The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

As Good As You

From an article by Strobe Talbott in the Herald Tribune, condemning America's friendly nuclear relation with India, we get this gem:
The administration tends to see the world in black-and-white terms, a view that has translated into a nonproliferation policy that cuts extra slack for "good" countries, like India, while cracking down on "bad" ones, like North Korea and Iran.
It may come as a surprise to Mr. Talbott, but India is indeed a ""good"" country. A peaceful democracy of a billion, busy with commerce and educating its citizens to partake in the modern world. Compare it with Iran, an oil-rich and commerce-poor nation with no obvious pressure to seek nuclear power, but with a long and detailed history of exporting terrorism; or to the sadistic Stalinist barbarians of North Korea; and the idea of using those countries as part of an argument for blocking Indian nuclear technology can be seen for what it is, namely an insult to India from a paternalistic First World.

Mr. Talbott continues:
But the world is full of countries that have, for decades, stuck with the original deal and forgone the nuclear option. Quite a few did so even though they had the technological capability and what they regarded as the geopolitical pretext for doing otherwise: Brazil, Japan, South Africa, and South Korea, to name just a few.
When Brazil has a literate population of 700,000,000, this will carry some weight. When South Africa can intervene in any way in the developing genocide next door in Zimbabwe, we can talk. When South Korea or Japan see some advantage, not presently visible, in annoying their regional superpower and putting their densely populated nations at risk, they may complain (though we all know that Japan would not find the doors to the nuclear club closed). But in the present state of the world, these examples just show how weak Mr. Talbott's case is.

[Hat tip: R. J. Rummel.]