Geopolitics

Nuclear Hypocrisy

By Adrian Duyzer
Published October 10, 2006

(First published in Ade's blog.)

World leaders are aflutter now that North Korea has apparently tested a nuclear device for the first time.

Condemnation of the secretive state appears unanimous. Sanctions have been proposed.

Many people are searching for someone to blame for the failure to stop North Korea's drive for nuclear weapons. Ever the bumbler, George Bush seems like the perfect patsy.

It's true there's much to fault him for, which I won't go into here (summary: Bush's 'diplomacy' is as effective as his military 'interventions'), but it's not all his fault.

He shares the blame with all of the other world leaders who chose, irresponsibly and unforgivably, to keep us living under the threat of imminent destruction instead of working towards eliminating nuclear weapons.

In 1968, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and 59 other countries signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which was designed to halt the production and spread of nuclear weapons. Today, 188 countries have signed the treaty.

Five of those 188 countries - the US, the UK, France, Russia and China - openly possess nuclear weapons. Article VI of the treaty they signed says they must disarm:

Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

None have.

So the blame for a world brimming with nukes rest squarely on the shoulders of all those who did not give up nuclear weapons - who did not “live up to their international obligations”, to use Bush-speak.

Blame all of them except for Pierre Trudeau. In 1971 he declared that Canada would be free of nuclear weapons; in 1984, the last of the nuclear warheads we possessed as part of our NATO membership were removed.

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 10, 2006 at 22:38:33

that seems to be the way it works now....a select few countries do what they want and the UN does nothing and says nothing. Those same select countries can make up stories about other nations to create fear of them and hopefully support invasions of them, and again, the UN does nothing. And we wonder why Hugo Chavez acted like a moron at the UN. The whole system is a joke. At least he finally provided the comedy.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted October 11, 2006 at 08:15:54

It's not the UN's fault. The best the UN itself can do is diplomatically attempt to influence countries, but it has no power to actually do anything on its own. All the power rests with the security council, and since the security council's five permament members are the same five nuclear-armed nations I listed above, enforcement of this treaty is highly unlikely.

I hear where you're coming from with your frustration though. It's the same frustration billions of people feel across the globe about how the UN works. If the United Nations were to be truly democratic and representative, there would be a different sort of security council, where the people on it wielded a voting power that was commensurate with the population in their countries. E.g. India, with a huge population, would get a huge say - after all, isn't democracy about what the people want, and shouldn't the UN be about what the world's people want, not just the world's rich and powerful people?

Alternatively, the General Assembly, where all nations have a vote, could play the role that the security council does now.

Given the current arrangements, however, these scenarios are highly unlikely.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 11, 2006 at 11:53:57

As it stands, the Security Council is like the US Senate only without a House of Representatives to balance it - oh, and only a few states actually get to vote. Otherwise, it's totally democratic. :(

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