US Just Making More Bad Deals (Daniel 8:8)

The Darker Side of the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal
Modi_obama 30sep14
The recent “breakthrough” is cause more for concern than it is for celebration.
By Amitai Etzioni
February 13, 2015

The American media is gushing about improvements to the United States-India relationship in the wake of President Barack Obama’s January visit to India. Among the achievements stemming from the visit is what the media had called a “breakthrough” that paved the way for implementing the two nations’ civilian nuclear cooperation deal. However, examining the reasons why this deal was first struck, its components, and its side effects suggests that it is a cause more for concern than for celebration.

The U.S. long considered India to be the leader of the non-aligned camp and held that it was tilting toward the USSR and, later, toward Russia. India purchased most of its weapons from Russia, and it had a pseudo-socialist economic regime. The U.S. tilted toward Pakistan throughout the Cold War and in the years that followed. However, following the rise of China, the George W. Bush administration decided to lure India into the West’s camp and draw on it to help contain China. Bush therefore offered India civil nuclear technology and access to uranium, the fuel it needed for nuclear power reactors. The Indian government agreed to sign a 123 Agreement (or the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement), but the deal ran into considerable opposition within India. Hence the resulting impasse, which Obama has now helped resolve.

A variety of considerations drove Indian opposition to the deal, including concerns about liability, threats to Indian sovereignty, and the prospect of Washington enjoying heightened leverage over New Delhi. Critics in the West correctly raised other concerns. First, the deal violated the spirit if not the letter of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT has successfully discouraged several nations that had considered developing nuclear weapons and has even led a few of them to cancel programs that were already underway. This success was achieved in part through a twofold promise: that those nations that possess nuclear weapons will gradually give them up, and that these same nations will refuse to share nuclear technology and fuel with countries that refuse to sign the NPT. Two nations, India and Pakistan (and, by implication, Israel), openly defied the NPT. Hence the Bush administration’s deal with India was and is viewed as a major blow to the NPT regime.

Even more serious has been the deal’s impact on the nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan. At first glance it may seem that the deal should have had no such impact, because the technology and fuel covered by the deal were meant to be used strictly for civilian purposes, specifically for producing electricity. However, as Charles D. Ferguson, president of the Federation of American Scientists, wrote in Arms Control Today, India was short on uranium. “If the nuclear deal were to fall through, India would be forced to stop running about half of its indigenously fueled reactors or only operate its [nuclear submarine] fleet at approximately 50 percent capacity.” It would also have to choose between shortchanging its civilian energy program and limiting its production of nuclear weapons. By granting India access to uranium, the deal allows India to divert its indigenously-mined uranium to military applications without detracting fuel from the civilian program. To get uranium to India, the U.S. pressured members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to “[ease] long-standing restrictions on nuclear trade with India.” Since then, Australia has committed to providing India with uranium, and India has also received uranium from France, Russia, and Kazakhstan and struck supply agreements with Mongolia, Argentina and Namibia.

Following the deal, Pakistan ramped up its production of uranium and plutonium and, it seems, its nuclear weapons arsenal. Given that both nations have already come close to nuclear blows – the two countries nearly engaged in a war over Kashmir, which has been described as “one of the tensest nuclear standoffs between India and Pakistan since independence in 1947” – such a nuclear arms race is particularly troubling.

In an ironic development worthy of Broadway, the deal has not aligned India with the U.S. in its drive to contain China. Until the recent election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, many Indian politicians treated the U.S. with considerable suspicion because they viewed it as Pakistan’s ally and as an imperial power. Modi at first may have seemed to move much closer to the U.S. and to express more concern about Chinese “aggression.” That the joint communiqué issued by the U.S. and India at the end of Obama’s visit included a line about the “importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight throughout the region, especially in the South China Sea” spurred such commentary, as did Indian participation in some military exercises in the area. However, Modi made it abundantly clear that his first, second and third priorities are advancing India’s economic development. These priorities will benefit from working with both the U.S. and China.

It would be best for everyone involved to put the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement on ice. The international community would do best if it encouraged and helped India and Pakistan to settle their differences and accede to the NPT – and if no nation provided either of them with new nuclear technology or fuel until they scale back their military nuclear programs. All this will become acceptable once the U.S. realizes that it can accommodate China as a regional power and that any attempts to contain it are at best premature and – at least in India’s case – likely to fail. India is wisely prioritizing economic development over becoming ensnarled in the U.S.-China rivalry.

