Tuesday, December 19, 2006

More is less

While attentions have been focused on the various, bleak avenues for Iraq, George Bush quietly asserted his unitary executive authority once again by signing the Indo-American nuclear agreement, attaching -- as he has done so many times before -- a signing statement to the so-called Hyde Act. The bill contained some provisos including suggestions for oversight of India's nuclear arsenal and furthermore called for "restriction of reprocessing and enrichment equipment and technologies." India viewed such measures as "intrusive" and Bush obligingly offered up his signing statement to assuage India's concerns about these meddling congressional measures.
President Bush indicated that inasmuch as Congress had written several policy prescriptions in the bill, including suggesting oversight on India's nuclear arsenal and its outlook on Iran, his approval of the Hyde Act ''does not constitute my adoption of the statements of policy as U.S foreign policy.''

"Given the Constitution's commitment to the presidency of the authority to conduct the nation's foreign affairs, the executive branch shall construe such policy statements as advisory."
And we all know how well Bush takes advice from Congress.

As his rhetoric often will when Bush speaks, he painted a rosy picture that, through the miracle of the Hyde Act and his executive authority, the proliferation of India's nuclear arsenal will actually help stop nuclear proliferation:
The bill will help keep America safe by paving the way for India to join the global effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, Condoleezza Rice informed the world that the deal would certainly allow India to develop as many nuclear weapons as it liked.
US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice made it clear that the deal would not restrict India's strategic programme while it would, in fact, enhance capacity to build weapons. "India has, by most estimates, 50,000 tons of uranium in its reserves," she said.... we do not believe that the constraint on India's nuclear programme is availability or absence of nuclear material."
The notion that a country developing an unlimited number of nuclear weapons will somehow halt nuclear proliferation is truly an odd one. Because that has not happened. Ever. Consider the Cold War. Nuclear proliferation skyrocketed. Today, the United States now harbours an arsenal of some 10,000 nuclear weapons and we have seen nuclear proliferation do nothing but expand since the collapse of the Soviet regime. In fact, I would say that the existence of only one "world superpower" has done more to proliferate nuclear weapons than anything seen previously.


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