We're in the second week of a month-long conference to review the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and already the very nomination of John Bolton as our UN ambassador is earning us scolding from other camps. Some of the he-said/she-said after the jump...
"There is a feeling the common edifice of the international community is being dismantled," the Swedish arms expert said.
Under the 188-nation pact, nations without nuclear weapons pledge not to pursue them, in exchange for a commitment by five nuclear-weapons states - the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China - to negotiate toward nuclear disarmament.
The review conference has been stalled, without an agenda, because of a dispute over agenda language dealing with the very dissatisfaction Blix spoke of: the complaints by some that the nuclear-weapons states are moving too slowly toward disarmament."
Who scuttled the agenda? The Egyptians, who wanted to focus more on what the nuclear states are doing to disarm. The US, on the other hand, wants to focus more on states seeking nuclear weapons, like N. Korea and Iran. Blix insists the conference is very concerned about these issues, but:
"Why are you complaining about (North Korea) breaching the treaty if treaties are not binding?" Blix, an international lawyer, asked rhetorically.
So, as Bush skips around Eastern Europe praising freedom, his administration continues to give a big fat raspberry to the concerns of the rest of the world.