India Nuclear Deal

Yesterday, with reference to the bizarre nuclear deal the Bush administration reached with India, Robert Farley made reference to our shift toward an attempt to impose an "arbitrary and self-interested" non-proliferation regime on the world, an attempt that's doomed to failure. And quite so. It's worth saying, though, that in the particular case of the India deal and self-interested is doing the bargain a kindness. What's happening in this deal is that we're granting India concessions related to its nuclear program and India is giving us . . . essentially nothing in exchange.

This passed congress thanks to a lot of effective lobbying by Indian American business associations, complete with a revolving door lobbying job for former US assistant secretary of state for arms control Stephen Rademaker once the deal was sealed. The negotiations themselves, meanwhile, were all messed up. Bush headed off to India in March 2006 hoping to conclude a deal but without one actually in place. The administration then appeared to be so determined to accomplish something on the trip and stage a big photo op that it was willing to agree to a deal that didn't achieve anything in particular for the US other than to allow the photo op.

Meanwhile, from a neoconnish perspective the fact that this undermines the nonproliferation regime is probably a good thing. They hate the idea that diplomatic agreements might actually work and undermine their efforts to start an endless series of wars.