Mark Fitzpatrick Wants the US to Make a Nuclear Trade Deal with Pakistan Just Like it Did with India. What a Great Idea!Posted: April 2, 2014
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.