July 28, 2007

Yes, it's a double standard! Good.

IHT: Three years after President George W. Bush urged global rules to stop additional nations from making nuclear fuel, the White House will announce on Friday that it is carving out an exception for India, in a last-ditch effort to seal a civilian nuclear deal between the countries.

The scheduled announcement, described Thursday by senior American officials, follows more than a year of negotiations intended to keep an unusual arrangement between the countries from being defeated in New Delhi.

Until the overall deal was approved by Congress last year, the United States was prohibited by U.S. law from selling civilian nuclear technology to India because it has refused to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The legislation passed by Congress allows the United States to sell both commercial nuclear technology and fuel to India, but would require a cutoff in nuclear assistance if India again tests a nuclear weapon. India's Parliament balked at the deal, with many politicians there complaining that the requirements infringed on India's sovereignty.

Under the arrangement that is to be announced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Bush has agreed to go beyond the terms of the deal that Congress approved, promising to help India build a nuclear fuel repository and find alternative sources of nuclear fuel in the event of an American cutoff, skirting some of the provisions of the law.

In February 2004, Bush, in a major speech outlining new nuclear policies to prevent proliferation, declared that "enrichment and reprocessing are not necessary for nations seeking to harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes." He won the cooperation of allies for a temporary suspension of new facilities to make fuel, but allies that include Canada and Australia have also expressed interest in uranium enrichment.

The problem is a delicate one for the administration, because this month American officials are working at the United Nations Security Council to win approval of harsher economic sanctions against Iran for trying to enrich uranium. India is already a nuclear weapons state and has refused to sign the treaty; Iran, a signer of the treaty, does not yet have nuclear weapons....

The world is changing. France and Germany are the past, India is the future. We need India, she needs us, and George W Bush is nurturing the relationship. Transition periods are painful for the old and brittle (which is, psychologically and spiritually, almost all Democrats and Europeans) but the History Train has already pulled out of the station.

Posted by John Weidner at July 28, 2007 8:07 AM
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