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Preview: RealClearPolitics - Articles - Todd Crowell

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Todd Crowell

Last Build Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2007 00:36:28 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2007

175 Million New Recruits for Jihad?

Sat, 14 Jul 2007 00:36:28 -0600

Three of the core suspects in the London/Glasgow affair, Kafeel Ahmed, his brother Sabeel Ahmed and their cousin in Australia Mohammed Haneef all came from the southern Indian state of Karnataka. Although Mohammed and Sabeel were doctors, Kafeel was an aeronautical engineer.

The man that British authorities believe tried to ram his Jeep Cherokee into Glasgow International Airport had worked for Infotech an Indian outsourcing company based in Bangalore that designs aircraft parts for Airbus Industrie and Boeing.

All three had studied in Bangalore, which is India's information technology capital and probably its most cosmopolitan city, the poster-child for the "flat", globally connected world of which India has become an important part.

As far as anyone knows, the alleged terrorists did not come from some impoverished Muslim ghetto; nor did they get indoctrinated at madrassa religious schools. That's not to say that they were radicalized only after they emigrated to Britain and Australia.

Kafeel is reported to have undergone a radical transformation through fundamentalist organizations while studying engineering near Bangalore. He later joined the Tablighi Jamaat, which is usually described as a kind of missionary organization, but which some authorities believe has links to terrorism.

While in Bangalore, the brothers were expelled from their local mosque after loudly complaining that it was too permissive. They wanted the leaders to follow the strict Saudi Arabian brand of Wahhabism, which is not popular among India's 175 million Muslims.

Up to now, India's Muslims have been somewhat aloof to the call for global jihad. They did not flock to Afghanistan, like their co-religionists in Pakistan, in the 1980s to fight the Soviets. Indians tended to view that conflict as being in Pakistan's sphere of influence.

This is not to say that India is immune to terrorism. Mumbai, the financial capital has had deadly bombings in 1993 and 2006. A nasty Naxalite insurgency motivated by communism has killed thousands of innocents across the center of India. There are also occasional deadly spasms of sectarian conflict between Muslims and Hindus.

The July 11, 2006 bombing of the subway in Mumbai killed 209 people and injured 700. It was blamed on Pakistani elements linked to the Inter-Services Intelligence organization not on local Muslims.

In India Muslims have gone on rampages, but they have usually been tit-for-tat reactions to Hindu provocations, such as the 1992 destruction by militant Hindus of the Babri Masjid Mosque, which stood on ground sacred to Hindus. In other words, they were strictly Indian affairs.

"Indian Muslims, it seemed, were not drawn by calls for jihad or to join international terrorist groups," wrote Indian journalist Sudha Ramachandran in Asia Times Online. "That myth appears now to have been shattered."

Another myth shattered was the comfortable belief that Indian Muslims were immune to the siren songs of Osama bin Laden and company because India is officially a secular democracy rather than a military dictatorship like Pakistan.

British authorities, too, may have to rethink their assumptions. The combination of their professions and origins may have helped ease the Ahmed brothers entry into the country. It is reported, that British intelligence had no inkling of the attacks until they occurred.

It would, of course, be a mistake to make sweeping generalizations about 175 million Muslims based on the actions of three of them. Nevertheless, the incidents will provoke some soul-searching in India and force anti-terrorism authorities around the world to recalibrate their suspect profiles.

