First Draft: Ducked Fup
Today’s lead editorial in the New York Times concludes that we would all be better off if Chimpy had spent last week in Crawford.
The spectacularly misconceived trip may have inflicted serious damage to American goals in two vital areas, namely, mobilizing international diplomacy against the spread of nuclear weapons and encouraging Pakistan to take more effective action against the Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters operating from its territory.
The nuclear deal that Mr. Bush concluded with India threatens to blast a bomb-size loophole through the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. It would have been bad enough on its own, and disastrously ill timed, because it undercuts some of the most powerful arguments Washington can make to try to galvanize international opposition to Iran’s nuclear adventurism.
It’s just baffling why Mr. Bush traveled halfway around the world to stand right next to one of his most important allies against terrorists — and embarrass him. India and Pakistan are military rivals that have fought each other repeatedly. They have both developed nuclear weapons outside the nonproliferation treaty, which both refuse to sign. When India exploded its first acknowledged nuclear weapons eight years ago, Pakistan felt obliged to follow suit within weeks.
So when Mr. Bush agreed to carve out an exception to global nonproliferation rules for India, it should have been obvious that Pakistani opinion would demand the same privileged treatment, and that Mr. Musharraf would be embarrassed by Mr. Bush’s explicit refusal to provide it.
I third that opinion.
P.S. I find it ironic, how the editorial pages and the content perspective flop 180 degrees in the NYT and WSJ.