Nuclear Fantasies; American Deterrence Is Still Needed

Article excerpt


Hans Blix, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, was in Washington recently to brief Senate staff about why the United States stands in the way of the world getting rid of nuclear weapons.

He lumped together the Reliable Replacement Warhead, or RRW, program that the Bush administration is supporting, the illicit North Korean nuclear weapons program, the British policy of replacing its aging Trident fleet with new submarines and the nuclear modernization programs of China and Russia. All were "bad," he said, and were undermining the NPT, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970 that called on the world to seriously negotiate an eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.

Getting rid of nuclear weapons is, unfortunately, a fantasy that keeps getting in the way of sound U.S. deterrent strategy. Mr. Blix believes in this fairy tale despite presiding over the development of nuclear weapons in India, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea - the latter two are members of the NPT.

In his remarks to Senate staff he made the astounding claim that Britain had no need for nuclear weapons because the Netherlands and Sweden didn't have them. He claimed the United States' hostile policy toward North Korea made Pyongyang pursue nuclear weapons. (This is not unlike his previous claim that Iran has a right to nuclear weapons because, after all, it has to defend itself against Israel and the United States.) And while saying Iran was not pursuing nuclear weapons, he said all the mullahs wanted was not to be threatened by the United States. If the United States and its allies simply adopted policies that made them morally superior in the nuclear business - meaning do not do anything to continue the maintenance of our nuclear deterrent - then Iran, North Korea and other potential rogue states will see the necessity of following such a profoundly correct path and give up their brutish ways. In short, if the United States had "clean and pure hands," the mad mullahs in Tehran and the Soprano state in North Korea would jump on the freight train of reform.

This infectious disease - the moral arrogance that sees the United States at fault wherever there are problems in the world - was long ago identified by the late Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick as the "blame America first" syndrome. Mr. Blix is not the only one afflicted. Members of the Union of Concerned Scientists greeted the House cut of funds for the RRW with great glee claiming such action finally put the United States on the high road toward meeting its obligations under the NPT, one of which was nuclear disarmament. …