China as Big Brother

Mon, 12 Mar 2007 23:30:21 -0600

Arroyo had good reason to be effusive. In September Beijing had announced its intention to extend a $2 billion loan to the Philippines with no conditions attached. More to the point, there were no rude concerns raised about the epidemic of extra-judicial killings in her country attributed to rogue elements in the army and police. Technically, the US is barred by the Leahy Amendment from providing military and police assistance to governments that are found to be involved in systematic human rights abuses such as political killings, although it has not invoked the amendment. China, of course, is under no such constraints. Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen has been getting a lot of static these days from non-governmental organizations and donor groups about alleged corruption in his government. They are on a crusade to end corruption in the government by tying millions of dollars worth of aid to the government's willingness to curb graft and to stop its habit of locking up critical journalists. Hun Sen had to listen to them because donor groups have underwritten much of Cambodia's budget for the past decade since the first UN-monitored elections in 1991. Enter China with millions of dollars worth of assistance to build hydroelectric power plants and other infrastructure, providing roughly the same amount of developmental aid as Cambodia's traditional benefactors - no strings attached. Little wonder that Hun Sen has been effusive in praising China. Speaking at the inauguration one of the Chinese-funded projects recently he said, "The Chinese prime minister never orders Cambodia's prime minister to build this road or that. It's up to Cambodia what to do." Shortly after the generals seized power in Thailand and ousted the elected prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a coup d'etat last September, the US suspended $24 million in bilateral military assistance, in accordance with American law that mandates such actions when democratic regimes are overthrown. In the past, Thailand would have had to do without, at least until democracy was restored. This time China moved speedily to fill the gap by offering Thailand $49 million in military assistance and training. The news was delivered in person to the junta leader, Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin during an unannounced visit to Beijing earlier this year. Soon thereafter Washington announced that it would indeed continue to participate in the annual Cobra Gold joint military maneuvers with Thailand and several other nations, the largest such exercises in Southeast Asia. There had been some doubt whether the US would take part in the exercise this year in order to show its displeasure with the coup. But that was before it was learned that China was offering military assistance - and especially after China put out feelers to Southeast Asia to hold its own joint military exercises or training. Needless to say, Beijing has not condemned the Thai coup. So it goes. With China's rapid rise, Asian governments are increasingly able to pick and choose between engagement with the US or with China. Given a choice, many might prefer to deal with Beijing since China's aid comes with no apparent strings attached, no hectoring to expand democracy, improve human rights or open markets further. To be sure most Southeast Asian countries are not yet ready to throw themselves entirely into China's welcoming embrace. Memories of Communist China's support for local communist insurgencies still lingers as do uncertainties about Beijing's long-term goals. And the region still welcomes the US as a potential counterweight to China's influence. Nevertheless, American foreign policy in the region is increasingly confronted with choices it never had to face before. Should it try to maintain the high ground in accordance with its ideals - and see its influence steadily drain away? Or, should it compete on China's terms? These days many Asian nations are finding they prefer to deal with Big Brother rather than the Big Scold.[...]

A Deadly Kind of Fizzle

Mon, 16 Oct 2006 00:20:20 -0600

In July North Korea tried to launch a multi-stage ballistic missile that fizzled out over the Sea of Japan minutes after it was launched. This was the second test firing in eight years and it was even less successful than the one in 1998, which at least flew over Japan, flaming out somewhere near the Aleutian islands. Three months later the North conducted a purported nuclear weapons test, which may not have been an obvious fizzle, but its extremely low yield of less than one kiloton of conventional explosives (about 550 tons to be precise) strongly suggests it was a dud. Sub-kiloton nuclear tests are not unknown. Pakistan set off five bombs in 1998, three of which were supposedly of sub-kiloton yield, although that has never been confirmed. It is confirmed that the British in a series of above ground tests in South Australia in the mid-1950s set off a half-dozen explosions ranging from 27 kt down to less than one kiloton (930 tons). The US has conducted numerous sub-kiloton tests in its quest to miniaturize atomic bombs to put in artillery shells and other delivery systems. But no nuclear weapons state - from America's "Trinity" test in July 1945 (20kt) to Pakistan (40kt) - has ever made its world debut with such a low yield. Initial detonations have all been in the 10kt-60kt range. So the North's explosion was lower than the lowest by a factor of nearly 20. "No one has ever dudded their first test of a simple fission device," says "North Korea's nuclear scientists are the worst ever." There are several reasons why a nuclear test might fizzle. Indeed, "fizzle yield" is a recognized nuclear term, indicating the complexities of igniting a fission bomb, especially one that is made from plutonium. A fizzle can happen when the bomb literally blows itself apart too fast for the nuclear chain reaction to take place properly and generate the large amount of energy needed for a full-scale explosion. Should that happen a bomb meant to be in the Nagasaki range (20kt) may yield only about a kiloton. There are two ways this can happen. One is contamination with Plutonium-240. The key ingredient for a plutonium bomb does not exist in nature; it is manufactured in a nuclear reactor when atoms of Uranium-238 capture loose neutrons and are converted to Plutonium-239, the stuff of bombs. But these plutonium atoms can, in turn, capture neutrons, becoming Pu-240 and even Pu-241. With a bomb contaminated with Pu-240, the probability of a fizzle is very large. The US maintains a standard that none of its bomb-grade plutonium will have more than 6% Pu-240. Presumably North Korea's physicists, not to mention their Russian and Chinese advisors, understand this problem. But whether they applied the skill needed to suppress PU-240 build-up is another question. The North could avoid the problem of contamination entirely by using uranium as the basic ingredient of its bomb. Much less is known of the North's purported uranium enrichment program, but it very unlikely that it progressed to the point of producing sufficient weapon's grade material. The other problem concerns detonation. Plutonium bombs work on the "implosion" principle. A sub-critical core of plutonium about the size of soft ball is surrounded by conventional explosives. The pressure from the explosion squeezes the plutonium into a critical mass, setting off the nuclear explosion. But the shaped charges must be so precisely engineered that they go off simultaneously. If even one charge explodes prematurely, even by a nanosecond, it may blow the bomb apart, cutting short the chain reaction and reducing the yield. Of course, even a sub-kiloton bomb can cause a lot of damage. A one kiloton bomb will have the radius of destruction of about a third of the Hiroshima bomb, not exactly a city-flattener, but perhaps something that could work as a terrorist weapon. Ironically, no one should know better than Kim Jong-il. Shortly after his train passed through Ryongchon near the Chinese border on April 22, 200[...]

