Frying Pan to Fire, Oil to Nuclear

--> Bushspreadhands No matter that three out of five past presidents are unable to properly pronounce nuclear, they keep making nuclear noise, nuclear threats and (with the current president) seem hell bent upon their own unique brand of nuclear proliferation. The irony is without end; nuclear Pakistan is OK, but a nuclear ambition on the part of Iran is beyond the pale. A nuclear powered North Korea is a precursor to war, but nuclear powered India is just good sense and good business.  
Kamdarmira The bomb is inseparable in the minds of Americans from the energy technology. Or perhaps not. Or, who knows? Or, it’s all just too complicated.
 
Mira Kamdar, of the Asia Society, writes in today’s Washington Post that we are “Risking Armageddon for Cold, Hard Cash.”

 

While
everyone has been abuzz about Georgia, the Beijing Olympics and Sarah Palin,
perhaps the most important development in the world has been unfolding with
almost no attention. India and the United States, along with deep-pocketed
corporations, have been steadily pushing along a lucrative and dangerous new
nuclear pact, the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement. Both governments have
been working at a fever pitch to get the pact approved by the 45-country
Nuclear Suppliers Group, which governs the world's trade in nuclear materials,
and before Congress for a final vote before it adjourns this month.

 

Cheneykurd
India, huh? The last time I was abuzz, it wasn’t about Georgia, Beijing or Palin. I
personally abuzzed wondering if Dick would bomb Iran on his way home from
Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

 

As almost any neocon can tell you, Iran is a
terrorist state. Actually, Iran fashions itself a sort of religious democracy,
but the point is hotly debated even within Iran. It is however, a nation of 70
million, with the youngest and most pro-American population in the Muslim
world. Meanwhile;

 

Indian
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says the deal will let his country, which refuses
to sign either the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive
Test Ban Treaty, take "its rightful place among the comity of
nations."

 

Bushsingh
Singh has an interesting take on comity (an atmosphere
of harmony, mutual civility and respect). Sign
the treaties, Manmohan
.

 

The
historic deal will allow U.S. nuclear companies to again do business in India,
something that has been barred since 1974, when New Delhi tested its first
atomic bomb. (India tested nuclear bombs again in 1998, spurring Pakistan to
follow suit with its own tests days later.) The pact will also lift
restrictions on other countries' sales of nuclear technology and fuel to India,
while asking virtually nothing from India in return. All of that will undermine
the very international system that India so ardently seeks to join.

 

Khanabdulpakistan
If I have it right, that would be the system that
has thus far kept no one from surprising the world with those little unexpected
explosions that preface an announcement of parity. No one was turned away who
could access Dr. Abdul (Strangelove) Kahn in Pakistan and pay the price. We
winked at that one because we needed Pakistan and temporary need redefines
dictators on a depressingly regular basis over at the State Department.

 

But Bush is in a fury to set off strategic
imbalances in Asia before January 20th, so that the neocons can profit both
politically and economically from another arms race. The administration is
frantic to come in on the India side against China (while there still is an
India side). Mira concurs;

 

The
deal risks triggering a new arms race in Asia: If it passes, a miffed and
unstable Pakistan will seek nuclear parity with India, and China will fume at a
transparent U.S. ploy to balance Beijing's rise by building up India as a
counterweight next door. The pact will gut global efforts to contain the spread
of nuclear materials and encourage other countries to flout the NPT that India
is now being rewarded for failing to sign. The U.S.-India deal will divert
billions of dollars away from India's real development needs in sustainable
agriculture, education, health care, housing, sanitation and roads. It will
also distract India from developing clean energy sources, such as wind and
solar power, and from reducing emissions from its many coal plants. Instead,
the pact will focus the nation's efforts on an energy source that will, under
the rosiest of projections, contribute a mere 8 percent of India's total energy
needs -- and won't even do that until 2030.

 

Nuclearpowerplant
We have, in our ultimate burst of creative reason,
elected to begin replacing the planets reliance on oil as a power source. It’s
getting just too damned expensive and politically sensitive now that Texas has
run dry. The prevailing administration view is that, rather than developing
cheap and effective alternatives to fossil fuel, the dangerous, expensive and
more politically sensitive resurgence of nuclear power is the answer.

