Why Does U.S. Nuclear Anti-Proliferation Policy Vary Between UAE and Vietnam?

Posted: August 13, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

The UAE gets a restrictive U.S. supported nuclear power deal and Vietnam gets a less restrictive deal.  What’s up with that?

From the Wall Street Journal:

The senior U.S. official briefed on the Vietnam talks said the State Department is setting a different standard for Hanoi, as the Middle East is viewed as posing a greater proliferation risk than Asia. “Given our special concerns about Iran and the genuine threat of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, we believe the U.A.E….agreement is a model for the region,” said the U.S. official. “These same concerns do not specifically apply in Asia. We will take different approaches region by region and country by country.”

Hmm.  Given the administration’s stated goals regarding constraining developments that might induce nuclear proliferation the quote is a little difficult to reconcile.  Region by region?  Country by country?

The reality, as hypothesized by The Diplomat, is that Vietnam (and Jordan who is also in the mix) wouldn’t accept the constraints placed on the UAE. Why?  The UAE was eager to avoid past embarrassments and accepted the limitations; Vietnam wouldn’t.

So in the end, it’s reality, same as it ever was.  Those who can negotiate from a position of strength (that is, those who have better negotiating skills, have more options to choose from, etc.) will normally end up with the “better” deal.

The conclusion: we have to deal with the world as it is and not as we want it to be.  The challenge is that this sometimes put us crosswise with our proclaimed goals.

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