Today the Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on a US policy shift on nuclear pacts: "U.S. Shifts Policy on Nuclear Pacts" Jan 25 2012 p. A10.
This article contains many interesting and revealing facts.
The article states that the Obama administration has "withdrawn a demand" that Jordan and Vietnam "forgo their rights to produce nuclear fuel."
So, essentially, the US is pursuing a policy that allows these countries to produce nuclear fuel by enriching uranium and reprocessing plutonium.
Enriched nuclear fuel can be used to produce nuclear weapons.
US policy officials claim that a FAILURE to allow production of uranium and reprocessing of plutonium would cause the US to risk "losing business for American companies seeking to build reactors overseas."
So, essentially, the US is agreeing to allow proliferation of enriched nuclear fuel in order to sell nuclear reactors.
The article goes on to bemoan the loss of US industry domination of the nuclear industry: "U.S. companies once controlled at least 50% of the world market for building nuclear reactors. This share has dwindled to about 20%."
Russia, France, and South Korean are shouldering in on the profitable action of building nuclear reactors.
Why is it significant that the US is losing control of the nuclear market? It seems to me that the country that sells nuclear technology will be in the position to influence recipient nations' geopolitical allegiances.
So, in order for the U.S. to entice countries such as Vietnam and Jordan to buy reactors from US nuclear corporations, the U.S. government will smilingly permit these nations to pursue nuclear enrichment practices that would otherwise be banned under nuclear non-proliferation agreements.
Furthermore, the article observes that the Departments of State and Energy are renegotiating pacts from the 1970s with South Korea and Taiwan.
The article strategically omits any discussion of what these pacts (that are legally regarded as treaties) cover, other than the reprocessing of nuclear fuel.
However, we don't need the specifics to understand what is going on here.
The U.S. is essentially re-negotiating treaties to allow South Korean and TAIWAN to reprocess nuclear fuel, which gives these countries access to the materials to build nuclear weapons.
Can you imagine how China is construing these policy developments?
China has long considered Taiwan to be rightfully a Chinese territory. Now the US is allowing Taiwan the means to arm itself with nuclear weapons.
China might construe this action to be motivated by hostile objectives.
The U.S. has recently announced it will install a military base in Australia and in Nov 2011 Hilary Clinton warned China against "intimidation" over its claims to the oil rich South China Sea, a territory China claims historical sovereignty over.
The cold war with China is heating up and China is not likely to regard the revised US treaties with Taiwan and South Korea as friendly.
Even if my analysis of the geopolitical significance of these developments is often target, it is clear that by allowing Jordan and Vietnam to reprocess nuclear fuel, the US is aiding nuclear proliferation in two geopolitically strategic areas--the Middle East and South East Asia.
The US is, in my opinion, is pursuing new-cold war policies while simultaneously handing a prize to U.S. nuclear companies such as General Electric and Westinghouse.
The effect is a more dangerous world characterized by the proliferation of the materials needed to make nuclear weapons.
We are truly suicidal beings.