The brutal military dictatorship of Myanmar has made a recent deal with Russia to build a 10 megawatte nuclear reactor that uses low enriched uranium. The center would, reportedly, be under the control of the IAEA. This is a long step from getting the means or the knowledge for building a bomb, but it is a difficult alliance. Both China and Russia has prevented UN resolutions against Myanmar’s human rights abuses. Than Shwe, the dictator, has kept Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace laureate, under house arrest, on and off, since 1989. People get arrested all the time for insignificant acts of free speech, like these ten people on Monday. Elections won by her party in 1990 were annulled.
Not to mention the Karen people, the largest minority group in Myanmar, who are ethnically targeted for annihilation by the government. They’re actually a Christian groups who have participated in an insurgency against Than Shwe’s government. Myanmar is also thought to buy weapons from North Korea.
This news should be unsettling. Russia is the country helping Iran develop nuclear energy. I honestly am not sure if we should believe Iran or not. But people surely should be more unsettled by the fact that Pakistan already has nuclear weapons. Pakistan is not an axis of evil since it has been helpful in the “War on Terror”. The United States seems to encourage nuclear proliferation in India, however, by agreeing nuclear deals with the Indian government.
The difference is stability. But these countries can become instable in a matter of years. Congo, for example, was used in the 40s to develop nuclear power for the building of the nuclear bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war, Italian smugglers gained access to the materials and sold them on the black market. Congo became a dictatorship, and instability led to insecurity.
Spreading the knowledge of nuclear technology is a bad idea for two reasons. (1) The power it provides is costly and wasteful, and unwise for business. (2) The spread of nuclear knowledge only aids in the development of nuclear weapons in the future.