“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Nuclear Poker. US Plays The India Card. China Checks.

This is a big deal and here is hoping the Democrats do not screw this hand up. China and Russia like to play nuclear poker fast and loose. It is a numbers game. India as an emerging democratic power and a member of the billion population club is a natural to offset another billion club member China. For most of the Cold War, India sided with Russia against China and against the US. Times have changed, Russia is declining rapidly and China is not. With Democrats in control of the House and the Senate, the fate of the India-US nuclear deal hangs in the balance. The Indians are uncertain as to how long it will take to get its approval and in what form.

The India-US nuclear deal, which offers US nuclear technology to energy-hungry India in exchange for placing Indian civilian reactors under safeguards, was passed by the House of Representatives by 369-68 and by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a 16-2 vote. But the 100-member Senate is yet to vote on the deal. This would be a great opportunity to reestablish some bipartisan agreement on US foreign policy. By the way, the Chinese are looking to see what they can do in Pakistan. I guess they are card counters.

The best day ever in Indo-US ties
Seema Guha
Friday, November 17, 2006 23:50 DAILY NEWS & ANALYSIS

NEW DELHI: India has greeted the passage of the nuclear pact in the US Senate with cautious optimism. Foreign minister Pranab Mulherjee thanked President George Bush and Secretary Condoleezza Rice for their tireless efforts to get the bill through, but realising that there was still some way to go, he said: “We must await the final version before drawing any conclusions on the legislation.”

US ambassador David Mulford was more effusive, saying “This is perhaps the best day ever” in India-US ties.

“It is a historic day in the long relations between India and the US… perhaps the best day ever, with the Senate voting overwhelmingly for the bill,’’ ambassador Mulford told reporters at a news conference at Roosevelt House Friday afternoon.

“It represents the realisation of President Bush’s vision of India’s emergence as a major world power and marks the end of decades of nuclear isolation of India.” He repeatedly emphasised that the effect of the agreement , which would finally allow nuclear trade with India, would bring New Delhi to the “international mainstream.”

In effect, India will be the only country, besides the US, Russia, UK, France and China to be given this privilege. Asked whether this would mean that the world has tacitly recognised India as the sixth nuclear state, Mulford was quick to point out : “The agreement is on civilian nuclear energy.” He went on to say that once the agreement was through it would help in generating much needed power to keep pace with India’s growing energy requirements. At the moment the just two and a half per cent of nuclear power is generated in India.

“It is one big step forward, but there is yet some way to go yet,” said a senior official involved in the negotiations, who did not wish to be identified. There are, however, some serious problems. Much of this has to do with some of the formulation in the bill and some of the provisions which are India specific. One is the issue of recycling of spent fuel.

The US does not transfer this technology to any country, but the move to put this formally as a clause in the bill is not acceptable to India. “If you want to take the relations to a higher plane it is essential that you trust us,’’ said an Indian official.


  1. Rufus,
    Yeah, but if they could haul coal to Newcastle,
    we can damn sure import Petrol to Baghdad.
    Stay the Course!

  2. The Kindness of a Stranger

    I went to a gay bar I was 17 years old. It was called the Hut and it was in Washington, D.C. Some referred to it as the Chicken Hut, and it was filled with early 1960s gay men in fluffy sweaters who cruised each other by calling table-to-table on phones provided by the bar.
    “I may be queer but I ain’t this,”
    I remember thinking. Still reading everything Tennessee Williams wrote, I knew he would understand my dilemma. Tennessee never seemed “gayly-correct”


    In the Pink No More

    ON Nov. 1, just two months shy of its 50th birthday, the plastic pink flamingo went extinct. Or more accurately, it stopped reproducing

  3. India Praises US Senate Vote on Nuclear Cooperation

    India Friday praised the US Senate vote on nuclear cooperation between the two nations, but concern remained over the Senate's stipulation that requires India to help curb Iran's nuclear appetite for its own program, something India's lawmakers are not to keen on being involved in.

    The US Senate had passed its bill in an 85-to-12 vote late on Thursday, in a deal that would allow the United States to ship nuclear fuel and technology to India despite India's refusal to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. "This undoubtedly reflects the very broad bipartisan support which this initiative enjoys," India's foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

    The legislation, as passed in the Senate, contains a new provision that requires the American president to declare that India has joined multinational efforts to contain Iran's nuclear programme before the US-Indo nuclear deal moves forward. Iran is among India's most vital energy partners, and India's large Shiite Muslim population makes relations with Tehran particularly delicate.

    A complementary deal between India and the International Atomic Energy Agency must be reached and an exception for India made by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, countries that export nuclear material, before the nuclear deal can become effective, even then, the US Congresss must have approved it and President Bush signed it into law.

  4. 2164th wrote:

    For most of the Cold War, India sided with Russia against China and against the US. Times have changed, Russia is declining rapidly and China is not.

    That (and $55 oil) explains the relative scarcity of Putin the Boogeyman articles around here lately. But have a care, Bush also calculated that the Hispanic vote would break the GOP way if he was soft on immigration, and it didn't work out that way. Pakistan could dangle Osama's handcuffed ass in front of us like a carrot and we'd jump in there with nuclear power assistance and screw up the whole deal with India.

  5. I didn't know that Doug was agy, not that there is anything wrong with that.

    WC, Believe it or not, I have had several bogeyman posts but either events change or Whit comes out with something better. Trust that Putin has not been forgotten.

  6. FYI: "agy" is gay undercover as opposed to being old. He may be old and gay. He may or may not be undercover, not that there is anything wrong with any of that.