Egypt has announced its intention to build several nuclear power plants.
President Hosni Mubarak announced live on national television that Egypt was building the power stations to diversify Egypt's energy resources and preserve the country's oil and gas for future generations.And Egypt isn't the only nation looking to safeguard its natural resource reserve as a foreign currency maker.
"Energy security is a major part of building the future for this country and an integral part of Egypt's national security system," Mubarak said at a ceremony inaugurating the second phase of construction of an electrical power plant north of Cairo.
Jordan, Turkey and several Gulf Arab countries also have announced that they are interested in developing nuclear power programs, and Yemen's government in September signed an agreement with Houston-based Powered Corporation to build civilian nuclear plants over the next 10 years.The Bush administration are just fine with all this.
The U.S. State Department said Washington would not object to Egypt's program as long as it respects the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency.Other countries that pursue non-peaceful nuclear weapons programs under a shroud of secrecy and in flagrant disregard for for international co-operation on non-proliferation - like say, Israel, Pakistan and India - well, the Bush administration are just fine with them too. Even if your human rights record is atrocious. Even if you have a record of launching premeditated and unwarranted attacks on your neighbours. Even if, like Pakistan, you happen to be the world's largest exporter of nuclear proliferation and world's largest state backer of terrorist groups.
"Countries that are members in good standing of the NPT and enter into agreements with IAEA regarding safeguards for peaceful nuclear energy, we have no problem with that," spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters. "Those states who want to pursue peaceful nuclear energy abiding by their international commitments, that's not a problem for us ... Those are countries that we can work with."
In fact, the only criterion for whether the US will object to your apparently peaceful seeking of nuclear power seems to be whether you're seen as "with the US" or 'against the US". American exceptionalism is the rule, not the exception.