Forget about the International Criminal Court, Landmines Protocol, Kyoto Protocol, the concept of a United Nations, etc. Let’s talk about the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
The NPT has been one of the outstanding international treaties that held back the mad rush towards nuclear Armageddon, encouraging member states to abide by its protocol of non-proliferation and eventual disarmament. To put it in simple terms, it has two objectives: (1) to dissuade member states from developing and adopting a nuclear arsenal, and (2) to enable the nuclear powers themselves to gradually disarm, so that the overall programme progresses towards a nuclear free world.
Other than a few maverick states like North Korea, Cuba, Pakistan and Israel, the world in general including most of the super-powers have abided by the twin objectives. Understandably India as one of the biggest nations in the world has refused to sign unless it’s accorded the status of a nuclear state like the Big 5. India claims the NPT is an unequal treaty, and the following paragraph shows just one aspect of its inequality.
Its neighbour, Pakistan has been the most irresponsible culprit in nuclear proliferation. Virtually everyone in the international relations community knows who Dr AQ Khan is. Yet the USA has kept mum about the nuclear sins of its new-found ally, and worse, has even promised her nuclear-capable F-16 fighter-bombers. Is there any logic to this act of stupidity? Or is it just plain hypocrisy and double standards?
The USA has also maintain silence over Israel’s N-arsenal of at least 200 N-bombs, yet has the bloody nerve to warn Iran against being a nuclear power. If the USA is worried about Islamic States obtaining the N-bomb, it doesn't have to look beyond its chum, Pakistan, one of the most extreme Islamic States, now pretending to be an American ally against Islamic terrorism (but only because the USA had threatened her just prior to the invasion of Afhanistan), but in reality a blood-and-kin partner of the Talibans.
On the plus side, South Africa has abandoned its nuclear arsenal, and so has Ukraine. Argentina and Brazil have agreed to drop their nuclear arms programmes. Britain has voluntarily disarmed 70% of its non-strategic N-weapons. And of course everyone, except for some Republican Party supporters in America’s Bible belt, knows that Iraq under Saddam Hussein had long abandoned its nuclear and other WMD programmes.
But there is one culprit who doesn’t want to abide by the NPT, the United States of America, one of the NPT founding members. It wants to go against the charter of the NPT and expand its nuclear arsenal, by developing a tactical, read this, not a strategic but a tactical N-weapon.
What’s the difference? Tactical N-weapons are more likely to be used in conventional situations than strategic ones, and the temptation to use these will unfortunately be overwhelming. Like the fission of nuclear material, once someone starts to employ tactical N-weapons, usage escalates frighteningly.
The duplicity of the USA is that while it demands everyone retreats from Armageddon, it alone can proceed forward on with the development and acquisition of new tactical N- bombs, obviously for conventional use. This will add a new dimension of horror into conventional or even limited conflicts. And it thinks it can make the rest of the world agree to its treachery and irresponsibility.
In the recent NPT review conference, held once every five years, each time lasting for 3 weeks, the USA spent the first two weeks, trying to hide or obscure its commitments promised by the Clinton Administration from the review agenda. The last remaining week is hardly enough to revitalise the protocols of the Treaty. Such has been the US duplicity, treachery and lack of honour.
It becomes obvious that the new US stand, a maverick and reneging position, has its genesis within the Bush neo-con camp.
The Canadian representative at the conference, commenting angrily on the US recalcitrant heel-dragging behaviour stated that if the US simply ignores or discards commitments whenever these prove inconvenient, the world will never be able to progress with the objectives of the NPT.
The US also deliberately undermined the review conference by sending only lower-echelon officials, rather than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to represent it. Other nations accused the US government for not really wanting nuclear disarmament, or more correctly US nuclear disarmament.