By Deeptanshu singhvi
As the United States role in the Afghanistan War winds down, terror still plagues the corners of Pakistan. Despite sending numerous aid packages and military reinforcements to Pakistan, the U.S. fails to spot the improvement militant nation. In fact, as a result, many governmental officials are contemplating whether or not to suspend all aid to Pakistan. The Associated Press reveals that currently the government has already suspended slightly over one-third of aid that goes to Pakistan, mostly military. However, government officials do not think this is enough and prefer to terminate all aid. What they neglect thought, is absolutely imperative; by forgoing the delicate relationship with Pakistan, the government will drastically impair security goals within both regions.
First and foremost, by suspending aid, the United States will foster a humanitarian crisis within Pakistan. Despite the heavy moral consequences, this will deepen enmity between the two nations. Currently, US AID has trained 11,000 health care providers, provided 126 ambulances, upgraded 89 health care facilities, and has helped provide safe drinking water to over 1.5 million people. Moreover, the short-term flood relief package has also assisted 12 million people. Ultimately, this decreases anti-US sentiment as Shuja Nawaz from the Washington Post finds that this disaster relief assistance has increased American favorability among Pakistanis by 200%. Aiming at the root of terrorism, Lisa Curtis from the Heritage Organization assesses that since the US participates in training over 16,000 teachers and positively educating over 360,000 children. This prevents students from attending “madrassahs,” extremist schools with many ties to terrorist organizations such as the Al-Qaeda. Therefore, the humanitarian assistance is of key importance to both the United States and Pakistan. Suspending this aid, would be a massive mistake.
In addition, economic aid to Pakistan also plays a large role. Because there is a high causality between poverty and terrorism, by alleviating poverty, short term terrorist recruitment as well as long term terrorist uprisings can be prevented. In fact, in a study by the Pakistan Institute for Studies, it is reported that the vast majority of terrorist recruits in Pakistan involve civilians from the bottom 3 quintiles. The United States has trained 70,000 women for jobs, increased crop yields by 60%, and created numerous export centers to maximize employment. Holistically, this financial aid has increased Pakistan GDP growth by 2% each year. As prosperity between Pakistani constituents rises, the incentive to take part in terrorism decreases. Once again, aid mutually benefits both nations.
US military aid to Pakistan is also a crucial part. Michael Tacik from Austin State University outlines that Pakistani Nuclear Weapons, because in contact with instability, are the greatest threat to US Security. Therefore, any added protection to the Nuclear Weapons is a security benefit. The American Progress Institute signifies the vitality of the US role as it is responsible for furnishing electronic monitoring and surveillance systems, intrusion detectors, ID systems, as well as nuclear detection technology. Also, by training 100,000 physical security personnel and by forcing Pakistani officials to move the warheads in more secure areas the United States participates in effectively protecting the weapons.
Last but not least, suspending U.S. aid will have a domino effect on many other NGO’s. The United States currently channels 92% of its aid through many NGO’s; the moment it withdraws the money, these NGO’s will be crippled. Also, the military aspect of the United States Aid protects many NGO workers from violence and creates the environment for rehabilitation. Altogether, a suspension would render many negative externalities within Pakistan.
It is important that critics realize the mutual benefits that we gain from Pakistan. Suspending aid is a negative decision, and will drastically increase the tension between the nations. The chance of peace that the U.S. has geared towards for many decades can be shattered in an instance.
By Alex Liao
China’s long-term commitment to nuclear energy currently remains intact despite the recent Japanese reactor crisis. Chinese officials are anticipated to reveal a new 2020 capacity target of about 75 gigawatts, only a slight revision down from earlier estimates of 80-90 gigawatts. With China’s totaled installed nuclear capacity at merely 10.8 gigawatts at the end of 2010, this represents a significant shift in China’s energy policy. Indeed, China’s National Development and Reform Commission identified the nuclear sector as an area for future investment, particularly in nuclear reactor technology. Along with promised advances in uranium isotope separation, nuclear fuel disposal, and radiation protection, China’s focus on nuclear energy appears increasingly palpable.
Corresponding with this energy initiative is China’s search for uranium resources. Because 27 of 110 additional reactors are already under construction, and the country’s 12th Five Year Plan aims to raise nuclear power to 6% of all Chinese electricity, China has actively sought uranium both on a domestic level and on world markets. Hence, domestic mines under the direction of state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group have been developed across the country. Meanwhile, uranium imports tripled in 2010 to 17,136 tons, comprising resources from Central Asia, Africa, and Australia.