 

Nuclear fuel, rather than being merely expensive and
dwindling, is fatal to mine, dangerous as hell to ship, horrendously expensive
to store and impossible to get rid of, once used. What a breakthrough
technology. Instead of tapping the earth’s molten core, developing wind or
solar power, we seek to proliferate the planets most life-threatening method of
boiling water.

 

Kurt Vonnegut was right—our big brain is trying
(with great success) to kill us.

 

So
what will the deal accomplish? It will generate billions of dollars in
lucrative contracts for the corporate members of the U.S.-India Business
Council and the Confederation of Indian Industry. The Bush administration hopes
that it will help resuscitate the moribund U.S. nuclear power industry and
expand the use of this "non-polluting" source of energy, one of the
pillars of the Bush team's energy policy. The deal will let the real leaders of
the global nuclear-power business -- France and Russia, both of which eagerly
support the deal -- reap huge profits in India. And the pact will provide
spectacularly profitable opportunities to India's leading corporations, which
are slavering to get their hands on a share of the booty. How much booty? This
newspaper estimates more than $100 billion in business over the next 20 years,
as well as perhaps tens of thousands of jobs in India and the United States.

 

Bush’s solution is so ‘non polluting’ that we have yet to find a state or a mountain
within a state, willing to serve as a repository for spent fuel in America. It
is so ‘non polluting’ that we expect
to offload it to the poorest countries on earth.

 

In
any case, the nuclear deal will not magically transform India into China's
economic or military equal. A shocking 42 percent of Indians live below the
World Bank's new poverty threshold of $1.25 per day. Even if India managed to
match China reactor for reactor and missile for missile -- a long shot at best
-- Delhi could do so only at the expense of precisely the investments in human
and physical infrastructure that could make India into a truly great power, prosperous
and secure. This is the real tragedy of the U.S.-India nuclear deal. It's not
too late to stop it.

 

So,

 

    • the politics are flawed,

 

    • the science is opposed,

 

    • the next Cold War is a likely result,

 

    • India will remain a beggar state,

 

    • China
      is disturbed

 

  • and Russia (who we claim to be mad at over Georgia) will profit.

 

All in favor, signify by saying ‘aye.’

 

The ‘ayes’ will have it, unless the clock runs out.

 

HOLD THE PRESSES!!! This just in from the NYTimes;

 

The
worldwide body that regulates the sale of nuclear fuel and technology approved
a landmark deal on Saturday to allow India to engage in nuclear trade for the
first time in three decades, after a pressure campaign by the Bush
administration and despite concerns about setting off an arms race in Asia.

 

Approved, apparently, while I was busy parsing a
paragraph. Timing is everything.

 

Only
one hurdle now remains for the deal: final approval by the United States
Congress. But passage is likely to be difficult, considering both political
opposition and dwindling time in the Congressional calendar before November’s
elections.

 

And therein lies the hope. Congress will absolutely
not touch
this hot-potato until a new Congress convenes.

 

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Media comment:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 thought on “Frying Pan to Fire, Oil to Nuclear

  1. The USA, Russia, UK, France and China are all allowed to buy nuclear fuel from the international market despite their weapons programs. Why should India be subjected to a lower standard? India deserves the same rights as these countries, especially when China is pointing nuclear weapons at India from the other side of a disputed border. Why does the NPT give China a free pass for having nuclear weapons and pointing them at India, but the same NPT points a finger at India for pointing its nuclear weapons right back at China for deterrence? Why is China more legitimate than India? China has proliferated nuclear weapons to Pakistan and to North Korea. Pakistan has in turn proliferated nuclear weapons to Iran. But India has proliferated nuclear weapons to nobody. Why doesn't the NPT hold China accountable for its nuclear weapons proliferation? Article 1 of the NPT states that no country possessing nuclear weapons shall help a country without them to acquire them. But China has done these very things! Meanwhile India, which is not even a signatory to the NPT or its obligations, has met those same requirements from outside the treaty, by never proliferated anything. India has fulfilled the obligations of an NPT nuclear weapons state without even being a member of the treaty or recieving the privileges of such a state. This treaty has rewarded wrongdoers like China, while punishing innocent countries like India to make nice guys finish last. That's why there needs to be a waiver.

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