Standing beside Pervez Musharraf, an ally
in the war on terror, President Bush explained how he told him Pakistan would
not be getting the same aid in developing peaceful nuclear power that Bush had
just promised to India:
"I explained that Pakistan and India are different countries with different
needs and different histories. So as we proceed forward, our strategy will take
in effect those well-known differences."
Bush was bluntly saying India is a democracy we can trust not to spread
nuclear technology, but we're not sure we trust you. After all, your boy A.Q.
Khan was running a Home Depot for A-bomb technology.
Unstated message: We're not sure any nuke technology we give you, Pervez,
will not end up in an al-Qaeda madrassa. For there is no guarantee you will
be around that long, Pervez, given your enemies have tried to kill you four
times and elections are to be held in 2007.
If Musharraf feels he was asked to come through the service entrance and
given the bum's rush, who can blame him?
While even his greatest admirers do not confuse Bush with Bismarck, what
the president did on his Asia tour seems inexplicable.
In the Cold War, India aligned with Moscow and repeatedly fought a smaller
Pakistan that was our friend. In the war on terror, no ally has taken greater
risks than Musharraf. While both India and Pakistan refused to sign the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty, India was first to break faith with a West that gave
it nuclear technology and the first to test nuclear weapons.
Why, then, did Bush agree to transfer U.S. nuclear technology only to India?
In so doing, he insulted an ally and blew a hole right through the NPT regime
on which we stand to make our demands on Iran and North Korea.
Apparently, at an all-night session on the last night in India, the U.S.
negotiators capitulated to all of India's demands, lest Bush leave New Delhi
with nothing to show for a trip halfway around the world but an agreement to
What did Bush give – and get?
India will be given the same access as Japan to U.S. technology and nuclear
fuel, which will enable India to divert its fuel to weapons.
India agreed to let the International Atomic Energy Agency inspect 14 of
its 22 nuclear facilities, while eight, military in nature, are off-limits.
This is a like a college president agreeing to let cops search the dorm for
a stash of marijuana – as long as they stay off the sixth, seventh, and eighth
Would the United States permit Iran, which signed the NPT and has allowed
IAEA inspections of all known nuclear facilities, to agree to a deal like this?
No way. We don't trust them – but we trust a democratic India that already
has the fruits of its past deceit, a nuclear arsenal.
Unilaterally, Bush has decided that democracies who refuse to sign the
NPT and secretly build, test, and maintain nuclear weapons will be exempt from
the laws. Nations we do not entirely trust, like Pakistan, get no help. Nations
we detest, like Iran, face sanctions and preventive wars.
While Pakistan was sent to the back of the bus, this was a triumph for
India. Bush got nothing but press clippings for his presidential scrapbook.
What happens now?
Israel, which has also refused to sign the NPT and has 200 to 300 nuclear
weapons, will demand the same nuclear technology that India got. On what grounds
can Bush deny Israel?
And while Bush may grant exemptions from U.S. law and the NPT regime for
countries he views as friendly and democratic, China is likely to provide similar
aid to its friends, democratic or not, and step into the breach Bush opened
Iran will use the U.S. concessions to India to show U.S. hypocrisy. For
unlike New Delhi, Tehran signed the NPT, agreed to open up its nuclear facilities,
and never tested a bomb. On this one, Democratic Rep. Ed Markey is right: "America
cannot preach nuclear temperance from a barstool."
That Bush decided to end decades of estrangement between America and India,
and make her a friend and partner, letting Cold War bygones be bygones, is commendable.
But why did we have to pay a price for India's friendship? Economically, India
sells twice as much to us as she buys, and outsourcing benefits her workers,
As for India being a counterweight to China, we don't have to pay for that.
With Muslims to the east and west, Chinese to the north, and Maoists in Nepal,
India needs us more than we need India.
Nor is New Delhi so foolish as to allow herself to be dragooned into some
NATO-like U.S. alliance to encircle or contain China. She has good lines to
nations not exactly our friends: Iran, Syria, and Cuba.
In New Delhi, Bush traded a horse for a rabbit, and some of us are wondering
as to the whereabouts of the rabbit.
COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.