On the domestic front, China’s uranium deposits are largely concentrated in three regions: Southeast China, Northeast China-Inner Mongolia, and Northwest China. As Southeast China has historically been the location of uranium mines, the latter two locations have been seen as the areas which possess great potential in the future. As such, exploration has been concentrated in these regions. Recently, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group announced the development of two large mines in south China and northwest China, and projects have begun in Inner Mongolia as well. This signals China’s expressed and continued interest in domestic uranium production.
Historically, China has additionally relied on Tibetan uranium, capitalizing on more than 200 deposits that were found prior to 2000. The Tibetan example epitomizes China’s perspective on uranium mining, with frequent claims of ecocide and poor safety conditions. These claims are not unfounded. Environmental degradation through accidental spills, irresponsible radioactive waste management, and deforestation has devastated the landscape. Uranium seeping into groundwater has resulted in a nascent, though largely undocumented, decline in babies surviving birth. International law on this issue, as embodied in far-ranging documents from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the Basel Convention Ban Amendment on the transport of hazardous wastes, has not offered sufficient enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance. Hence, uranium mining interests have thus far trumped any labor and environmental concerns, which could foment future complications in the domestic industry.
Environmental concerns, however, must be placed within the context of China’s shift from coal to nuclear energy. While environmental degradation from uranium mines must be avoided if possible, it still represents the lesser of two evils in that the environmental damage remains largely localized in specific areas. Thus, on the whole, China’s push for uranium can be characterized as a step forward in environmental protection. Environmental considerations, then, do not pose an immediate threat to Chinese uranium mining interests.
Nevertheless, China possesses poor uranium resources, accounting for a paltry 0.7% of the estimated world total. In contrast to its ambitions, uranium output in 2008 was only 769 tons, or 1.8% of global production. While domestic supplies were sufficient for 2010 demand, China expects a tenfold increase in nuclear capacity and in turn, uranium demand. Based on calculations of China’s uranium demand in 2020 from data on planned nuclear reactors, China’s demand would exceed its own resource extent by more than 20%. Even factoring in new discoveries in uranium exploration, demand would far outstrip supply due to the lag between exploration and production.
In a similar vein, although Chinese scientists have recently announced their mastery of nuclear fuel reprocessing technology, the prospect of this approach becoming a substantial aspect of China’s uranium pursuit remains dim. Reprocessing uranium costs significantly greater than purchasing uranium and storing the spent fuel. Moreover, the process, which China would perform domestically, would likely provoke international criticism since it also produces extracted plutonium. With American and European fears over China’s relationships with North Korea, Iran, and Myanmar, reprocessing would only be accomplished on a much smaller scale than would be necessary to meet demand, in order to minimize the risk of nuclear theft or terrorism. Another impediment is the need to build a dangerous breeder reactor – one whose costs would outweigh any benefits. Instead, Matthew Bunn, an expert on the Chinese nuclear program at Harvard University, noted that it would be more prudent for China to wait until cheaper and safer technologies are developed.
From this perspective, while domestically mining uranium provides a preferable alternative to political wrangling of foreign deals, foreign uranium will inevitably constitute an integral role in China’s push for nuclear energy. Complications are prevalent in the countries China purchases uranium from, ranging from corruption to political instability. As these purchases increase in the coming years, tensions will continue due to the volatility in Central Asia and Africa, both regions in which China has been heavily investing.
In line with energy and raw materials purchases in Central Asia, China National Nuclear Corporation and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation currently hold stakes and contracts for uranium mines in Kazakhstan. Likewise, prospecting has begun in neighboring Uzbekistan and state-owned Sinosteel has partnered with an Australian company to begin prospecting in Kyrgyzstan. The underdeveloped energy infrastructure in the region has necessitated additional Chinese investment, furthering ties between the nations. For instance, gas pipelines and hydroelectric power stations have been funded in Kazakhstan, where China accounts for 26% of total foreign investment. This dependence will ensure that China continues to consume Central Asian uranium in the future.
