If Santa has been keeping a list, Secretary of
State Condi Rice will be lucky to find even a lump of coal in her Christmas
Where on the list to begin?
On the Korean peninsula, where the South Korean National Security Council rebuffed
Washington's contingency plan for taking military action against North Korea
in the event Bush deemed it necessary because of "serious internal turmoil"?
Or at the Seventh Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation
Of Nuclear Weapons in April, wherein she refused
to allow the findings of the Sixth RevCon to even be discussed, much less affirmed?
And unsuccessfully attempted to get deleted all that language in the NPT that
requires us to disarm and prohibits our nuking Iran?
Or with her unsuccessful
attempt to unseat Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic
Or with her unsuccessful attempts on three occasions to get the IAEA Board
of Governors to refer Iran to the UN Security Council for insisting on their
"inalienable" right – guaranteed under the NPT and under their IAEA
Safeguards Agreement – to produce their own fuel for their own nuclear power
Then there were her unsuccessful attempts to get "free" elections
in Iran, Iraq,
Bolivia and elsewhere
to come out the way Bush-Cheney wanted.
The list of her pyrrhic victories and humiliating [for us] defeats goes on and on.
But it is her Indian foray that may well have the most serious long-term consequences
Condi had whizzed
down to New Delhi to prevent India's finalizing technical and commercial
contracts for a $4.5 billion Iran-Pakistan-India natural-gas pipeline that will
provide Iranian natural gas mostly to India.
In return, Condi held out the possibility that the we would (a) lift sanctions
imposed by Congress [as a result of the nuclear weapons tests India conducted
in 1998] on India and on US companies doing business with India, (b) supply
India with the nuclear power plants that we had prevented Russia from supplying
[and the fuel for them that we had prevented the Russians from supplying], and
(c) get the Nuclear Suppliers Group to completely disregard guidelines on restrictions
to be applied to NSG exports to India.
When details of what Condi had demanded of – and promised to – India leaked
out, it very nearly brought down the Indian government. And may yet.
You see, President Bush had previously made a number of proposals which he
said would strengthen the existing nuke proliferation-prevention regime.
He proposed expanding his Proliferation Security Initiative to interdict –
on ground, sea or in the air – whatever he unilaterally deemed to be "illicit"
transfers by "proliferation networks." He had urged the adoption of a Security
Council resolution criminalizing whatever he deemed to be illicit international
Bush specifically urged
the NSG to close what he alleged to be a loophole in the NPT by arbitrarily
restricting export of uranium-enrichment and spent-fuel reprocessing technology
by NSG members to only those states already possessing them.
Established in 1975, the NSG is comprised of 44 nuclear-supplier states [including
China, Russia, and the United States] that have voluntarily agreed to
coordinate their export controls governing transfers of civilian nuclear material
and nuclear-related equipment and technology to non-nuclear-weapon states.
NSG members are expected – but not, of course, required – to forgo nuclear
trade with governments that do not agree to subject themselves to the International
Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards regime.
To be eligible for importing certain items from an NSG member, states
– irrespective of whether they are NPT signatories or not – must have in place
a comprehensive IAEA Safeguards Agreement covering all their nuclear
activities and facilities.
Because India was not – and is not – an NPT-signatory, President Clinton had
put great pressure on Russia to not construct the first two nuclear power
plants at Koodankulam unless India subjected all its nuclear programs – peaceful
and otherwise – to IAEA Safeguards. Russia [and India] successfully argued that
the original contract was signed in 1988, before the new and more stringent
NSG guidelines came into force in 1992.
Well, thanks to Condi-baby, Russia and India won’t have to make that argument,
again, when it comes to constructing the remaining Russian nuclear power plants
in India or providing fuel for them.
And what about the Iran-Pakistan-India multi-billion dollar natural gas pipeline?
According to the Indians, construction will likely begin next year. Last week
Russia's Gazprom, the world's largest producer of natural gas, told the Indians
that it is ready "to share the construction risks."