Asia's Nuclear Arms Race Begins in Pakistan

The danger that the U.S.-India nuclear deal will break down the international nonproliferation regime seems to be growing. Critics warned that aiding a rising power that has spurned international nonproliferation treaties could inspire copycat violations—and they can now point to the latest China-Pakistan deal as proof.

Beijing recently promised to help Islamabad build two new reactors, even though China is a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which bans nuclear trade with nations that spurn International Atomic Energy Agency rules. Pakistan is one of those nations. China also helped Pakistan build two earlier reactors, but that was before China joined the NSG in 2004. Clearly, the group is losing leverage over its members in the wake of the India deal, says proliferation expert Peter Scoblic. Bush's hope that he could confine his special offer to one friendly nation ignored the fact that other nuclear powers have different friends.