The juvenile maxim, “rules are made to be broken” seems to have been adopted by certain countries. In 1968, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was signed, committing nuclear powers to “general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” Other states asked for help with nuclear reactors for peaceful purposes in return for not acquiring nuclear weapons themselves. However, proliferation began with the West’s help of developing nuclear weapons in the most politically mercurial region on the planet. Britain provided the heavy water, France the nuclear reactors, the US did a Nelson and turned a blind eye, and thus Israel was able to produce plutonium in a facility beneath the Negev Desert. To this day, this facility has miraculously avoided detection from the International Atomic Agency. Israel now has between 100 and 200 nuclear bombs, nearly a 10% increase from 1973.
Is it surprising that nuclear states have not honoured the NPT? No, on the contrary, this was to be expected; the profit available from the selling and buying of nuclear and military intelligence surpasses stratospheric levels. As you read this, the US, Russia and France are developing new nuclear missiles, whilst Britain is part of an American programme for six new types of bombs.
In 2000, at an NPT conference, the US made what I call a ‘politician’s promise’ to adopt 13 specific steps towards disarmament. They have failed to implement a single one (hence the term ‘politicians promise’). Instead of disarmament, the Livermore and Los Alamos weapon labs are now the recipients of more funding (with tax-payers’ money of course) than in the Cold War. The US (and every other country at that) is exploiting humanity’s development of scientific knowledge to create a new generation of warheads, such as mini-nukes and bunker-busters- yet more new ways for humans to kill each other.
The US have made their ‘no nonsense’ ideology crystal clear. Washington’s 2002 Nuclear Posture Review named at least seven countries as potential primary targets for preemptive nuclear strikes whilst its 2005 guidelines envisaged using nuclear weapons against those who the US merely suspected of being in possession or endeavouring to be in possession of nuclear weapons. These guidelines also ‘recommended’ that the US use “tactical nuclear weapons to win a a conventional conflict when it is losing.”
What about Britain? Well, every minute of every day of every month of every year a British submarine armed with 48 nuclear warheads (each one eight times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb) is on patrol somewhere in the world (the Trident System). Our secretary of defence said that Britain is prepared to use small nuclear missiles in preemptive strikes against non-nuclear states. This is hifalutin jargon simply meaning: “Britain is prepared to nuke countries that have no nukes to retaliate.” How very reminiscent of the cowardly school bully who would only terrorise his victims when surrounded by his bigger thug friends.
Our government has invested £6 billion at Aldermaston (the atomic weapons establishment); the purpose is classified, but like all classified ventures, there has been leaked information indicating that there are test facilities for highly enriched uranium. For the laymen out there, uranium is very bad.
It must be mentioned, though, that our government regards our possession of nuclear weapons as a political chess-piece. “A decision to leave the club of nuclear powers would diminish Britain’s international standing and influence.” Britain sure does sound like a pretentious Victorian patriarch trying to establish his family in prominent circles.
Is this a lesson we want others to learn?