Editors note: The following is an excerpt from The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and The Middle East Crisis (PoliPointPress, 2007).
The United States sells death, destruction, and terror as a fundamental instrument of its foreign policy. It sees arms sales as a way of making and keeping strategic friends and tying countries more directly to U.S. military planning and operations. At its simplest, as Lt. Gen. Jeffrey B. Kohler, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, told The New York Times in 2006, the United States likes arms deals because “it gives us access and influence and builds friendships.” South Asia has been an important arena for this effort, and it teaches some lessons the United States should not ignore.
Editor’s note: The following is a excerpt of Chapter 9, "Nuclear Thresholds" from the author’s book, Engaging Iran.
The United States and India are turning a new chapter in world history as they seek to close a deal on civil nuclear cooperation and nonproliferation. Referred to as the “123” agreement, negotiations have been in the works since 2005. While there have been some roadblocks put up on the deal from members of India’s parliament in recent weeks, both parties hope to have a final agreement approved by the end of the year.
Some said Kim Jong Il was crazy. Others declared that he was canny. When the North Korean leader pushed his country through the door of the nuclear club in October 2006 with the explosion of a nuclear device of unknown size and technical capability, he certainly shook up the international community. Observers feared that the explosion would trigger a new arms race in East Asia. Japan could turn its plutonium stockpile and nuclear know-how into an arsenal in as little as six months. South Korea and Taiwan would follow suit, and China would enlarge its rather small supply of strategic weaponry. The regime established by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the late 1960s, which discouraged but didn’t entirely prevent new entrants to the nuclear club, would be dead—and Kim Jong Il’s fingerprints would be all over the murder weapon.
Even though North Korea’s long-range missile turned out to be a dud, Pyongyang has nevertheless achieved its aim by getting the world’s attention. Governments around the world have rushed to condemn Pyongyang. Japan and the United States want to bring the full weight of the United Nations against the country. North Korea, meanwhile, has argued that it would consider comprehensive sanctions an act of war. It’s threatening a nuclear strike if attacked.
As the U.S. Senate begins debating the new nuclear agreement with India, far too little attention is being paid to the regional security implications of the deal. Instead of simply rubber stamping the deal, the Senate should examine its far reaching effects on security and nonproliferation efforts.
For tens of thousands of fans, it was a happy September–the pro-football season resumed, diverting attention from the political campaign and natural disasters.
Those crazy North Koreans. They’ve promised in principle to give up their nuclear weapons, but they insist on generating nuclear power for peaceful purposes. With Pyongyang and Washington at loggerheads over this point, the Six-Party Talks to resolve the nuclear crisis in Northeast Asia have taken a recess after two weeks of promising discussions.