Heavy competition permeates the Central Asian uranium industry, however. Russia and Japan will require significant uranium supplies in the near future, creating strategic resource concerns in the region. Kazakhstan currently resolves this by pursuing a balancing strategy, holding lucrative relationships with Russia, Japan, and China. This creates the opportunity for volatility if domestic instability hampers the Kazakh uranium supply. Already, anti-nuclear sentiments have built up over the Japanese nuclear reactor crises, and poor environmental and safety conditions could threaten long-term productivity. China has sought to settle this dilemma by partnering with state-owned Kazatomprom, though Russia has provided an attractive alternative in its promise to enrich Kazakh uranium and build nuclear reactors. This situation will likely amplify diplomatic tensions in the region, as countries such as Mongolia have already been caught in the Sino-Russian bind. China will need to carefully exercise diplomacy and establish clear economic ties with all regional players, in order to reduce the possibility of escalatory events due to supply shocks.
The same trend repeats itself in Africa. China holds a joint-venture agreement to mine uranium in Zimbabwe, where the potential of 455,000 tons of uranium lies. Similarly, millions have been poured into Niger, the sixth-largest uranium producer in 2008. Competition from Russia and other foreign companies has prompted China to strike deals with French-owned Areva to supply 20,000 tons of uranium over 10 years. Areva has prospected or begun mining uranium in Niger, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Namibia. By working with foreign companies, China has gained valuable support, insight, and knowledge in its drive for uranium.
Corruption and political instability stand out in the African landscape. Chinese development of uranium resources in Africa is frequently accompanied by funds for infrastructure investment projects. Bilateral trade increases at a rate of 44% each year, strengthening the influence of Chinese aid. However, unlike Western aid, few strings are attached to this money, granting autocrats free reign to entrench their power. More importantly, these funds allow African regimes to dilute the effect of sanctions, circumventing Western attempts to promote the human rights apparatus. Hence, Chinese investment abrogates any responsibility for political reform. Instead, entrenched local bitterness over an African regime would tend to increase instability, potentially in the form of backlash.
Regional insecurity may alternatively manifest from economic and labor agitation. Chinese companies have provoked anger in the African workforce due to their imposition of poor working conditions and the lack of adequate labor rights. For instance, several managers have reneged on labor contracts and stifled union activities. As workers lash out through protests, political pressure falls on politicians, as happened in Zambia over coal mine protests. China has continued to ignore these conflicts, which will likely increase in magnitude as uranium transforms into another hotly contested resource. In Niger, ethnic tensions from mining laborers exploded over uranium exploration, providing an instructive wake up call for Chinese managers. If left untreated, this situation will inflame itself across the country as Chinese corporations already reserve high-level positions for its own nationals. Exploited African populations have already shown their ability to hamper uranium mining, making this issue one of critical importance in the coming years.
Of course, political instability and labor tensions could combine to form China’s largest headache. Chinese executives’ continuing refusals to hold discussions with elected officials makes this difficulty more likely. As communication fragments between the people and their government, destabilization remains an ever-present concern. This poses a great challenge for investment since capital would flow towards more stable ventures.
Nevertheless, the perennial issue in Africa remains its imperialist heritage, and cries of neocolonialism run rampant when foreigners exert any measure of influence. Here, China has adopted a more proactive approach. It has argued that its economic cooperation has benefited Africa, by enabling the building of hospitals, schools, and other infrastructural needs. Moreover, it has consistently deflected criticism of human rights violations, asserting a relativist view that human rights are local conceptions, not universal ones. Therefore, this objection will not hinder future Chinese uranium purchases.
Turning away from the continent, a large portion of China’s current imports hails from Australia as well. The regulations and conditions in this country appear more reassuring. Treaty-level safeguards along with national laws ensure environmental protection, as well as the prohibition of uranium retransfers to third countries. Furthermore, military uranium use is proscribed, and trade is contingent upon IAEA inspections. This model of transparency ensures that Australia will remain a stable uranium trading partner for China.
Nonetheless, nuclear weapons hold their place as the preeminent security concern relating to Chinese foreign policy. However, China’s demand for uranium rarely encounters resistance from this concern, for a variety of reasons. First, China’s ability to produce additional weapons also requires plutonium, which remains in extremely low supply. Nor has China recently ramped up nuclear weapons production. Finally, China’s drive for nuclear energy appears legitimate in the international community such that fears of nuclear weapons will not produce concerns in the near future.
Thus, moving forward, China will need to contend with a scarce and unpredictability volatile supply of uranium both within and without its borders. Although it has procured foreign supplies with relatively little controversy, diplomatic tensions in Central Asia and political instability in Africa must be closely monitored to reduce the potentiality of destabilizing events. Future complications will likely come from foreign areas as global demand increases and uranium prices are driven up; hence, Chinese officials must tailor their quest for uranium to more closely suit both African and Central Asian interests.
