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May 14, 2005

Strengthen the NPT – or Else


by Gordon Prather

One of the more hilarious charges leveled against Bonkers Bolton recently was that he was too preoccupied with winning confirmation as ambassador to the United Nations to prepare the U.S. delegation for the Seventh Review Conference of the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Levelers of this charge assume that Bush and Bolton want to strengthen the NPT. Wrong. There was entirely too much "strengthening" of the NPT at the Sixth RevCon, five years ago, to suit Bush-Bolton.

The final report of the Sixth RevCon began by reaffirming the recommendations contained in the final report of the Fifth Revcon. But it took delegates to the Seventh RevCon two weeks to even agree on an agenda because the U.S. delegation – led by a Bolton underling named Rademaker – didn’t want the final report of the Sixth RevCon to even be discussed, much less be reaffirmed.

Sergio Duarte of Brazil, president of the Seventh RevCon, claims the resulting agenda, wherein "the review will be conducted in the light of the decisions and the resolution of previous conferences," "met the concerns of delegations who had stressed that the decisions of past review conferences – particularly those of 1995 and 2000 on a nuclear weapons-free Middle East and '13 practical steps' toward disarmament – not be diminished in any way."

Among other things, the Sixth RevCon Report affirmed:

"An unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all states parties are committed under Article VI."

Disarm?

"The importance and urgency of signatures and ratifications, without delay and without conditions and in accordance with constitutional processes, to achieve the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty."

Ratify the CTBT?

"The [Sixth] Conference reaffirms that IAEA is the competent authority responsible for verifying and assuring … compliance with its safeguards agreements … with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.… It is the conviction of the Conference that nothing should be done to undermine the authority of IAEA in this regard."

Don’t challenge the authority of the IAEA?

"The [Sixth] Conference notes the reaffirmation by the nuclear-weapon states of their commitment to the United Nations Security Council resolution 984 (1995) on security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons."

Give assurances to Iran that we won’t attack them with nuclear weapons?

Anyone who thinks Bush-Bolton want to strengthen a treaty that already makes such demands on us is as crazy as the Likudniks.

So Bolton underling Rademaker told the Seventh RevCon,

"The NPT is fundamentally a treaty for mutual security. It is clear that the security of all member states depends on unstinting adherence to the treaty’s nonproliferation norms by all other parties. The treaty’s principal beneficiaries are those member states that do not possess nuclear weapons because they can be assured that their neighbors also do not possess nuclear weapons.

"Strict compliance with nonproliferation obligations is essential to regional stability, to forestalling nuclear arms races, and to preventing resources needed for economic development from being squandered in a destabilizing and economically unproductive pursuit of weapons."

Wait a minute. What was that about "preventing resources from being squandered"?

You heard right. It is the Bush-Bolton-Likudnik position that Iran is in noncompliance with the NPT because they have contracted with Russia to construct nuclear power plants at Bushehr.

Iran is oil-rich. Therefore, Iran doesn’t need nuclear power plants. Therefore Iran must have a nuclear weapons program.

So if the NPT doesn’t already prevent the Iranians from "squandering" resources in "economically unproductive" activities, then it must be modified so that it does.

What if the Seventh RevCon refuses to make this and other Bush-Bolton modifications to the NPT?

Well, Rademaker suggested the Seventh RevCon endorse the Bush-Bolton Proliferation Security Initiative as an alternative.

The Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) is a global effort that aims to stop shipments of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems, and related materials worldwide.

Announced by President Bush on May 31, 2003, it stems from the National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction issued in December 2002.

"That strategy recognizes the need for more robust tools to defeat the proliferation of WMD around the world, and specifically identifies interdiction as an area where greater focus will be placed."

More robust tools? Like preemptive strikes against "economically unproductive" activities in Iran?

Stay tuned, especially during June and July.


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Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.

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