Thailand's 'Pro-Democracy' Coup

Fri, 22 Sep 2006 08:45:56 -0600

The first thing that the generals who seized power in the capital, Bangkok, last Tuesday did was abrogate the constitution. Styling themselves, rather grandly, as the Council for Democratic Reform, they promised to restore democracy, and draft a new document. One of the original drafters, Khanin Boonsuwan, said, "it was the best constitution we ever had." Why then did it fail Thailand? "The 1997 Constitution was like a big tree and politicians like parasite plants that were allowed to grow until too late to control. That left only one option - uprooting the whole tree," he said. In retrospect it is clear that all political factions in the country set out to subvert both the letter and the spirit of the liberal document almost from the beginning. That includes, of course, the deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and members of his party, known colorfully as the "Thais Love Thais" Party. For example, under the constitution the elected senate is not so much a legislative body, as it is in the United States, as it is a kind of guardian council. But from the beginning Thaksin supporters abrogated their role as watchdogs to secretly serve the government's agenda. The senate's support made it possible for the government to subvert supposedly independent bodies, such as the Election Commission. Three members of the commission were earlier imprisoned for trying to manipulate the results of the April 2 general election. But the not-so loyal opposition parties also failed the country when they determined to boycott a general election because they knew they would lose. That led to the election being annulled and directly to the current political impasse. It finally took the army to cut through the Gordian Knot. As the Bangkok Post editorialized: "Democracy is not just about free elections. Rather, the democratic process is difficult daily task of making authorities accountable to voters and reining in the politicians who abuse the agreed legal framework." As military takeovers go, it was a peaceful, almost joyful occasion. People in Thailand, the capital at any rate, were sick and tired of Thaksin, who had ruled since 200. A quick and dirty poll the day after by the Bangkok Post showed that 81% of Bangkok people supported the coup. Interestingly, a slightly higher percentage outside the capital said they too supported the generals' actions, even though the hinterland is supposed to be the stronghold of the premier's support. The ad hoc People's Alliance for Democracy, which had organized massive demonstrations against Thaksin in March, called off a planned resumption of popular protests in support of the coup. In any case, the generals banned public political gatherings of more than five people. The fact that King Bhumibol quickly endorsed the coup, no doubt contributed to the general approval and peacefulness of the takeover. The coup leader, General Sonthi even apologized on national television, "for any inconvenience that it might cause." There wasn't even a curfew. The soldiers sported yellow ribbons - the royal color - around their wrists or around the barrels of their guns and posed for pictures with bemused Bangkok citizens. It had something of feel of the "People Power" revolt in the Philippines in 1986 that ousted the long-time strongman Ferdinand Marcos (the color of that rebellion was also yellow). But then most coups in Thailand - there have been more than a dozen in the past 75 years - are usually popular at first. It is later, when the generals have worn out their welcome and the streets begin to fill again with protestors demanding that they quit that the troops are not so friendly. This group of generals is well aware of the history, and it is expected that they will turn the government over to some kind of non-political civilian administration in a couple weeks. On the other hand, they let it be known that elections won't resume for at least a year. If things turn nasty, Thais trust their revered King will int[...]