1 David Stanway, “China to encourage high-tech reactors, uranium exploration,” Reuters, April 26, 2011, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/26/us-china-nuclear-idUSTRE73P1CX20110426.
2 Andrea Hotter, “Chinese Demand Rides to Uranium’s Rescue,” The Wall Street Journal, April 20, 2011, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704658704576274770340535758.html.
3 WISE Uranium Project, “New Uranium Mining Projects – Asia,” May 14, 2011, http://www.wise-uranium.org/upasi.html#CN.
4 Jing Yang, “China Increases Uranium Imports,” The Wall Street Journal, January 21, 2011, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704754304576095361398263834.html.
5 Chen Zhaobo, et al., “Uranium Provinces in China,” Acta Geologica Sinica, Vol. 74, No. 3, September 2000.
6 Wang Yan, “Chinese nuclear power giant’s uranium subsidiary develops new mines,” Xinhua News Agency, May 14, 2011, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/business/2011-05/14/c_13874546.htm.
7 Christina M. Heischmidt, “Comment: China’s Dumping Ground: Genocide Through Nuclear Ecocide in Tibet,” Penn State Environmental Law Review, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 213-234, Winter 2010.
8 Qiang Yan, et al., “Nuclear power development in China and uranium demand forecast: Based on analysis of global current situation,” Progress in Nuclear Energy, pp. 4-5, 2010.
9 The Telegraph, “China masters nuclear fuel reprocessing technology,” The Telegraph, January 04, 2011, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8238032/China-masters-nuclear-fuel-reprocessing-technology.html.
10 Bruce Pannier, “Chinese-Central Asian Relationship Requires Delicate Balancing Act,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, April 04, 2011, http://www.rferl.org/content/ChineseCentral_Asian_Relationship_Requires_Delicate_Balancing_Act/2002215.html.
11 Farkhad Sharip, “China forges uranium pact with Kazakhstan,” Asia Times, March 31, 2011, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/MC31Cb01.html.
12 Roman Muzalevsky, “Global Struggle for Kazakh Uranium Resources,” Eurasia Daily Monitor, April 15, 2011, http://theglobalrealm.com/2011/04/18/global-struggle-for-kazakh-uranium-resources/.
13 Paul French, “Mongolian-Chinese uranium deal could set prices soaring,” Nuclear Energy Insider, June 13, 2010, http://analysis.nuclearenergyinsider.com/industry-insight/mongolian-chinese-uranium-deal-could-set-prices-soaring.
14 Zoli Mangena, “Rush for uranium,” Times LIVE, May 07, 2011, http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/article1054952.ece/Rush-for-uranium.
15 Reuters, “UPDATE 1-Areva signs three deals with China, eyes EPR sale,” Reuters, November 04, 2010, http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/11/04/areva-idUSLDE6A32HW20101104.
16 WISE Uranium Project, “New Uranium Mining Projects – Africa,” May 06, 2011, http://www.wise-uranium.org/upafr.html.
17 Raymond Hu, “Chinese Investment in Africa: A Dangerous Game,” American Foreign Policy, March 16, 2011, http://afpprinceton.com/2011/03/chinese-investment-in-africa-a-dangerous-game/.
18 Hannah Armstrong, “China mining company causes unrest in Niger,” The Christian Science Monitor, March 29, 2010, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2010/0329/China-mining-company-causes-unrest-in-Niger.
19 Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, “Australia-China Nuclear Material Transfer Agreement and Nuclear Cooperation Agreement,” Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs, November 2007, http://www.dfat.gov.au/geo/china/treaties/faq.html#1.
20 Global Security Newswire, “China Not Seeking Nuclear Parity With U.S.: Report,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, May 17, 2011, http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20110517_1830.php.
By Atreya Misra
Ever, since the Cold War, even before that, the United States has supported its policy of containment and enforcing democracies. Or has it? The US continually to support partners like China while its ignoring policies that it’s obligated to acknowledge.
In fact, according to the Congressional Research Service on June 24th, 2011, we, “despite apparently consistent statements in four decades, the U.S. “One China” policy concerning Taiwan remains somewhat ambiguous and subject to different interpretations” (Kan 2). The issue over whether we support Taiwan or not has been highly scrutinized. First, President Obama declares that we our neutral on the issue but then later states that Washington acknowledges China’s position that Taiwan is part of its territory.
