Policies Are a
Sign of Bad Faith To Rest of the World
by Carah Ong, March 2002
On 9 March, reports surfaced in major US media
that the US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) released on 9 January
contains contingency plans for using nuclear weapons against seven
states: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Russia and China.
It also reportedly contains plans to develop and deploy new "earth-penetrating"
nuclear weapons and to accelerate the time it would take to resume
full-scale nuclear testing. Using nuclear weapons against other
states or developing new nuclear weapons would directly violate
US obligations to pursue the elimination of nuclear weapons under
Article VI of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
At the 2000 NPT Review Conference, the US, along
with the other state parties to the treaty, committed themselves
to an "unequivocal undertaking" to eliminate nuclear
weapons and to a diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security
policies. Even if the US does not pursue the plans outlined in
the NPR, as Secretary of State Colin Powell and other top military
and government officials are claiming, the provocative rhetoric
could unravel the non-proliferation regime.
"The fact that the US is developing contingency
plans to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states
will certainly be viewed as a sign of bad faith by most of the
world and will do serious damage to the nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty," said David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age
Weapons of mass destruction and missile proliferation
do pose a legitimate threat not only to US security, but also
to international security. However, unilateral US threats to use
nuclear weapons, in conjunction with developing and deploying
missile defenses, as a means of countering these threats is likely
to provoke rather than prevent proliferation. A much better option
would be for the US to take the lead on negotiations for the complete
elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction
and their means of delivery.
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has issued an
international appeal that has now been signed by over 100 prominent
individuals, including 38 Nobel Laureates. The Appeal to End the
Nuclear Weapons Threat to Humanity and All Life calls upon the
US and other nuclear weapons states to take the following practical
steps as a means to preserve the non-proliferation regime and
achieve the complete elimination of nuclear weapons:
* De-alert all nuclear weapons and de-couple all
nuclear warheads from their delivery vehicles.
* Reaffirm commitments to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
* Commence good faith negotiations to achieve a
Nuclear Weapons Convention requiring the phased elimination of
all nuclear weapons, with provisions for effective verification
* Declare policies of No First Use of nuclear weapons
against other nuclear weapons states and policies of No Use against
non-nuclear weapons states.
* Reallocate resources from the tens of billions
of dollars currently being spent for maintaining nuclear arsenals
to improving human health, education and welfare throughout the