Thursday, April 06, 2006

India Nuke Deal Ill Conceived

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday to lobby for the President's plan to share nuclear technology with India. Now, this is not nuclear weapons technology - they already have that - but rather nuclear energy technology, a distinction Iran is attempting to sell in their own dealings with the world community. (Washington Post: Rice Appeals For Nuclear Deal for India).

Does the distinction really matter, though? Not in my view, and certainly not in the case of India, a nation that has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and who secretly developed and tested a nuclear weapon right under our noses. That foreign intelligence failure launched a mini arms race between India and rival Pakistan, and leaves the region smoldering in a temporary cold war that only awaits the removal of Musharraf to escalate into something tragic.

Coupled with the Dubai Port debacle, this plan to bolster India's nuclear capabilities underscores our government's true priorities in the grand scheme of foreign relations. When the balance sheets are tallied, it is the profit and loss line that wins, not the security line. India is a prime market for cheap labor, especially in the technology sector, they are now enjoying the many benefits of a relationship with the US in exchange for a cheap work force. National security be damned if it improves the bottom line for corporate America.

What suffers beyond our national security, however, is our credibility. It is difficult to take a hard line against Iran while rewarding two other nations (India and Pakistan) for developing and testing nuclear weapons in defiance of UN edicts against nuclear proliferation. It is difficult to sell the American public on the idea that our government's first priority is national security when, in the name of profit, we are willing to sell our ports to a Middle East government owned company and we're willing to enhance nuclear technologies in a nation that is a heart beat away from war.

Our dealings with India are ill conceived. It is not in our long term best interests to reward them for their nuclear proliferation. That is a headache that will haunt a future administration. It is not in our best interests to encourage the outsourcing of technology and call-center jobs to India. That move will come back to haunt the American worker and it may very well come back to haunt the economy as a whole. It will certainly hinder our foreign policy options when the aforementioned future administration is forced to handle the escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan.

Many of the foreign policy problems we are facing today are the direct result of short-sighted or poorly planned initiatives on the part of prior administrations. Future administrations will be forced to deal with the results of today's poorly conceived and short-sighted dealings with India.


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