Nuclear Clouds Gather Over the Asia Pacific

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by pyromaniac, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. pyromaniac

    pyromaniac Founding Member

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    The Asia-Pacific region has not only emerged as one of the primary engines of the world economy, it has also taken global centre-stage in developments pertaining to nuclear weapons, in efforts to acquire a capability to make them, and in nuclear conflicts among regional powers as well as with the United States. At present, Iran and North Korea, two of the original U.S.-designated "axis of evil" powers are in the scope of U.S. efforts to prevent an adversary to obtain nuclear weapons, or, even to develop nuclear power capability. At the same time, the U.S. offers support for India's nuclear program and is publicly silent on Japanese steps toward acquiring nuclear weapons capacity.


    From Iran and Israel in West Asia, through India and Pakistan in South Asia, to North Korea and Japan in the East, the region exhibited, in 2005, unprecedented activity in the nuclear field that can only intensify in the coming years.

    In each of these countries, the United States plays a major role. Its policies of selectively favouring or opposing their nuclear activities will alter the strategic balance in some of the world’s most volatile regions.

    "This is a marked shift from the cold war period, where the global nuclear centre of gravity lay in the all-out confrontation between the eastern and western blocs, which was most intense in Europe," says Achin Vanaik, professor of international relations and global politics at Delhi University. He is also a member of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace and an independent nuclear expert. "Regrettably, Asia’s nuclear developments are dominated by a superpower that has set its face firmly against nuclear disarmament."

    2005 witnessed two landmark nuclear developments-- an attempt by the U.S. and its allies to censure Iran and prevent it from enriching uranium, either for military or civilian purposes, and an Indo-U.S. agreement to "normalise" India’s nuclear weapons status and resume civilian nuclear commerce with it.

    Talks continued in 2005 between North Korea and other nations led by the U.S., which included China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and the European Union, to dissuade Pyongyang from pursuing its nuclear weapons programme. These did not resolve the issue.

    Meanwhile, Japan moved closer towards revising its post-World War II commitment not to make or acquire nuclear weapons and not to build a large scale standing army. This acquires great significance in the context of what has been called a "new cold war" between Japan and China.

    In September, the U.S. brought a motion in the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) holding Iran "non-compliant" with its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and paving the way for referring it to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions. The resolution could be passed because India broke ranks with the non-aligned movement at the IAEA and voted with Washington.

    Iran rejected the resolution and reiterated its right under the NPT to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. Russia has since proposed a compromise, under which Iran can convert yellowcake (oxides of uranium) into hexafluoride gas to be sent to Russia for enrichment.

    Under the compromise, Iran can burn the enriched uranium in a power reactor, being built with Russian help, but would send back the spent fuel to Russia. Iran will thus, forswear reprocessing to extract plutonium, which too, like highly enriched uranium, is used to make nuclear bombs.


    Iran Nuclear Power Program

    Iran has not formally rejected the proposal, but its talks with the European Union-3 (Germany, France and Britain) have not yielded results.

    Tehran’s nuclear posture and activities have drawn a hostile response from Israel and the U.S. President George W. Bush again returned to his "Axis of Evil" characterisation. The U.S. reportedly has drawn up plans for an armed attack on Iran.

    A war of words meanwhile broke out between Iran and Israel. In October, Iran’s newly elected president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be "wiped off the world’s map."

    Israeli leaders have vowed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on Dec. 1 that Israel would not allow Iran to do so. "Israel, and not only Israel, cannot accept a situation in which Iran would be in possession of nuclear weapons," Sharon said.

    Former prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu has held out a scarcely veiled threat to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, approvingly citing Israel’s 1981 bombing of Iraq’s "Osirak" research reactor, then under construction.

    On Dec. 16, Iran warned Israel that its response to an Israeli attack would be "swift, firm and destructive."