Amitai Etzioni is a University Professor at The George Washington University and the author of many books, the most recent of which is The New Normal. To read more of his work, follow him on Twitter or Facebook or visit the ICPS website.

The First Horn Is Nearly Complete (Daniel 8:3)

Iran Speeding to Nuclear Weapons Breakout
nuclear-Iran
by Bassam Tawil
February 13, 2015 at 5:00 am

Iran, with its proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen, has surrounded all the oil fields in the region and is currently busy encircling Jordan, Israel and Palestine.

Iran not only reaches now from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean, but Iranian Shi’ites have been spreading out through Africa and South America.

By the time U.S. President Barack Obama leaves office, Iran will not only have nuclear breakout capability, but also the intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver its nuclear warheads to Europe and North America.

If Iran can finally drive the U.S. out of the Gulf by threatening U.S. assets, it will be free to pursue still further expansion.

If the deal signed with Iran is full of loopholes, it is Obama who will be blamed. Does Obama really want his legacy to be, “The President who was even a bigger fool than Neville Chamberlain”? He will not be seen as “Nixon in China.” He will be seen as the Eid al-Adha lamb.

Recently, foreign ministers from the European Union (EU) have been holding meetings with representatives of the Arab and Muslim world, including Turkey and Qatar, with the intention of forming a “joint task force to fight Islamist terrorism.”

Turkey and Qatar, for example, directly encourage Islamist terrorism, thus there is no way they can be part of a task force to act against it.

In some Islamic thinking, such nonsense, because of its certain lack of ever seeing the light, is merely a prologue to the ultimate war between Gog and Magog (“yagug wamagu”), and heralds the End of Days.

The Arab-Muslim world engages in perpetual internal strife. Iran, for instance, with its proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen, has surrounded all the oil fields in the region, and is currently busy encircling Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians. Iran not only reaches now from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean, but Iranian Shi’ites have been spreading out through Africa and South America. Another sign of the End of Days is the United States’ collaboration with Iran against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It means the world will eventually pay for America’s looking the other way while the Iranians are building nuclear bombs in their cellars.

These cellars may currently be distant from the shores of the United States, but they are close to all the oil fields in the Middle East. By the time U.S. President Barack Obama leaves office, Iran will not only have nuclear breakout capability, but also intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver its nuclear warheads. Its next target will be U.S. assets in the Gulf. If Iran can finally drive the U.S. “Great Satan” out of the Gulf by threatening U.S. assets, it will be free to pursue still further expansion.

These are or will be the victims of America’s determination to drag out the problem of an exploding Middle East. That way, U.S. President Barack Obama can hand the region over to the next president, while forever pretending that the vacuum created by pulling U.S. troops out of the Middle East — now being filled by Iran, the Islamic State and other terror groups — had nothing to do with him.

This situation leaves, ironically, the lone voice of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu crying in the wilderness. As much as many of us may not like him or the people he represents, he is one of the two world leaders in the West telling the truth, warning of what is to come (Geert Wilders of the Netherlands is the other). This burden of responsibility for his people (how many of us wish our leaders had even a bit of that?) has earned him only the venom of the Obama Administration, who see him as trying to spoil their strategy of leading by procrastination.

It is also becoming increasingly clear that the Obama Administration’s policy consists of running after Iran, in order to concede everything it wants, just to be able wave a piece of paper not worth the ink on it, claiming there is “a deal.” Iran, for its part, would probably prefer not to sign anything, and most likely will not. Meanwhile, both sides continue strenuously to claim the opposite.

Western leaders just seem not to be programmed to understand the capabilities of other leaders, and how they, too, negotiate, manipulate and hide behind lies. Obama’s Russian “Reset Button” did not work; his “Al Qaeda is on the run,” did not work; “We shall never let Russia take the Ukraine” did not work; and the unwinnable Israel-Palestinian “Peace Process” did not work.

Obama, in order to wave a piece of paper not worth the ink on it, seems eager to fall victim to bogus promises, worthless treaties and other leaders’ outright lies — only to look an even bigger fool than Britain’s former Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. After meeting with Germany’s with Adolf Hitler in 1938, Chamberlain returned to Britain boasting of “peace in our time.” But Chamberlain did not have the luxury of seeing a Chamberlain duped before him. If the deal signed with Iran is full of loopholes, it is Obama who will be blamed. Does Obama really want his legacy to be, “The president who was an even bigger fool than Neville Chamberlain”? He will not be seen as “Nixon in China.” He will be seen as the Eid al-Adha lamb.

Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.

Ignorance Is Not Bliss (Proverbs 1:22)

Not to worry about Iranian nukes because Obama says Iran told him so

by Bob Taylor Feb 12, 2015
Is President Obama naive when it comes to Nuclear Weapons and Iran?
President Obama, President Rhoutani, and Imam Khamenei
President Obama, President Rhoutani, and Imam Khamenei
CHARLOTTE, NC, February 11, 2015 – Barack Obama told us point blank in one of the presidential debates with John McCain that he would attempt to negotiate with Islamists.
It was a naïve statement then, and it is still naïve today, even though Obama has been president for more than six years.

In a press conference with Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, Obama said on Monday that he a believes a deal can be struck with Iran regarding their nuclear weapons program because it would be “contrary to their (Iran’s) faith to obtain a nuclear weapon” according to Supreme Leader Khamenei.

The Islamic faith in its purest sense follows a blueprint laid out by the Prophet Muhammad in the Koran. As a point of reference for Mr. Obama, difficult as it may be to believe, there is no mention whatsoever of nuclear weapons in the Koran.

The Arabic word for non-believers is kuffar, of whom the primary goal of is Islam is to eradicate them from the face of the earth. Yet in Obama-world the president believes he is able to negotiate with Iran in “good faith.”

What Mr. Obama does not understand, or more accurately refuses to accept, is that “good faith” for Islamic extremists is “bad faith” for the rest of the world.

As Winston Churchill once so brilliantly observed, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

Sadly there are no Winston Churchill’s alive today. At least none who are capable of dealing with the cancer of global terrorism.

In an interview with VOX.com that was done in January but not released until earlier this week, Obama downplayed the threats of global terrorism and said that we needed to tackle more urgent problems such as climate change.

As Obama, and others following his lead, suggest, Islamic extremism is not a problem because the United States is not under an immediate threat. In other words, the rest of the world can go to hell as long as the U.S. is not in danger.

That is no different than the personal approach Obama takes to everything. Healthcare is not something he personally has to worry about so the rest of the country be damned. You can transpose that philosophy to everything else he does, including the way he runs the country.

In his bestselling novel Inferno, author Dan Brown cites the writings of Italian poet Dante Alighieri. Since President Obama is intent on making references to the Middle Ages with his recent remarks about the Crusades, perhaps a quote from Dante is also appropriate in which he writes, “The path to paradise passes directly through hell.”

That seems to be Obama’s approach to foreign policy. Make the world tread through hell in order to be rewarded in the afterlife. That, too, by the way, is what Islamists believe.

As one character in the novel poignantly observes, “Someone needs to fight this war or this is our future. (referring to grisly images writhing in the agony of hell) Mathematics guarantees it. Mankind is hovering in a purgatory of procrastination and indecision and greed (emphasis added)…but the rings of hell await, just beneath our feet, waiting to consume us all.”

Those “rings of hell” are rippling throughout the Middle East just like a stone that is thrown into a placid lake. And the rings are multiplying. Whether they directly affect our country now or somewhere in the distant future, the time has come to halt the menace of global terror and the spread of Islamic jihad before it is too late.

Barack Obama’s calculus is to hold on to the ledge of the cliff by his fingertips until someone else takes his place. The president has no stomach for dealing with international conflicts, especially those involving Islam.

We speak mostly of ISIS these days with less focus on a group called Boko Haram. Roughly translated Boko Haram means that “Western education is a sin.”

The word haram in Arabic means “a sin or something that is forbidden by Allah.”

Therefore, though it is impossible for nuclear weapons to be mentioned in the Koran, if Iran does indeed determine that such weapons are necessary to destroy the kuffar, then they cannot be haram in the eyes of Allah.

And therein lies further evidence of Barack Obama’s naivete.

