We are right to be very concerned about the potential for North Korea or Iran to develop nuclear weapons. The reasons why are obvious. However, what I don’t understand is why we as a nation – and from what I can see much of western society – don’t seem to be overly concerned about the continuing proliferation of nuclear and other weapons in other countries.
It wasn’t that long ago that concern about nuclear disarmament was prominent and widespread. The ‘peace dividend‘ from the end of the Cold War hasn’t delivered as much as hoped, yet there seems to be almost a passive acceptance of the reappearance of nuclear weapon development.
Despite all the concern about Weapons of Mass Destruction in other countries and the prospect of Iran and North Korea becoming nuclear armed, Australia is planning to export uranium to China and may well look at doing the same with India. We have also expressed no concerns about Britain’s plan to update its nuclear weapons by replacing their Trident weapons system, or at the plans in the USA to develop new types of nuclear weaponry.
The Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, Dr Hans Blix, is reported on this blog as saying that we have “stagnated” regarding disarmament, and are rearming with Trident at a time when our warheads have almost halved from the peak of the cold war when they numbered 50,000 to 27,000 today.
Here are some other reported comments by Dr Blix from a speech he just gave in London:
Dr Blix will take Britain and the other permanent members of the UN Security Council – America, China, Russia and France – to task for failing to comply with their obligations under the NPT by failing to do more to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. He will point out “the strong feelings of frustration” at the way nuclear nations “are in the process” of developing new types of weapons rather than examining how they could manage defence needs with non-nuclear weaponry.
Dr Blix also said the decision by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair (supported by his successor Gordon Brown) to press ahead with a full replacement for Trident – a new generation of submarines, with US-designed missiles and a new nuclear warhead – will make it more difficult to stop Iran acquiring the bomb.
He said “modernising Britain’s arsenal puts the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) under “strain” and increases the feeling among non-nuclear states, such as Iran, that they are being “cheated” by the nuclear states.”
Some of Dr Blix’s comments are also reported on the Islamic Republic News Agency website.