sovereign nations have the right and responsibility to its citizens to pursue and
develop whatever defense systems are necessary to protect it from potential aggressors.
This is inherent and not a privilege granted by the United Nations (UN) , the
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), or any other organization.
However, due to the extreme danger associated with nuclear
weapons, it has generally been agreed that all peoples of all nations would be safer if
all such weapons were mutually agreed to be forsaken. The spirit of the NPT is based on
that premise. Under NPT all signatories agree not to develop nuclear weapons AND the five
nuclear weapons states agree to pursue a program of weapons de-nuclearization. In addition
the nations with nuclear technology agree to help those NPT signatories without to develop
civilian non-weapons nuclear capabilities. That is the grand bargain. Complementarily,
those non-NPT signatories receive no nuclear development help, and also might be subject
to various economic sanctions by NPT states, in an effort to convince them to join the
common good by becoming NPT states.
Unfortunately there have been several "devils" at
work to undermine the NPT basis. First, the western world led by the United States has
effectively denied help to NPT signatory states not in-step with the US political agenda.
Thus it uses NPT as a political "weapon" to deny or mete out nuclear technology
as it deems in keeping with US political interests. Second, none of the original five
nuclear weapons states has seriously engaged in de-nucleariation. In fact they steadfastly
even refuse to engage in discussions about their NPT responsibilities with other NPT
states. They are therefore in serious and perpetual violation of the basis of the NPT and
their treaty obligations. Last, the US under the Bush administration has even gone further
in publicly stating its right/even intent to use nuclear weapons pre-emptively against any
nation or terrorist organization (nation or not) it judges a threat to the US. For these
reasons nations like India, Pakistan, and Israel have not signed the NPT and developed the
nuclear technology basically on their own. And in addition taken the additional step of
transferring that technology to nuclear weapons. North Korea can be added to the list of
nations abandoning the NPT to pursue nuclear weapons primarily as a defense against NPT
nuclear weapons states and their allies.
So I applaud Iran's breakout of the NPT political stranglehold
on the development of nuclear technology. It is an example of the long overdue ending of
the west denying modernization to poorer countries in it's own interests.
Beyond Iran's development of civilian nuclear technology, they
will by such development also acquire most of the technology and materials to develop
nuclear weapons rather quickly. That is what the US is primarily concerned about, not
because of any great military threat posed by Iran, but because such a robust capability
to protect its political interests severely limits US capability to summarily impose its
agenda on Iran, and presumably other nations in that region. For example nearly all
nations with robust civilian nuclear programs have the necessary skills and materials to
develop bombs---Japan is the most poignant example. But, the US does not worry about Japan
"pre-natal" nuclear capability because Japan is a US political ally. Most
civilian nuclear capable countries have opted not to develop nuclear weapons, because it
is not in their economic or security interests. However, those threatened by otherwise
superior military powers, like Iran can be expected to crossover and develop some limited
nuclear defense capability. With the US openly threatening use of nuclear weapons at its
own discretion, such crossover is not only to be expected ,but a responsible action of
those countries as it reduces the chance of (another...eg Iraq) irresponsible, illegal,
and unnecessary pre-emptive war initiated by the US executive.
The world will be safer when Iran (and possibly other
responsible Arab countries) has a limited nuclear defense capability. Today, even the
limited capabilities of North Korea have probably prevented the US from turning the Korean
Peninsula into another horrendous misadventure of the US neo-conservative script.
In the longer term, hopefully the US and other nuclear weapons
states will see the folly of using the NPT and nuclear capability as a political weapon,
support robust International organizations such as the International Criminal Court
(ICC) and the United Nations with truly independent enforcement capability even against
formidable individual states such as the US, revitalize the NPT, live up to its
obligations, and eliminate nuclear weapons on the basis of fundamental precepts accepted
by all world citizens and governments, instead of by political agendas masquerading as
pseudo-legal treaty obligations.
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