Ploughshares Fund, 7/4/10 (June 4, “Burma and Nuclear Weapons”, http://www.ploughshares.org/news-analysis/news/burma-and-nuclear-weapons)
News broke today of a new report detailing Burma'spotential nuclear weapons ambitions. The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, and Financial Times covered the story. The report, commissioned by the expatriate group Democratic Voice of Burma and co-authored by former UN weapons inspector Robert Kelley, shows that Burma has taken steps to acquire technological components of nuclear weapons. Information in the report was provided by a defected Burmese military official, who had hundreds of documents and photos detailing Burma's progress. No news outlet's analysis, however, wasas technical and detailed asGeoffrey Forden's in Arms Control Wonk. Arms Control Wonk is a Ploughshares Fund grantee and is a reliable source for explaining the implications of all the latest nuclear policy news, often from an inside perspective. Geoffrey Forden's post on the possible Burmese nuclear weapons program says: Last January, I was invited to join a group of experts in Oslo, Norway, to review a ton of electronic documents smuggled out of Burma to the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB). We spent a significant fraction of our time in Oslo trying to authenticate the information and judging its significance. Since very little is known about what’s going on inside Burma, most of this consisted of looking for internal consistency. According to DVB’s source(s), both “Boxes” (suspect sites) are essentially the same: loaded with sophisticated milling machine and other equipment for precision engineering. Some of these images show non-Asians installing some of the sophisticated equipment. One is left with the impression that the higher-ups are interested in utilizing their foreign trained scientists and engineers for missile production but do not have a master plan for development. Burma also appears to be following another acquisition path: purchasing missile production lines and know-how from the North Koreans. According to DVB’s sources, North Korea had nothing to do with setting up the two machine shops inside the Boxes. Missile development is not causing as much harm to the Burmese people as many of the other activities of the Junta. Nevertheless, it is part of a military program that shows a remarkable disregard for the Burmese people.
Risk of prolif is real – Iran and North Korea
Louis Ciotola, 6/27/10 – historical writer for Military Heritage Magazine and an aspiring independent politician (June 27, “Nuclear rrrProliferation Among G-8's First Concerns”, http://www.examiner.com/blog/printexaminerarticles.cfm?section=examiners,examiners&blogtype=examiners&mode=alias&blogid=53956&blogURL=Baltimore-County-Independent-Examiner&byYear=2010&byMonth=6&byDay=27&byAlias=Nuclear-Proliferation-Among-G8s-First-Concerns)
The threat of nuclear proliferation was one of the major points of discussion among the G-8 nations Friday as they began their summit in Toronto. Of particular concern was the status of Iran and North Korea. The summit comes only weeks after the U.N. Security Council issued brand new sanctions against Iran while on the Korean peninsula tensions remain high as a result of allegations that North Korea sunk a South Korean warship back in March. One of the goals for the United States and Western Europe at the G-8 and the following G-20 summits is to increase international support for tougher sanctions against Iran, especially from Russia and China. At the G-20 summit, South Korea will present its case against North Korea to the rest of the world’s most powerful nations, hoping to obtain international condemnation against its northern neighbor. With Iran and North Korea foremost in mind, how do the G-8 nations halt nuclear proliferation? Inspections by the IAEA and international sanctions are today’s most popular solutions, but do they work? Sanctions (or the threat of sanctions) have thus far done nothing to halt Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs. Both countries have defied the best efforts of the world in this respect and vow to continue to do so. Compromise and military force are two other options for handling nuclear proliferation, neither of which is currently in vogue, however, they are arguable the most effective. Offering understanding and incentives to nations with nuclear ambitions is a peaceful and fairly effective solution. Many countries have accepted this route in the past, such as the Ukraine and South Africa. If the United States offered realistic economic incentives to Iran and North Korea, as well as a degree of protection for their territorial integrity, while at the same time refraining from making military or economic threats, results could be achieved. This would also require a deeper understanding of the perspectives of these countries, for example, the world’s hypocrisy concerning Israel’s nuclear program as perceived by Iran.
Mary Beth Sheridan, 3/19/10 – reporter with The Washington Post
(March 19, “U.S., Russian negotiators at the finish line on new START nuclear pact”, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/18/AR2010031801805_pf.html)
But the optimism over the arms control talks contrasted with a fresh sign that Russia is not necessarily going to fall in line with U.S. priorities in other areas -- such as Iran's nuclear program. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced Thursday that Russia would fire up the reactor it is building at an Iranian nuclear powerplant at midyear. Asked about the move, Clinton told reporters it was "premature," because "we want to send an unequivocal message to the Iranians" that they have to desist from developing a nuclear bomb. "If it [Iran] reassures the world [about its program], or if its behavior has changed because of international sanctions," then the country can go ahead with nuclear power plants, she told a news conference. Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful. Russia agreed to build Iran's first nuclear power plant near Bushehr 15 years ago, but the construction schedule has constantly slipped. Many analysts think Russia is using the delays as leverage. Putin's announcement actually appeared to mark a further setback in the plant's completion date, which had been set for the spring. But the timing of the announcement was awkward for Clinton and appeared to be a jab at her efforts to put together a tough international line on Iran.
The US is helping proliferation
Howard LaFranchi 5/23/09 – staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor (May 23, “US nuclear accord with a Persian Gulf state raises concerns about proliferation”, http://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/print/content/view/print/246704)
Washington — The Obama administration, anxious to demonstrate America's willingness to deepen relations with reliable partners in the Muslim world before the president's much-heralded speech to that community early next month, has signed a controversial nuclear cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates. The nuclear accord, negotiated by the Bush administration but left for President Obama's sign-off, is touted by the new administration – as it was by the former – as a model for future civilian nuclear cooperation with Arab countries. With Obama set to lay out his vision for America's cooperation with Muslim countries from Cairo June 4, the US-UAE accord is also seen as a counterpoint to Iran's nuclear program and its combative relations with the international community. In endorsing the accord, administration officials highlight the UAE's agreement to forego the production of nuclear fuel, which could eventually be used for production of a nuclear weapon – the issue at the crux of Iran's standoff with the US and other world powers. But opponents of the accord blast it as a short-sighted plan designed to secure lucrative contracts for US corporationsthat build nuclear reactors, yet one which may result in a string of plants producing nuclear fuel across a very volatile region. "The US does not have a strategy to deal with this very real issue of proliferation, all they have is a sale," says Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, an organization that promotes a nuclear-weapons-free world. "We shouldn't be sprinkling the Middle East with nuclear power reactors until we figure out how to stop them from turning out nuclear bombs."