Wednesday, October 01, 2003


Ten months seems like an eternity ago. Weapons of mass destruction now seem like some very poor joke, and an analysis that talks seriously about Saddam's nuclear potential may seem fit to be ignored. This article by Adam Garfinkle in January is still interesting, more for what it doesn't discuss than for what it does.

The issue is nuclear proliferation and what to do about the "axis of evil". Iraq should be invaded because it could get nuclear weapons real soon now, North Korea should not because it already has them and Iran is a hard case. So let's look at the argument. Countries must not get nuclear bombs because more nuclear powers will be dangerous, but once they've got nuclear bombs respect and restraint is due because these countries are dangerous. Few would disagree with the second partof the argument, but it is the first part that is questionable. Dangerous to whom?

Sadly Mr Garfinkle does not seem to grasp the somewhat asymetric logic here, America will police all non-nuclear powers but will treat nuclear powers as sovereign states - is it really any wonder that so many want to get their hands on the bomb? I digress. Why are nuclear weapons dangerous to a power that merely minds its vital national interests? As long as its not a psychopathic neighbour then nuclear weapons are another coutry's problem. And Iraq is neither a neighbour nor a near neighbour to ourselves or America. Who cares about Iraq apart from its neighbours, and who cares about her neighbours?

Is the quest for global stability producing the exact opposite?


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