10
Oct
07

Derailing A Deal

Derailing A Deal
By Noam Chomsky
Khaleej Times, 08/10/07

NUCLEAR-armed states are criminal states. They have a legal obligation, confirmed by the World Court, to live up to Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which calls on them to carry out good-faith negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely. None of the nuclear states has lived up to it.

The United States is a leading violator, especially the Bush administration, which even has stated that it isn’t subject to Article 6.

On July 27, Washington entered into an agreement with India that guts the central part of the NPT, though there remains substantial opposition in both countries. India, like Israel and Pakistan (but unlike Iran), is not an NPT signatory, and has developed nuclear weapons outside the treaty. With this new agreement, the Bush administration effectively endorses and facilitates this outlaw behaviour. The agreement violates US law, and bypasses the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the 45 nations that have established strict rules to lessen the danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, observes that the agreement doesn’t bar further Indian nuclear testing and, “incredibly, … commits Washington to help New Delhi secure fuel supplies from other countries even if India resumes testing.” It also permits India to “free up its limited domestic supplies for bomb production.” All these steps are in direct violation of international nonproliferation agreements.

The Indo-US agreement is likely to prompt others to break the rules as well. Pakistan is reported to be building a plutonium production reactor for nuclear weapons, apparently beginning a more advanced phase of weapons design. Israel, the regional nuclear superpower, has been lobbying Congress for privileges similar to India’s, and has approached the Nuclear Suppliers Group with requests for exemption from its rules. Now France, Russia and Australia have moved to pursue nuclear deals with India, as China has with Pakistan — hardly a surprise, once the global superpower has opened the door.

The Indo-US deal mixes military and commercial motives. Nuclear weapons specialist Gary Milhollin noted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s testimony to Congress that the agreement was “crafted with the private sector firmly in mind,” particularly aircraft and reactors and, Milhollin stresses, military aircraft. By undermining the barriers against nuclear war, he adds, the agreement not only increases regional tensions but also “may hasten the day when a nuclear explosion destroys an American city.” Washington’s message is that “export controls are less important to the United States than money” — that is, profits for US corporations — whatever the potential threat. Kimball points out that the United States is granting India “terms of nuclear trade more favourable than those for states that have assumed all the obligations and responsibilities” of the NPT. In most of the world, few can fail to see the cynicism. Washington rewards allies and clients that ignore the NPT rules entirely, while threatening war against Iran, which is not known to have violated the NPT, despite extreme provocation: The United States has occupied two of Iran’s neighbours and openly sought to overthrow the Iranian regime since it broke free of US control in 1979.

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