    "What all this highlights is the potential for a dangerous conflict in the Middle East," says Vanaik. "The region has already become explosively volatile because of the occupation of Iraq, coming on top of the Palestinian crisis. If the U.S. and Israel persist with a hardline approach to Iran, they could create havoc. U.S. double standards -- hostility to Iran, coupled with its support to Israel’s nuclear weapons programme -- are a source of great popular discontent in the region."

    Washington’s double standards are evident in South Asia too. It agreed to make a one-time exception in the international nuclear non-proliferation regime for India by accepting that India is a "responsible" nuclear weapons state, although it has not signed the NPT. The Bush administration offered to persuade the U.S. congress to amend non-proliferation laws and to plead for a similar exception for India in the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group.

    India and the U.S. are developing a "strategic partnership", including extensive military cooperation. In March, Washington offered to help India become a great world power in the 21st century.


    This has rankled Pakistan, which sees the Indo-U.S. "partnership" as introducing regional strategic asymmetry. Pakistan is likely to demand similar treatment for itself in respect of nuclear technology and equipment, and is drawing up plans for new nuclear power stations.

    The U.S. is doing little to defuse the Indo-Pakistan nuclear rivalry. It is embarrassed by disclosures about the clandestine activities of the Abdul Qadeer Khan network which sold uranium enrichment technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya. But Washington needs Pakistan as an ally in the "war against terrorism", in particular, the Taliban and al-Qaeda. It has resisted applying pressure on Pakistan to subject Khan to thorough interrogation to detail his nuclear transactions.

    The hardline approach of the U.S. to Iran’s nuclear activities contrasts with its soft approach to North Korea, despite Pyongyang’s claim that it already has a nuclear weapon. It is offering inducements to North Korea, including a civilian nuclear reactor, and economic aid, although it rejects the demand that the reactor’s construction should precede the dismantling of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

    "Washington’s non-proliferation criteria are selective, discriminatory and inconsistent," says Vanaik. "It uses non proliferation as a weapon when that suits its short-term interests. When it doesn’t, it allows nuclear weapons technologies to proliferate."

    A worrisome example of this may be Japan. The country’s constitution, dictated by the U.S. during its post-war occupation, forbids the acquisition, manufacture or "bringing in" of nuclear weapons. Many conservative politicians in Japan want the statute amended.

    Japan has stockpiled huge amounts of plutonium, reprocessed in western Europe, ostensibly to feed its fast breeder reactors but with the potential for quick diversion to military uses.

    Should Japan acquire nuclear weapons and continue its military build up, China will react. Already, China feels threatened by Washington’s ballistic missile defence programme and by growing Indo-U.S. military collaboration. If present trends continue, Asia could witness two new arms races -- one between Japan and China, and the other between China and India.

    These rivalries will not be driven entirely by regional factors but will have a strong extra-regional influence, that of the U.S. As the Asia-Pacific region transits into 2006, it seems headed for turmoil and instability.


    http://japanfocus.org/-Praful-Bidwai/2034


    A few years old but it is interesting...
     
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  3. Soham

    Soham DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    A reason I nuclearisation of Asia-Pacific this is inevitable is that despite being some of the most technologically advanced nations North Korea, South Korea, Japan and China all are entangled in a web of suspicion, hatred and diplomatic fear.

    As soon as one turns liberally nuclear, they would all turn nuclear.
     
  4. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    North Korea surrendered their nuclear ambition further, South Korea is more a puppet of US, chances are minimal, Japan the same as South Korea plus their constitution bars them from doing so, focus is more on Iran and Libra now.
     
  5. Soham

    Soham DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    Well, the context is only the Asia-Pacific, hence my post.
    Iran is a completely different issue.
     
  6. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    Well regarding North Korea it is not impossible, moreover their are speculations of North Korea having nuclear weapons,though further ambition seems limited since they are cursed economically neither currently they seems in PRCs list for stockpile.

    South Korea by doing so would gain nothing but meet its faith.

