Friday, March 03, 2006

[Foreign Policy]

The India Nukes Deal.

Some folks have been badmouthing the nukes deal Bush struck with India (see Kevin Hayden and Jeff Bull for commentary). I have not so much analysis, but a tiny bit of pique over this issue. I don't want to speculate about why good liberals like Jeff and Kevin don't want Indians to have nukes, but I think someone ought to at least put the issue into a national historical context that gives the Indian side.

Throughout the cold war, the US sided with Pakistan, not its natural ally, India. Why? Because it wished to punish India for being less than sufficiently anti-commie (West Bengal and Kerala states were run by the Communist Party of India). India had hot borders with Pakistan and China and had to get military goods somewhere, so they got them from the Soviets.

In it's history as a good democracy, India has had wars with both China and Pakistan, and has received either no support from the US (China), or watched its army get bombed by US-made guns and aircraft (sold to the Pakistanis). Despite its incredibly difficult early years, India hung in there, played by the rules, and got bupkis from an international community that was a whole lot more scared of Red China and Russia than it was interested in Indian democracy. So India made their way on their own.

The cartel of whities who raced to nukes first (the only country to be bombed thus far was Asian) then made up rules saying it was verboten for Asians and Africans and Arabs to develop their own nukes, which was rather convenient for said whities. By what moral authority, these other countries might wonder, did the Russian and Europeans get to dictate who got nukes?

India, looking at a destabilized Pakistan in one direction, a bellicose China in the other, and a disintigrating nuclear state in Russia, prudently did what any nation would do--what the US has already done--they looked out for their own national interest and built their own nukes.

Now the same Americans who failed to support a critical democracy in South Asia for 50 years are debating whether to extend to India various "rights." Not to pick on Jeff, but he characterizes it thus: "Still, for all we got, we gave it away awfully cheap." Kevin, quoting from an article he read, echoes Jeff: "This is Santa Claus negotiating. The goal seems to have been to give away as much as possible."

It's a uniquely Western view that India is "getting away" with anything. Indians, for their part, think the US owes them a whole hell of a lot for the way its behaved since the end of WWII.

1 comment: said...

Well, personally, I think we've lost any authority and all integrity in nuclear disarmament negotiations.

While I maintain my position that all steps that reduce the world's nuclear stockpile to zero are worth taking, I don't think - especially under this administration - that we should be setting the agenda and I don't believe a nation in the world can trust Bush with any treaty.

Though I quoted the Santa Claus statement, my own objection is not to the facts about the nuclear agreement, but to the fact that the whole thing seems contrived, an exercise in PR, with no practical value at all.

Any treaty with loopholes this large provides the appearance of the Prez doing something positive, without anything effective being done at all.

In short, I object to the hype in lieu of substance. I, like you, do not support the nationalistic or racial bias that comes when the US dictates who can or can't have nukes. And it only emphasizes the silliness of the make-pretend disarmament to see it hyped as something when it's nothing at all.