The nuclear outrage

  • 14/06/1995

The recently concluded conference to extend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (npt) has once again driven home the message that hypocrisy is the buzzword in the present world order. After nearly 2 years of preparation and 4 weeks of intense negotiations, the member states "unanimously" agreed to extend the treaty indefinitely and without conditions. In other words, the 5 nuclear weapons nations -- the us, the uk, Russia, France, and China -- succeeded in having their way one more time.

The Big Five, who also happen to be the veto-wielding permanent members of the un Security Council, have the right to make, possess and perhaps even use nuclear weapons. But if any other nation dares to express nuclear ambitions, it is branded as a renegade, a threat to the world's security, and efforts are made to excommunicate it by these self-appointed priests projecting themselves as the sole policemen of the international community.

The lesson that the members of the elite nuclear club are so earnestly endeavouring to teach the rest of the world is that they and only they, possess the level of political maturity and stability required to handle these weapons of mass destruction. The others are no more than a bunch of squabbling children who cannot be trusted with such lethal stuff.

The irony of the situation is indeed classic. Who will remind these pompous powermongers that the insane warmongers who have been inflicted upon our planet in recent times, have emerged not from Iran, India or Pakistan but from their hallowed homeground? The West now points its finger at Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussain and tries to project them as the villains of the century, but the exploits of these men pale into insignificance when one takes into account the magnitude of the crimes against humanity committed by Hitler and Mussolini, or even a Robert S McNamara under the Johnson administration, who triggered off the devastating Vietnam war. Today, nearly 30 years later, McNamara himself admits his mistake.

But it will be futile to blame only the West for what took place in New York last month. The goings-on could not have been quite so smooth for the Big Five, if the non-aligned countries had carried out their threat and put up a strong resistance against indefinite extension of the npt.

For a while, even during the first half of the conference, it seemed as though the nam nations, at least a few of them like Indonesia, Mexico and Egypt, really meant business. Egypt, for instance, had very strong reasons to put up a fight against the perpetuation of nuclear imperialism: it is now only too apparent that the "imperialists" have a soft corner for its arch enemy, Israel. After declaring that it will not support the npt, Egypt tried to woo the Arab nations over to its side. But holding up the flag of rebellion when it so desperately needs the us $2 billion aid every year from the us, was a little difficult for Egypt.

And the same pathetic story was repeated in the case of all the other mini or micro nations which meekly fell in line at the end of the conference. They decided that it was not worthwhile to insist on their sovereign rights at the cost of incurring the wrath of Uncle Sam.

The us, of course, took full advantage of the situation and told the fencesitters in no uncertain terms what would be done to them, in case they failed to stand up and line up on the side of the nuclear weapon states. And, thus, Uncle Sam and the other nuke monsters steamrolled their way through the npt conference, razing all dissident barriers. It was indeed a triumph.

The npt conference should serve as a cue to India's politicians and diplomats. The time to wait and watch from behind the wings is over. India must enter the battlefield. The issue is not just of defence strategy -- but also one of global morality and global democracy. Our government has consistently maintained that the npt is an unequal arrangement and it will be unethical to support it in any way. It should declare without hesitation that it will not refrain from producing nuclear weapons if the Big Five do not give up theirs. The world is unsafe and insecure even if there is one nuclear button. More makes no difference.

India must provide a firm and committed leadership to the Non-Aligned Movement and to the voices of sanity in the industrialised world. Frank Barnaby, former director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has launched a scathing attack against the nuclear-haves' rights after the conference ended. "It (the npt conference) is disappointing. It legitimises the possession of nuclear weapons indefinitely and perpetuates the distinction between those who possess nuclear weapons and those who do not," he said.

India will definitely find allies in all protagonists of peace. And with their help, it should tear open the mask that the nuclear hypocrites don everytime their warheads are at risk of being dismantled. There is much similarity between the nuclear weapons issue and several global environmental problems. The people who cause the problems try to blame others for it.

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