    Regarding Japan, I think they would be the last nation to do so along with New Zealand and Austria and so, they have been the only victim of NUKE and they had their lessons learnt sincerely.

    Japan and SK cannot think of going NUKE unless they take a go east policy but again that would not work in favour.
     
  7. ahmedsid

    ahmedsid Top Gun Senior Member

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    Japan, well I always suspect their milatiristic ambitions! Who knows, they might be waiting for a chance to pay back for all the humiliation that their country suffered after WWII !!!!! I maybe wrong, but how can a country suffer so much, yet keep quiet! I feel they are waiting for a chance. lol I sound like a conspiracy theory buff right? ;) God Speed.
     
  8. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    Before US it would be PRC who would flex their muscles first.
     
  9. Soham

    Soham DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    It is very possible for N.Korea to be pursuing a nuclear programme as it would serve as a permanent deterrent against the technologically adavnced S. Korea.

    My point was and is that if anyone of them go nuclear, they would all turn nuclear.

    Nuclear bombing od Japan in WW2 has nothing to do with the current situation. Remember, that a nuclear weapon is more of a deterrant than an offensive weapon.
    South-Korea and Japan have every reason to turn nuclear in self-defence if DPRK chooses to be so.
     
  10. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    DPRK already did.


    Why Japan will never go nuclear
     
  11. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    No the US has stationed theirs on their soil. So its not required for them.
     
  12. deltacamelately

    deltacamelately Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    The writer is a known peacenik and lacks balls to call a spade a spade..
    The current nuclear scenario has nothing to do with the US.
    The entire blame has to go to the PRC for pushing the entire Asia-Pacific area into a nuclear maze. India wouldn't have aspired for a nuclear arm had the Chinese not sought to seek one, even after the 1962 debacle. India's nuclear program didn't have Pakistan on its radar, however Pakistan's program did and the PRC immediately ensured that they possess one to tie down India in the sub-continent. Ditto applies for DPRK. They couldn't have developed one without Pakistan trading the Chinese tech and the Chinese nod. Now Iran wants to have the Shia bomb keeping the Israelis on their radar. Needless to say that a country with a history of hostile policies and a known track record of violence and abbeting non state terrorists can not be allowed to have such capabilities. Talking about Israel, well, one has to understand that the Israelis possession of nukes and their ambiguity has a direct bearing on its existential needs. A country of that size can not survive without a potent deterance while being surrounded by nations hostile to its very existance with a known mandate for Israel's annihilation.

    Japan, S.Korea, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand are all under the US Nuclear umbrella therefore they don't actually need to spend time and resources to develope their own deterance, knowing just too well that whatever capabilities they develope can not match what they all are enjoying under the US and there is nothing worth the efforts, that they can bring to bear on the PRC. US is a hyper power and like all preceeding global powers, it has interests that far outpace interests of any regional power. So, the apt line of reasoning would be candid geo-politics. They do what they think is best suited for their nation and its well being. All others do what they think best for their interests. Only that their interests outpace other's.
     
  13. Soham

    Soham DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    Sir,

    In that sense, wasn't Georgia too an American ally ? It was almost integrated into the NATO... before the Russian Invasion took place.
    They contributed 2000 soldiers to the Iraq war and around 100 to Afghanistan...
    Did that not make them an important non-formal ally ?

    But the US did nothing to stop the Russians except speaking out loud.
     
  14. deltacamelately

    deltacamelately Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Sohamsri Reply

    Soham,

    Name one US ally that has signed up an alliance with the US and has got invaded by a foe without the Yanks getting involved. This idiot Saakashvili didn't have the foresight to understand the Americans intent and resolve. Do you think that with the US involved into wars in the ME and CA, they could or would commit Division level force to Georgia against a bully of Russia's size? If there was any intent of an American commitment, it would have sent shockwaves through out Russia. If you recall, at a September briefing in Tbilisi with Saakashvili, Cheney had said that the United States is fully committed to Georgia's membership in NATO. "America will do its duty to work with the governments of Georgia and our other friends and allies to protect our common interests and uphold our values," he said. Was there any action to support this rhetoric?

