IN OTHER WORDS
President Bush is desperate for some kind of foreign policy success. But that cannot justify sacrificing his principled stand against weapons proliferation to seal a nuclear cooperation deal with India. The agreement could end up benefiting New Delhi’s weapons programme as much as its pursuit of nuclear power. The deal was deeply flawed from the start. And it has been made even worse by a newly negotiated companion agreement that lays out the technical details for nuclear commerce. Congress should reject the agreement and demand that the administration, or its successor, negotiate a new one that does not undermine efforts to restrain the spread of nuclear weapons.
The message of this deal is unmistakable: When it comes to nuclear proliferation, Washington’s only real policy is to reward its friends and punish its enemies. Suspicion of America’s motives around the world are high. America cannot afford another such blow to its credibility. Congress accepted the administration’s arguments far too uncritically when it approved the India-related nuclear legislation. It must now take a stand against the even more damaging companion agreement. At a time when far too many governments are re-examining their decision to forswear nuclear weapons, the US should be shoring up the nuclear rules, not shredding them.