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Friday, July 28, 2006

Congress Approves Nukes for Mangoes Deal

(Keywords and tags: , , , , is like any leader - he thinks the answer to any problem is to put more bullets in the gun)

The Indian nuke deal moves forward, from the BBC:

The US House of Representatives has approved an agreement to share civilian nuclear technology with India.

The legislation must now be approved by the US Senate before being signed into law by President George W Bush.

The deal offers US nuclear technology to energy-hungry India in exchange for access to Indian civilian reactors.

Critics say the deal will hurt efforts to control nuclear arms, as the Indian government refuses to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

An earlier BBC report in March told us:

Speaking at a news conference after the talks, President Bush said: "It's a necessary agreement. It's one that will help both our peoples.

"Congress has got to understand that it's in our economic interests that India have a civilian nuclear power industry to help take the pressure off the global demand for energy."


And he said "the US is looking forward to eating Indian mangoes", under an agreement to expand trade in farm products.

Nukes for mangoes? Not quite. Under the agreement, India will classify 14 of its 22 nuclear facilities as civilian. This leaves them open to inspection - with 8 closed to inspectors. Unless you want to call indian mangoes 'necessary', then there's something else going on here.

One might be strengthening the nuclear hand of the world's largest democracy in the face of N. Korea's growing nuclear program. But does India need the help on that front? Probably not. India's been nuclear since 1994 - that's a real head start. The DPRK probably wouldn't be able to close the gap anytime soon. India, although not a wealthy nation, has one hell of a lot more funding and resources than N. Korea. In a PDRK/Indian arms race, India wins - with or without US help.

But India is in a cold war with Pakistan over the disputed territory of Kashmir. While both countries are currently our allies, there's no reason to believe that this will be true forever. Pakistan is ruled by the dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf and is traditionally an islamic state. But Musharraf isn't going to live forever - especially not if hardline islamic extremists have their way.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, "The latest attempts [on Musharraf's life]--on December 14 and 25 [2003]--appear to be the work of the radical Islamic group Jaish-e-Muhammad (Army of Muhammad), according to Pakistani investigators. This group advocates Pakistani control over the disputed territory of Kashmir, which is split between Pakistan and India. Jaish-e-Muhammad is believed to have ties to al Qaeda and is alleged to have received support in the past from Pakistan's security services. Information contained in a mobile phone chip believed to belong to one of the bombers and found at the site of the second attack has led to the detention of some 40 Islamic militants. But experts say there is no shortage of other groups that might want to kill Musharraf."

According to Husain Haqqani, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the best hope for putting down islamic tendencies in Pakistan are democratic reforms. "Democratic consensus on limiting or reversing Islamization would gradually roll back the Islamist influence in Pakistani public life," he writes, "The Islamists would maintain their role as a minority pressure group representing a particular point of view, but they would stop wielding their current disproportionate influence over the country’s overall direction."

But democratic reforms without diplomatic pressure aren't freakin' likely. "The United States, for its own interests, cannot afford the current rise in Islamic militancy in a large Muslim country that has nuclear weapons capabilities, a large standing army, and a huge intelligence service capable of conducting covert operations to destabilize neighboring governments in the Persian Gulf, South Asia, and Central Asia," Haqqani tells us. In fact, pakistani islamic groups have a strong ties to Afghanistan's taliban. Imagine the taliban with nukes and you've got a good idea what Bush might be worried about.

Of course, the smartest thing to do would probably be to broker a peace between Pakistan and India, resolve the Kashmir question somehow, pressure Musharraf to institute democratic reforms, and get both sides to scrap their nuclear ambitions.

But that's not the easiest thing to do. The easiest thing to do is to throw more nukes in the mix. So that's what bush and congress will do.


1 comment:

BenMerc said...

In an age where the global community should be de-proliferating arms, we have irresponsible leadership spreading and encouraging nuclear deterrent as an option. Possibly some ten or twenty years down the road, after the proliferation saturates third world regions and doomsday once again is staring us all in the eyes, we will wonder how we have gotten to this place.

Of course there will always be those that have stated and will continue to state that we need to play this elaborate global chess game, to insure we have "moderate" third world states in our court in the future. We have applied this theory around the globe for years, helping certain groups always seems to backfire. Even Israel does not take orders from the U.S., (as everyone knows we have created their military with our dollars, technology and resources) could be the other way around at this point, but that is another topic.

My point is that in the past when we have helped proliferate armaments and encouraged militarism with other nations, the results tend to be negative for us and them. The only people making out are the military industrial groups who profit from all the mass production and sales of their death machines.

I think this kind of policy should be ferreted out and discontinued. Currently it appears many of the people that initiate these strategies are most certainly mentally ill or harbor some sort of extremist religiosity, frankly one and the same in my book. And of course there are those that are just down right greedy to the point of being evil. This planet can not afford the poor quality leadership that has plagued it’s governments for generations, but it is evident the masses of people are just not up to the level of responsibility that is required to run strident, healthy democracies. We are much to busy fumbling with all this materialism and it’s gadgetry.