Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Still Matters

When President George W. Bush decided to restart commerce in nuclear items with India, despite India's continuing refusal to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), despite its intention to keep building up its nuclear arsenal, and despite its announced unwillingness to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), he thought he could do it by twisting some international arms at the Nuclear Suppliers' Group and a few more arms in the US Congress. It was just a matter of treaties, and Bush and his neocon friends didn't much like treaties.

He managed to get all the paperwork passed by all the relevant organizations. I'm still wondering about Congress, but never mind that for now.

It turns out, though, that Japan and Australia think that treaties, in particular the NPT, matter. Japan builds reactor pressure vessels. Australia has the uranium that India needs. And both are refusing to sell those items to India until India fulfills the NPT requirements that Japan and Australia have signed on to. Japan also wants India to promise not to test nuclear weapons and perhaps to sign on to the CTBT as well.

We'll see if other nations join Japan and Australia or just decide that it's to their commercial benefit.

1 comment:

nadezhda said...

FWIW, one of the centerpieces of Hu's visit appears to be a new joint nuclear security center. Apparently along the lines of the Russia arrangement. It's not multi-lateral like NPT, but methinks it's still a positive step. Especially given the rise in "the Chinese are coming, the Chinese are coming" hysteria from the ususal suspects.