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Tuesday
Feb202018

Why Trump might bend nuclear security rules to help Saudi Arabia build reactors in the desert

As report by Steven Mufson in the Washington Post.

The article quotes a number of voices skeptical of the nuclear weapons proliferation risks a nuclear power program in the Middle East would represent:

Henry Sokolski, the executive director of the nonprofit Nonproliferation Policy Education Center who served in President George H.W. Bush’s Pentagon, asked, “How do we feel about the stability of the kingdom? The reactors are bolted to the ground for a minimum of 40 years and a maximum of 80 years. That’s enough for the whole world to change.”

...Many experts on Saudi Arabia say the kingdom wants its own program to deter or counterbalance Iran. “I think part of it is keeping up with the Iranians and trying to build up a nuclear infrastructure that could be turned into weapons capability,” Gause said. [F. Gregory Gause is a professor of international affairs at Texas A&M University.]

...“We have a tendency to use nukes as a way of ingratiating ourselves with countries around the world and then we get into a negotiation of whether there are safeguards,” said Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). “I think ultimately it’s going to come back to haunt us.”

...Saudi Arabia “would like us to cave to some degree on some elements of the 123 agreement,” said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. But, he added, “the fewer Mideast nuclear weapons states, the better. And the fewer nondemocratic nuclear states, the better. And the fewer states where I can’t predict 10 years down the road what their attitudes will be toward the United States, the fewer of those countries that have nuclear weapons the better.”