ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Thu Jan 9 06:29:59 MST 2003
Why is the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty collapsing today, despite
Washington's attempt to terrorize so-called "evil" countries into dropping
actual or potential nuclear weapons programs -- while the U.S. government
insists that the treaty imposes nothing on it but the duty of threatening
others? Is it really that other nations have "evil" leaders in contrast to
the "good" leaders possessed by the fortunate USA?
Consider what the people of governments and countries in places like Iran,
Syria and others when they see Iraq about to be bombed and invaded and its
national resources plundered by the United States. The U.S. rulers assert
their right to use nuclear weapons, if they meet more resistance or higher
casualties than they count on, against a country that has no nuclear
weapons and has been largely disarmed if by the United Nations. Isn't that
a rather strong argument for other potential targets -- Iran, Korea, and
others yet unthought of (not to mention an imperialist ally and rival of
the United States like Japan) -- to get their own nuclear weapons arsenals
as quickly as possible and by any means necessary?
The following are the comments of a British nuclear scientist on the nuclear
disaster threatening the world because of the U.S. rulers' course.
World on path to disaster, bomb pioneer warns
Defence analysts at Guardian non-proliferation conference see increased risk
of atomic war
Thursday January 9, 2003
President George Bush, hijacked by hardliners in his administration, is
setting the world on a course towards nuclear disaster, a founder of the
nuclear deterrence policy said.
The 1995 Nobel peace laureate, Professor Sir Joseph Rotblat, accused the US
of developing a policy which regarded nuclear weapons as bad if in the
possession of some states or groups but good if they were kept by the US for
the sake of world security.
The fact that it had signed the non-proliferation treaty and was legally
bound to the elimination of nuclear weapons was ignored, he told the
Guardian-sponsored non-proliferation conference, jointly hosted by the Royal
United Services Institute for Defence Studies and Physicians for Social
"Nuclear arsenals will have to be retained indefinitely, not just as a
weapon of last resort, or as a deterrent against a nuclear attack, but as an
ordinary tool in the military armoury, to be used in the resolution of
conflicts, and even in pre-emptive strikes, should political contingencies
"This is in essence the current US nuclear policy, and I see it as a very
Sir Joseph said that Mr Bush had already authorised the development of a new
nuclear warhead of low yield but with a shape that would give it a high
power to penetrate concrete, the so-called "bunker-busting mini-nuke".
This would have to be tested. If the US resumed nuclear testing, it would
give a signal to China to do the same. Other new arrivals to the nuclear
club, such as India and Pakistan would use the window of opportunity created
by Washington to do the same.
"The danger of a new nuclear arms race is real," Sir Joseph said.
India's declared policy was not to use nuclear weapons first, but if the US
made pre-emptive attacks part of its doctrine it would give India the
legitimacy to carry out a pre-emptive strike against Pakistan.
Taiwan represented another potential trigger for pre-emptive nuclear strikes
by the US and now so too did North Korea, which might already be in
possession of two nuclear warheads.
Israel, which kept nuclear weapons and would not allow their acquisition by
other countries in the Middle East, had destroyed the Iraqi Osiraq reactor,
the first case of a pre-emptive strike on a nuclear installation.
The glaring asymmetry of the US in its relations with Israel and the
Palestinians was being exploited by radical groups in the Arab world.
He said: "By utilising the tremendous advances in technology for military
purposes, the United States has built up an overwhelming military
superiority, exceeding many-fold the combined military strength of all other
"It is claimed that this is necessary for world security, but actually what
such a policy amounts to is to rest the security of the world on a balance
Arms control, he said, was as good as dead. The only way out of the disaster
that lay ahead was to put the goal of total nuclear disarmament back on the
"We have to convince the public that the continuation of current policies,
in which the security of the world is maintained by the indefinite retention
of nuclear weapons, is not realistic in the long run, because it is bound
eventually to result in a nuclear holocaust in which the future of the human
race would be at stake.
"We must convince public opinion that the only alternative is the total
elimination of nuclear weapons."
Sir Joseph, Polish-born, was one of the first physicists in Britain to start
work on the bomb. He developed the concept of nuclear deterrence before the
second world war began, and carried out research on the feasibility of the
bomb with James Chadwick in Liverpool in November 1939, two months after the
start of the war.
He said: "It was not until much later that I realised the fallacy of the
nuclear deterrence concept, but at that time I thought that only by
possessing the bomb could we prevent a Nazi victory.
"I did not contemplate and never condoned the use actual use of the bomb.
This was the basis for my work in the UK and later on the Manhattan Project
in the US."
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003
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