Monday, February 13, 2006

Nuclear Nonproliferation is Nonnegotiable

Malaya columnist Ellen Tordesiilas reports on remarks by Iranian Ambassador Jalal Kalantari in Makati last week--

Kalantari said: “Iran’s nuclear program is not ambitious and that would by no means be a threat against world peace and security nor against regional peace. “Iran, like other developing countries and members of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, has rejected nuclear weapons decisively and firmly...It is regrettable that nuclear-weapon states with the largest arsenals of nuclear weapons, instead of trying to build international confidence through implementing their nuclear disarmament obligation under NPT, are developing new and more sophisticated types of nuclear weapons and openly threaten to use them against non-nuclear states. They intend to hold on to their monopoly of nuclear know-how and technology and deprive other nations of their legal rights to peaceful use of nuclear technology.”

CAVEAT: Actually, lots of other countries in the world are exercising their legal rights and peacefully using nuclear technology for producing electricity and research. All they do is COMPLY with the IAEA inspection and regulatory regime, but Iran has recently dropped out of the IAEA oversight in order to remove surveillance cameras, unseal old stocks of uranium, and to do what? Kalantari is being slightly disingenuous in claiming that Iran's nuclear program is "in anticipation of the depletion of Iran's fossil reserves." He must be talking of oil, of which Iranis either 3rd of 4th largest net exporter in the world. And yeah, the PROVEN reserves are predicted to run out in 2075 or something, but you would think Iran would spend its present resources on poverty alleviation instead of uranium enrichment.

UNIFFORS posted an article by Gadfly on The Iranian Nuclear Issue about Iran's steady march into the world's nuclear country club. It got this comment from Brownman to Gadfly --

For as long as some countries possess nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, it's okay for all nations to acquire them too. The solution therefore is for all nations to give up their WMD arsenals. Meantime, the NPT [Non Proliferation Treaty] can be shoved up the Security Council's ass
CAVEAT: When Brownman says that "'s okay for all nations to acquire them too." he clearly believes that it would be okay for all the nation-states on the planet to arm themselves with Thermonuclear Explosive Devices. For as long as SOME countries possess nuclear weapons, then ALL countries should acquire nuclear weapons, seems to be one position at Uniffors on the issue.

I hope these ideas are not being adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Just because it is true that all the members of the Security Council happen to be the owners of the largest stockpiles of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) on the planet, it does not follow that we ought to encourage the vast majority of the members of the General Assembly to go and get them too, as Brownman seems to suggest.

But I think he knows that giving nuclear weapons to ALL the nation-states is actually wrong, so he does declare that, "The solution therefore is for all nations to give up their WMD arsenals." This is a good suggestion, as long as total disarmament by everyone is not a condition for supporting total nonproliferation. For it is not only nation-states that want nuclear weapons, now. Al Qaeda and others want it too and that could be a greater threat than even a nuclear Iran, which would at least fall into the MAD calculus of the Cold War in that Tehran will always be vulnerable to a counterstrike, from say Israel, whom Iranian President Ahmadinejad has openly threatened with extinction. Concern for the safety of Iran's entire population is surely a deterrent to any real nuclear misadventure, but that is not enough for the rest of the world.

In accepting the Nobel Peace Prize last year, Mohammed El Baradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, made this exact point, that more state and non-state actors must not get their hands on nuclear weapons. THAT is one simple, direct, Nobel-winning definition of nonproliferation in our era.

ANALOGY: Some may not like this analogy but it captures the essence of at least one argument for strict enforcement of nonproliferation. The problem of nuclear weapons is a lot like gun control. We don't begrudge the Police for having guns do we? Nor do we allow children or criminal gangs to have them. This is true even though I also hold to the ideal that someday guns ought to be outlawed altogether. But who appointed America Nuclear Policeman of the World -- some people mutter. I think that was an accident of its birth at Alamagordo, New Mexico, when Shiva the Destroyer arrived on earth, and only Albert Einstein knew who had actually arrived. The analogy fails only because guns are not weapons of mass destruction.

But for anyone to think that Ahmadinejad has a right to clone the Nuclear Genie--that is sheer madness. At the end of the day, the following reality must be recognized. Nonproliferation may be governed by a Treaty, but it is non-negotiable as far as the United States is concerned because everyone accepts the fact that a non-state actor cannot be allowed to have the Bomb, nor a state with a leader like Hitler who has openly wondered what the world would be like without Israel and America and is building a Bomb to make that happen. The problem of nuclear weapons is not a problem of equality among nations, for it is a problem bigger than any nation, even America. Possessing the secret of the stars should not be treated like the Subic Bay Rape Case.

