“If another country were planning to develop a new nuclear weapon and contemplating preemptive strikes against a list of non-nuclear powers, Washington would rightly label that nation a dangerous rogue state.”
— New York Time Editorial, March 12, 2002
In April the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the world’s most important international agreement to achieve non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament, will meet at the United Nations to review progress toward achieving the goals of the Treaty. They will undoubtedly conclude that the Treaty stands in peril, as do the people of the world, due to the failure of the nuclear weapons states to fulfill their obligations under the Treaty to achieve progress on nuclear disarmament. This failure has been driven by the actions of the world’s only superpower.
The United States has acted in defiance of the international community in flagrantly failing to fulfill its promises and in actions undermining nuclear arms control treaties. The United States, under its current administration, has taken the following actions in direct opposition to the 13 Practical Steps for Nuclear Disarmament agreed to by all parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty at the 2000 NPT Review Conference:
- given notice of its intention to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to unilaterally pursue missile defenses and the weaponization of outer space;
- failed to ratify and promote the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and made plans to shorten the time needed to resume underground nuclear testing;
- developed contingency plans to use nuclear weapons against at least seven countries, five of which are non-nuclear weapons states that are parties to the NPT, in direct contradiction to long-standing security assurances given to countries without nuclear weapons;
- made nuclear war more likely by making plans to use nuclear weapons for specific purposes, such as bunker busting or destroying chemical or biological weapons stockpiles, and by developing smaller, more useable nuclear weapons; and
- made nuclear “disarmament” easily reversible by implementing policies that place deactivated nuclear warheads in storage rather than destroying them.
Taken together, these polices demonstrate a clear failure to pursue the “unequivocal undertaking” to achieve nuclear disarmament that was agreed to at the 2000 NPT Review Conference. Rather, these unilateral policies threaten the entire non-proliferation regime and raise the specter of nuclear war.Time is running out, and what is at stake is the future of humanity and all life. The nations and people of the world are challenged to stop a “rogue” superpower, uphold the Non-Proliferation Treaty and fulfill the goal of nuclear disarmament before disaster strikes.
*David Krieger is president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.