Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Schmoozing for Nukes: Hillary, Biden, Obama Host Indian Leader

Washington -- United States SOS and the nation's leading American white collar job broker to India Hillary Clinton, Middle Class Czar Joe Biden and “Prissy” President Obama are conducting another meeting with India, where GE is looking to bring more good things to light. What does GE want with India? This WSJ article reveals that negotiators from India were scheduled to meet with U.S. negotiators (read corporate and beltway bon vivants plastered with LOVE FOR SALE tats and “think tank” experts) last Saturday in Washington to formalize “vital details of a nuclear-energy cooperation agreement.” 

The meetings continued on Monday with Mr. Singh, who was hosted at a lunch by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with a state dinner tonight hosted by President Obama. The two leaders are expected to announce a series of joint initiatives including climate change, clean energy, agriculture, education and technology.

The U.S./India civilian nuclear agreement is still awaiting formalized closure, and is vital to American corporations' abilities to sell nuclear equipment there – namely reactors. U.S. firms are also competing for a share of India’s planned defense purchases of an estimated $18 billion, including 126 military aircraft. India is said to be a “strategic” partner to the the United States, unlike other countries like Iran.

Why is the U.S. ragging on Iran about their civilian nuclear goals but rushes to build them in India?

Of key concern to U.S. negotiators is an agreement from India to ensure that low-enriched uranium sold by U.S. companies to Indian companies for use in their reactors doesn't end up reprocessed as weapons-grade fuel. Additional concerns include regional political fallout which would have the potential to place national security at risk.

This IPS article describes how the U.S./India nuclear pact will undermine national security:

"It's going to be tough to argue that Iran and North Korea should be denied nuclear technology while India - which has failed to even join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - is given the same technology on a silver platter," said Worldwatch President Christopher Flavin.”

The Obama administration calls its ties with India “one of Washington's most important strategic partnerships.” U.S. officials said the two leaders will announce “a string of joint projects focused on education, clean energy and defense”, following their Tuesday morning meeting at the White House. But American companies haven't yet been able to begin selling their technology and services because of remaining regulatory roadblocks. Also delaying formalization of the nuclear deal is the passage of an Indian law providing U.S. companies with liability protection in the case of nuclear accidents. Companies such as General Electric Co. say the law is a prerequisite for entering the Indian market. India plans a major expansion of nuclear production by 2020 as part of a broader plan to meet rising energy demand.

Why push nuclear power plants at India? Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and an expert on nuclear related energy and security issues, explained in this excellent 2006 article how nuclear power plants are not going to solve India's growing energy problem:

Nuclear power plants, even at the officially projected level of 20,000 megawatts for the year 2020, are not going to significantly contribute to solving India's energy problems. The United States has expressed an opinion that India should not proceed with the India-Pakistan-Iran natural gas pipeline deal. The nuclear deal may undermine the pipeline project if India gave a quid pro quo to the United States on this question. The pipeline project is not only much more important to Indian energy supply than nuclear power, but it is also important to peace in the region.”

Makhijani added that the percentage of India's electricity generated by nuclear power would only rise from three percent to five percent”, and noted that China is building a nuclear reactor in Pakistan, India's arch enemy:

The deal could also upset U.S. relations with Pakistan, as the United States has announced that there will be no similar deal for Pakistan. China is currently building a reactor in Pakistan, which may turn even more to China for civilian nuclear technology. How that nuclear relationship will evolve in view of the U.S. approach to nuclear power globally remains to be seen.”

Despite the fact that just last week India put on high alert all its nuclear plants and installations across the country in the wake of terror threat or that one top official of the Indian Air Force recently slammed the country's politicians for making a "royal mess" of India's defense, “bureaucratic red tape and inefficiency” have been said to jeopardize India's military preparedness. Maybe they'll get their act together, and fend for themselves. In the meantime, the United States should do all that it can to improve ties around the globe and spend as much money as possible on everything we can think of.

Why not on jobs for American citizens, President Obama?


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