The Washington Post tells us here that U.S. House Reps Howard Berman (D-CA), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL, of course) are pushing for a nonbinding resolution concerning “constraints on future nuclear dealings with India.”
I actually thought these three might have been doing the right thing (silly me), until I read about the so-called Hyde Act that was devised when Dubya and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July 2005 (which is what the three are contesting).
This post about the act states the following…
On the nuclear front the Act offers India access to technology for new, bigger, and better reactors, as well as uranium for those reactors - something we are short of domestically. On the foreign policy front the Act shows that India can now create a space for itself and eventually be recognized as a nuclear state. By no means are these achievements to be scoffed at.I don’t really have any sympathy for India when it comes to their unhappiness over lack of recognition as a nuclear weapons state. To accomplish this, all they have to do is sign the Nonproliferation Treaty; I have a feeling, though, that they will never do that unless Pakistan does also (and I hold Dubya primarily responsible for allowing the India deal to go through without getting both India and Pakistan to sign the treaty – a tall order, but Presidents are supposed to facilitate stuff like this instead of thumbing their nose at all established protocols for political expediency).
Critics point out that what it offers, the Act can also take away…
Nuclear cooperation is not full and excludes enrichment and reprocessing technology, which we need to complete our three-stage nuclear fuel cycle. India does not get unconditional access of uranium fuel or technology. In particular, all cooperation will be stopped should India test another nuclear weapon. The US President must report annually on India's nuclear program. Such reporting can, and probably will, be used to pressure India on other fronts.
On the policy front India is yet to see any benefits, such as recognition as a nuclear weapons state. And missteps in negotiation have already reduced India’s ability to extract future benefits. India must take steps to limit those foreign policy losses. And the question to ask really is, when India must decide to support Iran, test a nuclear weapon, or buy gas from Myanmar, will it be able to say to the US, “No, thank you”?
And I don’t understand why the three House reps I noted above are putting obstacles in the path of the India deal when it in essence was brokered by Henry Hyde (a fellow Repug, of course) through the act bearing his name (with the Hyde deal apparently tying India’s hands for future development, creating a scenario where, as noted above, they may turn to their neighbors instead of us down the road because, say, Iran may end up offering a better deal for enrichment of nuclear material).
This is what happens, by the way, when we allow countries to develop nuke programs without treaty enforcement. As the Wikipedia article notes, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea have not signed the treaty (I know North Korea is a basket case on this issue, though they seem to be moving in the right direction, but we should be pressuring Pakistan on this also, and there is no reason on earth why Israel should not have signed by now as far as I’m concerned).
On the issue of trying to enforce compliance on nuclear development, though, there is another avenue that I haven’t heard anyone discuss.
This takes you to a column at The Huffington Post by Jim Talent, the (happily) former Repug senator from Missouri who is touting something here called the Global Compact. This excerpt tells us that…
The Global Compact is an agreement on the part of its signatories to advance 10 principles -- two on human rights, four on labor standards, three on the environment, and one anti-corruption standard. It shifts the debate from "corporate social responsibility," and concentrates instead on Environmental, Social, and Governance issues (ESG).As important as all of these are, I would think that a principle advocating the safe development of nuclear power for non-military industrial use (or language to that effect) should be included. Even though the compact is entirely voluntary, the nuke issue trumps all others concerning our safety and the quality of life on this planet.
And this mentions other issues with the Global Compact that I honestly don’t expect a pro-business apologist like Talent to raise, so I’m doing so here (and here also).