|Nuclear Armed Bullies and NPT Review|
Western nuclear powers, China and Pakistan are the Worst Proliferators
"The present system for preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons is at an end, is bankrupt." Mohamed El Baradei, head of IAEA at Davos in 2005. Mohamed El Baradei, described as "unworkable" the thinking that it is "morally reprehensible for some counties to pursue weapons of mass destruction yet morally acceptable for others to rely on them for security and indeed to continue to refine their capacities and postulate plans for their use" (NYT Feb 12, 2004 )
"The US has very little leverage with potential proliferators," says Ms. Natalie Goldring, from the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University in Washington. "When headlines in the US announce pre-emptive attacks on countries without nuclear weapons, and that [the US] will improve its tactical nuclear arsenal, our leverage is zero or negative."
“The double standard of insisting that we (US) can possess nuclear weapons and threaten first-strike attacks, while other nations cannot, is rightfully seen as old-fashioned hypocrisy and fuels proliferation.” Dr. Joseph Gerson in Truthout.com
"The United States is the major culprit in the erosion of the NPT (Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty). While claiming to be protecting the world from proliferation threats in Iraq, Libya, Iran and North Korea. .. they also have abandoned past pledges and now threaten first use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states-" Former president Jimmy Carter.
The eighth conference, held once every 5 years to review the NPT, at U.N. headquarters in New York from May 3 will be attended by delegates from 189 countries. But Washington has made no secret that along with Moscow and Beijing with London and Paris in tow, it would like the apartheid system of the five nuclear weapons states (NWPS), who also have veto power in UNSC, to maintain their monopoly of catastrophic destruction and blackmail.
In this endeavour, the US has combined the role of the Pope and Ayatollah. Susan Burk, US president Barack Obama’s Special Representative for nuclear non-proliferation, said efforts will be made to make India and Pakistan sign the NPT. The current dispensations in New Delhi should not succumb. It refuses to learn even after so many deceptions and betrayals by Washington.
The world must resist this monopoly and concentration of powers of Armageddon-like destruction which, if unleashed, will cripple if not end homo sapiens’ short, not so glorious existence on planet Earth.
In April, President Obama unveiled the new Nuclear Posture Review - which narrows the circumstances in which the US would use nuclear weapons - outlining his country's long-term strategy of nuclear disarmament. He and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, also signed a nuclear arms treaty in the Czech capital, Prague. That treaty commits them to reduce the number of deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 each - 30% lower than the previous ceiling.
It may be noted that even with the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) reductions in each country's nuclear warheads, the US and Russia still will possess more than 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons seven years from now. Despite Obama's claims of reducing the US nuclear stockpile, the Federation of American Scientists finds that New START "doesn't force either country to make changes in its nuclear structure.
Israel’s hardliner prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to attend the Nuclear Security Summit (in preparation for NPT Review Conference in New York) on April 12–14 over the security of "vulnerable nuclear material" in Washington, afraid of being singled out for criticism by other nations in the Middle East. Over 40 countries attended the Summit which focused on controlling the fissionable material around the world and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to militant groups. Probably the most concrete thing accomplished during the two days was a "voluntary" agreement that each country will do their best to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials over the next four years. If US had wanted to put pressure on Tehran it did not succeed.
India was flattered by a few photo ops with US leaders for which Indian leadership, whether NDA or UPA, is full of suckers. Remember honourable members of the Indian Parliament falling over each other to shake US president Bill Clinton’s hand when he visited India in 1999.
Piqued at being left out of Afghan and other decisions by Washington, India also attended a conference convened by Iran entitled "International Disarmament and Non-proliferation: World Security without Weapons of Mass Destruction" on 17 and 18 April 2010, which Tehran dubbed as "nuclear energy for everyone, nuclear weapons for no one," organized to counter the Obama Summit. The Tehran conference resulted in Iranian President Ahmadinejad's call for more rigorous action than the steps outlined by the Washington Summit toward the elimination of all nuclear weapons
This essay briefly describes the evolution and growth of the nuclear arms, the strategy to control and maintain hegemony by five NWPS against the will of almost all the rest of the world, and to expose their role in proliferation of nuclear arms while mouthing hypocritical and pious statements on total disarmament and elimination of nuclear weapons.