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News
Follow Bob on Twitter @MrPeabod

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Should We Really Be Surprised? (Daniel 7:7)

Australian uranium ‘could end up in India’s nuclear weapons program

2014 protest in Melbourne opposing the Australian uranium deal with India. Photograph: Gemma Romuld/Ican

2014 protest in Melbourne opposing the Australian uranium deal with India. 
Photograph: Gemma Romuld/Ican

Michael Safi
@safimichael
Thursday 12 February 2015 21.08 EST

Australian uranium could end up in India’s nuclear weapons program thanks to concessions the Abbott government made in the deal between the two countries, two nuclear experts have warned.
A former Australian diplomat and chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ronald Walker, said the agreement to sell uranium to India “drastically changes longstanding policy” on safeguards and risked playing “fast and loose” with nuclear weapons.

It differed substantially from Australia’s 23 other uranium export deals and “would do damage to the non-proliferation regime”, Walker told a hearing of the parliamentary joint standing committee on treaties this week.

The prime minister signed an agreement to make Australia a “long-term, reliable supplier of uranium to India” in Delhi in September, but the terms of the deal are yet to be endorsed by the committee.

Walker’s concerns were echoed by John Carlson, the head of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (Asno) between 1989 and 2010, who said proceeding with the agreement would be “inexcusable”.

Its provisions meant Australian material “could be used to produce unsafeguarded plutonium that ends up in India’s nuclear weapon program”, Carlson said.

A senior foreign affairs official defended the deal, arguing that India has unique circumstances and any departures from standard agreements “achieve the same policy outcomes but in different ways”.
Walker pointed to new wording on the question of whether India needed prior consent to enrich Australian uranium imports, which he said was “open to the interpretation that Australia has given its consent in advance to high-level enrichment unconditionally”.

Highly enriched uranium can be used in nuclear weapons, as well as to produce energy.

In the treaty’s current form, “Australia does not claim and India does not acknowledge a right to withhold consent [to enrichment] and to withdraw consent if it is dissatisfied”, Walker said.

“You can’t play fast and loose with nuclear weapons.”

Both Walker and Carlson said they strongly supported exporting uranium to India to promote economic development and mitigate the use of fossil fuels. But the safeguards demanded of India were much less stringent than in similar deals Australia had struck with China, the US and Japan, Carlson said.

Along with Pakistan and North Korea, India was the only country still producing fissile material for nuclear weapons, he said, and was “engaged in a nuclear arms buildup, at a time when others are reducing their arsenals”.

“There is no justification to require less of India than our other partners,” he said.

He said Indian officials maintained they would not account for how Australian materials would be used, but would instead rely on IAEA rules “which contain a number of weaknesses”. These included allowing nuclear material to be moved from a facility with safeguards to one without them.

“Australia’s standard safeguards agreements, such as those with Russia and China, close off such options. The agreement with India does not,” Carlson said. “As a consequence Australian material could be used to produce unsafeguarded plutonium that ends up in India’s nuclear weapon program.”

Whether any additional tracking of Australian material would be required would be contained in a secret “administrative arrangement” currently being negotiated, which would never be scrutinised by the public or parliament, he said.

“How has the agreement turned out like this? No doubt the hurry to finish the text ahead of Mr Abbott’s visit to New Delhi didn’t help,” Carlson said.

Walker said any safety concessions by Australia would affect the broader non-proliferation system.

“What Australia concedes on safeguards, Canada will find it difficult to try to maintain. If Canada and Australia fold in their safeguards negotiation with India, India’s negotiating position against the Americans is improved.”

The current director-general of Asno, Robert Floyd, defended the treaty at a hearing on Thursday. He said India was not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and therefore stressed the need for its civil nuclear program to be self-sufficient.

“Consequently, the proposed agreement deals with some issues in new ways for Australia,” he said. “I would point to difference and that we are achieving the same policy outcomes but in different ways.”

He said neither Australia nor India viewed the terms of the treaty as allowing Delhi to enrich uranium unconditionally. Consent to enrich had merely been granted in advance under strict circumstances to guarantee stability for India’s nuclear fuel cycle, he said. “So it is then a change of timing but not a change as to whether consent is provided at all.”

He said India was subject to IAEA inspections at a greater “frequency and intensity” than countries that had signed up to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

“This offers helpful additional assurance that Australian-obligated nuclear material would not be diverted from peaceful use.”

The committee will produce a report on whether the uranium deal should be ratified, but the government is not obliged to adopt its recommendations.