Memeorandum


Powered by TypePad

« Shovel Some Dirt On Bush | Main | Now McCain Is A Liar? »

September 05, 2004

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b2aa69e200d83421c2c053ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Proliferation Of A Bum Non-Proliferation Meme:

» The Economist Appears to Go Awry from Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: A Weblog
A good catch by the extremely sharp-eyed Tom Maguire: JustOneMinute: Proliferation Of A Bum Non-Proliferation Meme: So back to the Economist - what did they really say about Pakistan in their "buried lede"? Here we go: Daryl Kimball, of the Arms Contr... [Read More]

» Is Bush deliberately helping Pakistan nuke up? from Mark A. R. Kleiman
Why is Mr. Bush facilitating the delivery of fissile material to Pakistan? [Read More]

» Correction on the FMCT and Pakistan from Mark A. R. Kleiman
I asked a few days ago whether the Bush Administration was deliberately helping Pakistan nuke up. The answer to that question is "No." Sorry. [Read More]

» Democratization and the state of progress from QandO
As noted by Tom Maguire, it's been a tough week in the 'sphere for Matthew Yglesias--some of it deserved, some not--so it's not with a desire to pile on--he's a big boy, with a big brain, and he can tell... [Read More]

Comments

jim jones

Tom,

If you place their world view mindset then this is what the world looks like:

Well, North Korea was negociated by Jimmy Carter and Clinton's staff never found anything wrong while they were in power.

In the case of Iraq, Hans Blix says there was never any real issue in Iraq.

The EU assures us that with negociation, Iran will come into line.

In 2000, the great disaster happened and everything is Bush's fault, everything. there was no problem until he became president.

See, that was easy, wasn't it. Willing suspension of disbelief.


Art Hippler

Re the Economist:
Don't get carried away wondering why the Economist seems to be making peculiar hay out of the concern over nuclear proliferation. I've been following the "E" for 50 years. I have learned they are a good sorce for uncovering what the fuzzy, oftimes vaguely leftist but nervously anti-revolutionary, tired Brit intellectual thinks,(when he thinks). There are not a plethora of Margaret Thatchers there, but then we have only a few ourselves (of either sex).

Art Hippler

Re the Economist:
Don't get carried away wondering why the Economist seems to be making peculiar hay out of the concern over nuclear proliferation. I've been following the "E" for 50 years. I have learned they are a good sorce for uncovering what the fuzzy, oftimes vaguely leftist but nervously anti-revolutionary, tired Brit intellectual thinks,(when he thinks). There are not a plethora of Margaret Thatchers there, but then we have only a few ourselves (of either sex).

topcat

I thought it was Big Monicas not Big Macs.

Reid

Thank you so much for illuminating the issues here. People like Matt Yglesias just can't be bothered to. They're too important. And they just know... KNOW that the Bush administration is up to no good.

What a tool.

John Kerry

Almost no matter how much is spin and how much is not spin, the mere fact that the issue is as complicated as it turns out to be pretty much destroys Matt's point.

christian

I'm an Economist subscriber (i.e. I pay for all the articles online), but I stopped regulary reading it months ago.

There must be quite a few Idiotarians hiding behind the 'Economist' brand nowadays. (For an example: look who started the second intifada according to them and against evidence to the contrary)

And since it is the magazines policy to identify no writer, I'm disencouraged to trust any of their articles. (It's like Dowd and Safire would mark all their articles simply with 'NYT', as much as you might like the latter it's not worth risking massive illness in the morning.)

Brent Michael Krupp

Yeah, I'm with christian in the comment above, but I went one step further and actually cancelled my subscription a few months back. I'd read The Economist religiously for about 12 years but since 9/11 they started drifting closer and closer to the loony left. It's really sad to see a once great magazine become so unreadable.

Brent Michael Krupp

Yeah, I'm with christian in the comment above, but I went one step further and actually cancelled my subscription a few months back. I'd read The Economist religiously for about 12 years but since 9/11 they started drifting closer and closer to the loony left. It's really sad to see a once great magazine become so unreadable.

Michael

Minuteman, why haven't you sent trackbacks to Yglesias and Kleiman? Maybe they'd correct their posts if they were aware of your persuasive criticism.

TM

why haven't you sent trackbacks to Yglesias and Kleiman?