Elvis and War Crimes: One Shrine or Another

Sat, 08 Jul 2006 16:43:50 -0600

Asian leaders have also addressed joint sessions. They include president Kim Dae-jung of South Korea and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India (who was preceded by former prime minister Atal Bihart Vajpayee, who was preceded by his predecessor, prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.) There is one glaring omission in this parade: Japan. No Japanese prime minister or other leader has ever addressed a joint session of Congress. The perfect opportunity to rectify this would have been during his recent visit to Washington. After all, who else among the world's leaders has been such a consistent friend and ally of the US? During his five years in office, Koizumi has been almost slavishly pro-American. He bucked Japan's pacifist traditions by sending Japanese troops to Iraq and helping supply coalition warships in the Gulf. His tenure as premier has seen the Japanese-American defense alliance strengthened in many ways. His government has been an active participant in the Six-Party talks on Korean disarmament and has been helpful in Iran and many other international issues. On top of that would have been the sheer symbolic value of a Japanese prime minister speaking from the podium, from the very spot, where President Franklin D Roosevelt had asked Congress to declare war in his famous "Day of Infamy" speech more than 60 years ago. But Koizumi did not address Congress during this visit. Instead, the self-professed Elvis fan, who shares a birthday with the King of rock and roll, was invited to tour Graceland, the late entertainer's shrine in Memphis.. The official position is that no invitation to address Congress was extended and none was requested by the Japanese government. But in reality, Tokyo was worried that the dispute over Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which have brought Japan's relations with her neighbors to new lows, might blot what they hoped would be the out-going premier's "victory lap". Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois had written House Speaker Dennis Hastert a letter asking that Koizumi reassure Congress that he would not pay another visit to the Yasukuni Shrine anytime soon after his speech. The next obvious time for such a visit would be August 15, the anniversary of Japan's surrender. Koizumi is expected to pay his respects there once again before leaving office in September. In his letter Hyde said he welcomed Koizumi speaking to Congress, but added that making the speech and then visiting the Yasukuni shrine so soon thereafter would be "an affront to the generation that remembers Pearl Harbor and dishonor the place where president Roosevelt made his 'Day of Infamy' speech." Hyde, a veteran of World War II, is an influential member. He is currently chairman of the House International Relations Committee. While his views may not be widely shared in Congress, the Japanese probably didn't want to take chances of it developing into an issue and spoiling Koizumi's upbeat and sentimental farewell from the world stage. Americans have been curiously detached from the Yasukuni shrine issue. Hyde may be the only member of Congress, indeed the only member of the entire government, who takes the matter seriously and has expressed his disapproval. This is strange since it makes it seem as if World War II in the Pacific was some kind of parochial dustup between Japan China and Korea, in which the US was simply a passive bystander. Yet Americans might be more concerned if they realized that their entire legacy in that epic conflict is under attack in Japan. The Yasukuni Shrine is a memorial to the souls of more than two million Japanese soldiers from wars stretching back to the Meiji Era 1868-1912). It also honors 14 "Class A" war criminals (not to mention Class B, C and D. criminals) - 1,068 war criminals convicted in a series of post-war tribunals known as the Tokyo Trials. The issue isn't just the technical appropriateness of the Japanese prime minister paying respects to Japan's fallen ([...]

