Reuters blog archive
from Afghan Journal:
For all the hand-wringing in India over getting sidelined by the United States in its regional strategy, the two countries have gone ahead and just completed an important deal on the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from reactors to be built in India.
The agreement is a key step in the implementation of the India-U.S. civil nuclear pact which grants India access to nuclear fuel and technology, even though it has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Under the agreement India can reprocess U.S.-originated nuclear material under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards which in itself is a symbolic concession, according to the Washington Post. It said that the Indians were a bit concerned about the idea of American officials running around their nuclear reactors , a sort of "a symbolic, sovereignty issue" as a source in the U.S. nuclear industry said. They would rather submit to oversight by the IAEA, which thus far is a model the United States has only followed for nuclear collaboration with Europe and Japan.
Considering that America has gone to war in Iraq on the grounds that it was building weapons of mass destruction and is at this time pushing for tougher sanctions against Iran for its nuclear programme, it is indeed a big deal. It can also potentially reshape the strategic landscape in South Asia with the world virtually granting legitimacy to India as a nuclear weapons state while denying that to Pakistan.
Pushing the accord through in the U.S. has been a "wrenching affair" as the Indian Express put it, riding against the current of proliferation concerns worldwide. Why should the world be making an exception for India just as it is breathing down hard on Iran and North Korea to roll back their nuclear programmes ? Where, after all, is the iron-clad guarantee that India won't divert some of the plutonium extracted from the imported spent fuel to its strategic weapons programme, the experts ask. Blatant double standards, the Union of Concerned Scientists said.
from Afghan Journal:
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told CNN this week that his biggest worry was not Afghanistan, not Iraq and not even Iran which is hurtling into a fresh confrontation with the West over its nuclear programme. The big concern was Pakistan with its nuclear weapons and a radicalised section of society.
"It's a big country. it has nuclear weapons that are able to be deployed. It has a real significant minority of radicalised population. It is not a completely functional democracy in the sense we think about it. And so..... that's my greatest concern."
from Global News Journal:
When it comes to further sanctions on Iran, the clock is ticking relentlessly, even if those leading the drive -- the United States, Britain, Germany and France -- are giving little away in terms of timing or what might be targeted under any new, U.N.-agreed package.
Still, companies that do business with Iran appear to be getting the message that time is running out.
from The Great Debate UK:
Those involved in multilateral arms control and disarmament face a challenging year.
from India Insight:
Obama has won the Nobel Peace prize.The citation commends him for calling for a nuclear-weapon free world, emphasising the role of international institutions and preferring dialogue.Less than a year into his presidency he has yet to implement much of his programme."For the time being Obama's just making proposals. But sometimes the Nobel committee awards the prize to encourage responsible action," said Poland’s Lech Walesa, a Nobel Peace Laureate.What does it mean for India to have the most powerful man in the world honoured for his policies?The policies of the Obama administration are different from those of the George W. Bush era when multilateralism was seen as a liability.Bush’s ambassador to the U.N. was John R. Bolton whose scepticism towards multilateralism was well known.Yet Bush helped India get a crucial waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group and was described as the friendliest U.S. President India has had.Obama on the other hand has called for strengthening nuclear non-proliferation, prompting India to seek clarifications.Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president of the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, argues in a recent column that Indians find it more difficult to deal with those who they think of as American liberals than the conservatives.Will we now see a more forceful and active Obama on issues like non-proliferation that India is wary of ?
The statement announcing the Nobel Peace Prize for U.S. President Barack Obama says that "his diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population". (Photo: Obama at the United Nations, 23Sept 2009/Kevin Lamarque)
Is there actually a set of values and attitudes shared by most people around the world? It would be interesting to know exactly what the Norwegian Nobel Committee meant by this. Are they talking about some vague form of world political consensus or even global ethics? The citation text mentions Obama's "vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons" and his preference multilateral diplomacy, dialogue and negotiations. But none of these efforts has yet borne much fruit.
The drums of war are beating in the Middle East. Proponents of a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities have intensified their campaign in recent weeks, arguing the military option is the only way to ensure the country does not build a nuclear weapon.
But the obstacles to conducting a successful strike remain immense, making it a last, improbable resort. It is such a bad option that it is no option at all.
from Global News Journal:
Sunday's federal election threw Germany's Greens into a state of disarray -- should they celebrate their best result ever or mourn the fact they failed to prevent a centre-right coalition and languished in fifth place?