Friday, September 12, 2008

Dueling Editorials: The USA-India Agreement

deliv01 The New York Times and the Washington Post have both put up editorials on the pending agreement to allow the India and the United States to share nuclear technologies. The Times doesn't like it:

The nuclear agreement was a bad idea from the start. Mr. Bush and his team were so eager for a foreign policy success that they gave away the store. They extracted no promise from India to stop producing bomb-making material. No promise not to expand its arsenal. And no promise not to resume nuclear testing.

The Post is all in:

For all its flaws, the agreement would create more international supervision of India's nuclear fuel cycle than there would be without it. If Congress backs out now, the only victims will be American nuclear suppliers, who would have to stand aside while French and Russian companies expand India's nuclear power system.

Although we agree more with the Post, we find its arguments a rather weakish tea. American nuclear suppliers can take care of themselves without this deal, and, as we've seen over numerous posts, the U.S. has been all over the globe making partnerships with various European and Asian countries. France and Russia will be in India competing even if the treaty passes, so there's no guarantee America would see tremendous amounts of business (although we actually think it would.)

But the Times, even with stronger arguments, approaches this with an ideological purity that ignores the nature of the players in this deal - this isn't, say, a Russia-Iran hair raiser - and the practical effects of the treaty, which are fairly benign. We grant that the elements the U.S. is skirting here are important, but have to agree with the Post that a rigid adherence to rules intended to rein in rogue nations shouldn't trip up this deal.

Chances are good for this one. Sens. McCain and Obama are both in support and House Speaker Pelosi wants to move it along and will waive a rule that would have hurt its chances. There's very little downside politically.

Now, the Russia-US nuclear deal, on the other hand - whoof!

Billy Redden in Deliverance. Dueling Banjos, of course, was the moment where the city men found a way to bond with the mountain men, followed of course by misunderstanding, murder and various horrific events. A unique novel and film about the masculine imperative gone mad. Redden was a high-school boy from the Georgia area where Deliverance was filmed; he reappeared briefly in Big Fish (2003) - playing the banjo.

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