The United States is continuing its efforts to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons potential, and to punish North Korea for developing and testing weapons. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is currently in Asia, pressing the South Korean and Chinese governments to support sanctions against North Korea. President Ahmadinejad of Iran, meanwhile, insists that Iran maintains the right to nuclear technology, and refuses to accept U.N. Security Council actions. There is a growing crisis in the proliferation of nuclear weapons – today’s Christian Science Monitor quotes Mohammed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency: “Another 20 to 30 states” could one day “have the capacity to develop nuclear weapons in a very short span of time.”
Also in the news this morning is an announcement by the U.S. government that it is initiating a “Complex 2030” program to develop and deploy 2,200 new nuclear weapons. The Alliance for Nuclear Accountability calls it “a bizarrely inappropriate Dr. Strangelove-esque plan to revitalize the United States’ nuclear weapons production capability in order to manufacture the new Reliable Replacement Warhead, which will potentially drive a new nuclear weapons arms race.” The plan includes repairing and replacing production facilities in several states.
I don’t believe any country should possess nuclear weapons. But the attempt to restrict the development of nuclear weapons by other countries, while continuing to upgrade and modernize our own, is simply hypocrisy. The foundation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty was an agreement by the nuclear powers to reduce and eventually eliminate their nuclear stockpiles in return for other countries agreeing not to acquire them. None of the nuclear powers has upheld their side of the deal. If the U.S. and other nuclear weapons states are serious about preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, they must take the necessary steps toward eliminating their own nuclear arsenals. Hypocrisy doesn’t make good foreign policy.