Perhaps President Bush had decided even before
taking office to replace the existing nuke-proliferation-prevention regime –
largely our creation – because the regime no longer automatically did our bidding.
In particular, when the Security Council discovered in the immediate aftermath
of the Gulf War that Iraq had been attempting to enrich uranium for use in nukes,
the International Atomic Energy (IAEA) Action Team on Iraq – which reported
directly to the Security Council – was asked to develop and execute a plan "for
the destruction, removal, or rendering harmless as appropriate of all nuclear-weapons-usable
material or any subsystems or components or any research, development, support,
or manufacturing facilities related to the above."
To the consternation of President Clinton – who was determined to effect "regime
change" on Iraq – IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei reported to the
Security Council in 1998 that there "were no indications that there remains
in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapons-usable
nuclear material of any practical significance."
You see, the key to preventing nuke proliferation is the international control
of the production, processing, transformation, and disposition of certain nuclear
materials. A principal function of the IAEA – established in 1957 – is
"To establish and administer safeguards designed to ensure that special
fissionable and other materials, services, equipment, facilities, and information
made available by the Agency or at its request or under its supervision or control
are not used in such a way as to further any military purpose."
When the IAEA's inspectors report noncompliance with a safeguards agreement,
the IAEA Board of Directors can then decide – by a two-thirds majority – whether
or not the "noncompliance" furthers "any military purpose" and should be reported
to the UN Security Council for possible action.
The Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1970 took advantage of
the existing IAEA verification and reporting mechanism, requiring each no-nuke
signatory to the treaty to enter into a bilateral safeguards agreement with
the IAEA "with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful
uses to nuclear weapons."
So the IAEA verifies nonproliferation by importers of special nuclear materials,
services, equipment, facilities, and information. What about exporters?
Enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Established in 1974, the 40-plus member NSG was created because the 1974 test
by India – not then, or now, an NPT signatory – of a nuclear device demonstrated
that "especially designed or prepared" nuclear technology as identified by the
NPT, transferred for peaceful purposes to non-NPT signatories, could be misused.
NSG "Guidelines for Nuclear Transfer" have long required the acceptance by
the recipient state – NPT signatory or not – of IAEA safeguards on certain imported
But, as a consequence of what the IAEA found in Iraq in the aftermath of the
Gulf War, the NSG soon promulgated new guidelines.
Since 1992, if India or Pakistan or Israel, for example, seek to acquire "special
fissionable and other materials, services, equipment, and facilities" –
such as nuclear power plants or fuel therefor – from any NSG member, NSG guidelines
require that the member require them to subject all of their nuclear
programs – not just their civilian nuclear programs – to a full-scope intrusive
IAEA safeguards agreement.
All Indian nuclear programs – civilian or otherwise!
Hence, the enforcement mechanism for preventing nuke proliferation by importers
is provided by the IAEA statute, and the enforcement mechanism for preventing
nuke proliferation by exporters is provided by the coordinated export controls
of NSG members themselves.
President Bush is proposing to emasculate the IAEA-NPT-NSG nuke-proliferation-prevention
Bush announced this week that "as a responsible state with advanced nuclear
technology, India should acquire the same benefits and advantages as other such
Translation? Even though India has refused to sign the NPT, India should nevertheless
"acquire the same benefits and advantages" that the IAEA-NPT-NSG regime
bestows on the U.S., UK, France, Russia, and China!
Since current U.S. law specifically prohibits that, Bush said he would ask
Congress to "adjust" those laws, repealing among other things the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1994 and certain provisions of the Atomic Energy
Act of 1954.
Bush also promised to work to "adjust international regimes" to enable
– among other things – the "expeditious consideration of fuel supplies
for safeguarded nuclear reactors at Tarapur."
Until this week, Bush had done everything in his power to prevent the Russians
from supplying that fuel.
Now Bush is going to supply it himself, and will not require
– as NSG guidelines do – India to subject all its nuclear programs to the IAEA-NPT-NSG
Will Pakistan be next?