Sunday, May 17, 2009

As sleazy as 123

Indian election results to help activate Indo-US nuke deal
New York, May 16 (PTI) Indian-Americans for Democrats today described as "fantastic" the results of general elections in India, saying it will help in full "activation" of the nuclear deal with the US and further strengthen bilateral ties. ...
That's too bad really. The nuclear deal, the "123 agreement.", railroaded through with maximum avoidance of debate and deliberation by the Bush Administration is an evisceration of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). That Administration pretty much gave away the store in negotiating the deal. India agreed to not spread nuclear weapons technology to other states which it wasn't about to do anyhow. In return it gets to import dual use nuclear technology and nuclear fuel for its civilian power reactors which frees up supplies for its not subject to inspections military reactors. These reactors provide fissile material for expanding India's nuclear weapons arsenal in an arms race with Pakistan. The nuclear sanctions on India were on the verge of working. The Indian economy is in desperate need of more civilian nuclear power. Without the 123 deal India would have had to starve its nuclear weapons program to meet that need. With India's forced restraint pressure could have been brought to bear on Pakistan to reduce its own stockpiles and for both countries to disarm and join the NPT as non-nuclear weapons states

The neocon dominated Bush Administration was allergic to most international law. (excluding certain international laws that are advantageous to US corporations such as the WIPO Copyright Treaty snd the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights). Whether it is the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, or the NPT, however, non-commercial international law is generally seen as a nuisance interfering with the right of the world's one remaining superpower to shape the world according to its own design. For the Bushies, undermining the NPT with the 123 Agreement was more of a plus than a minus.

The main foreign policy reason for the 123 agreement from the Bush Administration side lies in setting India up as a more powerful competitor to China for regional influence. It's all geostrategic gamesmanship. Why is it so important to counter the "threat" of rising Chinese influence? To some extent it must be residual cold war hostility to a formally communist state even though China seems focused on trade and economic growth and to have abandoned any idea it may have had of exporting revolution. That was more of a Soviet thing to begin with anyhow. Beyond that it is just on general principle, apparently. The countries of the region might be less subject to US diplomacy if they aren't divided and vulnerable to being played off against one another. India is being lured into being a US stooge, but is in denial about it and doesn't care.

It will be interesting to see how Obama plays the India-China hand passed to it by the Bush Administration.

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