The last NPT Review
The seventh review conference in 2005 was an unmitigated disaster (as were the two previous ones –you guessed it –unwillingness of the NWPS to keep their side of the bargain of disarmament).After futile deliberations lasting 4 months, the Conference failed even to agree on a consensus document or adopt a common resolution or even a substantive Chairman's statement, because of the big brother attitude of the nuclear haves, fuelling cynicism of the world ever being free from the fear of nuclear weapons holocaust. Any hopes to transform the existing international proliferation control regime and reduce, if not eliminate, the global nuclear danger promised in the 2000 review were thus again belied.
The NWPS have succeeded in limiting the nations with nuke-making capability to a few, since NPT came into force in 1970, by allowing direct attacks, sabotage and sanctions. While the treaty required that nations without nuclear weapons commit not to acquire them; those with them committed themselves to move toward their elimination. Everyone's right to develop peaceful nuclear energy was allowed. India, Pakistan, Israel and Cuba did not sign the NPT. North Korea has been in and then out.
The five NWPS have done little towards eliminating their nuclear arsenals. Instead they have improved upon the lethality of their nukes and delivery systems. The West and Israel have used wars in the Middle East and Europe to test their newer and even prohibited weapons. They have regularly threatened and blackmailed non nuclear nations and when it suited, aided or acquiesced in its spread to their allies. While the US-led West goes wild condemning north Korea, Iran and others, it says little about Pakistan blackmail and not-so-veiled threats against India, even after the 26/11 rape of India’s commercial and cultural capital Mumbai, thus providing cover to nuclear terrorism.
United States was the first country to make atomic bombs in 1945 and use it against Hiroshima and Nagasaki without fear of retaliation. US president Franklin Roosevelt's son and confidant, talking of people "scorched and boiled and baked to death", said that the atomic bombing should continue "until we have destroyed about half the Japanese civilian population". General Leslie Groves, military director of the Manhattan Project, hastily reassured congressmen that radiation caused no "undue suffering" and that "in fact, they say it is a very pleasant way to die". In 1946, a US strategic bombing survey concluded that "Japan would have surrendered even if atomic bombs had not been dropped".
The earlier attempts at non-proliferation were limited to keeping the know-how on how to build the bomb a secret. It failed; the USSR (1949), the UK (1952), France (1960), and China (1964) succeeded in making bombs. Since then India (1974), Israel (1979), Pakistan (1998), and North Korea (2006) have become nuclear weapons powers, but not recognized as such. Sanctions were imposed against India, Pakistan and North Korea but not against Israel. South Africa has the capability, having produced six nuclear weapons in the 1980s which were later disassembled. Now the know-how is widespread, almost available on internet.
According to the Federation of American Scientists, the nuclear warheads distribution is as follows;
Russia 2800, USA 2200, France 300, China 180,UK 160, Israel 80, Pakistan 80, India 60, North Korea <10
US-Iran Nuclear dispute about Regional domination
So now efforts are being made to control the manufacture of enriched uranium and other fissionable material, even for power stations, where the purity required is 10-15% whereas it needs enrichment of over 90% to make a bomb. The infrastructure required for this level of enrichment is too massive to be hidden. Still, the US-led West is hell-bent on denying this right which Iran has under the NPT treaty it had signed. Even when US’s own intelligence assessments report that Tehran is far away from the objective of bomb making. It is just to browbeat Iran, in which Moscow and Beijing play the big power game as it suits their own strategic objectives of the moment. Israel, which has US politicians by braces and brooches, disseminates false claims and alarms about Tehran being in sight of bomb making. When Russia provided Syria with defensive short range missiles some years ago, Israel proclaimed that the strategic balance was altered in the Middle East. Russian president Vladimir Putin quipped, “Yes, the Israeli jets will not be able to buzz at will the Presidential palace in Damascus.
India unwisely made an enemy of Tehran by siding with USA and getting little in return. In fact it signed away its future nuclear strategic options by its treaty with USA. It is becoming clearer to even those afflicted with Wasco Syndrome in India and resident and nonresident non-Indians, (who love USA deeply and are ever ready to barter away India’s interests for a scholarship, an honorary degree or such small favors), that for the US-led West to maintain control over oil wells in the Middle East and Central Asia and Caspian, Pakistan, created for this very purpose, will always be vital and more important than India. These Indians would end up allowing Washington to use India against China as the US-led West manipulated Saddam’s Iraq against Iran in 1980s.
