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September 28, 2008

Nuclear Non-Proliferation: World Security Hacked by US Corporations

Nuclear proliferation is one of the gravest threats facing the world. It was even one of the few substantive foreign policy issues discussed during the recent US presidential debate. And yet, the United States government has actively worked to diminish the effectiveness of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

First, the USG supported the creation of the Israeli nuclear warheads, the biggest open secret mocking the effectiveness of the NPT. Then, the USG actively worked to disrupt the diplomatic process at NPT review conferences. Under extreme pressure from the USG, the nuclear suppliers group issued an exemption to India, allowing any country to sell it nuclear supplies despite the fact that India refuses to sing the NPT. And now, the US Congress is poised to open the floodgates to US nuclear trade with India.

WILPF issued a statement on the Nuclear Supplier's group decision to exempt India from joining the NPT before selling it nuclear supplies.

WILPF's Reaching Critical Will project created a backgrounder on the US-India deal, available here.

The House of Representatives passed the trade agreement yesterday. Earlier this week, NPR's Morning Edition had a report explaining the intense pressure exerted by industry lobbyists to suspend Congressional rules for review of such trade agreements. Unfortunately, the lobbyists for global security were not as well funded as the military industrial complex.

Proponents of the trade deal say US corporations will lose out to French and Russian nuclear dealers if the US law wasn't immediately changed. They say India will of course only use the technology to keep its nuclear power generators operating. Yet the only way to ensure that will happen is to force India to sign the NPT and the world community, including the US Congress, has severely diminished the effectiveness of this vital treaty by accepting India's refusal to comply with international norms.

There's no need for me to even mention the environmental and human damage caused by nuclear power in this argument. Even if you think it's a good thing to expose the world to increased levels of thyroid cancer and other health problems, it's impossible to argue that it's a good thing to expose the world to more nuclear weapons.

Today is a sad day for global security. It scares me that this horrific development didn't warrant more than a below-the-fold article on page 19 in the Sunday NY Times. While no nonproliferation experts were quoted in the article, they did at least note there is more opposition to the deal in India than there is in the US. More proof that the political process in this country is completely broken.

Posted by cj at September 28, 2008 12:32 PM


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