Monday, April 12, 2010

Nuclear proliferation: serious discussion "too politically divisive"

As Mr. Obama's nuclear summit ("the largest gathering of world leaders called by an American president since Franklin D. Roosevelt organized the 1945 meeting in San Francisco that created the United Nations") prepares to convene, today's NY Times features a long Sanger and Broad report on the accelerating nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan -  a topic, they note, deliberately left off the agenda because it would be too politically divisive. 

These are, of course, the same India and Pakistan that have nuclear arsenals and delivery systems, but have never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  This is the same India with whom the Bush administration nonetheless made a major deal enabling them to ramp up its nuclear industry.  This is the same Pakistan whose nuclear weapons, Mr. Obama re-assures us, are secure even as its army (and the US drone forces) daily battle a Taliban insurgency.  This is also the same Pakistan with whom the US steadfastly refuses to make a nuclear deal a la the one Bush made with India - something that rankles the Pakistani leadership to no end.

And, this is also the same nuclear summit that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to skip.  His country, too, has never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  His country, like India and Pakistan, has a nuclear arsenal, although Israel's is estimated to be significantly larger.  But Netanyahu's presence would draw attention to Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal, especially from the Arab representatives who will be on hand.  That, too, would be politically divisive - and our Congressmen on the AIPAC political contribution list would have been compelled to attack Mr. Obama if any of those nasty Arabs had singled out Israel for criticism.

Unfortunately, the leaders of Iran (which has, by the way, signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty) are also skipping the meeting.  Nonetheless, they can expect that their ears will be burning.  We can probably expect that the most ballyhooed statement that will emerge from this summit will be one expressing the "world's" unified stance calling upon the nefarious mullahs to come clean about their nuclear-weapons program.

Would that the US could be so forthright in calling upon the Israeli government to shed some light on its nuclear program.  But that, of course, would be politically divisive.

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