Actions Speak Louder Than Words
By Steve Schippert | March 5, 2006
President Bush's decision to agree to nuclear cooperation with India has drawn fire from more than a few. Most notable, however, is the fire drawn from the New York Times' editorial board, who declares that Bush is Iran's Best Friend. The editors assert that agreeing to nuclear cooperation with India is an inconsistent and wrong message to send. Predictably, The Times stops for a lengthy layover in Iraq enroute to India.
At the rate that President Bush is going, Iran will be a global superpower before too long. For all of the axis-of-evil rhetoric that has come out of the White House, the reality is that the Bush administration has done more to empower Iran than its most ambitious ayatollah could have dared to imagine. Tehran will be able to look back at the Bush years as a golden era full of boosts from America, its unlikely ally.
During the period before the Iraq invasion, the president gave lip service to the idea that Iran and Iraq were both threats to American security. But his advisers, intent on carrying out their long-deferred dream of toppling Saddam Hussein, gave scant thought to what might happen if their plans did not lead to the unified, peaceful, pro-Western democracy of their imaginings. The answer, though, is now rather apparent: a squabbling, divided country in which the Shiite majority in the oil-rich south finds much more in common with its fellow Shiites in Iran than with the Sunni Muslims with whom it needs to form an Iraqi government.
For two more paragraphs (4 of 7), The Times laments Bush's decision to remove Saddam Hussein before mentioning the US-Indian nuclear cooperation.
The point eventually made by The Times is not invalid. To be sure, agreeing to nuclear cooperation with a country that has refused to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is without question inconsistent, especially considering the current Iranian nuclear crisis before us.
However, to assert that this amounts to making Bush the best friend Iran could have is so loaded with partisan rhetoric as to render it mute.
This is not an example of 'diplomatic nuance'. Rather, it is diplomatic simplicity. Call it a 'market correction' in the economy of US Foreign Relations. India has always been a natural ally of the United States. Many have observed with no small amount of frustration the long history of friction between the two states, stemming from an Indian alliance of necessity with the Soviet Union. India has long been a strategic competitor of China. A regional alliance with the Soviet Union in the interests of self-preservation of a developing nation put India at odds with the United States during the Cold War. India could have aligned itself with America, thousands of miles away. But that would have put her alone in a region with two powerful competitors. Better for her to have allied with one, and it was never going to be China.
Today, much has obviously changed and the long awaited reconciliation between two natural allies can commence in earnest, both fiercely democratic with free and open systems. President Bush has made a significant investment in that process with his recent trip.
What’s more, is it not at least noteworthy that, after meeting with the Indians and agreeing to nuclear cooperation, President Bush was warmly received by the president of India’s current primary foe, Pakistan? (Car-bombing terrorists and flag burning radical Islamists notwithstanding. They do not control Pakistan’s military or nuclear weapons.) Consider that the two countries have been to the brink of war and back more than a few times in recent years, and this must be recognized for the significance it holds.
It is no more complicated than the fact that, while India and America should be a strong natural allies, the reason sharing nuclear information with them is not overburdened by the inconsistency The New York Times implores is this: We do not fear a radical Hindu governmental regime adopting an ideology bent on creating a Hindu world domination, arming radical Hindu terrorist organizations who practice their craft upon civilian populations, usually in restaurants, public transportation and crowded governmental buildings. We do not fear India, already a nuclear power, letting loose a nuke into the hands of terrorists or indiscriminately initiating a nuclear exchange to ‘wipe’ an entire country ‘off the map’.
So let Iran (and the New York Times ) cry foul over claims of inconsistency and fairness. Our opposition to an Iranian nuclear program has little to do with a powerless UN-sanctioned piece of paper called the NPT. It has everything to do with their Islamist aims and their status as the world’s premiere State Sponsor of Terrorism. The contrast between the actions of India and the actions of Iran speaks louder than the words on an NPT document, signed or unsigned.
Sure, it may be nuclear physics. But ‘it ain’t exactly rocket science’.