Mark Fitzpatrick Wants the US to Make a Nuclear Trade Deal with Pakistan Just Like it Did with India. What a Great Idea!

Apparently Mark Fitzpatrick has experienced a profound change of heart regarding Pakistan’s nuclear program, as he explains in this piece at the IISS website. It seems strange to me that he can try to be so objective about Pakistan, and change his mind about the threat posed by Pakistan’s existing nuclear weapons arsenal, and yet apparently have such blinders on about what he assumedly still considers to be the “won’t someone please think of the children” horrible threat posed by Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons arsenal.

In fact, his newly-arrived-at magnanimity towards Pakistan even extends to urging the U.S. to make a deal with Pakistan, allowing civilian trade in nuclear fuel and technologies, similar to the deal the U.S. signed with India. As he said in a recent presentation:

“The time has come to offer Pakistan a nuclear cooperation deal akin to India’s,” Fitzpatrick said as he launched a new book, “Overcoming Pakistan’s Nuclear Dangers,” in Washington.

“Providing a formula for nuclear normalization is the most powerful tool that Western countries can wield in positively shaping Pakistan’s nuclear posture,” Fitzpatrick said.

Yes, a deal like the India deal. What could possibly be wrong with that? Oh, right, now I remember: the India deal has been roundly criticized by most nonproliferation specialists, and is widely considered to have severely undermined the NPT and threatened its credibility as the cornerstone of nuclear law.

Below I’ll excerpt from my 2009 book on the India deal. Just replace the word “India” with the word “Pakistan.”

I don’t know what Mark is thinking, but I think this idea is going to go over like a lead balloon in the nonproliferation community.

In terms of the NPT Article III.2 obligations of the United States, the U.S. has argued that civilian nuclear cooperation with India, including transfers to India of nuclear fuel and enrichment technologies, is not in violation of its Article III.2 obligation not to “provide source or fissionable material . . . or equipment or materiel especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable materiel, to any non-nuclear weapons state. . . ,” firstly because India is not a non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT. The question of whether the term “non-nuclear weapon State” as used in Article III.2 of the NPT refers only to non-nuclear weapons states parties to the treaty, as specified in other NPT provisions, or whether the term in this Article refers more broadly to any state not in possession of nuclear weapons, whether NPT party or not, is one which is debated by international lawyers. However, in the case of India, this distinction is largely moot as India is in possession of nuclear weapons and thus could not be included in any definition of a non-nuclear weapons state. Thus, the U.S. argues that transfers to India are not subject to this provision of the NPT.

However, critics argue that, even if not a violation of the letter of the NPT’s provisions, the U.S.-India nuclear supply deal is undermining of the spirit of the NPT and of the grand bargain among NPT parties which the treaty represents. They argue that in concluding this deal to provide civilian nuclear technology to India, the United States, a Nuclear Weapon State under the NPT, is giving concessions to a state which has never undertaken the limiting obligations of the NPT, and which has in fact developed and is in possession of nuclear weapons. To NPT NNWS which have undertaken the obligations of the NPT and not pursued nuclear weapons programs as a result, and which have submitted all nuclear sites within their territory to full-scope IAEA safeguards, this deal appears to give to India, in exchange for only the most basic of nonproliferation commitments, the reward which NPT NNWS were required to undertake and maintain these much more stringent obligations to obtain. Many NPT NNWS see this granting of nuclear technology concessions to India by an NPT NWS as a positive reward for India’s decision to remain outside the NPT framework, and develop and maintain a nuclear weapons arsenal, which is the precise opposite to the incentive structure which the NPT sought to codify into international law.

This positive discrimination in favor of India, and its undermining effects upon the spirit of the NPT grand bargain, are most saliently seen in the contrasting cases of Brazil, the Ukraine, and South Africa. Each of these states had active nuclear weapons development programs and chose to give up their pursuit of nuclear weapons in order to take advantage of the NPT grand bargain, and the promise of positive assistance in the development of their civilian nuclear energy programs offered by NWS under the NPT framework. For India, which has not undertaken the reciprocal obligations of the NPT grand bargain, and which under the global partnership deal would still be allowed to maintain its nuclear weapons program untouched by the limited IAEA safeguards system to be administered only at civilian nuclear facilities nominated by the Indian government, now to be given the same concessions from a NWS that these other states obtained only through complete renunciation of their nuclear weapons programs and submission to full-scope IAEA safeguards, the double standard this deal represents and the resulting evisceration of the fundamental tenets of the agreement they struck with NWS in their acceptance of the NPT is clear.

The U.S.-India nuclear supply deal does appear to significantly weaken the NPT system by causing all NNWS, and particularly states like Iran which are the subject of what they see as prejudicial applications of nuclear nonproliferation law, to question anew their commitment to Article II of the NPT in light of the breakdown in the incentive structure of the NPT system of reciprocal, quid pro quo obligations which this deal represents.



16 Comments on “Mark Fitzpatrick Wants the US to Make a Nuclear Trade Deal with Pakistan Just Like it Did with India. What a Great Idea!”

  1. yousaf says:

    Was Mark releasing his book on April 1?

    Seriously though, this would be the third and final nail in the NPT’s coffin — after the implicit deal with Israel and the explicit US deal with India.

    How can we have Chapter 7 UNSCRs on Iran for nuclear material accountancy errors (resolved in 2008) whereas let Israel, India and Paksitan — who made nukes outside the NPT — not only off scott free but actually coddle them.

    If this does not mean the end of the NPT, what does?

  2. yousaf says:

    Further, how is it possible to consider NPT member states with resolved nuclear material accountancy errors a threat to peace and simultaneously not consider non NPT states that made nuclear weapons not a threat to the peace?

    Do we need to reform UNSC practice/procedure?

  3. Cyrus says:

    To these people International Law only has a utilitarian purpose, and is discarded when inconvenient.

  4. Cyrus says:

    BTW the US-India nuke deal was meant to be a bribe to India, to get her to vote against Iran at the IAEA Board and also provide the US with the claim that the NonAligneds also back the US position.

  5. Don Bacon says:

    Fitzpatrick has served 26 years at State and is self-admittedly “one of those who seemed obsessed with Iran,” so he is now fully on the US anti-Iran track which includes using the Pakistan-Saudi Arabia (Sunni) alliance against the US’s most important concocted enemy, Iran.

    Recently the US put the final nail in killing the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline deal which would have brought Pakistan much-needed energy for its idle plants and needy households. There must be compensation. There was a large Saudi payment to Pakistan, and now we’re seeing (illegal) movement in the nuclear area.

    There are no limits to the US machinations for regime change in Iran and Syria. None.

  6. Neeb says:

    I must say that having operated civilian nuclear program safely for more than 40 years, Pakistan is much qualifies to become a part of the international nuclear energy regime, including membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. And Given Pakistan’s serious energy crisis, this argument may be considered to have much weight.

    • Cyrus says:

      Yes so nevermind the whole “lets try to rid the world of nuclear weapons” thing … Hey, just make some nukes and wait it out. NPT schmemBT

  7. What is bad in that if US offers a similar deal to Pakistan as offered to India. It will be a balancing factor. Pakistan is no more weak state. It has developed its nuclear program as well as it has established a robust command and control mechanism even far better than India. Pakistan is energy deficient state and it is in great need of such assistance. If US can make a deal with India than Pakistan has also right to avail such technology. Global discrimination nuclear technology trade has already damaged NPT and NSG’s credibility .

  8. Zaryab says:

    If the western proposal of deal in near future comes to be fulfilled then there are chances that GOP would have access to free energy market in the way that it would have built up its capacity to generate energy through utilizing nuclear power. This deal would help Pakistan to use it for civilian purposes. International community had applauded Pakistan for the safest and secured operation of nuclear program.

