According to recent news reports and as hinted in the president's State of the Union Address, the neocons who dominate the Bush administration are gearing up for another pre-emptive military attack, this time upon
In fact, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which regularly inspects
Ironically, in the midst of this delicate situation, the Bush administration is busy dismantling the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This treaty, signed in 1968 by officials of the
In late December 2004, news accounts quoted an administration official as saying that the final agreement at the NPT review conference in 2000--which commits the declared nuclear weapons states to an "unequivocal undertaking" to abolish nuclear weapons--is a "simply historical document," which does not reflect the drastic changes in the world since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Thus, he said, the Bush administration "no longer supports" all of the thirteen steps toward disarmament outlined in the 2000 agreement and does not view it as "being a road map or binding guideline or anything like that."
For those who have followed the Bush administration's nuclear policy, this position should come as no great surprise. The administration has not only abandoned efforts toward negotiating nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements with other nations, but has withdrawn the United States from the ABM treaty (signed by President Nixon) and refused to support ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (signed by President Clinton).
It has also championed a program of building new
For the Bush administration and its fans, this evasion of
As might be expected, this assumption does not play nearly as well among government officials in
Other nations have drawn this same conclusion. In the fall of 2004, Helen Clark, the prime minister of
Much the same point was made in early January 2005 by Mohamed ElBaradei, the director of the IAEA. Calling upon all countries to commit themselves to forgo building facilities for uranium enrichment and nuclear reprocessing for the next five years, ElBaradei added: "We should not forget the commitment by the weapons states to move toward nuclear disarmament."
In fact, ElBaradei's evenhanded approach to nuclear issues has angered the Bush administration, which is now working to deny him reappointment as IAEA director.
The responsibility of all nations under the NPT will undoubtedly receive a good deal of discussion at the NPT review conference that will convene at the United Nations this May. Certainly it will be interesting to see how the Bush administration explains the inconsistencies in its nuclear policy.
Unfortunately, by then we may well have another bloody military confrontation on our hands. Like the war in