Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Nunn's opposition to the US-India nuclear deal

I have recently read Sam Nunn's suggestion that fissile material cut off conditions be imposed by Congress on the US-India deal. This is after Nicholas Burns has already informed Congress that this will break the deal.

Nunn is the driving force behing NTI and the Nunn-Lugar act, which aims to curtail proliferation of fissile material from FSU stocks. NTI and its Nunn-Lugar act associates sit on an enormous pot of money from private and US govt. sources that is funnelled into FSU state to help "retrench" nuclear weapons related facilities and personnel.

Old fashioned people like me who speak french instead of gibberish might be tempted rephrase the above paragraph as - NTI and other Nunn-Lugar act channels are providing "economic incentives" for people on the Russian blackmarket to play along with US proliferation control ideas.

In the old days when the NP regime held, the Indians payed through their nose for everything. The Russians like the good old friends they were - sold India a few things, but overpriced the material citing non-proliferation hassles that would have to be faced down. If India comes off the restricted items list - the overpricing has to go away and the market will automatically become more competitive. Russian blackmarketeers that are addicted to overpricing the stuff going to India are going to suffer as India will no longer be a captive market. I can't imagine that they are going to be happy.

All of which probably goes some distance in explaining Sam Nunn's disappointment. Some Russian blackmarketeers are now going to turn to Sam Nunn and say .. "What is your government doing...? You told us that your government was against the sale of these things and now they are changing their mind... ? We are losing profits we made by selling things you allowed to India and now you want to drive us out of the market with open competition from your companies? - and you'd better make up the difference... otherwise who knows what we might sell on the market... you are losing credibility with us, the US is losing credibility in Russia."

Sam is in a difficult spot. So are all his buddies at the Sam Nunn School at Gatech... the real architects of the NPT.


At 1:28 PM, Blogger cynical nerd said...

maverick: The Russian middlemen link w.r.t. to the nuclear deal. is interesting. I have'nt thought about it before. It is also interesting to note that the Scorpene deal (knowing its importance for IN) has ran into problem with accusation of kickbacks. This is not the first time when a Western arms deal has run into trouble. Time to throw some of the fatcats out of posh Delhi hotels.


At 10:37 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Cynical Nerd,

I feel there is a very big difference between Sam Nunn talking and someone else like Albright, Sokolski, or Einhorn talking.

Albright seems to be desperate to keep India as far away from trade in Uranium centrifuge technology. The black market here is dominated by Pakistani, German and Dutch suppliers. An honest cop would ask that the Germans, Pakistanis and Dutch people caught trade in illicit parts should be punished very severely and the countries penalized heavily. But Albright doesn't advocate anything of the sort. The only thing Albright's suggestions appear to effectively reinforce is the monopoly of German, Pakistani and Dutch interests on the centrifuge related blackmarket. Perhaps Albright is convinced that this is the only way to keep the blackmarket in centrifuge parts controlled, but after the discovery of entire U-235 bomb designs in Libya, I am beginning to wonder if such ideas (with regards to controlling the black market) make any sense.

Today due to the crash of the Shuttle and the problems with the (Boeing) Delta launches.
Boeing's current competitors - Lockeed Atlas and a few small players, are keen to divide up the market. However given the size of the Atlas and other platforms of the market, costs are high. So there is lots of room for a small launcher like the PSLV. However once the PSLV becomes a major player in the space launch market, Delta's current competitors will be in trouble. They will not be able to exploit their virtual monopoly on the market as effectively. It comes as no surprise to me that Henry Sokolski and company speak with such passion about the PSLV being a "first strike" weapon.

I don't know what drives Einhorn's desire to publicly lie about Chinese assurances on fissile material cut-offs but I suspect a simliar conflict-economy model lies just beneath the surface there too.

Sam Nunn doesn't fit into such a mould. Sam Nunn is simply a more serious and decent man (unlike the rest of these crooks) who works on a real problem i.e. keeping the Russian blackmarket under close surveillance and ensuring that nothing untowards happens.

I bet Sam Nunn's approach in dealing with the Russian blackmarket has yeilded far greater success in controlling the outflow of danger materials than either Sokolski's MTCR crusades, or Albright "get-out-of-jail-free"-card" distributions to Pakistanis.

Sam Nunn's work in the failed states like the FSU republics could easily be applied to the Pakistani context. If Sam lends India's concerns about A Q Khan a kindly ear, then I can't imagine why anyone in India would turn a man of Sam Nunn's stature down.

At 3:33 PM, Blogger cynical nerd said...

maverick: I have to accept that I really don't know the position of Sam Nunn. Your point about his work on FSU states being applicable to Pakistan is well taken. But many American strategist refuse to buy it. This is especially true of the Atlanticist briagade whose policies are Eurocentric and aims to cut down Russia. cf. the various color-coded revolitions sponsored by Soros et al. In this grand game, they see Pakistan as a bulwark against Russian influence in CAR. I don't know if Nunn belong to this camp.

Einhorn's insistence on FMCT which was quoted by Tom Friedman was strongly contested by several Indian commentators like KS. The NP Ayatollahs convinently ignore to respond to specific points raised against their rants.

btw, I have some links on some German media articles on the Dutch, German links with AQ Khan link. Perhaps, you already know extensively about it - but I did find some new information. It is time to go on the offensive on NPAs turning a blind eye towards this proliferation.


At 7:50 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Cynical Nerd,

The NPT performs two functions:

1) It ensures that "have-not" states remain technology deficient. I.e. people like India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan etc... need to kept out and

2) it ensures that member states keep their rivalries to manageable portions. Whatever Americans think of Russia (and vice versa), both have an interest in keeping their discord civil.

I suspect that Sam Nunn is closely tied to the second part of the treaty functions.

People like Albright, Einhorn and Sokolski may be tied to the first part of the treaty.

The way I see it, we in India only have a problem with second class treatment. We have no problems with keeping things civil.

I agree with you that Sam Nunn may be under the influence of eurocentric views of Russia but if that is the case, then it should be possible to engage Sam Nunn in a debate that points out the inadequacy of such views in today's world.


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