Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Coming Soon: A Nuclear Burma?

How easy to forget Burma, that remote corner of repression and enslaved citizenry Condi Rice once called "an outpost of tyranny."

We'd best not forget them. They've got the equivalent of 600 million gallons of crude in their off-shore natural gas fields. What do they want to do with the money?
What else might this new wealth buy? The riches generated by Burma's natural-gas deposits may provide the junta with enough cash to realize its long-standing ambition to purchase nuclear technology. In 2002, the Russian government approved an agreement with Burma to help the regime build a civilian nuclear reactor.

The deal was never consummated, according to the Russian foreign ministry, because Burma lacked the money to pay for it. But when Russia's atomic agency announced last October that talks on the subject had resumed, Western governments reacted with alarm and dismissed official Burmese claims that the facility is meant only for medical research and the production of radiopharmaceuticals for cancer treatment. More worrying still, the junta's long-rumored high-level contacts with North Korea may well include discussion of the transfer of nuclear technology.
Read more in Slate's "Is Burma the next Iran?"

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hat-tip Real Clear Politics