    Saakashvili told reporters that he feels that he is not alone. "We feel that a great community of nations from the European Union, the United States, Japan, other responsible nations, China, are standing by Georgia, and I think we will endure, we will prosper, and we will succeed."

    How can a head of a nation be so full of BS? Would you commit your army to a vastly superior force just on what you feel and your goddamed trust on mere hollow assurance? Where was the American or NATO ORBAT?

    Soham, let's agree that the US assurances (if any) were no more than a diplomatic stunt. You don't expect the Russians to accomodate the NATO forces right in its backyard meekly. The fact is Saakashville got emboldened by the success of restoring control in Adjara in early 2004, and while there were no military plans for a NATO involvement, he launched a push to retake South Ossetia, sending around 300 special task force fighters into the territory. The bugger said its aim was to combat smuggling, but JCC participants have branded the move as a breach of the Sochi agreement of 1992. Anatoly Khrulyov, commander of the 58th Army has termed the Georgian invasion as one of the worst managed military operation in history. The 58th Army was sitting right accross the border, listening to each and every movement of the GA and thsi is evident by the kinetic rapidity with which it poured into S.Ossetia and Abhkazia and hammered the sh!t out of the Georgian Army.
     
  15. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    America will not get involved in a direct conflict with any major military power. It hasnt since WWII. It never fought the Soviets openly, vice versa also holds good. It only did through proxies.
    America could have been involved more if it had the oil reserves of Iraq though.
     
  16. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Truely said , Yusuf, I also think the USA will not go into direct conflict with any Major Military Power right now, in past during Korean and Vietnam Conflict, they fought battles with PLA in Korea but never attacked Mainland China and again their pilots fought against PLA pilots who were trained by Soviet pilots and fought with the USSR supplied fighter Aircrafts in Vietnam, but for the both time they avoided being involved into the direct conflict with the USSR and China. Cuban Missile crisis was an instance where it have avoided direct conflict with the USSR.
     
  17. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    According to the journal of TURKISH WEEKLY a North Korean Rocket Launch would be taken to the United Nation's security council. Here is the link and the report:



    http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/69028/-north-korea-launch-would-go-before-security-council.html


    North Korea Launch Would Go Before Security Council







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    Encyclopedia of Social Science

    The United States, Japan and South Korea have agreed that anylaunch of a North Korean rocket would be taken to the United NationsSecurity Council.

    Japan's nuclear envoy, Akitaka Saiki, toldreporters after a meeting between the three countries in WashingtonFriday that a North Korean rocket launch would violate U.N. resolutionsand would be taken to the Security Council immediately.

    The three countries have all accused North Korea of using the planned launch to test its ballistic missile capability.

    North Korea says it intends to launch a communications satellite between April 4 and April 8.

    Earlier Friday, Japan and the United States began mobilizing their missile blocking capabilities ahead of the launch.

    Japan'sDefense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said his government has ordered itsmilitary to shoot down dangerous debris that might fall on Japaneseterritory during the launch.

    Officials say Japanis moving several (PAC-3) land-to-air missiles to its northern coast,as well as deploying two (SM-3) sea-to-air missiles.

    Newsreports say the U.S. Navy is also moving equipment to the waters aroundJapan. The reports say Navy officials said the force has deployedwarships that have a radar system to track and destroy missiles, theAegis system.

    An international intelligence publication, Jane'sDefense Weekly, said Friday that satellite imagery shows North Korea isnearing the final phases of preparing for its rocket launch. It saidrecent activity at the launch site suggests the mission is on or evenahead of schedule.

    The White House has warned North Korea thatthe missile launch would violate a 2006 United Nations Security Councilresolution (1718) that bans the country from engaging in ballisticmissile activities.
     

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