Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Potter and Dhanapala: The perils of non-proliferation amnesia

William C. Potter of the Monterey Institute’s Center for Nonproliferation Studies and Jayantha Dhanapala recently put out a well-placed op-ed in the influential Indian daily, The Hindu, arguing, “The India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal, if endorsed by the NSG and the U.S. Congress, will virtually ensure the demise of global nuclear export restraints.”

Potter and Dhanapala begin:

Indo-U.S. nuclear cooperation means different things to different people — a reversal of decades of U.S. non-proliferation policy, a promising new market for U.S. nuclear commerce, violation of the fundamental principles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and the prospect of a strategic partnership among vibrant democracies.

One thing it definitely does not mean is strengthened export controls. Despite efforts by the White House to portray the deal as a plus for combating the spread of nuclear weapons, the terms of the latest round of U.S.-Indian nuclear negotiations confirm the opposite conclusion. Repeatedly outfoxed by their Indian counterparts and hindered by the political unwillingness of a lame-duck administration to walk away from the negotiations, U.S. diplomats have achieved an embarrassing accord. If endorsed by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the U.S. Congress, it will virtually ensure the demise of global nuclear export restraints.

Click here to the complete op-ed.

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