An important subject for the Review would be some action on the 15 year old Egyptian proposal to make the Middle East a nuclear free zone. Cairo has proposed that the 2010 conference endorse launching such negotiations. Iran has repeatedly endorsed the idea of making its region nuclear weapon-free, in effect trading its presumed weapons-making potential for Israel's decades-old clandestine bomb stockpile of over hundreds of nukes. Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can be expected to repeat that call at the conference and defend Iran's nuclear program as purely civilian.
Ahmadinejad, speaking on International Workers' Day on 1 May, claimed he has proof US and Israel are linked to the world's leading terrorist organizations (polls even in Europe rate the US and Israel highest dangers to peace). "We have documents that prove (Washington) is the root of world terrorism," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in Tehran, according to Press TV. "It has been aiding and abetting extremist groups over the past years. ”Ahmadinejad declared that Tehran "cuts any hand that signs a document against Iran," according to the semi-official FARS news agency. The US "is the only country to have used the atomic bomb in military conflict, ”he added. "They even admit themselves that they resorted to using (similar weapons) during the war they waged on Iraq." The United States has not admitted using such weapons in the Iraq war.
(He probably means depleted Uranium ammunition used in Iraq and Afghanistan, which Israel also used against Lebanon in the 2006 war. Washington had threatened using nukes if Saddam Hussein used its non-nuclear WMD s against US forces in 1991 war according to rumours in Amman where the author was then posted.)
Already criminal use of Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons by USA and its allies has wreaked havoc in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and even beyond in India by a diabetes epidemic as explained by a expert on DU, through air currents transfer of DUs particles from Afghanistan and China. Use of DU weapons, with air currents blowing back the particles, by Israel in south Lebanon has seriously affected the impregnating capacity of male sperm in Israel with serious demographic consequences
A few days before Ahmedinjed’s tirade, secretary of state Hillary Clinton condemned him.
"Iran, with its anti-Semitic president and hostile nuclear ambitions, also continues to threaten Israel, destabilize the region, and sponsor terror, ”Clinton said, addressing the annual meeting of the American Jewish Committee. (Pray tell what threat Iran poses to Israel: Tel Aviv and Tehran’s expenditure on defense, number of aircrafts and land based weapons are at least twice and more; Israel has over hundreds of nukes and threatened to use them many times). While insisting that Iran maintain transparency, various reports by IAEA's have validated earlier conclusions that it had not found evidence that Iran was engaged in the banned nuclear weapons program.
Countries belonging to the non-aligned movement (NAM) have stated that all countries have "a basic and inalienable right ”to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes. NAM members note that while Western nations repeatedly ask why Iran is so insistent on building nuclear power plants when the country has vast reserves of oil and natural gas, they never pose the same question to the Russians, who have built a large number of nuclear power plants despite having the largest natural gas reserves in the world. In any event, hydrocarbon energy resources are finite with many reports suggesting a peak oil production soon.
Historical background: Israel, the Nuclear elephant in the room.
Israel’s nuke project began soon after its establishment in 1948. After the 1956 UK-France led fiasco over the Suez canal, in which US sided with Egypt, Paris and London extended all possible help to Israel in its nuke program based at Dimona. It reportedly ‘stole’ uranium from US naval stores. "Before the 1967 Six-Day War, they (Israel) felt their nuclear facility threatened and reportedly assembled several nuclear devices. By the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel had a number of sophisticated nuclear bombs, deployed them, and considered launching them. The Arabs may have limited their war aims because of their knowledge of the Israeli nuclear weapons. Israel has most probably conducted several nuclear bomb tests."
After the exit of US gendarme Shah of Iran in the Middle East, Tehran has been replaced by Tel Aviv, making it more obdurate and irresponsible. During the 1991 US-led war on Iraq to liberate Kuwait, the US had to station its acting secretary of state Eagleburgher in Tel Aviv to restrain Israel.