Hmm, you mean that doesn't just happen automaticly? I feel like the intelectual heir to Bill Gates if I can log on successfully in the morning.

UPDATE: I'll be darned -I try to learn something bew every day, but I think that may cover me for the week. Thanks.

werner

I have been a reader of the Economist since 1990. They used to be much better. If this goes on, they will end up as the "Guardian for Businessmen".

Matthew Yglesias

See correction on my site -- http://yglesias.typepad.com/matthew/2004/09/important_corre.html -- I would have posted it sooner if this post had been brought to my attention more swiftly. I found it through Brad Delong just a few minutes ago.

abb1
Almost no matter how much is spin and how much is not spin, the mere fact that the issue is as complicated as it turns out to be pretty much destroys Matt's point.

It's a very simple issue: verification, inspections. Plus tons of spin, smoke and mirrors (too expensive? you've gotta be kidding me) from the administration - a bunch of gangsters, really, who refuse to be treated like everyone else because they have a lot of big guns. And suddenly everything becomes sssooo complicated.

Haven't we seen this before: global warming - so very complicated, scientists disagree; does smoking really cause cancer? who knows, opinions differ.

This is foolish, snap out of it, fellas.

Dean

Is that all, abb 1? Gee, who knew?

Er, except:

What is the mechanism for verification? How much cheating is acceptable? (Please don't say "none," b/c that means no treaty is going to ever be acceptable. The question is, how far down are we likely to detect cheating.)

What is the mechanism for inspections? What are the likely safeguards to prevent inspections from being simply another term for espionage, be it for inteligence or economic purposes?

Who gets a say on inspections? Should Iran or North Korea have a say? On inspections of themselves? Other nations? (Remember, both Libya and Syria, iirc, have wound up on the UN Human Rights Commission of late, so this is hardly a far-out hypothetical.)

What happens if cheating is discovered? Do all the signatories go to war w/ the violator? Does the violator get another chance? How many more chances? What if they're like Iraq post-1990, and spin the whole thing out, month after month, year after year?

Things are often simple, when it's your decision but someone else's responsibility....

Tom

After all is said and done on nuclear deterrance, do you think the US under any president is going to seriously pare down our nuclear arsenal or cut back on our nuke testing?

Check out my wrap-up of both National Conventions I wrote today on my blog.

Tom

Robert Waldmann

Matthew Yglesias sure is gracious. In fact, I think he is too gracious to you. The Ecnomist paraphrase of Kimball is clearly their guess of what he thinks not a responsible paraphrase of what he said. Besides, what does Kimball know. If he had really said something identical to the Economist's paraphrase, we would only know that Kimball was speculating about Bush's motives.

The Economist's correspondant's guess as to what could possibly have made the Bush administration flip flop (for the hundredth time) seems plausible to me (mainly because it is identical to my own guess). I admit there is no evidence for it. However, I find the claims quoted by McGuire to amount to zero evidence that the Bush administration flopped for other reasons. If they were doing a favor for Israel and Pakistant, they would certainly make up some explanation. Frankly the arguments they give make me more suspicious than I was to begin with, since they are surprisingly implausible.

abb1

Dean,
The IAEA was created in 1957, almost 40 years ago. Verification mechanism has been in place for decades: inspectors, procedures, equipment, videocameras installed at nuclear powerplants, etc. There is no mystery in how to enforce it either: sanctions. This is a phony issue. The Bushies just blow smoke out of their ass (and, as usual, not even trying to make it credible) and you, guys, are playing the role of useful idiots.

Now, I agree, that taking care of the client states (Israel and Pakistan) is only a part of the reason; the main reason is their arrogance: they just don't want to play by the same rules as everybody else. They are, after all, the masters of the universe, it's their New American Century - why would they submit to inspections? They are above the law. That's the main reason no international agreement on anything is possible these days.

Crank

Tom - I've been meaning to blog the point in your last paragraph - this is a persistent problem with reading Yglesias in particular, who loves to cite to sources that can't be fact-checked to claim that, in fact, none of the things the Bush Administration says it is doing are actually happening. I'm sure he's sometimes right about that, but how can you tell? It's always a problem when policy debates depend on the resolution of factual questions that evade the capabilities of concerned citizens.

