Economist piece on China’s proposed sale of nuclear reactors to Pakistan, the argument being it will only intensify a nuclear rivalry.
Our problem: by winning an exemption from the Non-Proliferation Treaty for India under Bush-Cheney, we’re now not in the position to do anything about China’s supplier relationship with Pakistan.
America argued that India had a spotless non-proliferation record (it doesn’t) and that brining it into the non-proliferation “mainstream” could only bolster global anti-proliferation efforts (it didn’t). The deal incensed not just China and Pakistan but many others . . .
What particularly riles outsiders is that American did not get anything much out of India in return . . . India has since designated some of its reactors as civilian, and open to inspection, but other still churn out spent fuel richly laden with weapons-usable plutonium . . .
Pakistan suffers no such uranium shortage and is determined to match India . . .
China is trying a legalistic defence of the sale of the third and fourth reactors at Chasma. But its real point is this: if America can bend the rules for India, then China can break them for Pakistan.
Pakistan hopes that it will eventually get a deal like India’s.
I personally would describe such a scenario as just this side of crazy-town, but I wouldn’t rule it out either. Some in the Obama administration are said to favor this, to win Islamabad’s help on the Taliban. You just know how such a deal would work out: nice show from Pakistan as they continue to build nuclear devices and buy fighter jets—or pretty much what the Pakistanis have done to us since 9/11 triggered the great money flow.
Again, I choose India every single time I can in this equation—not to hedge against China but simply to do the right thing.
Or we continue to pretend we can make two fake countries (Af-Pak) become real ones, stiffing New Delhi in the process.
Obama seems to be traveling down that second path, and I think we’ll all regret it soon enough.