Wednesday, September 03, 2008

On having been heard in high places...

You know something, it does give the old cockles a good and warm feeling when the meek and submissive are noticed by the powers that be.

I came across this instance as a result of a kindly letter to the editor in the Herald this morning from a gent in Ohio. He was singing the praises of NZ, partially as a previous visitor to these shores but primarily to recognise the editorial in NYT on 8/31.

Now to be fair, the NYT hands its kudos to a group of 20 nations led by “New Zealand, Ireland, Austria, Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland”.

If you are feeling anxious — and you should be — about the world’s appetite for nuclear weapons, there is a bit of good news. More countries than we ever expected are refusing to be pressured by the United States and India to approve an ill-conceived nuclear deal.

For 30 years, ever since India used its civilian nuclear program to produce a bomb, the world has been banned from selling nuclear technology to India. Three years ago, President Bush agreed, with far too few conditions, to break that ban and sell India reactors and fuel.

The White House argued that India is an important democracy and shrugged off critics who said that breaking the rules would make it even harder to pressure Iran and others to abandon their nuclear ambitions.

Seems reasonable, if you don’t think about it too hard. Until –
Mr. Bush and his team were so eager for a foreign policy success that they gave away the store. They extracted no promise from India to stop producing bomb-making material. No promise not to expand its arsenal. And no promise not to resume nuclear testing.

Now I have no doubt that the group of 20 nations would say exactly the same to any other nation which had the same processes for the control of nuclear energy trade in place. Regretfully, the primary movers – count in China, Russia, Israel and France – do not have the same regard for the feelings of others.

So, the NYT should give a bit more credit to those who put this process in place. At the very least it gives an opportunity for objective scrutiny and useful contribution (as evinced by Congress adopting many of the recommendations made by the group).

And, as a useful side benefit, it provides further evidence of the way in which the present Administration has worked and the depths to which it has been prepared to plumb for support.

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