However, the fact of the matter is, by supporting China as one country; we are directly stating that we support the partially communist government of China. On the contrary, Washington still states that it is in strong support of its containment policy. So the question remains, if we put down democratic Taiwan and support communist China, are we containing anything? The question still plagues the minds of politicians.
Nonetheless, let’s look at what action the US has taken to support. Of course, during the Cold War, we tried to support our policy as much as possible in Europe, now; we are taking steps to aid countries in a sea of monarchy, communism, and conflict, such as Israel. However, similar to our policy with Taiwan, our main concern has changed since the mid-20th Century. Rather than containing communism, we are more concerned with containing stable trade. In just the last century, we’ve sent billions of dollars in aid to Middle Eastern countries like the UAE (a monarchy). Also, we’ve been supporting countries which only claim to be republics or democracies, but are actually regimes that still contain fascism. We send aid to Venezuela even though its president has been assuming overarching power. Further, we supported Hosni Mubarak even though he has been in office for decades. In addition, we aid corrupted republics which are not working properly like the government of Pakistan. The list goes on and on. Why? To protect our oil.
Although people say we need to protect the Earth. It’s not only the Earth we will be protecting a long with reducing our oil consumption, but also our diplomatic relations. And in recent years, that has become a main concern. The US has ill relations with Iran, just because of oil. It’s time the US shifts to come to its senses, we mustn’t be concerned with oil, but rather with democracy worldwide.
So when it comes down to it, it’s not only Taiwan, our policy has been reflected everywhere for all reasons. Although we are in no Cold War, we have to keep ourselves to the standards that we had during the Cold War. Although it’s not an economic superpower like Germany in today’s case, the collection of corrupt regimes worldwide supersede Germany’s power. And with proper enforcement, we can shift our focus from oil to democracy.
By Ryan Walsh
As the tension between Iran, the United States, and Israel exponentially increases, one can only wonder, how long before war erupts? Presumably, Iran has been developing a means to create nuclear weapons, a feat that has not been accomplished by any radical Islamic nations to date. Needless to say, the power to destroy an entire city (and more) with one missile is a power that no single nation should possess. However, super power nations such as the U.S, Russia, and the United Kingdom have all developed nuclear weapons as a means to keep peace in the world. The threat of those missiles looms over every one of our enemies, and potentially holds catastrophic terror attacks at bay. Iran, despite that, challenges the authority of those nations by potentially developing said nuclear weapons. Would they use that power to keep peace? Doubtful. Iran has an overwhelming hatred for any Western, non-Muslim nation, fueled by their president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But, would an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities halt the development of weapons?
No, says The Washington Post. “Iran’s defense minister warned that an Israeli attack on Iran will lead to the collapse of the Jewish state, state-run television reported Saturday, in one of the strongest statements from Iran indicating it would punish Israel should it attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.” However, “Israeli officials say Israel must act by the summer if it wants to effectively halt Iran’s program because Tehran is moving more of its nuclear installations deep underground.”
As a close ally to Israel, the U.S would be asked to intervene in such a scenario. The question arises: is it worth it? In an already failing economy, do we have the resources, or the manpower, to launch another war against terror and tyranny? The answer, unfortunately, is no. We do not have the ability to safely spend billions of dollars on a war with an entire country.
Nonetheless, the recent bombings of Israeli Embassies in Tbilisi, Georgia (the country), and Delhi, India, prove that we must take action; says Mitchell D. Silber in the Wall Street Journal. “Iran’s next target could be on American soil. The bombing attempts of Embassy personnel in India and Georgia this week may well be the beginning of an Iranian campaign to retaliate for the West’s attempts to stop its nuclear program.”
It is vital that the U.S and Israel act with great haste. Iran has just mastered the entire cycle of Nuclear Fuel, which is but a step away from developing a bomb. Israel, especially, is in danger. “The Iranian government, through a website proxy, has laid out the legal and religious justification for the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of its people,” says Reza Kahili, an ex-CIA agent. Iran’s hatred for Israel, and its small size, make it the most likely target for invasion, or a nuclear strike, if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Attempted terror attacks by Iran have already been discovered and destroyed by the CIA; one that could have killed hundreds of people in Washington D.C. It is evident that the U.S and Israeli military need to act with haste in order to stop the development of nuclear weapons by the Iranians, as the results could be utterly catastrophic.