Friday, July 13, 2007


Why Bush & CO are not 100% Wrong on India's Nukes

Far be it from me to defend Bush & CO (or to accuse NPR of not giving them a fair shake when they usually carry water for them), but the gist of NPR's smarmy program I heard last night (I detect the hand of the old-style BBC "the former colonies were so much better off when we were still in charge" reportage style) against India's nuclear ambitions was slightly off. While Bush & CO should not, while claiming they are trying to keep America safe, be undermining programs that keep us safe, the fact of the matter is the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty is deeply flawed (the same argument could be made with respect to Bush & CO and Kyoto, FWIW). There is a reason why India and Israel do not sign it.

India shares an historically disputed boundary with a nuclear country. When India was pre-nuclear, if they would have been nuked, being a non-aligned country, who would have gone to bat for them? There was no mutually assured destruction for China until India went nuclear. And interestingly, since India has done so, it has been able to negotiate on more equal terms with China and the countries seem less at odds.

Similarly, Israel, for all of its flaws and to the degree to which it brings on some of its problems itself, is surrounded by hostile neighbors. Given how nobody has gone to bat for Israel when its neighbors have violated international law (and they even blame Israel for fighting back -- not that Israel has always done so wisely, fairly or morally correctly, but still, there is a hypocrisy here -- and until you get yourself concerned about other refugees, spare me the faux concern about the Palestinians. Israel has not done right by the Palestinians, but neither have the other Arab countries ... and yet Israel gets blamed for doing what others get condoned when they do? I hate to be a moral relativist, unlike those on the right who constantly condemn moral relativism then lapse into it whenever Israel is concerned ... and y'all know I'm the first to criticize Israel ... but still, some critics of Israel should spare us the double standards and the anti-Semitic lack of empathy for Israel's position!), Israel also needs weapons of deterrence.

The Nuclear Genie could be bottled in a bipolar world in which MAD was operative. But in South Asia, e.g., we see the Nuclear Domino effect in the breakdown of MAD: nuclear China leads India nuclear, which leads Pakistan nuclear. The Nuclear non-Proliferation treaty needed to offer stronger mutual defense. We need a Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty and Bush & CO are wrong to undermine it. But such a treaty must come with some pledges of defense -- even for countries the UN is more typically wont to pick on than defend. Until such time, we can't be upset when certain countries make the rational decision to opt out.

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