Thursday, June 08, 2006

Flaws in the Non Proliferation Community's arguments

I had earlier posted

What I am saying is that the Non-Proliferation community would like you to think that "Fissile Material Cut-offs" and "Testing Bans" go together and India can be asked to do both things - this is simply not true.

At least some people seem to be keen on confronting this point.

In an article at CFR, if you ignore the nonsense injected into the document to appease the Non-Proliferation idiots like Sokolski, and Perkovich, and the South Asia nutjobs like Steve Cohen, you find the following:

" A return to nuclear testing would be much more likely to spur an Asian arms race than would a modest increase in the size of India’s nuclear arsenal."

I would have been keen to accept this as the definitive guideline for US policy in this context - however there is a major problem in the reasoning presented here. The report alleges India's testing of nuclear weapons would induce the Chinese and the Pakistanis to test and "create a new arms race"

Quoting US Non-Proliferation experts - the report states that

"American analysts believe that a small number of nuclear tests would permit Beijing to perfect warheads that would allow it to target the United States much more effectively."

If indeed the non-proliferation community's experts are to be believed - then India does not have any weapons that are capable of yeilds sufficient to threaten Pakistan or China. Per the estimates of "experts" in the Non-Proliferation community - India has consistently lied about the yeilds of its nuclear tests and can barely must a few nuclear bombs with about 10-15 Kt yeilds. The non-proliferation community's missile experts routinely tell us that India's missile forces lack the ability to target anything of value even in Pakistan.

Given that background, it seems odd that if the Indians should test a few more small fission weapons - the Chinese and the Pakistanis who share everything - should become so troubled as to test megaton yeild weapons again?

All this simply reflects the problem troubling the US - i.e the bizarre world of Non-Proliferation relies heavily on overprojecting the Chinese threat to the US and on underplaying India's security needs in order to appease Pakistan. Given this background - is it really surprising that the Indians tend to view the Non-Proliferation theologians as hirelings of China and Pakistan?

This is the flaw that kills the credibility of this report from CFR. The report is excessively geared to appease non-proliferation interests. These interest groups are excessively invested in self-preservation at the expense of the security of the US itself. It suits their purposes just fine to base flawed conclusions on even more flawed assumptions. Clearly unlike the political class in the US - the Non-Proliferation pundits are not accountable for their words?

I am well aware that given the NP community's grip over the media - it is highly possible that they could create new obstacles for the Bush adminstration, given the extent of public resentment building against George W. Bush. I also accept that something will have to be done to appease this beast called "Non-Proliferation" - if this Indo-US deal is to move ahead.

But perhaps in the interests of more enlightened debate it may be worthwhile to clear away some of the flawed assumptions.

I sense there is a persistent flaw in the NP argument (I know because I have seen George Perkovich say this time and time again) is

"Indeed, when the nuclear deal was made in March 2006, India was facing a looming uranium shortage. Had the United States withheld nuclear cooperation and had India faced a more acute need to obtain foreign uranium, it might have accepted a deal for nuclear cooperation on terms more favorable to the United States."

George makes it look like the US is doing India a favor by listening to its demands.

This is incorrect -

George Perkovich and his crowd must be made to appreciate that

1) The US has a very small window of opportunity to contain the possibility of having to live in a world dominated by Indian and Chinese carbon dioxide emissions. If the US can influence decisions in India and China on power generation - it can reduce the possibility that India and China will have to burn coal to power their economies. Contrary to whatever George may want to believe - the US needs the economies of India and China to function with minimum disruption - if the global ponzi scheme called the international trade and finance is to work. The sustainability of the "New World Order" rests on the ability of India and China to function as economically viable entities.

2) The US has a very small window in which to determine what to do with its large stocks of nuclear waste. It can either bury it underground for 7000 years or it can use it in breeder reactors to produce electricity. The decision to do either has to be taken fairly soon - once the decision is taken to bury the waste - the US will spend hundreds of billions of dollars transporting the waste to the burial site and once buried the waste will be significantly more expensive to use in any power generation solution.

Unless George Perkovich and company are made to appreicate the exact circumstances driving the US desire to have a nuclear agreement with India - it is unlikely that they will be capable of understanding the need to proceed with minimum disruption.

If George Perkovich and company cannot grasp the importance of this - I think that merely proves their collective irrelevance in the present day world.

As President Bush said, the US is "addicted to oil", but are George Perkovich and his friends- the bulk of whose salaries are paid for by "Foundations" funded with largesse from oil companies - really capable of understanding the damage this "addiction" can do the US?

I would be very surprised if the people at CFR do not understand how their public appeasement of the Non-Proliferation community is going to play in front of an Indian audience.

So given a choice between assuming that the CFR is composed of clueless idiots who don't know what they are doing or assuming that the CFR is deliberately leaking this stuff with the aim of scotching the deal on the Indian side - which would you choose?

Most people in India simply do not see that the Non-Proliferation groups live on media hype and this overprojection is part of their survival strategy. In India the Non-Proliferation groups are seen as a driving force behind US strategy - people actually believe that the US Govt. policy is bound by or atleast deeply influenced by the Non-Proliferation community's views. No one in India sees these guys for the fakes they are.

Do people in the US realize the continous public appeasement of Non-Proliferation groups makes the deal unsellable on the Indian side?

The only thing supporting this sort of BS does is that it makes the Indo-US nuclear deal seem like a bad divorce settlement meeting.


At 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis. But then doesn't the bedrock of US policy stand on the NPT?

The NPT was carefully designed with a cut off date to exclude India which was at the time most likely to conduct a nuclear test.

At 9:20 AM, Blogger maverick said...


I am no longer certain what (if any) purpose the NPT serves.

As I recall the NPT had its greatest relevance an agreement between the US and the USSR. Per this agreement the US and the USSR promised not to arm third parties with weapons of mass destruction. This was a possibility as the stocks of weapons material were quite high in both the US and USSR.

Arresting this form of proliferation was the key to stabilizing the US-USSR deterrence regime. A disasterous situation most certainly have arisen if the treaty had not been signed as the deterence equations would have rapidly increased to (what was then considered) unmanageable proportions.

The involvement of the UK and France was largely secondary as these countries barely had enough stock of weapons to enable self-protection. The possibility of them conducting any form of proliferation was low.
The Chinese were brought in by the Americans to keep the Soviets off balance, but beyond that there wasn't really any meaningful part to the NPT. At the time they were brought in - the Chinese had about as much nuclear power as the Pakistanis.

The NPT made a song-and-dance about keeping India and others out. Using the NPT the Brazilians and others were beaten into nuclear submission .
But this seemed to me to be a kind of a profitable side business.

And ultimately the treaty failed to make a dent on weapons proliferation or produce a controlled enviroment for trade in nuclear materials. The Chinese and the Pakistanis destroyed the NPT.

It is too late to have China centered proliferation control initiatives as these will not help defeat the possibility of Al Qaida getting a nuke from Pakistan.

As the risk of the Pakistanis handing a nuke to "Al Qaida" grows - the inadequacy of the NPT becomes obvious.

One just has to recognize that this "NPT" way has become strategically irrelevant.


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