[Vision2020] Should the U. S. Encourage a Nuclear India?
ngier006 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 5 10:33:09 PST 2015
Good Morning Visionaries:
For those not subscribing to the Daily News, my column on Obama and Modi's
bromance is appended below in the version that will appear in the Sandpoint
You all have a great day.
*Should the U. S. Encourage a Nuclear India?*
By Nick Gier
*The chemistry that has brought Barack and me *
*together has also brought Washington and Delhi closer.*
India’s new prime minister Nahendra Modi broke all diplomatic
protocol when he rushed up the steps to Air Force One and gave President
Obama a big hug. This is their third meeting and a veritable bromance is
developing between Obama and the leader of the world’s largest democracy.
Everywhere I went in a recent one-month trip to India, I found nothing but
praise—from all sections of society—for Modi and his plans to solve India’s
major problems. I witnessed some immediate results: hundreds of new public
toilets and the reduction of trash in some streets because of Modi’s “My
Clean India” campaign.
As Obama looked out on India’s Republic Day parade, he would
have observed hundreds of Russian weapons and MiG and Sukhoi jets flying
overhead. For decades the U. S. shunned India as a member of the
“non-aligned” movement and for buying most of its arms from the former
Instead of supporting democracy in South Asia, the U. S. instead forged an
unwise alliance with Pakistan’s military dictators. At a national parade
in that country, Obama would have seen American F-16s in the air instead of
MiGs. Even when under democratic rule, Pakistan’s military intelligence has
consistently backed Muslim extremists while the U. S. pours billions of
dollars of aid into the country.
At the Republic Day parade Obama would have also seen Agni missiles, named
after the Hindu fire god, which can carry nuclear warheads. In April of
1998 India, citing threats from Pakistan and China, resumed nuclear bomb
testing in the deserts of Western Rajasthan. India has fought and won four
wars against Pakistan, but in 1962 India lost badly to China, who still
occupies of millions of square miles in the Indian Himalayas.
Hindu fanatics, some holding high posts in Modi’s government, proposed that
a new Goddess temple be built near the test site. (This fierce female
deity used to lead Hindu and Sikh armies into war.) They proudly proclaimed
that with better nuclear arms, Hindus were no longer eunuchs and could now
stand up to the world as real men.
In June of 1998 I invited a professor from New Delhi’s Gandhi Peace
Foundation to visit the University of Idaho. I arranged a Martin Institute
panel on the Indian bomb testing, and I assumed that our visitor would join
us in condemning his government for escalating tensions in South Asia.
We were all surprised that he supported the testing, and he objected to the
flyer I made advertising the panel. It featured a powerful cartoon showing
mushroom clouds reflected in the tear-filled eyes of Mahatma Gandhi.
Pakistan now has more nuclear warheads than India does, and it has the
missiles to deliver them. (Ironically, one of them has been named Gauri, a
name for the Hindu Goddess!) Thanks to Chinese-built reactors, Pakistan is
producing more plutonium than any other country in the world.
Abdul Qadeer Kahn, the infamous father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb, secretly
gave Libya, Iran, and North Korea vital information about building nuclear
weapons. Neither India nor Pakistan (along with Israel and North Korea) has
signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Agreement.
In addition to the fear that India and Pakistan will nuke each other, there
is also the dreadful possibility that Muslim extremists would get hold of
the plutonium and make their own dirty bombs. The CIA claims to know where
all this deadly material is, but how could it possibly be sure that it is
Obama and Modi put the finishing touches on a plan, initially negotiated by
the Bush administration, to give India access to nuclear fuel for power
generation. The most difficult part of finalizing this deal was to get the
Indians to promise not to use the fuel for weapons. The U. S. civil nuclear
engineering companies also wanted assurances that they would not be held
liable for accidents.
We cannot trust the Pakistanis and there are Muslim-hating fanatics
surrounding Modi, and he has done nothing to silence them. There is,
however, one saving grace: the India army is very professional and it can
be counted on to be restraining force in the powder keg that is South Asia.
Nick Gier taught philosophy at the University of Idaho for 31 years. He
was also Senior Fellow at the Martin Institute from 1990-2000.
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