U.S. Precipitating a Tidal Wave of Nuclear Proliferation

By Chernus, Ira | CCPA Monitor, March 2005 | Go to article overview
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U.S. Precipitating a Tidal Wave of Nuclear Proliferation

Chernus, Ira, CCPA Monitor

There's another tsunami coming-a tidal wave of nuclear proliferation. This one is human-made. So it can be prevented-if enough people know about it in time. We do have an early warning system: the news media. When it comes to nuclear proliferation, though, our warning system is pretty much out of commission. We are nearly as defenseless as the Asian tsunami victims.

Oh, we do spend U.S. tax dollars to warn the world of the nuclear danger. On December 27, the Voice of America broadcast news of a UN report on proliferation: the international community, we were told, "is approaching a point at which the erosion of the non-proliferation regime could become irreversible and result in a cascade of proliferation." At least 40 nations have the technology to build nuclear weapons at relatively short notice. But the VOA only mentions two of those nations as dangers: Iran and North Korea. What about the other 38? Apparently, in this age of a "what-me-worry" U.S. president, we just aren't supposed to worry.

At the tail-end of its news item, the VOA adds this: "Nuclear issues will be discussed in 2005 in New York, during the review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the legal cornerstone of non-proliferation efforts. Under terms of the pact, non-nuclear states are bound not to acquire nuclear weapons while the five declared nuclear states (the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia) pledge to disarm. The four-week session in May will bring the 187 signatories together to debate whether the treaty needs to be revised and strengthened to meet the nuclear challenges in the years ahead."

But neither the VOA, nor any U.S. news media, have reported the important news about that meeting in May: the Bush administration is going to New York not to strengthen the NPT, but to destroy it. Do you want to know why? You could study every news outlet in the U.S. and not get an answer. You have to go to Japan, where the Kyodo News Agency recently reported: "The United States plans to suggest that a 2005 international conference to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty should invalidate a document adopted at a 2000 meeting in which the five nuclear powers committed to an 'unequivocal undertaking' to a nuclearfree world, according to U.S. government and congressional sources." In other words, the U.S. wants to scrap the very heart of the NPT, the deal that says if all you non-nuclear nations stay that way, we nuclear nations will move steadily toward getting rid of our nukes.

If the treaty were permanent, the U.S. would be stuck with that deal. That's why the U.S., under the Clinton administration, insisted that the treaty be reviewed and subject to change every five years. Now the Bushies are planning, not merely to change it, but to make it meaningless. They want to tell all the non-nuclear states: "Y'all must stay non-nuclear, but we'll have as many nukes as we want. We'll make new nukes but keep the old. And if you don't like it, just take a good look at Iraq, because you could be next."

According to the Kyodo News Agency report, this makes perfect sense in Bush-logic: "A U.S. government official described the final accord adopted during the 2000 NPT review conference as a 'simply historical document' and pointed out the need to adopt a new document reflecting drastic changes in international security conditions, including the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001."

The NPT is an international treaty signed by the president and ratified by the Senate. Most people thought that made it law. How silly of us. "It's not a binding guideline or anything like that," the anonymous official explained. The idea that the U.S. should move toward nuclear disarmarnent is now "outdated," so it must go.

"A congressional source also pointed out that an article in the NPT which requires nuclear powers to make a serious commitment to disarmament was created against the backdrop of a nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War," the Japanese article continues.

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