move further tightens the screws on Iran, which while a large supplier of crude oil is dependent on other nation’s refiners to turn that oil into usable products—like gasoline. 

It’s an interesting episode of how international trading laws governing maritime commerce intersect with nuclear proliferation and raw realpolitik. 

The move isn’t all that unprecedented for the Bush administration: in 2005, several firms from China, India and Austria faced US Treasury sanctions for providing Iran with missile and chemical-arms related products. But this is the first time a nation’s shipping industry has faced such action: illustrating the Treasury Department’s evolving role in non-proliferation issues.

Read Iran’s response to the news here.

From WSJ

The U.S. Treasury Department accused Iran’s national maritime carrier of helping the country’s nuclear and missile programs, a formal move designed to pressure Iran amid stalled talks over its nuclear work.

The Treasury, in designating the carrier as a “proliferator,” said the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and 18 of its affiliated entities were secretly “providing logistical services” to Iran’s military, falsifying shipping documents and using deceptive terms to describe shipments in order to hide their activities from foreign maritime officials.

The designation, which typically is designed to stop companies on the list from doing business in the U.S., further blocks the carrier’s ability to move money through U.S. banks as well as blocking it from carrying food and medical supplies not included in Washington’s longstanding trade sanctions against Iran.

… 

This is the first time Treasury has designated a shipping company as a proliferator, the department said.

The company says it has a fleet of 91 ships, most of them bulk carriers designed to transport dry cargo such as grain, coal and iron ore. Oil shipments from Iran, one of the world’s biggest exporters, aren’t likely to be affected. The company says it has just two tankers, and they are used to transport vegetable oil and similar products.

The move could complicate Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines’s dealings with other countries. Its ships call frequently at nearby Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates, according to the Iranian carrier’s Web site. The company also says it makes regular trips to big ports in Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.K., Germany and France.

Posted in Bush administration, Iran, Nuclear, WMD | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »