Proliferation Press

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

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Posts Tagged ‘Nuclear Deal’

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 »

China-Pakistan Nuclear Deal

Posted by K.E. White on June 6, 2010

Fall-out from the U.S.-India nuclear deal?  Foreign Policy offers this article by Mark Hibbs.

Posted in China, Nuclear Deal, Pakistan | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Iran’s Nuclear Deal Skips Over the West, Russia and China

Posted by K.E. White on May 17, 2010

Today brings news of a “surprise nuclear deal” between Iran, Turkey and Brazil.  (Watch MSNBC’s solid coverage from Tehran here.)  Under the admittedly hazy details, Iran has agreed to ship its enriched uranium to Turkey.  Note the absence of Western powers, Russia and China from the talks.

The Western response?  Well, Wesley Clark—interviewed on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown—welcomed other countries doing some diplomatic heavy-lifting, but cautioned viewers that few details of the deal are currently known.

In any case, the coming days will undoubtedly shed light on the inner workings of these (potentially momentous) tripartite talks.

Coincidently, Stephen Walt offers this blog on Turkey’s diplomatic evolution—and gives some advice to U.S. policy makers.

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

Pakistan and the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review

Posted by K.E. White on April 8, 2010

Two pieces in today’s Dawn reveal the Pakistani viewpoint on Obama’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and their own ambiguous nuclear status—a nation possessing nuclear weapons, but still unrecognized as such by the international community.

While most US coverage has focused on the impact of the NPR on America’s nuclear arsenal and security, these two articles illustrate the NPR’s impact within foreign nations.

In short, both articles paint the picture of a nuclear armed nation that remains stuck between the categories of nuclear rogue and “recognized and respected nuclear power”.

Dawn reviews the recently released NPR, pointing out its silence on Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.  From the article (appropriately titled ‘US nuclear policy makes exceptions for Pakistan’):

The new US policy is also critical of “additional countries” who desire to acquire nuclear weapons, “especially those at odds with the United States, its allies and partners, and the broader international community”.

This condition creates room for Pakistan as a country which is not only allied to the US and its partners but also is playing a key role in their efforts to defeat terrorism.

The document, however, makes no such exception for Iran and North Korea, and points out that in pursuit of their nuclear ambitions, the two countries have “violated non-proliferation obligations, defied directives of the United Nations Security Council, pursued missile delivery capabilities, and resisted international efforts to resolve through diplomatic means the crises they have created”.

And a Dawn editorial pushes for Pakistan to remain a prudent nuclear power, dangling the prospect of an eventual US-Pakistan nuclear deal.

But the possibility of a deal being reached even at some relatively distant point in the future will also remain a non-starter if Pakistan, terrorism/militancy and proliferation are always put in the same basket. Pakistanis should never be complacent about the country’s nuclear programme but neither do they deserve to be forever condemned for past mistakes and by exaggerated suspicions. The road to becoming a recognised and respected nuclear power is still a long way off, but at least the journey should be allowed to commence.

The message is clear:  Continuing to partner with the United States—whatever its difficulties—provides Pakistan a pathway towards acceptance from and prestige within the international community.

Posted in Pakistan | 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 »

Proliferation Press Round-Up: Cheney and Obama Butt Heads Over Torture and GITMO; PONI Gives START its Due; Obama Signs US-UAE Nuclear Deal; China Modernizes Its Nuclear Arsenal

Posted by K.E. White on May 22, 2009

P. Press verdict: With these considerable monitoring stipulations attached, DeThomas’ practicality wins out. While it would be preferable to grant American nuclear technology assistance by a generalizable formula applicable to all nations and keep all dangerous nuclear technology out of the Middle East, these are unrealistic policy positions.  With the NPT conference approaching and Iran’s continued nuclear defiance, strong inducements exist for America to showcase its commitment to assisting the peaceful spread of nuclear technology—especially to nations in the Middle East.

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

Blog-On-Blog– The Ties that Bind, And the Ties That Don’t: US-India Nuclear Deal

Posted by K.E. White on December 2, 2008

Nima Maleki argues that the nuclear deal between the United States and India “explicitly binds India into several foreign relations policies demanded of it by the US in exchange for cooperation on limited access civilian nuclear technology and fuel.

That would make the US-India nuclear deal quite the twilight accomplishment for the Bush administration. Unfortunately, such a superficial reading on the deal misses both the letter of the agreement and it’s practical impact.

First, let’s inspect the agreement itself. While Maleki is correct in noting that American presidents now have the right to suspend the nuclear cooperation if India is found to be proliferating weapons technology, performing nuclear tests or using this cooperation to enlarge their arsenal, such restrictions have proven toothless in the past.

continue reading article

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Pakistan Makes Its Own Nuclear Move

Posted by K.E. White on September 19, 2008

Business Standard reports on the liklihood of Pakistan–in clear reaction to the US-India nuclear deal–pushing for a nuclear deal with China. 

In its bid to offset the impact of Indo-US nuclear deal, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will take up the acquisition of nuclear fuel technology from China during his forthcoming visit.

The Pakistan government has decided to set up two nuclear power plants worth Rs 139 billion to overcome the country’s energy crisis, official sources were quoted as saying by the Aaj Kal Urdu daily.

Zardari, who is expected to visit China in the near future, will discuss the acquisition of fuel technology for the two new plants with the Chinese leadership, the sources said.

While one may consider India a prime candidate for nuclear commerce, many of its attributes–steady regime, peaceful political turnovers, even accepting terrorism probelms–Pakistan’s regimes have not shown themselves durable. While jockeying between weak deomcratic regimes and strong-man dictatorships, expanding Pakistan’s nuclear arsneal and power facilities comes with additional headaches: abrupt regime change and the real and potent presence of radical Islamic terror-groups.

Time will shown if Pakistan’s newly elected President and re-charged (if unity-less) Paraliament can foster the stability, liberalism and security so lacking in Pakistan’s recent past. And–addressing worse-case scenarios–the Pakastani military has shown strong and responsible control over Pakistan’s nuclear hardware. But Pakistan’s four-pronged pressures–economic woes, Kashmir, periodic political upheaval and the worrisome presence & support of Islamic terrorism–keep international concern over this country at a high level.

Posted in China, Diplomacy, India, Nuclear, Pakistan, U.S. India Nuclear Deal, WMD | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Michael Krepon On US-India Nuclear Deal: The “clear legislative intent of the Congress has been subverted”

Posted by proliferationpresswm on September 18, 2008

A solid interview with Michael Krepon, Co-founder, The Henry L. Stimson Center for the Council on Foreign Relations.

Two sections to highlight:

  • The government of India has been very clear in saying that the suspension of fuel supplies at its power plants would be grounds for removing Indian facilities from the IAEA safeguards agreement. What this means is, quite simply, that in the event of a resumption of Indian testing, French and Russian suppliers of fuel will argue very strenuously that fuel supplies should continue because otherwise safeguards will be removed—and there will be no consensus in the NSG. So the clear legislative intent of the Congress has been subverted by the Bush administration’s dealings with both the IAEA and the NSG.
  • Another interesting question is whether or not the government of Israel will seek exemptions from the typical rules of nuclear commerce, not necessarily for power plants, but perhaps for desalinization plants, that’s another possibility. I think the ramifications of an Israeli attempt to get exemptions from nuclear controls are worth considering. 

The interview succinctly shows the flaws with the nuclear pact, while fleshing out its the political and commercial consequences.

Posted in Diplomacy, Michael Krepon, Nuclear, U.S. India Nuclear Deal, WMD | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Interesting–if Slanted–Look at the NSG Deliberations over the US-India Nuclear Deal

Posted by proliferationpresswm on September 16, 2008

An interesting—if bombastic—pro-Indian article into the deliberations of the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) the US-India nuclear deal. 

Chief points: China mucked up passage by insisting Pakistan also receive a nuclear waiver. Also, the article highlights an interesting wrinkle of the US-India nuclear deal: Indian energy independence from Iran. 

The article also expresses the visceral Indian support for the nuclear deal; a sharp constrast from the American public’s ignorance and indifference towards the soon-to-be approved agreement. 

From Hari Sud’s article in the UPI Asia Online:

NSG works by consensus, which agrees to opinions reached by the group as a whole. Even one holdout with idealism in mind can put a spanner in the works. This is what a group lead by Austria, including New Zealand, Ireland, Netherlands and Norway did to India’s recent application for waiver. They held out for two consecutive NSG meetings and five rounds of negotiations. Idealism was the motive behind their moves. Under pressure from India and the U.S., they finally withdrew all objections and consented to the waiver of the U.S. prepared revised draft.

China played a negative role. They unenthusiastically supported the waiver, knowing fully well that the U.S. was hundred percent behind the move. They walked out of the meeting once in support of Austria, Ireland and New Zealand. In a bid to scuttle the deal, they demanded an airtight commitment from India to ban testing of any nuclear bombs, although they would not give any such commitment from their side. In addition they made a fresh case for Pakistan to be awarded the same special waiver, given to India. They knew that Pakistan is a nuclear proliferator, yet pleaded their case to endorse the Pakistani government’s support of their strategic plans in Asia. This last minute treachery from China, who earlier supported India, will never be forgotten.

If the NSG had not given the waiver, India still has adequate resources to power its growing economy with local coal and natural gas from Iran. However, this would have quadrupled India’s greenhouse gases emission from the current 1.1 billion tons a year to about 4 billion tons in 20 years and its impact on earth’s fragile environment would have been catastrophic. Nuclear energy will, however, cut India’s emissions by half.

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