FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

US Nuclear Hypocrisy

by DAVID KRIEGER

Every five years the parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty meet in a review conference to further the non-proliferation and disarmament goals of the treaty. This year the conference ended in a spectacular failure with no final document and no agreement on moving forward. For the first ten days of the conference, the US resisted agreement on an agenda that made any reference to past commitments.

The failure of the treaty conference is overwhelmingly attributable to the nuclear policies of the Bush administration, which has disavowed previous US nuclear disarmament commitments under the treaty. The Bush administration does not seem to grasp the hypocrisy of pressing other nations to forego their nuclear options, while failing to fulfill its own obligations under the disarmament provisions of the treaty.

The treaty is crumbling under the double standards of American policy, and may not be able to recover from the rigid “do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do” positions of the Bush administration. These policies are viewed by most of the world as high-level nuclear hypocrisy.

Paul Meyer, the head of Canada’s delegation to the treaty conference, reflected on the conference, “The vast majority of states have to be acknowledged, but we did not get that kind of diplomacy from the US.” Former UK Foreign Minister Robin Cook also singled out the Bush administration in explaining the failure of the conference. “How strange,” he wrote, “that no delegation should have worked harder to frustrate agreement on what needs to be done than the representatives of George Bush.”

What the US did at the treaty conference was to point the finger at Iran and North Korea, while refusing to discuss or even acknowledge its own failure to meet its obligations under the treaty. Five years ago, at the 2000 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, the parties to the treaty, including the US, agreed to 13 Practical Steps for Nuclear Disarmament. Under the Bush administration, nearly all of these obligations have been disavowed.

Although President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996, the Bush administration does not support it and refused to allow ratification of this treaty, which is part of the 13 Practical Steps, to even be discussed at the 2005 review conference. The parties to the treaty are aware that the Bush administration is seeking funding from Congress to continue work on new earth penetrating nuclear weapons (“bunker busters”), while telling other nations not to develop nuclear arms.

They are also aware that the Bush administration has withdrawn from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to pursue a destabilizing missile defense program, and has not supported a verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, although the US had agreed to support these treaties in the 13 Practical Steps.

The failure of this treaty conference makes nuclear proliferation more likely, including proliferation to terrorist organizations that cannot be deterred from using the weapons. The fault for this failure does not lie with other governments as the Bush administration would have us believe. It does not lie with Egypt for seeking consideration of previous promises to achieve a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.

Nor does the fault lie with Iran for seeking to enrich uranium for its nuclear energy program, as is done by many other states, including the US, under the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It would no doubt be preferable to have the enrichment of uranium and the separation of plutonium, both of which can be used for nuclear weapons programs, done under strict international controls, but this requires a change in the treaty that must be applicable to all parties, not just to those singled out by the US.

Nor can the fault be said to lie with those states that, having given up their option to develop nuclear weapons, sought renewed commitments from the nuclear weapons states not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states. It is hard to imagine a more reasonable request. Yet the US has refused to relinquish the option of first use of nuclear weapons, even against non-nuclear weapons states.

The fault for the failure of the treaty conference lies clearly with the Bush administration, which must take full responsibility for undermining the security of every American by its double standards and nuclear hypocrisy.

The American people must understand the full magnitude of the Bush administration’s failure at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. This may not happen because the administration has been so remarkably successful in spinning the news to suit its unilateralist, militarist and triumphalist worldviews.

As Americans, we can not afford to wait until we experience an American Hiroshima before we wake up to the very real dangers posed by US nuclear policies. We must demand the reversal of these policies and the resumption of constructive engagement with the rest of the world.

DAVID KRIEGER is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

 

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org). 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 30, 2017
Kenneth Surin
Can the Impossible Happen in Britain?
W. T. Whitney
Why Does the United States Beat Up On Capitalist Russia?
Patrick Cockburn
We Can’t Let Britain to Become a Vast ISIS Recruiting Station
Michael J. Sainato
Leaks and Militarized Policing: Water Protectors are Proven Right
Ted Rall
What Do the Democrats Want? No One Knows
David J. Lobina
The Israel-Palestine Conflict and Political Activism
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again, Mainstream Media Does Pharma’s Bidding
David L. Glotzer
Social Security: Clearing Up the Financial Nonsense
Edward Hunt
If They are Wrong the Planet Dies
Lawrence Wittner
How Business “Partnerships” Flopped at America’s Largest University
Guillermo R. Gil
Poems Must Never be White
Martin Billheimer
Strategies of Rose and Thorn in Portland
Tony Christini
What isn’t Said: Bernie Sanders in 2020
Chandra Muzaffar
Fasting for Palestinian Justice and Dignity
Clancy Sigal
Even Grammar Bleeds
May 29, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
No Laughing Matter: The Manchester Bomber is the Spawn of Hillary and Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure
Vijay Prashad
The Afghan Toll
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post’s Renewed Attack on Whistlblowers
Robert Fisk
We Must Look to the Past, Not ISIS, for the True Nature of Islam
Dean Baker
A Tax on Wall Street Trading is the Best Solution to Income Inequality
Lawrence Davidson
Reality and Its Enemies
Harry Hobbs
Australia’s Time to Recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Sovereignty
Ray McGovern
Will Europe Finally Rethink NATO’s Costs?
Cesar Chelala
Poetry to the Rescue of America’s Soul
Andrew Stewart
Xi, Trump and Geopolitics
Binoy Kampmark
The Merry Life of Dragnet Surveillance
Stephen Martin
The Silent Apartheid: Militarizing Architecture & Infrastructure
Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail