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What will become of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)?  Looks like things are in limbo:

A monthlong conference aimed at curtailing the spread of nuclear weapons ended in failure Friday after being scuttled by arguments among the United States, Iran and Egypt.

Representatives of more than 150 nations convened at U.N. headquarters to seek ways to stop more countries from developing nuclear weapons, prevent terrorists from acquiring them, and get a renewed commitment from atomic powers -- especially the United States -- to significantly reduce their stockpiles.

But strong disagreements over priorities prevented substantive efforts to address the gaps between the world's nuclear haves and have-nots.

The United States tried to keep the focus on alleged nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea instead of its pledges to whittle down its own arsenal.

Iran, which contends that its atomic program is strictly for generating electricity, refused to discuss proposals to restrict access to nuclear fuel and objected to being singled out as a "proliferation concern." And Egypt joined Iran in demanding that the conference address Israel's nuclear status and declare the Middle East "a nuclear-free zone."

(Emphasis mine.)

So, basically, it's a case of "we can have nuclear weapons, but you can't."  That's serious hypocrisy, considering the U.S. has not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (which Clinton signed in 1996).

The Bush administration's arrogance regarding the NPT includes re-writing history:

With a few keystrokes, an official U.S. brochure eliminated some historic arms-control deals, angered the champions of disarmament, and showed again that in the paper deluge of a global conference, what's left out can be as telling as what's put in.

In this case, the publication's "rewriting of history," as one critic put it, also illustrates in black and white a dispute that has helped bog down the 188-nation conference reviewing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.


The brochure, slickly produced by the State Department and distributed to hundreds of delegates, lists milestones in arms control since the 1980s, while touting reductions in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. But the timeline omits a pivotal agreement, the 1996 treaty to ban nuclear tests, a pact negotiated by the Clinton administration and ratified by 121 nations but now rejected under President Bush.

Further along, the brochure skips over the year 2000 entirely, a snub of the treaty review conference that year, when the United States and other nuclear-weapons states committed to "13 practical steps" to achieve nuclear disarmament including activating the test-ban treaty, negotiating a pact to ban production of bomb material, and "unequivocally undertaking" to totally eliminate their arsenals.

(Click here to read the brochure.)

I think that brochure sums it up pretty well, don't you?  I wonder if they really thought no one would notice the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty wasn't mentioned?

Hopefully they will make more progress at the IAEA meeting in September.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat May 28, 2005 at 05:26 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What? Outrage! (4.00)
    Where is America's chief non-proliferation officer? He'll fix it! I understand he's a real charmer.
    •  Exactly. (4.00)
      I was thinking about Yosemite Sam too.

      Here's a great analysis by Jon B. Wolfsthal (from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace):

      There is growing concern among delegates that more conservative elements in the Bush administration - including John Bolton, President Bush's nominee to be US ambassador to the UN and architect of the US policy toward the NPT review conference - will use the conference outcome to argue even more forcefully that the US cannot base its security on legal agreements than cannot even produce basic documents.

      Many delegates to the conference suspect this was the secret US agenda - suspicions that shake their confidence that the NPT will provide for their security either.

      Thus, many leave New York wondering if the NPT and the concept of non-proliferation has much of a future. These doubts might lead some states to actively reconsider their own decisions to stay non-nuclear. This is the very thing the Bush administration says it is trying to prevent.

      •  Where did I read this? (none)
        I understand that some analysts say that Bolton completely dropped the ball on these negotiations to focus on his own nomination, and that when the NSA realized that no work had been done in preparation, they panicked and tried to pick up the slack, only to be blocked from doing so by... Bolton himself.

        So, is the conclusion that Bolton blocked preparation because he's entrusted by the administration with the job of scuttling progress on the treaty? Or is that too generous to Bolton? What if he blocked NSA from preparing only so that it wouldn't highlight the fact that he's been drawing a no-show salary?

        •  Bolton mailed it in.... (none)
          ...and this should be raised the next time (if there is a next time) his nomination hits the floor of the Senate.

          When the Republicans stop lying about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. --Adlai Stevenson

          by seesdifferent on Sat May 28, 2005 at 07:31:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This one? (none)
          There was this story not too long ago.

          I wonder that too -- whether Bolton scuttled things on his own, or at the administration's request. I can't believe he was acting entirely under orders, given the reactions of the NSA, but perhaps this is one of those cases where the administration itself is split down the middle, and everyone's calling their own shots.

    •  <snark> Can you blame him? (none)
      I mean, when lobbying for a better position, sacrifices must be made.  You must properly file the documents in your inbox, and you must actively prevent others from doing your job (lest they make you look bad).

      So, can you blame him for missing a few measly details?

      Ignorance is never random. - Gunnar Myrdal

      by ThomasAllen on Sat May 28, 2005 at 06:17:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This was no accident (4.00)
    Scuttling the discussions was not accidental.  The Administration is committed to developing MORE nuclear weapons, not getting rid of those it already has.

    In addition, the Boston Globe reports today that an ammendment to the budget that was little noticed provides for the storage of nuclear waste on military bases that are about to be closed.
    One can ask whether this is a prelude to increasing the production of weapons like bunker-busters at these sites, or if it's just a way to get around having to clean up the messes they are leaving behind.  But the bottom line is that there is not interest in this Administration in REDUCING nuclear anything on its side.

    3-D Republicans=division, deceit, debt

    by hannah on Sat May 28, 2005 at 05:38:25 AM PDT

    •  Bunker busters (none)
      The Bush League does not need retired military bases to make bunker busters.  These are already being researched at weapons labs.

      But scientists and the military generally hate them.  The risk of spreading dust and fallout over a wide area is high.  Furthermore, there is a limit to how deep a bunker buster can go.  So if you are an evil-doer, you just put your bunker four times as deep as the longest missile used to deliver the bomb.  

      This is the underground version of the Star Wars missile defense system.  Costly, a presidential vanity thing, and impractical from a military point of view.

  •  I heard a story about this (4.00)
    on NPR yesterday, and they brought up an important point.  The Bush administration changed some important wording and now says the U.S. employs the right to a first strike if we are attacked with chemical and biological weapons, even if the country that attacked doesn't have nuclear weapons.  This changed many years of precedent.  The previous administrations' rationale to other countries is that they don't need nuclear weapons- we have them and we'll protect you.  After the U.S. made this change, Russia and India have this same policy.

    The Bush administration always seem to make things worse.  Here's a link to the audio story, if anyone is interested.

    Also on NPR yesterday, Science Friday's Ira Flatow totally kicked Bush's science advisor's ass - Leon Kass, head of the President's Council on Bioethics.  It was pretty sweet (I've heard Mr. Flatow kick other silly ideologues around before).  Why can't the rest of our press corps do this.  Here's a link to that.

    What color are your pajamas?

    by Unstable Isotope on Sat May 28, 2005 at 05:42:51 AM PDT

  •  Ridiculous (4.00)
    But the timeline omits a pivotal agreement, the 1996 treaty to ban nuclear tests, a pact negotiated by the Clinton administration and ratified by 121 nations but now rejected under President Bush.

    How can you claim any high ground when you yourself refuse to abide by previous agreements?  Why would other nations put any trust in us when they see us dismantling our own commitments?  This measure sends a clear signal that America sees two sets of rules for the international community, and allows rogue nations some validation for their own positions.  Leadership means setting an example, and here we lead toward greater nuclear proliferation.  What a ridiculous stance, completely eliminating any leverage with other nations.  It's like a guy driving around LA in a hummer bitching about poor air quality.

    Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you. Jean-Paul Sartre

    by Stevo on Sat May 28, 2005 at 05:47:49 AM PDT

    •  Ok, you just summed up my post (none)
      in one nice paragraph.

      Think I'll edit it now ;-)

      •  Thanks for diary (none)
        If there is anything to get me activated to work as hard as possible (again) to get rid of the death grip the GOP has on this country and the world, it's the unbelievable stupidity about nuclear weapons.

        Their attitude is in a direct line with their policy about torture.  The Bush League never thinks about how these policies can boomerang horribly.

    •  treaty legal question (none)
      So, can Bush legally "unsign" prior US treaties, as he seems to have done with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty?  If it takes a presidential signature combined with Congressional ratification to put a treaty into effect, can the president really undo it without any help from Congress?  

      Seems like a sure-fire way to destroy any trust other countries have in their agreements with us.

  •  never-ending hypocrisy (4.00)
    Thanks for the diary, good job.

    This hypocritical stance on nuclear weapons just never seems to break through to the American public, even in pre-Bush days.  The NPT also required the commitment for arsenals to be reduced, which was always considered a joke by the rest of the world and contributed to the resentment against the U.S.

    Particularly hypocritical because we have actually used nukes.

    But yeah, the reporting of Koran flushing is what's done us in.

    ''I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.'' Barry Goldwater, 1981 When conservatives were, well...conservative.

    by lizah on Sat May 28, 2005 at 05:50:06 AM PDT

  •  This makes sense in the neocon view (4.00)
    If you are going to be an aggressive imperial power, you will need a trump card that let's you cow others into submission when all else fails. Nukes are that trump card.

    By asserting that only the established nuclear powers can have weapons and by asserting the right to a first strike, the U.S. lays out a policy that guarantees that the U.S. always has the capability to lay waste to any competitor state. It also forces China and Russia to play their cards more carefully.

    The irony is that this policy makes getting your own nukes more important than ever - because it raises the stakes for U.S. policymakers. If you're going to confront a nuclear state militarily, you've suddenly got a much more serious escalation problem. In the next five years, it wouldn't suprise me to see several states reevaluate their nuclear ambitions (Japan, Brazil, and Venezuela are all possibilities).

    As is common with BushCo, they make every issue a race to the bottom.

    - "You're Hells Angels, then? What chapter are you from?"

    by Hoya90 on Sat May 28, 2005 at 05:51:47 AM PDT

  •  Re-writing history (4.00)
    I guess the Ministry of Truth is at it again.

    The Bush Administration is so f-ing Orwellian I can't take it.

  •  Scott Ritter is right. (none)
    You are going to war with Iran next month.
    •  "you are going to war...." (none)
      Off-topic, but where are you blogging from?

      As for going to war with Iran, it would have to be air strikes.  All of our ground troops are in Iraq.

      If we did attack on the ground, it would be a disaster.  Iran has serious military power.  Here's a sample:

      Iranian Ground Forces Equipment

      If I said this on Free Republic, I'd get my ass banned in a second... but I tend to sympathize with Iran on this one.  Certainly, they've been hesitant to let the IAEA inspect certain facilities, but there's no reason for the World Police the U.S. to attack.  At all.

      •  The Bush Policy (none)
        If terrorists come from Afghanistan, fool them by invading Iraq.

        If N. Korea is openly making nuclear weapons--and there is evidence of this from spy satellite photos as well as xenon gas drifting across the DMZ in minute quantities--then invade Iran (pretty unclear what they are up to at this point).

        To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  To an oilman, the world is divided into places to drill and places not worth bothering with.  Iran falls into the former category.

      •  A US attack against Iran (none)
        will be almost entirely comprised of air strikes. Ground troops are hardly required since the intent of such attacks has almost nothing to do with destroying potential nuclear weapons sites but everything to do with just making sure the level of outrage in the MidEast remains high.

        The most important thing for the Cheney/Bush regime is to keep the conflict alive. In Vietnam, I think the US really did want to bring the war to an end. Here in Iraq and the surrounding region, the goal is to keep the war going.

        Even one bomb dropped on Iran would be enough to achieve the desired effect. Cheney & Co. can't run the risk of running out of active, armed enemies because if such a thing happened they'd  lose their justification for keeping all those soldiers over there.

