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India's decision to vote against Iran is in response to the US (Achin Vanaik)

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  • sacw
    The Telegraph October 11, 2005 ACTIVE CONSENT - India s decision to vote against Iran is in response to the US by Achin Vanaik (The author is professor of
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 11, 2005
      The Telegraph
      October 11, 2005

      ACTIVE CONSENT
      - India's decision to vote against Iran is in response to the US

      by Achin Vanaik
      (The author is professor of international relations and global
      politics, Delhi University)

      Whether one is for or against the Indian decision to vote against
      Iran at the recent International Atomic Energy Agency meet, let us
      not pretend that this is anything else but a response to a situation
      created by the United States of America. Left to itself, India would
      never have sought to precipitate such a showdown and would have
      preferred to maintain wider options by not having to choose between
      upsetting the US or Iran.

      To understand the whole story properly, one has to start not from
      evaluating what is in India's 'national interest' but from assessing
      what the most powerful player - the US - has been up to and why. And
      how does the NPT-IAEA come into the picture?

      The non-proliferation treaty was a bargain in which non-nuclear
      member states signed up, agreeing to renounce acquisition of nuclear
      weapons in return for two carrots. The first was Article VI, whereby
      the three nuclear weapons states, the United Kingdom, Russia, the US
      (later joined by China and France), promised to take steps to
      ultimately disarm themselves. This carrot has long been thrown out
      the window.

      The second carrot was Article IV, wherein the non-nuclear signatories
      would be helped to build up their own civilian nuclear energy
      establishments, albeit under IAEA monitored safeguards. Here, there
      has always been a basic contradiction inherent in the inescapably
      dual-use nature of civilian nuclear energy development. The NPT
      denies countries nuclear weapons, yet the same treaty helps them
      develop some of the wherewithal to become nuclear if they choose to
      at some future time. For decades this contradiction was never
      attacked by the nuclear weapons states or by India, which confined
      its criticism to the 'discriminatory' aspect of the NPT. The only
      sustained criticism of this contradiction in the NPT came from the
      ranks of those who not only opposed nuclear weapons but also nuclear
      energy development.

      In more recent times, the Western nuclear weapons states did become
      uneasy about how the NPT might be helping certain signatory countries
      like North Korea and Libya to develop their potential on the nuclear
      weapons front. But it is only after September 11, 2001 that the US
      dramatically changed its approach to the NPT.

      In the NPT 2000 review conference, the US, along with other nuclear
      weapons states, went along with the 'thirteen points' that were
      supposed to encourage the prospects of global disarmament. It agreed
      to give some face-savers to Article VI in order to reassure critics
      and enable that conference to be considered a 'success'. In the 2005
      NPT review conference, the US insisted that the issue must shift from
      disarmament to non-proliferation and therefore from Article VI to
      Article IV, dealing with the provision of dual-use help for civilian
      energy purposes. This is the inauguration by the US of a new and much
      more determined process than ever before of suborning and
      manipulating the NPT and the IAEA to prevent (selectively of course)
      even the potential development of a nuclear weapons programme by its
      perceived enemies.

      In short, it is not the detection of 'cheating' or 'duplicity' by
      Iran that is the dramatic and most important new development, but the
      duplicitous new course that the US has taken. So what are the
      principal aims of the US orchestration of this IAEA governing body
      resolution and vote?

      One, to hamper, if not prevent, select enemies, most importantly
      Iran, from developing even the potential - inherent though it is in
      any civilian nuclear energy programme - to have a nuclear weapons
      system in the future.

      Two, to promote and spread the falsehood that Iran is "non-compliant"
      and "cheating". Many Indian observers in the media have swallowed
      this canard. Iran has clearly wanted to keep the nuclear weapons
      option open, even though it is far from actually having nuclear
      weapons or even from deciding that it must have them in the future.
      It has had a programme of building dual-use uranium enrichment
      facilities on this unstated policy basis for many years. But this was
      in no way cheating or non-compliance since Iran has never violated
      any of the clearly stipulated conditions of the IAEA with regard to
      such construction and equipping activity, which only eventually comes
      under formal IAEA inspection. Indeed, by voluntarily signing the
      additional protocol allowing much freer and frequent IAEA
      inspections, Iran has signalled that is in fact moving in the
      direction of narrowing the option to make nuclear weapons in the
      future. That the E-3, the US and the IAEA have nonetheless moved
      towards a resolution tabling "non-compliance" and laying the ground
      for referral of the case to the United Nations security council is an
      expression not of Iranian duplicity but of E-3 and US dishonesty and
      IAEA suborning.

      Three, that Russia, China and 10 others decided to abstain and not
      vote against this disgraceful resolution, which was obviously better
      than voting for it, is nevertheless a concession given to the US that
      also advances its overall project, and which the latter can now try
      and further build upon. The US can now more confidently hope that it
      can, through further abstentions at the IAEA November meet, get a
      majority to refer the case on Iran to the security council, and
      indeed avoid a veto from either Russia or China if the security
      council goes in for a sanctions resolution.

      Four, to pave the way internationally for legitimizing a future US or
      Israeli military attack on Iran in the name of preventing a
      'cheating' and 'irresponsible' Iran for going in for weapons of mass
      destruction. It must be understood that west Asia is the geopolitical
      pivot of the US project to successfully establish an informal global
      empire. And here the greatest strategic defeat that the US has ever
      suffered since 1945 was not the emergence of Iraq under Saddam
      Hussein but the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979, a defeat that
      must be reversed.

      Five, no empire can be achieved or stabilized on the basis of force
      alone. It must achieve legitimacy as widely as possible - among
      client regimes and allies and their populations, among neutrals,
      amongst the populations of actual or potential rivals, amongst the
      populations whose governments are targeted. This requires covering up
      one's imperial project through ideological disguises. For west Asia,
      there are four important ideological banners behind which the US
      hides - the war on global terrorism, weapons of mass destruction,
      humanitarian intervention, regime change to promote democracy. These
      banners either singly or in combination need to be repeatedly
      unfurled and endorsed by an 'expanding audience'. In short, the
      building of Empire needs consent and this can be active, passive or
      bought.

      The best is active consent - the absorption of the belief that what
      is good for the US government is good for the world. Passive consent
      - the belief that one cannot really take on the US though one
      dislikes or hates what it is doing - will do, since resistance is
      abandoned. Bought consent is what governments and their circle of
      supporting strategists call 'intelligent diplomacy', namely
      acceptance of US dollops in return for endorsement of US foreign
      policies which are then sold to the receiving country's population as
      the exercise of 'national interest'.

      The US is delighted that in India, consent to its imperial project is
      not merely being easily purchased, but a pro-US elite in India is
      also in a myriad ways declaring that its acceptance is an active one.
      No matter whether we have a Congress-led or BJP-led coalition
      government at the Centre, the US is now assured (despite some
      dissidence) that the alliance of the two country's elites will be
      stable and enduring.

      _________________________________

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