Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Memo to the Senate: Pass the India Nuclear Deal

It seems the United States Senate is determined to confirm its reputation as the place where good ideas go to die. Unfortunately, the delay in question could have tremendously damaging geopolitical ramifications. It's time the Senate put aside procedural/partisan hiccups and pass the U.S.-India civilian nuclear deal.

From the moment the ink went dry on the nuclear deal (second item), Communist China has hoped it would somehow be stopped. The geopolitical implications behind this are titanic, and far bigger than various concerns in Washington about nuclear proliferation that are more appropriate for the Communists and their Pakistani allies.

For nearly two decades, Communist China has been reaching out to anti-American dictators and terrorists around the globe. They are seeking to realign the geopolitical order in their favor - to the detriment of the democratic world - as part of the radical nationalism they are advancing to justify their own regime. Democratic India has been a thorn in the cadres' side from the beginning, and especially since it became a nuclear power in 1998.

Yet there are many people in Washington who are skittish about India. Whether its old-school arms control fears, institutional bias toward Pakistan, or the usual "engagement" mentality, ideas that have gone long past their fresh-before date have stymied both the deal and the Administration's policy toward India in general. It's time for that to stop.

This deal is not merely about nuclear cooperation; it is the keystone of a burgeoning U.S.-India alliance that will serve as a bulwark against both Communist China and its terrorist allies. The recent performance of Communist Chinese ally Pakistan should have made abundantly clear the importance of the friendship between New Delhi and Washington. India has proven to be a far more reliable opponent of terror than Pakistan has been, even before the Musharraf-Taliban deal - to say nothing of Communist China.

Concerns about proliferation have been given more credence than they should largely because of concern over Stalinist North Korea and the Communist-backed mullahcracy of Iran. To equate democratic India with these Communist Chinese satellites is laughable. The long response to this argument would be that the deal with India should, in fact, encourage nations that are interested in nuclear energy to be friendly to the United States rather than terrorist regimes, and as such would make the world safer.

For those who prefer the sound-bite version: Nukes don't kill people; terrorists kill people.

At present, both Republican and Democratic Senators (a) insist they support the deal, and (b) blame each other for holding it up, largely over peripheral issues. The Senate should be aware that the world is watching them - especially India and Communist China. It's time to make clear which is our friend, and which isn't.

There is still time before the Senate adjourns for the election campaign. Use it wisely, and pass the U.S.-India nuclear deal.

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