Sunday's Washington Post brought a couple of complementary articles, although the Post didn't run them that way.
Congress still must approve the nuclear trade deal with India. Although there was quite an uproar in India's parliament over its "loss of sovereignty" in the deal, an accommodation seems to have been reached to damp down the uproar. Since India's parliament does not have to approve, the relative quiet will probably prevail there until the US Congress moves, and then PLS believes (and I tend to agree) that the quiet will continue in India.
It's not at all clear what Congress will do, however. The Democrats are testy over the war in Iraq, but they passed the waivers that paved the way for the deal without a whimper. This could be because of that India lobby, which has been learning from the Israel lobby, according to Mira Kamdar in Sunday's Washington Post.
"This is huge," enthused Ron Somers, the president of the U.S.-India Business Council, from a posh hotel lobby in Philadelphia. "It's the Berlin Wall coming down. It's Nixon in China."
What has Somers so energized is a landmark nuclear cooperation deal between India and the United States, which would give India access to U.S. nuclear technology and deliver fuel supplies to India's civilian power plants in return for placing them under permanent international safeguards. Under the deal's terms, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty -- for decades the cornerstone of efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons -- will in effect be waived for India, just nine years after the Clinton administration slapped sanctions on New Delhi for its 1998 nuclear tests.
But another player has emerged. Israel, another of the triad outside the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (Pakistan is the third), has offered its services to the Nuclear Suppliers' Group in determining which non-NPT nations deserve nuclear trade anyway. (Hint: not Pakistan.) The NSG will have to pass on the trade deal if the US Congress approves it, and some of its members are none too pleased. Glenn Kessler says that the Israeli proposal could complicate the politics of the India deal both in Congress and the NSG.
the Bush administration is rejecting the Israeli proposal. "We view the India deal as unique and don't see it as a precedent for any other country, including Israel," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.There is also a hint of Israel's 'fessing up to having nukes.
The Israeli plan offers 12 criteria for allowing nuclear trade with non-treaty states, including one that hints at Israel's status as an undeclared nuclear weapons state: A state should be allowed to engage in nuclear trade if it applies "stringent physical protection, control and accountancy measures to all nuclear weapons, nuclear facilities, source material and special nuclear material in its territory."Using criteria rather than a flat US say-so on nuclear trade with non-NPT states seems desirable, but Israel's nuclear ambiguity may play against it in the NSG. On the other hand, we can wonder if USINPAC and AIPAC will get together to press the US Congress toward approval of the deal. Or if they've been working together all along.