LAST YEAR's Nobel Peace Prize went to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its head, Mohammed el Baradei. Interviewed by the Press upon hearing the announcement, he was asked, "If you could single out one issue, what is the most pressing issue that you have to deal with right now or in the nearest future?
"Well, I think the most single important issue today is to make sure that nuclear weapons will not proliferate beyond the eight, or nine, countries that already have nuclear weapons; and absolutely make sure that none of these nuclear weapons or this nuclear material will fall into the hands of any extremist or terrorist group, because if they got hold of this material, they would use it. That would be the beginning of the end for civilisation as we know it."
In his Nobel Lecture accepting the Prize, el Baradei waxes apocalyptic and declares that we are "in a race against time"
Mohammed El Baradei (Oslo City Hall, December 10, 2005): "I have no doubt that, if we hope to escape self-destruction, then nuclear weapons should have no place in our collective conscience, and no role in our security. To that end, we must ensure – absolutely – that no more countries acquire these deadly weapons. We must see to it that nuclear-weapon states take concrete steps towards nuclear disarmament. And we must put in place a security system that does not rely on nuclear deterrence.Are these goals realistic and within reach? I do believe they are. But then three steps are urgently required.I thought at first that only the CPP would have the psychosis to Heil the North Korean nuclear blast but here also is a Letter to the Editor of PDI from Manuel F. Almario, former editor of the Graphic, which makes the argument that North Korea has a right to own nuclear weapons because it has the right to self defense. Of course, every man and every nation has a primordial right to self defense. If someone tries to kill Maning Almario, he would be morally justified to use deadly force to defend his life. However, if he had been accusing someone of intending to kill him or do him harm for the better half of the last century, and then he explodes 2 million pounds of dynamite (that's what one kiloton of TNT is!) as a warning that he CAN defend yourself, that would seem to be the version of the Principle of Self-Defense as interpreted by the CPP and the Axis of Evil Hair-Do's. It would not be valid self-defense for me to booby trap my home with automatic machine guns or biochem germ warfare sprays just in case some homicidal maniac decides to barge in at night, EVEN IF I do have the right to self-defense.
First, keep nuclear and radiological material out of the hands of extremist groups. In 2001, the IAEA together with the international community launched a worldwide campaign to enhance the security of such material. Protecting nuclear facilities. Securing powerful radioactive sources. Training law enforcement officials. Monitoring border crossings. In four years, we have completed perhaps 50 per cent of the work. But this is not fast enough, because we are in a race against time.
Second, tighten control over the operations for producing the nuclear material that could be used in weapons. Under the current system, any country has the right to master these operations for civilian uses. But in doing so, it also masters the most difficult steps in making a nuclear bomb.
To overcome this, I am hoping that we can make these operations multinational – so that no one country can have exclusive control over any such operation. My plan is to begin by setting up a reserve fuel bank, under IAEA control, so that every country will be assured that it will get the fuel needed for its bona fide peaceful nuclear activities. This assurance of supply will remove the incentive – and the justification – for each country to develop its own fuel cycle. We should then be able to agree on a moratorium on new national facilities, and to begin work on multinational arrangements for enrichment, fuel production, waste disposal and reprocessing.
We must also strengthen the verification system. IAEA inspections are the heart and soul of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. To be effective, it is essential that we are provided with the necessary authority, information, advanced technology, and resources. And our inspections must be backed by the UN Security Council, to be called on in cases of non-compliance.
Third, accelerate disarmament efforts. We still have eight or nine countries who possess nuclear weapons. We still have
27,000 warheads in existence. I believe this is 27,000 too many.
A good start would be if the nuclear-weapon states reduced the strategic role given to these weapons. More than 15 years after the end of the Cold War, it is incomprehensible to many that the major nuclear-weapon states operate with their arsenals on hair-trigger alert – such that, in the case of a possible launch of a nuclear attack, their leaders could have only 30 minutes to decide whether to retaliate, risking the devastation of entire nations in a matter of minutes.
These are three concrete steps that, I believe, can readily be taken. Protect the material and strengthen verification. Control the fuel cycle. Accelerate disarmament efforts.
In its Sunday Editorial, PDI comes to terms with its own past positions on nuclear weapons by dispelling certain Bad Hair Myths, (which they have at times spun themselves). Here they blame Bush for North Korea, but absolve Bill Clinton! However, they don't say the same crazy things as the CPP and Manuel Almario. But see if you can spot the points of paradox and irony in the editorial's conclusion and recommendations:
PDI: "The North Korean nuclear test severely reduces the international community’s choices. China, Pyongyang’s lone ally, must overcome its reluctance to put pressure on North Korea; the United States must reconsider its decision to forego one-on-one talks; Japan and South Korea must exercise the utmost self-restraint in responding to the nuclear crisis. And the Philippines? We must work closely with our Asean allies to serve the ends of both containment and engagement."
Whatever happened to strident demands for multilateralism? I mean, which is it, folks? Work with the much-vaunted "international community" or go one-on-one with the Weird One? When the US and UK finally dealt with Saddam Hussein in the face of footdragging by "allies" France and Germany, it was accused of unilateralism. Now she should "reconsider" one-on-one talks. In my opinion, North Korea and Kim Jong Il are clearly China's chickens come home to roost. What can Filipinos do? Maybe Jimmy Flor Cruz (CNN) and Chito Sta. Romana (ABC-TV), who both now work for the Big American Media in Beijing, can tell those communist mandarins they better do more than "get over their reluctance to put pressure on North Korea" and EARN their place in that much vaunted international community.
RONALD REAGAN's term "the Evil Empire" as applied to the Soviet Union was the liberal butt of jokes, as he himself often was. Then he went to Berlin and uttered the phrase, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" For some reason, the Soviet Union soon imploded. Reagan was right all along though now all is safely forgotten. Including the derision.
GEORGE W. BUSH's term "the Axis of Evil" has come in for much of the same derision and pseudosmart snickering from much the same folks, who are so politically correct that it makes them nervous to even hear someone of stature in the world actually call a spade a spade! History has not yet rendered a final decision on his designation of Iraq, Iran and North Korea as members of this Axis. Many like it that a Vietnam-like quagmire in Iraq is being portrayed by even British and American Generals. The same folks think Ahmadinejad is a feisty underdog of a Persian cat who has a right to own nuclear weapons since the people who want nonproliferation already have them by the tens of thousands of warheads, including Israel. I wonder if they would also give out machine guns to depressed teenagers desperately seeking attention.
But I notice the fine art of insulting GWB's intelligence and spelling skills have markedly toned down since The Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il of North Korea, (he with the most EVIL of Hair-dooz), exploded about a thousand ton's worth of enriched Uranium in a package as small as suitcase and perhaps destined for that retail nuclear blackmarket that Mohammed El Baradei and IAEA spend many sleepless nights over (bless their souls!).