Doing Well by Doing Good:
Score one for this 'Anglosphere' thing.
By Moe Lane Posted in Foreign Affairs — Comments (5) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
That wacky President Bush. He just won't stick to that unilateralist narrative:
Congress Approves Nuclear Cooperation Agreement With India
By Judy Mathewson
Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Congress passed legislation to allow the U.S. to share civilian nuclear technology with India, rejecting arguments by arms control advocates that it undermines global efforts to curb the spread of atomic weapons.
The House and Senate voted separately to allow U.S. companies to sell equipment for India's civil atomic power program. In exchange, the South Asian country is to open some of its plants to international inspections to prove that the fuel won't be diverted for weapons.
The role of juicy opposition quotee - it's a popular one; but whatever will the media do when the Democrats are the ones that have to come up with ideas? - this week is being played by David Wu (D-OR), and he's chosen Fear-Mongering (a popular choice) for his gambit:
"If or when a mushroom cloud ever erupts over an American city, it will be traced to this unwise vote,"
Guess there aren't that many Hindus in Oregon's First District. Or Rep. Wu simply doesn't care about offending them.
Rep Wu aside, the House passed this one with a wide margin - 330 to 59, with 44 not present - and the Senate rubberstamped. The President will sign the law some time next week. This deal will allow the US to foster Indian civilian nuclear development in exchange for access to their civilian plants for inspection (their military plants aren't covered by this).
Additional steps remain. The two countries must now obtain an exception for India in the rules of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an assembly of nations that export nuclear material. Indian officials must also negotiate a safeguard agreement with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Bowing to pressure from the administration and the Indian government, congressional negotiators watered down provisions in the bill that would have required Bush to certify that India has been cooperating fully on confronting Iran's nuclear program before allowing civil nuclear cooperation. The bill instead requires that the president provide Congress with an annual report detailing India's efforts on Iran.
All in all, this is a positive development. India is a nuclear power, a functioning democracy and a rapidly-developing nation; the first means that we need to treat her with respect, the second means that we can treat with her in honor and the third means that we can do rather well out for ourselves by doing the first and second. The steady improvement in relations between India and the United States has been one of this administration's largely unheralded success stories*: we're already engaged in military and technology transfers, not to mention steadily-increasing economic ties. This should hopefully allow for an even stronger alignment... which may become very important, down the line.
PS: BTW, while I rarely offer kudos for a group's decision to simply not interfere, I recognize that the Democratic Party's temptation to logroll American-Indian relations must have been a strong one. They (mostly) didn't, which was the proper decision; I thank them for that, and doubly thank those Democrats who actively assisted in improving our position with India.
*Although I suspect that historians thirty or forty years down the road will remedy this lack, all the while cursing our era's amazing preoccupation with Iraq.