Cecil Turner

"There is no mystery in how to enforce it either: sanctions."

[Snort] You can't be serious. Another decade of watching dictators and their minions grow richer and more powerful by manipulating corrupt UN sanctions programs? While human rights organizations claim they kill hundreds of thousands of children? No thanks.

"That's the main reason no international agreement on anything is possible these days."

Ooooh, the horror. As if the world's safety depends on passing another feel-good treaty for rogue regimes to ignore. (Or worse, one--like The 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention--that actively encourages cheating and sparks a secret WMD arms race.) The contention that new international agreements are necessarily a good thing is at best arguable. In any event, the main problem with new international agreements is that many nations view them as a means for reining in US power, and negotiate accordingly. The resulting treaties (e.g., Kyoto, ICC) are detrimental to US interests, and (deservedly) have zero chance of US ratification.

abb1

In any event, the main problem with new international agreements is that many nations view them as a means for reining in US power, and negotiate accordingly.

I am sure it's a part of it, but why is it "the main problem" all of a sudden? You have to give some get some and the US has the most to give as well as to get. If it keeps bullying instead of trying to find the common ground, something very unpleasant will eventually happen and we'll have no one to blame but ourselves.

Cecil Turner

"I am sure it's a part of it, but why is it "the main problem" all of a sudden?"

If the goal is to create a treaty the US will ratify, provisions inimical to US interests are an obvious problem. Since we agree on that point, I won't insist on the word "main."

"You have to give some get some and the US has the most to give as well as to get. If it keeps bullying instead of trying to find the common ground, something very unpleasant will eventually happen and we'll have no one to blame but ourselves."

Again, this assumes a treaty is necessarily good. In fact, a bad treaty is worse than none at all, and Kyoto is a perfect example. Russian Academy of Science head Kirill Kondratiev summed it up nicely:

"The only people who would be hurt by abandoning the Kyoto Protocol would be several thousand people who make a living attending conferences on global warming."
Similarly, arms control agreements that merely provide cover for nations to pursue WMD arsenals are counterproductive. The 1972 BWC is an extreme example, providing the Soviets and Iraq an incentive to develop bio weapons while US defense programs stalled. The 1994 Agreed Framework didn't halt the North Korean nuclear program; it underscored the fact that a viable program was a useful bargaining chip and provided an incentive to maintain it.

The same people who brought us the 1972 BWC treaty (and the latter attempt to tack on an unworkable enforcement scheme) and the badly broken Nuclear Non-Proliferation Pact, now assure us that elaborate inspections of US nuclear facilities are essential to ensure fissile material isn't produced in, say, Pakistan. Considering the recent discovery of (admittedly inept) hidden nuclear laboratories in Libya, the problem with undeclared covert production facilities should be obvious--as is the point that inspections that never visit the hidden site are useless. Excuse me if I'm less than exuberant over the prospects of passing this one.

abb1

Sorry Cecil, but this sounds like weak spin and a bunch of nonsense all around.

Why should I listen to what Kirill Kondratiev said? It means nothing to me, less than nothing, in fact.

The 1994 Agreed Framework certainly did prevent North Korea from using plutonium for making nukes - until it was abandoned by the Bushies.

NPT certainly did slow down proliferation.

Best is the enemy of the good. Nothing in life is perfect. An imperfect disarmament treaty is certainly better than no treaty at all, unless it's extraordinary bad. But even if it is extraordinary bad, you work to improve it, you don't say: "oh, it's not perfect, so let's call the whole thing off."

Try again.

Greg F

abba1,

For starters the N. Koreans abandoned the 1994 Framework, not the “Bushies”. Since the agreement power has passed to Kim Jung Il, from his father, who is arguably missing some screws (the son that is). There is no question N. Korea had been pursuing a nuclear weapons program throughout the 90’s, although somewhat constrained by the 94 agreement. It was only a mater of time before the above mentioned nut case would withdraw from the 94 Framework to put the finishing touches on his nuclear weapons program.

Cecil Turner

Why should I listen to what Kirill Kondratiev said?

Oh, I don't know. Maybe because he leads the most prestigious academy of science without a dog in this particular fight? Do you find a 95-0 Senate vote more compelling? How do you define a bad treaty?

