Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Our Independent WMD

Last week, I wrote about our government's flagrant disregard for the disarmament provisions of the NNPT. Today at PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn asked a question along the same lines. What was Blair's answer?
Jeremy Corben: The Prime Minister, I'm sure, would accept that the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty commits this country and all other declared nuclear powers to long term disarmament. In the light of that, could he explain why the government is even considering an extension or replacement for Trident. Shouldn't we seize this historic opportunity to start a process of nuclear disarmament around the world?

Blair: Well of course we do do an immense amount in this area and there is nothing inconsistent with renewing our own independent nuclear deterrent to be in favour of non-proliferation. But I think my honourable friend's remarks are an indication that it's going to be a lively debate.
Ah, he didn't answer. I'm not what you'd call overcome by surprise.

The point is that it *is* inconsistent to insist that other countries abide by the non-proliferation provisions of the treaty while simulateously ignoring the disarmament provisions which are an essential part of the same agreement.

The NNPT has been signed by 188 nations. Of those, less than 10 actually have nuclear weapons. Many, if not most of the remaining countries signed the treaty and promised not to seek to aquire nuclear weapons on the understanding that the nuclear powers were commited to work towards "general and complete disarmament". This wasn't woolly headed peacenik optimist on their part; it is what the treaty actually says.

Our government cannot seriously expect to be able to insist on the continued selective application of the provisions of the treaty without doing enormous damage to our country's moral standing in the international community. Either we take the treaty seriously or we do not.

I think we should. Others disagree but seem reluctant to withdraw from it, prefering instead to simply ignore an international commitment which they believe goes against our national interests. This is certainly an understandable position. But, by adopting that attitude you surely lose any right to criticise other governments when they do the same.

Tags: , , ,

No comments: