Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Love of the Land: The NPT Illusion

The NPT Illusion

Disarmament fantasies help the Iranian regime.

Bret Stephens
Wall Street Journal
04 May '10

These are strange days for New York City's finest. Over the weekend, they deployed in force to find the terrorist who tried to bomb Times Square. Yesterday, they deployed in force to protect the terrorist who is president of Iran. One of these guys works in propane, fireworks and gasoline; the other guy in enriched uranium, polonium triggers and ballistic missiles.

That other guy—the one who didn't roll into town in a Pathfinder—was in Manhattan to unload on this month's U.N. review conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. And unload he did: on the Truman administration, on the Obama administration, on "the Zionist regime," on U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, on the NPT itself. For all this, Iran is still considered a member in good standing of the treaty, entitled to its seat at the International Atomic Energy Agency and its right to the nuclear reactors.

Does this make sense? In the upside-down universe of Turtle Bay—the same one in which Iran was just elected by acclamation to the U.N.'s Commission on the Status of Women—it does. What's stranger is that it also makes sense to President Obama, who has called the NPT the "cornerstone of the world's efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons." If that's the cornerstone, it's no wonder the edifice on top of it is collapsing.

The case for the NPT is that it has slowed nuclear proliferation by offering a grand bargain between the world's nuclear haves and have-nots. The haves promise to work toward the elimination of their arsenals via arms-control treaties; the have-nots get access to civilian nuclear technology while promising not to build weapons of their own.

As a show of global good citizenship, last month President Obama signed another arms-control treaty with Russia, and yesterday disclosed previously classified information about the exact size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. This surely made a deep impression in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Bhutan, where conspicuous displays of moral stainlessness are considered the essence of geopolitical strategy.

(Read full op-ed)

Love of the Land: The NPT Illusion

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