In 1991 Seymour Hersh wrote a book “The Samson Option; Israel's nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy” (the Biblical Samson, of course, brought down a temple that killed himself and his enemies), which derives from Israeli’s view that once they have the bomb they are in a position to bring it all down on everyone if they feel cornered. Israel used nuclear blackmail to force USA to airlift unlimited military supplies during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, putting Western forces on alert. The threat of blackmail continues to distort the US–Israeli relationship. It also encourages Israel to ignore and defy the rest of the world and even USA.
Iran's nuclear program
Iran's nuclear program was started in the 1970s under the Shah, with Washington’s encouragement and cooperation. But after the Shah's overthrow following the 1979 Islamic revolution, the Nuclear Suppliers' Group, a 45-nation cartel, ceased any relationship with Iran, although Imam Khomeini had declared that making of atomic bombs was haram, (illegal) and issued a Fatwa. This position has been reiterated by his successor Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
During the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88, Iran was reportedly in touch with intermediaries of the nuclear parts black market run by Dr AQ Khan. At a meeting with a Khan representative, Iran received a written offer for the delivery of the makings of a nuclear weapons program. Iran bought P-1 gas centrifuge designs to enrich uranium and a starter kit for uranium enrichment.
But Iran told the IAEA in 2003 that it decided not to pursue the offer of parts for the core of a bomb. (Documents concerning the 1987 offer were made available to the UN inspectors later.) In 1992-94 Iran bought a duplicate set of P-1 centrifuge designs, components for 500 used P-1 centrifuges and took delivery of a design for the advanced P-2.
At the same time in 1992, Iran and Russia signed a nuclear co-operation agreement followed by a 1995 deal for the Russians to construct a light-water civil reactor at Bushehr which is yet to come onstream. There is a trust deficit between Tehran and Moscow because of historical rivalries.
However, when Iran's deals with Dr AQ Khan became public, Tehran put its enrichment of uranium program under international inspection in 2003, and started negotiations with Britain, Germany and France, in an attempt to end the US-led Western freeze on technological transfers, including spare parts for civilian planes to Iran.
But the US nuclear Ayatollahs had little intention of an agreed solution, except total surrender by Iran. So Tehran removed the seals on nuclear material in 2006 to resume low-level enrichment in the presence of the IAEA inspectors, which it continues.
There might be some area of darkness about progress in its enrichment program prior to 2003 but US approach appears like that on Iraq, asking for more intrusive inspections, then for stricter monitoring and even intelligence collection for an eventual attack.
The possession of half a dozen nuclear bombs by North Korea have proved that only nuclear weapons can protect a poor and small nation and guard its sovereignty. Pakistan is one seventh India’s size, but because of its nuclear threat continues to blackmail and bully India, in which it has been encouraged and aided by the West. It is natural that Iran after mastering the legal uranium fuel cycle would embark on the Pakistani path and could arrive there sooner or later.
Emerging Problems in Far East
US continues to blow hot and cold on north Korea, which has declared that it has nuclear weapons. Pyongyang has mastered the missile technology and trades in it. North Korea has escaped 'regime change' because Washington is afraid of retaliatory attacks on its 35,000 plus troops stationed in South Korea and on Japan. When asked why Saddam Hussein was chosen for regime change from among dictatorial regimes, Dick Cheney told Prince Hassan of Jordan that it was "doable" (as if it was USA's divine right).It sums up the US nuclear policy towards non-allies and sent a chilling message around.
Pyongyang has at the back of its mind half a century of US nuclear intimidation, beginning with the Korean War, when 'military commanders Douglas MacArthur and Matthew Ridgeway, presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all at one time or other favored a nuclear attack on north Korea and were restrained only by the fear of possible Soviet retaliation.'
It has often been suggested that China could bring Pyongyang around to an agreement by simply withholding aid and trade. This is undoubtedly true, but Beijing has said more than once, openly and up front, that it will not do so. Nothing two-faced about it! "The Chinese are not particularly worried if North Korea has an atomic bomb. They don't believe Pyongyang would be stupid enough to drop one on them. Historically, China has not been concerned about nuclear non-proliferation." As with Pakistan too.
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|Allen L. Jasson|
|William John Cox|