        Defeat the sound-bite.

        by sbj on Sat May 28, 2005 at 07:17:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Even an air attack would be a disaster (none)
        There are major problems with the US air/missile stikes scenario. What exactly are they going to attack is the first issue.

        Whilst the IAEA are on the ground in Iran there's little chance of it happening - they don't want to end up killing/injuring UN personnel who will be at sites they would have on their target list. They also don't want to kill the Russian technicians who are presently at work on the Bushehr site - it's not going to go down well, and it's impossible to sell an attack on Iran's nuclear programme without hitting the main reactor site.

        It's also pretty obvious that the US has limited intelligence regarding what to hit. So it could "do an Osirak" and completely fail to achieve any of its objectives. And that's assuming that US assumptions about Iran's nuclear intentions are correct - and no one has conclusively proved that Iran does in fact have a nuclear weapons programme anyway. I think its clear that they have a nuclear power programme; and the lines that separate power and weapons programmes are murky, and susceptible to both misinterpretation and mischaracterization. Personally, I think that Iran is going to get all the slices of the cake - it will have a civilian power programme and will also have the break-out capacity that such a programme offers.

        Secondly, what are the risks in pursuing a bombing policy ( and this will be done from a position of extreme diplomatic weakness - no IAEA or EU-3 referrals to the UNSC in the pipeline at present, or ever likely to be for that matter. )?

        Well, I think it's fair to assume that the Iranians will retaliate. They've consistently made it clear that they will do so and they have a very large range of options at their disposal. Countering those retaliatory options would require a bombing campaign 4 times greater than the 40 odd days of bombing during pre-invasion phase of the first Gulf War, and it would have to be accomplished in 2-4 days. It would have to be done without any allies, and without the use of any airbases in the region ( ie Aircraft carriers and US based bombers ).

        Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan and all the Gulf States will refuse if asked. If they were asked, the Iranians would know within 1/2 an hour that the request had been made. Use of Diego Garcia would be problematic as it is technically UK territory - I don't know what the agreements between the UK and the US mandate in this respect, but it could make for an ugly diplomatic spat.

        I don't want to go into what would happen on the ground in Iraq; suffice to say, it would be incredibly ugly. A multi-front insurgency imperilling US supply lines from Kuwait is not a prospect that US military planners in Iraq want to deal with.

        In short, unless Bush and co are truly insane, there are no good military options with regards to Iran at this juncture. The US military knows this and there would be a significant degree of friction in the system if the decision to bomb was taken.

        •  Huge losses too (none)
          I remember during the first Gulf War that the conbined air forces spent the first ten days or so neutralizing the AA defenses before they actually started bombing targets.  If they did this they'd have to ignore the ground defenses and just eat the losses.
      •  notes from underground (none)
        "I tend to sympathize with Iran on this one."

        Why wouldn't you sympathize with Iran. It's chock full of hardworking gentle people who just want to raise a family and enjoy life, just like Iraq. What you have to remember is no matter how fucked up their govt. is (and it is) your military will be killing all sorts of Iranians, not just the theocrats. As well, Iran has been making strides towards democracy, globalisation, and all that other stuff which we are all supposed to be cheering for. Hussein's Iraq was one thing, but if you attack Iran it will be seen as an outright attack on a peaceful Muslim country. Their neighbors will have a hard time viewing it as anything but a favour for Isreal.

      •  Notice (none)
        We've only attacked countries with weak militaries -  Afghanistan and Iraq.  If Bush really meant what he said about Iraq, he'd also have to attack Iran and North Korea.

        What color are your pajamas?

        by Unstable Isotope on Sat May 28, 2005 at 08:46:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Straits of Hormuz. (none)
        Iran has Chinese-supplied antiship missiles with which she can sink tankers and naval vessels in the Straits of Hormuz if she is attacked.  Blocking the Straits of Hormuz would cut the world economy off from Gulf oil for a long time.
  •  U.S. Diplomacy At Work (none)
    The main U.S. player in the matter of non-proliferation is, of course, John Bolton. At the State Department his brief job description is: "Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security. The Under Secretary leads the interagency policy process on nonproliferation and manages global U.S. security policy, principally in the areas of nonproliferation, arms control, regional security and defense relations, and arms transfers and security assistance."

