2/14/2007

BBC summarizes nuclear enrichment; Bush press conference on North Korea negotiations...

BBC NEWS | INDEPTH | THE NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE
With the focus of the news decidedly shifting from Iraq to North Korea and Iran this week, I thought it may be helpful to include a link to and some excerpts from the BBC compiled summary of the process taken from uranium mine through enrichment cycle and ultimately to the creation of a nuclear weapon. If anything, it makes it clear that, given the requisite time, any country with enough uranium and centerfuges should have little problem building their own plutonium-based weapon.

North Korea, which the president is expected to have a news conference on this morning from the White House to announce a tentative disarmament agreement reached during the recent negotiations in Beijing, has supposedly already developed a nuclear weapon. If such an agreement has truly been broached, it is an historic day in the history of nuclear technology, particularly in light of the decades-long stand-off between the US and its North Korean enemies since the cease-fire agreement that ended the Korean War. However, given the North's history of abiding by the agreements that result from long, arduous negotiation processes, any end-zone dance the president may be gearing up for this morning better be subtle. Any grandstanding, or disrespect implied in the president's news conference could undue any of the progress that US negotiator Christopher Hill was able to make in Beijing. Also, Bush could hurt himself badly if he tries to take premature credit for a "deal" that has only limited possibilities of ever being fully carried out. It has long been thought that collapse of the North Korean regime, or at least its ability to withstand the pressures of the international community which demanded it cooperation with international inspectors and IAEA oversight, were only sustainable for a limited time frame. Maybe we have reached the tipping point...

Iran professes its undeniable "right" as a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to develop peaceful nuclear technology. The US has insisted that regardless of Iran's assertions that they seek only a peaceful program, the regime in Tehran should not simply be trusted to comply with the NPT, though as of today no international consensus on how to proceed has been reached. With hope any agreement, or negotiating paradigm established by the Bush administrations diplomatic approach to North Korea, will provide the basis for engaging the Amadine-jihad regime in Tehran. I get the sense as of late that Bush is growing extremely impatient with the Iranian's insistence that it be allowed to proceed unchecked. Also, the Bush White House has stiffened its rhetoric regarding the role of Iranian supplied insurgents in Iraq, which has only precipitated tension on Capitol Hill.

We will see this morning what exactly Bush thinks his guy in Beijing has brought home, but only time will tell what is in store for the US in Iran...
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