US Still Trying to Figure Out its Nuclear Export Control Policy

I certainly agree with the urging, and basic rationale, contained in the letter sent to President Obama by former US Defense officials, reported in this article. I’m not sure I would have made the arguments quite the same way – e.g. I dont think the US has to see itself as having to “continue to provide international leadership” on nonproliferation.  But I do think the letter is correct in its important realization that if the US adopts the “gold standard” as legally mandatory, the only thing it will acheive is to harm US nuclear technology vendors in the international marketplace for supply of peaceful nuclear energy projects, primarily proceeding in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and South and East Asia.  I wrote about this previously here.  

I literally laughed out loud – ask Paul Horwitz who has the office next to mine – when I read this quote by Sharon Squassoni on ongoing US deliberations regarding adoption of the mandatory gold standard approach, versus the case-by-case approach:

The current hold-up on the U.S. side in moving forward with nuclear cooperation agreements is apparently due to a policy disagreement on whether or not to take a principled — [or] nondiscriminatory — approach or a case-by-case approach,” she told GSN in a written response to questions. “It is always cleaner to take a principled approach.

The gold standard approach is the “principled approach”? Please. As I explained in a recent post, it’s the adoption by the US and the other NSG member states of precisely the sort of policies underlying the urged mandatory gold standard, that have resulted in these states being collectively in violation of the principles they obligated themselves to in the NPT.

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