In a postscript of sorts to a recent debate in Australia over the supply of uranium to India, blogger and political scientist NAJ Taylor approvingly cites my recent article on the A.Q. Khan network and its fourth customer, and draws a rather strong conclusion:
In a large part, Pollack has assembled evidence that makes public what may already be known to investigators – although Pollack’s article was a public act which may prompt AQ Khan to be further, and more significantly, punished outside of the presidential amnesty which he was conditionally granted.
It also takes India’s involvement in the network to a level where – if it is to be believed – she must no longer be trusted.
Australia in particular, along with the United States and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, must review recent decisions to positively discriminate in order to permit nuclear dealings with India. This is because it would be unsatisfactory for India to have acquired its civilian and military nuclear capability through clandestine networks such as AQ Khan’s.
An yet even if there does remain some doubt, surely continued nuclear cooperation with a state that defiantly remains outside of the world’s peak nuclear nonproliferation instruments becomes untenable.
Read the whole thing.
Now, far be it from me to imagine that an article in a glossy magazine — an oh-so-not-safe-for-work glossy magazine! – could overturn India’s NSG exemption. (Cut to Jeffrey’s other imagined scenes.) But there is a moral to the story. When I set out to write, what I really had in mind was to tell a juicy detective story, full of psychological interest, which is why it appeared in Playboy and not in the Nonproliferation Review or the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, as good and important as they are. Yet there are, inescapably, serious implications to the illicit transfer of sensitive nuclear technology.
Next Monday, January 23rd, I’ll be giving a talk on the A.Q. Khan network and its fourth customer with George Perkovich at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, DC. Not only is this event an opportunity to present evidence that space constraints kept out of the final, published version of the article and to bring the story up to date, but it will turn the conversation to the policy side.
The details are here. Registration is already closed, but if you’d still like to attend, try asking the organizers nicely.