Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Pan-Am Proliferation

James Steingold, a staff writer in the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote an article on the approach of the United States to nuclear proliferation, a subject of topicality after the recent revelations concerning Pakistan's "Muslim bomb". Steingold analysed supposed inconsistencies in US foreign policy by comparing the sanctions applied to Iran (terrorist state) with the blind eye shown to Brazil. Both countries have recently enriched uranium.

From this, certain questions are raised:

The contrast of the two cases underscores a sharp philosophical divide that lies beneath the debate on the best way to stop nuclear proliferation:

-- Should the policy be based on a view that nuclear weapons are not inherently bad, but rather perilous only if they fall into the wrong hands?

-- Or should the international policy be that the weapons are so dangerous that the aim should be applying restrictions equally and eliminating all warheads and production programs, even in the United States?

Transnationalists view all nuclear weapons as evil and support a program of disarmament that would end all state mandated nuclear weapons programs. In the real world, where the great powers understand that non-governmental groups could soon acquire nukes, there is an instinctive recognition that nuclear proliferation is a process that can, at best, be slowed but not controlled.

Nuclear proliferation is rolling out and as armouries fill up with these cheap bombs, the probability of their use rises. Two more mega-risks for the twenty-first century.

(22.57, 25th February 2004)


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