    And what is U.S. policy since Bush/Bolton? Stripped down to the bone, the U.N. Ambassador-nominee's message has consistently been: "The following is our position, and the point of departure in any negotiations around this matter. Now listen up, I'm only going to say this once: We have the bomb, and we'll keep it. We'll keep developing it and testing it and stocking it as we see fit, and we'll use it whenever and wherever we decide. We are answerable to no one. On the other hand, you, all you other countries, are answerable to us. If you've got it, you probably shouldn't have it in the first place, but in any case you may only have it or use it at our discretion. Are there any questions?"

    And once again, diplomacy reigns, and we already have a peaceful world. Don't we? I can hardly wait to see the fruits of his labor in our country's behalf in the United Nations.

  •  If the Bush regime really wanted (4.00)
    a functional agreement for reducing nuke armaments such an agreement would be achieved.

    But if there's anyone on the planet insane enough to eagerly look forward to using nukes in the not too distant future, it's Cheney and the neocons.

    This is why they continually manage to sabotage virtually all progress toward nuke disarmament. They need N. Korea to have nukes, they need to be able to claim Iran poses a nuke threat, (Hell they've even tried recently to claim Chavez in Venezuela has nefarious nuke ambitions). They need to keep these boogeymen front and center in the public mind in order to legitimize their own desire to use nukes themselves.

    However crazy you think the likes of Perle, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bolton, etc. are, they are more crazy even than that.

    Defeat the sound-bite.

    by sbj on Sat May 28, 2005 at 07:05:32 AM PDT

  •  Our Lunatic President..... (4.00)
    has no interest(or ability) in "leading" through persuasion, only through coercion.  This method surprisingly doesn't seem to work very well with other countries, who rationally decide that perhaps there shouldn't be quite so many restrictions on obtaining nuclear weapons in the new Bush world order of Might makes Right.  

    It actually is quite terrifying that this conference was an abject failure, either through the design or the incompetence of our lunatic adminstration, I certainly can't tell which. Do 10% of Americans care?  Will this even be reported by our faithful press?  Shouldn't the white house press corps force Little Mac to discourse on this diplomatic failure for the entire week?

  •  The NNPT (4.00)
    treaty has been a joke since under Bush I nuclear data, etc. was passed to Pakistan by the U.S.; one never hears anything about this but it did happen.

    while you're correct that nothing came of the recent conference, Iran is in fact backing off on their "threats" now that a deal is coming from major EU nations-- with a high level meeting to occur next week:

    "The Iranian side wants a concrete gesture by the Europeans to justify continuing the negotiations, which are aimed at eventually reaching a long-term agreement on nuclear, economic and security cooperation between Iran and Europe."

    note the emphasis on "economic and security COOPERATION" between Iran and EU nations-- note this because THIS is what has BushCo's money-colored fruit of the looms all twisted into a big stinking wad.

    see corporate friends of BushCo included anywhere in this deal? of course not and for good reason. but keep in mind this very sort of deal making with EU nations and Russia by Sad-ham is precisely WHY he was attacked and summarily deposed-- AND he also intended to value Iraq's remaining considerable oil reserves in EUROS not dollars.

    Iran intends to do the same thing.

    ALSO note:

    "In an unusual gesture, Tehran allowed more than 30 local and foreign journalists to accompany President Khatami on a tour of Natanz."

    hmm, I wonder if BushCo would open just one single U.S. nuclear facility to a group of thirty reporters from various nations? NOT. this is one in a number of brilliant moves by President Mohammad Khatami to undercut the very same BushCo chicanery which led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

    with EU nations and the rest of the world more or less siding with Iran, BushCo is isolated alone-- lef holding the bag and looking rather stupid.

    ps: Natanz is 54 FEET underground. NOW we know why dumsfeld is pushing for nuclear bunker-busting bombs.

