Blog of Mass Distraction

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Non-Proliferation and Non-Violence

George Bush was visiting the subcontinent the past few days. Apart from some niceties with Manmohan Singh and playing some cricket in Pakistan Bush was there for an agreement with India. The US government will be providing India with nuclear technology for generation in return for India opening up some of its generation stations for international inspection. The hypocrisy of this when compared with the treatment of Iran is stark. India has been sanctioned by the international community for its development and testing of nuclear weapons and it's one of the few countries to not sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Iran is a signatory of the treaty and has done nothing to break its agreement, yet it will be referred to the UN Security Council while India is rewarded.
The real danger here is the more subtle implication of this proposed agreement. Bush is really looking to build up alliances against the growing super power China, a long standing traditional rival of India. Bush likely hopes this will accelerate the Indian development of nuclear weapons. This of course will also strain the growing, though tenuous, relationship with Pakistan.
The agreement must however pass through Congress. Under current US law passing nuclear technology to India would be illegal since it's not a signatory of non-proliferation (and has an active nuclear weapons program). Iran however hasn't broken the rules of non-proliferation, which it signed, so would be more qualified to receive technology (apart from the likely numerous embargoes the US would have on it as an enemy state...).
Bush also visited the memorial for Ghandi while in India. I'll spare you the possible sarcastic comparisons of him laying a wreath there so as not to further desecrate the memory of the Mahatma and those like him who lived and died for peace and justice.

The growing violence in Iraq has, some say, brought the country to the brink of civil war. While many have said the US forces in Iraq had to stay to prevent factional fighting and dischord, a few people have been trying hard to make that prediction a reality. The tensions spiked when the mosque and Shiah shrine in Samarra was detroyed. Revenge attacks were carried out on Sunnis and now a curfew is in place in the region. Still, removing the existing US forces (which are being condemned by organizations like Amnesty International for the ongoing abuses of captives in Iraq and elsewhere) and replacing them with an international force would be better.

The Oscars are also going on this evening. I actually went and watched all the Best Picture nominees before this evening. Crash I saw some time ago, but the other four I watched in the past few weeks (including one just this afternoon). Crash was really the worst of them, trite and over-hyped. Crash's Dickensian portrayal of racism in 'white America' or any America for that matter was inelegant and lacked subtlety. The other four were quite good though. Brokeback was very well acted, though to be honest, apart from being the main characters being gay it was a rather normal tragic love story. Munich was shocking, but was well done and had lots of depth. Capote had some excellent acting but it was quite dour and depressing. Good Night and Good Luck was just excellent all around, a spectacular film. If any of the four win I suppose it would be worth it, but my preference is probably for the latter two.

Finally, in Haiti the proposal of the Brazilian delegation was accepted. Rene Preval has been named President once more and the people of Haiti may get their due democratic government, though only time will tell what external international stakeholders and opponents of Preval and Aristide will do about it.

Victory attained by violence is tantamount to defeat, for it is momentary.
-- Ghandi


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