Friday, April 14, 2006

The Nuclear Iran

Iran is again in the news. For enriching Uranium. For its alleged Nuclear Weapons designs. For its statements against Israel. For its statements against Jews. Reagan famously called Soviet Union as the evil empire. Iran is fast assuming that role in the American and the Western mindset - if it has not already.

The truth is that almost every major country in the World has policies (foreign and/or domestic) that when revealed and analysed - would expose them to belong to the same, singular league of rogue states. Iran signed the NPT at the time of the Shah - a puppet installed with the western backing. The powers who assumed the throne in the 1979 revolution didn't walk out of the treaty. [NPT freezes the number of countries that can have nuclear weapons, but allows building of nuclear power stations].

There is a convoluted logic that underpins the nuclear weapons scenario today. The countries that are allowed to possess nuclear weapons are the US, Russia (Soviet Union), China, UK and France. Why? These were the great powers of the 1940s [till
date with veto power on the Security Council]. When NPT came into force in late 1960s - these countries were allowed to retain nuclear weapons. India - which was to explode a nuclear device at Pokhran in 1974 - was not allowed.

Countries like India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, Brazil and South Africa were always assumed to have nuclear weapons programs - but were never seriously stymied. Brazil and South Africa have voluntarily moved away from their nuclear weapons programs and closed them altogether. But not so - India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel. [Early in 1980s, Iraq's nuclear facility was bombed by Israel]

What stand a reasonable person can take on nuclear weapons?

1) Nuclear Weapons are bad and should be in the hands of nobody. Period

2) Any sovereign country can have nuclear weapons.

NPT infact calls for reduction (and eventual elimination) of all nuclear weapons. Has anyone ever heard any major power announce plans to eliminate nuclear weapons? No. In fact - the US and other countries have refined their technologies, made the weapons more potent. Any reduction in numbers has purely been notional - without any reduction in their potency. Certainly - never as part of a plan to eventually eliminate all the nuclear weapons. In fact - in the 1980s - Reagan through Star Wars programs - was planning to take nuclear weapons to new heights literally - with launch pads on the skies. This is in addition to current deployment on every conceivable delivery avenue - air, sea and land.

All this clearly shows that the prevailing wisdom of the powers that be - is that nuclear weapons are useful as a tool in exercising their geo-political interests. To them, therefore, the first stand - that of declaring nuclear weapons as bad and thus undesirable - doesn't hold good at all.

How about then the second stand - that any sovereign country can and should be allowed to possess nuclear weapons if they want to? Once you declare nuclear weapons are useful, shouldn't this be the logical stand to take? It should be, but it is not. We will see how this glaring arrogance is explained by these world powers - in the next post.