Date: Sun, 17 May 98 16:23:48 CDT
Nuclear weapons: U.S. and India
By Joseph Gerson, American Friends Service Committee, 16 May 1998
India's five nuclear weapons test explosions must be condemned. Although it has long been known that India and Pakistan are, functionally, nuclear powers, the Pokharan explosions will increase tensions and the incomprehensible dangers of nuclear war in South Asia and between India and China. However, the priority for the U.S. is not imposing sanctions but honoring our thirty-year, Article VI Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty commitment to the abolition of all nuclear weapons.
John Deutch, recently of the Clinton Pentagon and CIA, has been clear that "we live in a Trident world" dominated and terrorized by U.S. and British Trident submarines and missiles. Deutch also reports that the U.S. never intended, nor does it intend now, to honor its Article VI NPT commitment.
In contrast, 1995 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Joseph Rotblat tells us that nations no longer tolerate a discriminatory hierarchy of power and that humanity thus faces the stark choice: complete nuclear weapons abolition or their global proliferation.
India's tests contribute to its joining the declared nuclear powers in circumventing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by testing and developing new generations of nuclear weapons through computer simulation tests. They illustrate the dangers of the Clinton administration's efforts to retain the monopoly of nuclear terror by the declared nuclear powers. The tests dangerously illustrate Rotblat's wisdom and that of the World Court, which recently ruled the nuclear powers must honor their Article VI commitments.
Our road map is not punishing others but embracing the Canberra Commission's (chaired by Richard Butler, now of Director of UNSCOM's efforts to disarm Iraq) report detailing the diplomatic and technological steps necessary for nuclear weapons abolition. It's time to press our elected representatives to heed the call by AFSC and more than 1000 other organizations to join the international campaign for negotiation, by the year 2000, of a Nuclear Weapons Convention eliminating all nuclear weapons within a time-bound, verifiable and enforceable framework.
(Joseph Gerson [email@example.com] is the author of "Peace and Security in Asia/Pacific," FPIF Vol. 2, No. 10 [available at http://www.foreignpolicy-infocus.org/briefs/vol2/app-s.html] and a forthcoming FPIF policy brief on U.S.-China Security Relations. He is the Regional Program Coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee in New England.)
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