Sunday, June 03, 2007

The NSG and games therein.

This is how I see it.

The NSG and others like it are a technology control cartel. The IAEA is a forum for airing views or exchanging on how the cartel should function most efficiently. The functioning of the cartel is dictated by the rules of economics and by the flow of information via the IAEA.

Can the NSG be used to scuttle the deal? yes but only to the extent that the IAEA can be used to provide information that enhances the NSG's ability to control technologies critical to the trade. If the IAEA's information points to the possibility of monetary gains from a relaxation of NSG restrictions, then the NSG will find it hard to obstruct anything.

The NPT and its flagbearers are nothing more than a bunch of psy warriors whose job is to sugar coat the cartels naked lust of control. That is all.

The State Department is obsessed with the idea of leverage through norms. This works best as long as the norms can be imposed without any real effort or cost. If there is a cost associated with imposing the norms, then one has to balance it with the percieved gains. Remember the cost is real and immediate, an out of pocket expense, the gain can be virtual. The more virtual the gain, the less alluring will be the cost of imposing a norm.

China can make trouble, so what else is new? Do they really want to hand over more missiles and bombs to Pakistan? Given how unstable the situation there is, can this be a good idea? If the Chinese go and give Pakistan nuclear weapons with the sole aim of punishing India, will the Pakistanis feel keen to restrain the terrorists in Xinjiang? what incentive will they have to do that? clearly China needs Pakistan more than they need China?

Okay what about Iran? China wants oil from Iran. I suppose you can pay the Iranians with nuclear technology, but... Will the Pakistanis feel happy if the Chinese transfer something to the Iranians directly? something that might cause Pakistan to face another nuclear armed adversary on its western border? I mean you do realise that Pakistan bills itself as the great transit economy? Then there is the other question of why pay the Iranians with nuclear technology when what the Iranians really want is more petroleum refining technology? Which is more profitable? Nuclear technology to Iran or petroleum refineries?

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