AMERICA'S CROSS: I believe that it is America's moral duty to keep this secret safe from those who might use it to bring about Armageddon. THAT is America's Cross to bear for inventing the Atom Bomb. Nuclear terrorism IS a case where somone must act as policeman, detective and Spiderman all at once. Or else all is lost, because one of the deepest insights that is already a part of US strategic thinking is this — there is actually no way to stop the proliferation of the nuclear secret. We must be prepared to act with whatever force is necessary to prevent an actual event of PROLIFERATION into the hands of Ahmadinejad, Osama bin Laden, or even Dulmatin and the Bali Bombers skulking around down in Mindanao.

NONPROLIFERATION must be enforced by treaty or by force because there is truly very little that one would consider rational or civilized in the actions of men and nations AFTER a significant event of proliferation into the ranks of the Non-State actors like Al Qaeda. Nonproliferation can be achieved by treaty, reason, conscience, prudence, whatever it takes to prevent proliferation. But all necessary force ought to be used if someone decides to PLAY WITH MATCHES in the locked shack full of dynamite that contains us all. This could entail unimaginably draconian measures involving nuclear weapons themselves. (Don't ask...)

efending the controversial Executive Order 464 to Pia Hontiveros just now was Ric Saludo, who made an incredible claim -- that the government doesn't care WHO wiretepped the Commander-in-chief! This just about matches in matchless perfidy the NBI announcement today that they had given up on determining WHO wiretapped the Commander in Chief because the disks supplied by Ignacio Bunye were "spliced." (Question and answer are actually here twice, aren't they?)

ZOMBIES:Tonight at Araneta Coliseum... While we still can...



manuelbuencamino said...

do any of the big five allow unfettered IAEA access?

Rizalist said...

Sorry for the late reply. Just got back...MB, the answer is "probably not." But there is a kind of grandfathering here and though that seems unfair, the simple fact is that these nations are a "well-known" quantity wrt to nuclear weapons. I guess, my take is, nuclear weapons came to earth long before we had developed the "morality" to really "deserve" having them. But now that they are here, "let everybody have it" is no solution. But what the ultimate solution is, nobody I think actually knows.

I believe Iran can do whatever other nations are now doing, no more, no less, in the matter of energy research and development. The Policeman didn't want this job, I am sure. It was forced on them by accidents of history.

Amadeo said...

As the only country to have used a nuclear device(s) in war, the US also bears the unique burden of hindsight. Thus, when anniversary dates of Pearl Harbor and the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki roll in, and after 50 years later, the entire country continues to be divided and to collectively agonize on the two bombings, regardless of how justifiably appropriate the actions were.

As is said, the child learns from experience. And a burnt hand is the best deterrent to any reckless playing of fire.

Rizalist said...

It's America's Cross to bear...they grabbed it from the Nazis who wouldn't be carrying it around at all but hitting everybody on the head with it.

manuelbuencamino said...


You went to see the Zombies? I used to listen to them all the time. Did I miss something good?

I hope you went to the concert with the right frame of mind, if you know what I mean. hehe

Rizalist said...

Yup MB They were superb. Colin's voice is still perfect and there was a standing ovation at the end. Great show, emotional too: They were here last almost 40 years ago (10 nights sold out in 1967)



Thought I'd tell you, in case you didn't know yet, about the most recent poster slogans that Northrop Grumann coined for the new nuclear powered aircraft and nuclear weapons carrier they built for the US Navy.

One aircraft carrier poster says: “90,000 TONS OF U.S. DIPLOMACY”

The other aircraft carrier poster says: “FOUR-AND-A-HALF ACRES OF U.S. REAL ESTATE ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, ANY PLACE!”

Kinda neat, no?

My son's got 'em NG posters in his bedroom.

Marcus Aurelius said...

While I strongly disagree with your stance on gun control, the analogy is a good one.

It was often said the six-shooter was the great equalizer and after Iran noted what happened that Sadman Maddam ;-) they saw the only way to hold of such fate for themselves was to have that equalizer of nations a nuclear weapon.

Like the Sadman Maddam in the first Gulf War tried to drag Israel into the fight by attacking it with missiles my guess is Iran will threaten to sneak a nuclear device into an Israeli city and explode it. Tel Aviv had better prepare.

Rizalist said...

Marcus Aurelius--Haha I was thinking of you because I know that in your part of the woods, hunting is a big thing, and guns are bearable right. But that's the democracy of human beings and not of nations. (Nice discussion of that over at Ellen Tordesillas). By the way, ever hunt a deer with bow and arrow? Did once, hit a couple of big fat trees.

HB--The milbloggers call all that heavy metal "Leviathan" but the most thoughtful already know how inadequate the military configuration is to fight the war we are now in, where information is actually more powerful than any weapon.

Amadeo, literary theory: Hiawatha==Jesus Christ of the Indians. (?)

Amadeo said...

You mention "Hiawatha woos Minehaha.". Is this a forthcoming podcast?

JC of Indians, you say. But we know that Hiawatha married another maiden, and not Minehaha.