The Forever Wars

Sat, 01 Jul 2006 06:03:03 -0600

The violence that has engulfed Thailand's three southern-most provinces is just in its infancy. The disturbances there go back only to 2004. Some of the other insurgencies have been going on for nearly 50 years - with no end in sight. Here is a list: Insurgency Year Myanmar – various 1958 India – Naxalites 1967 Philippines – NPA 1969 Philippines – MILF 1971 Indonesia – Aceh l976 India – Northeast 1979 Sri Lanka – LTTE 1983 India – Kashmir 1989 Nepal – Maoists 1996 Thailand – south 2004 Source: Ploughshares, Armed Conflict Rpts Ten insurgencies, not counting those in Afghanistan and Pakistan, have been raging in Asia, many of them dating back to the end of the World War II. The average duration is 27 years - and counting. Insurgencies go on forever. Probably the most serious spate of violence today is in India - everybody's current cover story. New Delhi confronts three insurgencies, of which the most serious and growing is the one against the communists, known as Naxalites from the small northeastern town where the rebellion started 30 years ago. Once a rag-tag force, the Naxalites have grown into a rather formidable army of some 20,000 fighters. They are active now in about half of India's states, especially in the poorer eastern states, a large swath of territory known as the "Red Corridor." Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently called the Naxalites India's greatest security threat since independence in 1947. more serious than Islamic terrorism or al-Qaeda. The governments fight back these various insurgencies with a combination military force, amnesties, incentives, promises of increased autonomy, with various success. This month Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared "all-out war" against the communist New People's Army, one of the world's longest-running insurgencies. The Philippines has one of the poorest-equipped armies in Southeast Asia and has to deal not just with the NPA but also with the simmering Islamic insurgency on the southern island of Mindanao. One wonders if Arroyo's "all-out war" will have any more impact that her predecessors'. In the world of Asian insurgencies cease fires come and cease fires are broken. Very often the enemy is not one but several different groups - a dozen or more insurgent groups fight New Delhi in India's troubled northeastern states. Of course, the nations use divide and conquer tactics. Sometimes insurgent groups abandon the fight and come over to the side of the national government, as happens from time to time in Myanmar. The signing of an agreement in 1996 between the Philippine government and the Moro National Liberation Front split the rebellion into two parts. One faction, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front continues to make war on Manila (a cease fire is in place). Sometimes insurgencies finally do come to an end. The twenty-year rebellion in Indonesia's Aceh province seems to have ended with an agreement signed last year in Sweden. Indonesian troops withdrew, and the rebels turned in their weapons. The shock of the tsunami in late 2004, which devastated Aceh, may have played a part in ending the conflict. This month Nepal was treated to the spectacle of "Comrade Pachanda", leader of the Maoists, showing up at government house in Kathmandu to treat with the prime minister. It remaines to be seen if he will end his "People's War" and join in democratic elections. The influence of al-Qaeda or any other outside force on any of these conflicts seems to be marginal. Terrorism experts debate the extent to which al-Qaeda is involved in Thailand's insurgency in its three Muslim provinces in the south. Supposedly the MILF has contacts with al-Qaeda in the southe[...]

Howard's Australia: A Conservative Government That Works

Fri, 26 May 2006 07:01:45 -0600

It is puzzling that Howard doesn't have a higher global reputation. Perhaps it is because he looks like a branch bank manager from Waga Waga. Maybe because during his frequent trips to Washington he seems so deferential, almost as if he relishes Australia's role as a junior partner to the U.S. Howard came into office promising to be the most conservative prime minister in Australian history. He is probably the last true Thatcherite holding public office anywhere today. (President George W. Bush has been called many things, but never a Thatcherite). He came into office espousing many of the issues that the former British leader championed, including privatization of state-owned corporations, cuts in the income tax, confronting the unions and fiscal responsibility. He has managed to accomplish many of those. As an American, I'm agnostic as to whether I would prefer to live in a country ruled by the Australian Labor Party or Howard's Liberal (actually conservative)-National Coalition government. But from a distance it is hard not to admire sheer competence, especially as it seems sorely lacking at home. Conservatives in the US are pretty dispirited these days. Their leader's approval ratings are in the pits. The party's split over immigration. Traditional conservatives feel betrayed by Bush's loose fiscal policies. They might get some encouragement from a conservative government that actually works - and maybe learn a few things from Down Under. Fiscal Responsibility and economic growth. For eight of Howard's ten years in office, the government has enjoyed budget surpluses. That has allowed the government to cut taxes for the past three years without creating budget deficits. It is true that Australia's personal income taxes are higher than in the U.S. The top rate is 47%, although it is due to come down to 45% in June. Few doubt that taxes will go lower without Australia mortgaging its future in exchange for tax breaks for the well-off. The Australian economy is growing at roughly the same rate as the U.S., but it is creating new jobs two, three, four times faster than the U.S. For example, the Australian Treasurer reported that 39,000 new jobs were created in March. Corrected for differences in population (with nearly 300 million people, the US is 15 times larger than Australia, with 20 million) that's the equivalent of the US creating 585,000 jobs. Of course, the US comes nowhere near creating that many jobs. Supporters of President Bush think his path should be strewn with garlands if the economy manages to exceed 200,000 new jobs a month. Immigration. As in the US today, immigration and the "border protection" were red hot in Australia a few years back. An avowedly nativist and racist national political movement called the One Nation Party was winning votes and even - as a spoiler - toppling state governments in Queensland and Western Australia. The Howard government destroyed One Nation with a ruthlessness that even Karl Rove would probably shy away from (for all its excesses, the Bush administration has not put a prominent political opposition leader in prison, as happened to One Nation founder Paulene Hanson). First it stole One Nation's issues, then it set about to systematically hound the party's leaders through the courts. One Nation's sole senator was expelled from parliament because she had dual British-Australian citizenship (this in a country where people are supposedly "subjects" of the Queen). Howard refused entry to a ship, the MV Tampa, carrying Afghan refugees. That action brought down international condemnation but cemented Howard's image as being strong on border protection. "We need to decide who comes into the country and the circumstances in which they come." Howard declared. Foreign Policy. Nowhere was Howard more adroit than in the handling of Australia's commitments in Iraq. Of course, the cornerstone of Australia's [...]

Congress Should Pass the Indo-U.S. Nuclear Deal

Tue, 11 Apr 2006 00:04:05 -0600

Implementation requires Congress to exempt India from certain sections of the Atomic Energy Act. This is going to be a tough sell for many reasons. For one thing, Congressmen are in a testy mood. Even Republicans are angry that the Bush administration continues to spring things on them without prior consultation. Bush unveiled the deal in New Delhi without first consulting anyone. Apparently, nobody in Congress was alerted to the deal even when it was in its formative stages last summer. So the administration has that against it. But members and other influential voices have more substantive concerns, since the deal seems to overturn many time-honored notions about nuclear non-proliferation. Others complain that Washington pushed a soft deal, essentially giving away the store for a cheap foreign policy victory. India still gets to keep eight of its 22 reactors out of the inspections regime. Breeder reactors are exempt too, and it is up to New Delhi whether to declare any new reactor as being open to inspections. As I said, it is easy to find fault with the deal, Nevertheless, Congress should pass the necessary legislation. Why? The easy answer is that the deal sets aside years of acrimony that stretch back to the Cold War years when India was effectively a Soviet ally and ties India closer to the U.S. as a "counter" against a rising China. Never mind that India is rising too. I'm sure there is something in this, but there is a more compelling reason that has to do with energy resources. The biggest long-term threat to world peace comes from competition for increasingly scarce energy resources. Helping India use more nuclear power is in our, and the world's interests. B.S. Prakash, India's Consul-General in San Francisco, put it best: "The crux of the deal is that India, which is growing by 8% annually, has huge energy needs, and we have very, very limited options. The key to this deal is to look at India's energy needs and not so much on India's weapons programs on which there has been excessive focus." India has much in common with China. Both have huge populations, both are urbanizing at a rapid pace, both depend on coal and imported oil to meet most of their energy needs. As is well-known, much of Beijing's diplomacy in recent years has been directed at securing energy supplies. India's deal with the US might be seen in a similar light. Both countries have civilian nuclear power plants, but they supply a small amount (2-3%, roughly) of their energy needs. India aims to boost this proportion to 25% by 2050, but to do so it undoubtedly needs to import more uranium. India is not overly supplied with uranium. It has to scrounge just to keep its current plants in operation. Earlier this month New Delhi announced it was buying enriched uranium from Russia to fuel its Tarapur reactor (built by General Electric in the 1960s). Considering that the purchase came at an inopportune time when Congress is debating the nuclear deal, one has to figure that the Indians were pretty desperate to keep this power plant in operation. It is a truism that most of the world's petroleum deposits lie in unstable countries and regions. Uranium deposits are in friendlier hands. Australia is the Saudi Arabia of uranium, and it is perhaps not a coincidence that Australia and China signed an agreement that will allow China to buy uranium from Australia and even prospect and mine new deposits. Canberra still declines to sell India uranium because it did not sign the NPT, but that could change, especially in view of the Indo-US agreement. Prime Minister John Howard has said some things that seem to imply that Canberra will take another look at India. This agreement overturns a long-held Australian predisposition not to export uranium to anyone, and the Labor Party is still opposed to the deal. It only shows how the imperatives of energy are impac[...]