  9. Liza says:

    NPT came up in 1968 and now it’s 2014. States do not freeze the nuclear weapons status quo with five dejure NWS. Now we are enjoying with defacto NWS along with Nuclear Weapons Free Zones also. There are lots of questions on the status of NPT and its signatory parties. It is a fact some states roll back their nuclear programs in order to enjoy the bargain of NPT and some left NPT in order to enjoy inherent state right of being nuclear. These moves reflects many connotations about states entanglement towards nuclear and in simple words, its double standards and hypocrisy. US defends not only itself but India in making a nuclear deal by molding NPT according to its wishes. Despite of being ally, this has not been offered to Pakistan. The latter country Pakistan efforts for building comprehensive nuclear setup gathered appreciations from international community after NSS2014. Any deal offered to Pakistan with this backdrop than why not if it can be offered to India previously. NPT is an international norm for nonproliferation but does US following it? There is a great need to settle the nuclear domain issues for the sake of humanity and its survival.

  10. […] Mark Fitzpatrick Wants the US to Make a Nuclear Trade Deal with Pakistan Just Like it Did with India… […]

  11. yousaf says:

    Yes, as the comments above suggest, the NPT is dead and we need to think about a post-NPT world that the NWS/P5+1 are helping bring about via bilateral deals, 123 agreements, and NSG etc.

  12. Joseph says:

    To get rid of energy crisis is the dire need of time and US pursual of coming forward to start negotiations over the issue of nuclear deal is a good gesture. Now USA should strike the same deal with Pakistan as it did with India. Many other countries are looking forward to cooperate with Pakistan in the nuclear field keeping in view the safety and security matters of Pakistan and also its compliance with the non proliferation efforts. If President Obama continued his unbalanced approach towards Pakistan, he would damage American interests, and the US is likely to face the fate of the former Soviet Union in its worst form. Also Pakistan will be the key player in solving the Afghan issue as we helped to bring Taliban on peace talks table. As we must be given nuclear deal to end our energy crisis just like china helping us because of our good behaviour in nuclear energy.

  13. frank says:

    Pakistan will be the key player and the U.S. cannot afford to ignore it. If the US does not improve relations with Pakistan, the possibility of stabilizing the region would continue to diminish. A deal in civil nuclear technology will encourage Pakistan to safeguard the U.S. interests and other returns from such a deal are obvious to pick. If solving Pakistan’s power crisis should be a priority in Washington, then electricity starved population will be obliged to the U.S. As the deal would offer technology and fuel for energy generation then it could be the carrot essential for Pakistan to secure US strategic interests.

  14. Don Bacon says:

    Oh come on, the US has no interest in the Pakistan people nor solving its power crisis. The US kills Pakistanis with explosive rockets at its pleasure. This is all about Iran, and all options are on the table.

    Pakistan has sponsored the people in Afghanistan who have been killing American soldiers — but that’s nothing either. It’s all about Iran, one of the three countries in the whole world which do not enjoy diplomatic relations with the US.

    And I’m not dumping on Pakistan — it’s been in Pakistan’s national interest to kill American soldiers. I understand Pakistan’s position. It’s the US which has followed the wrong imperialistic policy — that’s obvious to most people. Pakistan looks out for Pakistan, and fears India (whose interests the US has been promoting in Afghanistan), and doesn’t care anything about US imperialism objectives That’s all logical.

  15. Don Bacon says:

    More evidence that the NPT harms Iran, from Fereydoon Abbasi, former Iran nuclear chief.

    …We have so far arrived at the conclusion that western intelligence agencies calibrate their [Stuxnet and other sabotage] moves based on the leaked IAEA reports and only by the reports they are able to size up the level of destruction they have exerted on our nuclear machinery and equipment.

    For example, the IAEA constantly requires Iran to provide the agency with the updated Design Information Questioner (DIQ) in which Tehran gives out data about the design and progress of its nuclear facilities. The DIQ also carried intelligence such as the pieces Iran needs to progress its projects in the facilities. On the other hand, intelligence agencies, with access to the IAEA reports, trace companies that produce such pieces as mentioned in the DIQ, put them under pressure to reject Iran’s bids for the purchase of the pieces or make them booby-trap the devices, use malfunctioning materials in their construction and set up viruses in their control systems.”

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