A Dangerous Deal With India
By Jimmy Carter, Wednesday, March 29, 2006; Washington Post
Jimmy Carter has lost none of his interest in saving humanity from itself. He is a role model for all, especially for those half his age. [Our comments]
During the past five years the United States has abandoned many of the nuclear arms control agreements negotiated since the administration of Dwight Eisenhower. This change in policies has sent uncertain signals to other countries, including North Korea and Iran, and may encourage technologically capable nations to choose the nuclear option. The proposed nuclear deal with India is just one more step in opening a Pandora's box of nuclear proliferation.
[Mixed signals for sure. However, we emphasize the context of today differs considerably from that of Eisenhower's day, and Carter recognizes that. Kennedy may have had the last good chance to redirect nuclear history, but then only if Khrushchev and others all went along. History will show Truman was a great president in presiding over the reconstruction of Europe and democratization of Japan. But only Truman of presidents in "recent" memory had a decent and realistic chance of capping the nuclear genie in her bottle. That he did not is consistent with the practice of American democracy of the time.]
The only substantive commitment among nuclear-weapon states and others is the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), accepted by the five original nuclear powers and 182 other nations. Its key objective is "to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology . . . and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament." At the five-year U.N. review conference in 2005, only Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan were not participating -- three with proven arsenals.
Our government has abandoned the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and spent more than $80 billion on a doubtful effort to intercept and destroy incoming intercontinental missiles, with annual costs of about $9 billion. We have also foregone compliance with the previously binding limitation on testing nuclear weapons and developing new ones, with announced plans for earth-penetrating "bunker busters," some secret new "small" bombs, and a move toward deployment of destructive weapons in space. Another long-standing policy has been publicly reversed by our threatening first use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states. These decisions have aroused negative responses from NPT signatories, including China, Russia and even our nuclear allies, whose competitive alternative is to upgrade their own capabilities without regard to arms control agreements...
It must be remembered that there are no detectable efforts being made to seek confirmed reductions of almost 30,000 nuclear weapons worldwide, of which the United States possesses about 12,000, Russia 16,000, China 400, France 350, Israel 200, Britain 185, India and Pakistan 40 each -- and North Korea has sufficient enriched nuclear fuel for a half-dozen. A global holocaust is just as possible now, through mistakes or misjudgments, as it was during the depths of the Cold War... .
...India may be a special case, but reasonable restraints are necessary. The five original nuclear powers have all stopped producing fissile material for weapons, and India should make the same pledge to cap its stockpile of nuclear bomb ingredients. Instead, the proposal for India would allow enough fissile material for as many as 50 weapons a year, far exceeding what is believed to be its current capacity...
There is no doubt that condoning avoidance of the NPT encourages the spread of nuclear weaponry. Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina and many other technologically advanced nations have chosen to abide by the NPT to gain access to foreign nuclear technology. Why should they adhere to self-restraint if India rejects the same terms? At the same time, Israel's uncontrolled and unmonitored weapons status entices neighboring leaders in Iran, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other states to seek such armaments, for status or potential use...
The global threat of proliferation is real, and the destructive capability of irresponsible nations -- and perhaps even some terrorist groups -- will be enhanced by a lack of leadership among nuclear powers that are not willing to restrain themselves or certain chosen partners. Like it or not, the United States is at the forefront in making these crucial strategic decisions. A world armed with nuclear weapons could be a terrible legacy of the wrong choices.
[Is it too late to devise new strategies? Short of an actual shooting and devastating nuclear war that only partly decimates human kind, it may well be too late. Too many people with personal ambitions, or worse, hang-ups, now have itchy fingers. Having said that, there are ways out, short of all-out war. These ways will take the highest kind of diplomacy on the parts of all national leaders and other persons of influence. Some suggestions follow:
- A world government comprised of all nations on earth.
- A world government with sufficient power to ensure nuclear energy can only be used for peaceful purposes. Peaceful purposes could include a moon-based system for deflecting bolides on collision courses with earth.
- An international culture-in-common that puts survival of humanity above all other issues.
- An international culture that consciously and proactively protects that singular goal of a world democracy for all nations and their citizens.
- An international culture that recognizes the proper roles and places for logos and mythos in individual and society.
- An international culture that insists on equality of education and opportunity for all world citizens without regard to gender, ethnicity or national origin.
- An international culture that speaks a common language while preserving those of the minorities.]
[Can this or an equivalent series of events happen? Of course. And we hope so. Is the world ready? No. Sadly, the world is less ready than it has ever been since Hiroshima.
There may well be more things to be done. Certainly we do not yet know enough about the origins of violence to establish a complete and effective road map to peace. We do know places to start, like ethnic integration and education. Ashutosh Varshney has convincingly demonstrated the importance of Ethnic Integration. Certain Asian countries and Finland have shown the effectiveness of education.
Similarly, we know several things must be avoided, like Humiliation and Alienation of others. Unfortunately, when our government refers to American interests, it is reserving the right to humiliate and alienate in the spirit of Manifest Destiny and Neo-Imperialism. That terrorism is now soaring is proof enough that an economic empire is no more capable of controlling all of its parts than is traditional political empire.
In conclusion, we wish to be emphasize one point: We have little fear that India will start a nuclear exchange. This issue goes far beyond any one country. It is a global concern with North Korea rattling sabers and Iran refusing outside inspections while proceeding with enrichment of fissile materials. Like Jimmy Carter, we are dismayed at the role taken by our government in these critical times.]
Posted by RoadToPeace on Wednesday, March 29, 2006.