  •  So this is what Bush meant... (none)
    ...when he said history would be his judge. He just didn't tell us it would be the history rewritten by his staff. George W. Bush. An incomparable jack ass.

    If any Democrat running for office anywhere in this country allows a Republican to run against them using the idea that Republicans are good for America because George Bush keeps us safe, then that Dem will need to be sat down and given a good talking too about how Bush has made America less safe.

    Security should have been our trump card in the last election and we, the Democratic party, definitely hold those cards now. We just need to learn to play them. Of course, it looks like Reid and Pelosi are working on that based on how they keep bringing Clark to town to school the Dems, which is a very good sign.

    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Tom Paine

    by Alumbrados on Sat May 28, 2005 at 08:10:13 AM PDT

  •  It IS progress (none)
    If your goal is NU-KYU-LAR WAR

    "Blogging doesn't make it so" - Rep. Hayworth (R) AZ 1/6/2005. Oh yeah?

    by bejammin075 on Sat May 28, 2005 at 08:14:02 AM PDT

  •  Superpole's (none)
    comment was great. It is also important to note how things have changed since the administration offered its "Strike First" policy. The brochure was great, thanks for posting it. Like you said, let's hope they make progress at the IAEA meeting.
  •  James Watt writ large (none)
    Tinfoil hat time:

    Bush's nuclear non-agreements make perfect sense if one posits he isn't afraid of nuclear war, but would welcome it as the first step to Armageddon as written in Revelations.  Sending Bolton to the UN to piss off the rest of the world is another step to that goal.

  •  The U.S. removes the nuclear brakes - Haaretz (none)
    The war in Iraq, whose purpose was the destruction of Saddam Hussein's development facilities and stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, but which led to America's miring in the Iraqi swamp, has increased the attraction of nuclear weapons. After all, it would have been much simpler and more logical to destroy Saddam's facilities with a few "small bombs," which would not have caused any real damage to the civilian population, than to become entangled in a ground war that has resulted in 150,000 American soldiers treading water in the Iraqi swamp.

    The problem with this argument is that it is hopeless. To understand this, one may analyze the effect of a nuclear attack of the sort posited by American military strategists in CONPLAN 8022. Obviously, the U.S. would not use less than five to ten "small bombs" were it to attack Iran or North Korea, since, considering the number of relevant targets in the two countries, anything less would fail to achieve the goal of deterrence and prevention. According to the plan, each bomb would have a 10-kiloton yield - about two-thirds of that of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Each detonation of a bomb a few meters underground would destroy most of the buildings on the surface to a range of two kilometers. After the explosion, there would be a need to quickly evacuate civilians from an area of 100 square kilometers, to avoid the deadly effects of the radioactive fallout; buildings, agricultural crops and livestock would be affected in an area of thousands of square kilometers, and depending on wind direction and velocity, there could be a need to evacuate more people from thousands of additional square kilometers.

    None of this takes into account the political and psychological repercussions of using nuclear weapons for the first time in more than 60 years. The Bush administration regards all this as "limited collateral damage."

    The nuclear policy that the Bush administration continues to formulate, including plans for a preemptive nuclear strike against states that do not possess such weapons and the development of new nuclear weapons - is a recipe for disaster. It is a policy that blurs the line between conventional and nuclear war. This blurring could undermine the relative strategic stability that has set in since the Cold War.

    In addition, the Bush administration's approach contains a message that is liable to encourage Iran and North Korea to reassess the contribution such a weapon would make to their own nuclear policies, possibly providing the incentive that would accelerate such development.

    Herein lies an inherent contradiction in the American approach that on the one hand acts with commendable determination to prevent the proliferation of nuclear arms, but on the other hand, contributes toward it by adopting an irresponsible nuclear policy.

    We should not use public money to support the further destruction of human life - GW Bush, 5/25/2005, WH East Room

    by lawnorder on Mon May 30, 2005 at 03:00:46 AM PDT

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