An imperfect disarmament treaty is certainly better than no treaty at all, unless it's extraordinary bad.

"Certainly" better, eh? The 1972 BWC actually increased the Soviets' bio weapons efforts. The DPRK continued their nuke program throughout the life of the 1994 Agreed Framework while we provided them oil supplies, much of which went to support their military. Do those qualify as "extraordinary bad"? How about the ABM treaty (which the Soviets cheated on) or the Washington Naval treaty (which the Japanese cheated on)--both of which resulted in a tactical advantage for our adversaries--one of which resulted in a naval imbalance that promoted adventurism and resulted in the deaths of many American sailors? Were those better than no treaty at all? Obviously this is an article of faith. Good luck getting one of your gospels ratified.

abb1

Greg,
It is my understanding that the US reneged on the framework agreement first. As far as certain world leaders being nutcases - let's not go there.

Cecil,
because he leads the most prestigious academy of science without a dog in this particular fight
Their scientists probably are good, but why should I listen to a bureaucrat who is probably nothing more than a mouthpiece for Putin?


Do those qualify as "extraordinary bad"?
I am not familiar with the story of 1972 treaty you mentioned; if you post a link to a neutral source I'll read it.

1994 framework agreement with N.Korea was a very positive treaty in my opinion, your rhetoric notwithstanding. I'd classify it as "the best possible, much better than what we have now".

Again, your whole premise seems so weird: people cheat on taxes - so, should we abolish the tax system? People manage to commit crimes and get away with it - does it mean that the whole criminal justice system is a bad idea?

Clearly an imperfect treaty is much better than perfect arms race.

Thanks.

Greg F

abb1,

You state:
It is my understanding that the US reneged on the framework agreement first.

Well that is N. Korea’s assertion and if I read you correctly you believe it is the “Bushies” fault. Would you care to provide proof for this assertion?

Cecil Turner

"It is my understanding that the US reneged on the framework agreement first."

No. By the time the DPRK admitted they had an ongoing uranium enrichment program, they also claimed to be close to weapons assembly. It was obvious at that point they had never ceased WMD development efforts (nor intended to). A good overview is available here.

"1994 framework agreement with N.Korea was a very positive treaty in my opinion . . ."

If you believe they actually stopped weapons development in 1994, I can see how you'd think that. But they obviously didn't. The only practical effect was to keep the story off the front pages while they worked feverishly on developing nuclear weapons. How you can call that "positive" is beyond me.

"I am not familiar with the story of 1972 treaty you mentioned; if you post a link to a neutral source I'll read it."

Not being familiar with the BWC (or the CWC, or the NNPT) affects the weight most would give to opinions on disarmament treaties. And I'm not sure there's such a thing as a neutral source . . . obviously those in the business of negotiating treaties have a huge stake in the outcome. But here is a compilation of various news items about the treaty. You have to read through the diplomatic language a bit, but for example here, the Russians promise to dismantle their offensive bioweapons program (about 20 years late). The State Department commentary is on point:

"We've known for many years that the Soviet Union maintained an offensive biological weapons program in violation of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention," spokesman Richard Boucher told a news briefing. Since 1984, the United States has reported that fact annually to Congress and the American public."
It's also worth pointing out that the FAS is rabidly pro-disarmament. For a more critical view, try the WSJ:
But of course, the Soviet scientists were lying. Sverdlovsk was precisely what the CIA and arms-control skeptics had argued, a ghastly bioweapons accident in a program that blatantly violated the treaty. Mr. Meselson admitted this in a 1994 article in Science magazine, notable for omission of any hint of mea culpa.
or various columnists (e.g. Mona Charen):
Nor is it the case that treaties and conventions enhance our security, collective or individual. The old Soviet Union and Iraq both happily signed the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 and then proceeded to fill huge vats with smallpox, anthrax and other pathogens. The signing of treaties makes for lovely ceremonies. But they are for the weak-minded--and the complacent.
That last may be a bit harsh . . . but it's hard to see how signing an unverifiable treaty with a regime that has a track record of reneging on its agreements makes us any safer. And dismissing valid verification concerns as "spin" is a good indication of someone who doesn't take the issue seriously.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Amazon

  • Lee Child, Kindle short story
  • Lee Child
  • Gary Taubes

Traffic

Wilson/Plame