Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

09.24 Everything you've been told about plastic is wrong – the answer isn't recycling

09.24 Unlocking secrets of sea level rise in Greenland [15 minute video]

09.24 Air pollution rots our brains. Is that why we don’t do anything about it?

09.24 What are public lands?

09.24 The Netherlands Unveils the World's First Recycled Plastic Bike Lane

09.24 Americans: the next climate migrants 'We're moving to higher ground': America's era of climate mass migration is here [estimates do not include immigrants from other nations similarly affected]

09.24 Opec predicts massive rise in oil production over next five years [wonderful for fossil fuel investors; terrible for all plants and animals]

09.23 Nasa launches satellite to precisely track how Earth's ice is melting

09.23 Climate study ‘pulls punches’ to keep polluters on board

09.21 Greed is killing Alaska's salmon habitat – but we can still save it

09.21 Trump administration poses new threat to birds in allowing ‘incidental’ killings

09.20 Al Gore Is Still Optimistic [24:06 video; rather than future Frankenstein governments, how can we better ensure having brilliantly efficient & competent governments?]

09.20 The $11 trillion question Chris Cillizza can't answer

09.20 Florence sparks pollution fears after excrement-filled 'hog lagoons' overflow

09.20 EU must end new petrol and diesel car sales by 2030 to meet climate targets – report

News Media Matters

09.22 Progressives to DNC: It Would Be 'Insane' Not to Hand Over Twitter Account to Ocasio-Cortez

09.20 Morning Edition’s Think Tank Sources Lean to the Right

09.19 Taibbi: Bernie Sanders’ Anti-Amazon Bill Is an Indictment of the Media, Too

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

09.24 Sexual assault is fun if we can all 'lighten up' about it

09.24 Brett Kavanaugh faces second allegation of sexual misconduct09.23 MARYLAND GOVERNOR REBUFFS CALL FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO BRETT KAVANAUGH ATTEMPTED RAPE ALLEGATIONS [Republicans above the law...]

09.23 Trump Is Strangling the U.S. Refugee Program to Death

09.23 Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 11/9" Aims Not at Trump But at Those Who Created the Conditions That Led to His Rise

09.23 The Trump Administration's Latest Tax Scam for the Rich [video]

09.23 One Tiny Tax Reform, Billions for America

09.22 As Right-Wingers Push Trump to Fire Rosenstein, Here's What to Do If He Does

Justice Matters

09.22 Making Tariffs Corrupt Again

09.22 Why isn't Mark Judge testifying about Kavanaugh? He is an alleged witness

High Crimes?

09.20 Trump Should Be More Worried About the Brennan Dossier

09.19 'Killing a generation': one million more children at risk from famine in Yemen [Does America's government have empathy? Does it understand the concept of morality? The Saudi Air Force would be ineffective without U.S. military assistance...]

09.19 ‘Tied to trees and raped’: UN report details Rohingya horrors

09.16 Merchants of Death Profit from the Bombing of Children as a US-Backed War Goes Largely Ignored

Economics, Crony Capitalism

09.23 The Spider’s Web: Britain’s Second Empire [1:18:01 documentary video; the Book]

09.23 Why We Have To Break Up Amazon

International & Futurism

09.24 'Stop this disaster': Brazilian women mobilise against 'misogynist' far-right Bolsonaro

09.23 For This Year’s International Day of Peace, Korea Takes the Lead

09.22 Which nation is 'most generous' to refugees? Certainly not the US

09.18 Racist rioting in Chemnitz has reopened Germany’s east-west split [After 10,000 generations, we are all mixed-race. So let's become friends with our cousins instead!]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Past & Present

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE:

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Past & Present

by Lawrence S. Wittner
Thanks to a lingering belief that national security ultimately lies in military strength, nations have resisted honoring their full obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The opening this May of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference at the United Nations seems likely to feature a conflict that has simmered for decades between nuclear nations and non-nuclear nations.

By the mid-1960s, five nations had developed a nuclear weapons capability: the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France, and, most recently, China. But numerous other nations were giving serious consideration to joining the nuclear club. They included Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, India, Israel, Pakistan, South Africa, and West Germany. Millions of people and many governments feared that the nuclear arms race—already dangerous enough—was on the verge of spiraling totally out of control.

In this context, the U.S. and Soviet governments suddenly found something upon which they could both agree. Having amassed vast nuclear arsenals for their Cold War confrontation with one another, both decided that it would be a good idea if other nations refrained from developing nuclear weapons. Thus, in the fall of 1965, the two governments submitted nonproliferation treaties to the U.N. General Assembly. “Both superpowers really got behind the Nonproliferation Treaty,” recalled U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, “because we and the Soviets basically were on the same wavelength.”

But the non-nuclear powers sharply objected to the U.S. and Soviet proposals, which they pointed out—correctly—would establish a two-tier system. Alva Myrdal, Sweden’s disarmament minister and a leading proponent of nuclear disarmament, declared that “the non-aligned nations . . . strongly believe that disarmament measures should be a matter of mutual renunciation.” They did not want a treaty that “would leave the present five nuclear-weapon parties free to continue to build up their arsenals.”

The governments of numerous NATO nations raised the same objection. Willy Brandt, West Germany’s foreign minister, maintained that a nonproliferation treaty was justified “only if the nuclear states regard it as a step toward restrictions of their own armaments and toward disarmament.” In short, non-nuclear nations were unwilling to forgo the nuclear option in the absence of a similar commitment by the nuclear nations.

As a result, the NPT was reshaped to provide for mutual obligations on the part of non-nuclear and nuclear nations. Under its terms, each non-nuclear signatory pledged “not to make or acquire nuclear weapons,” as well as to accept a safeguard system, administered by the International Atomic Energy Agency, to prevent diversion of nuclear material from nuclear reactors to nuclear weapons development. Furthermore, Article VI of the final version provided that nuclear signatories would “pursue negotiations in good faith at an early date on effective measures regarding cessation of the nuclear arms race and disarmament.”

On June 12, 1968, this revised NPT, now incorporating provisions for both nonproliferation and disarmament, swept through the U.N. General Assembly by a vote of 95 to 4, with 21 abstentions. Although, ominously, a number of nations with nuclear ambitions refused to ratify the treaty, the NPT did provide an important milestone in global efforts to avert nuclear catastrophe.

In some ways, the NPT was a success. After it went into force in 1970, almost all nations capable of building nuclear weapons rejected this option. Furthermore, through disarmament treaties and individual action, the nuclear nations divested themselves of a significant number of their nuclear weapons.

Today, 42 years after the signing of the NPT, more than 23,000 nuclear weapons remain in existence and the number of nuclear powers has grown from five to nine.

Even so, thanks to a lingering belief that national security ultimately lies in military strength, nations have resisted honoring their full obligations under the NPT. The nuclear powers delayed implementing their rhetorical commitment to full-scale nuclear disarmament. Meanwhile, some non-nuclear nations, charging the nuclear powers with hypocrisy, began to develop nuclear weapons themselves. Today, 42 years after the signing of the NPT, more than 23,000 nuclear weapons remain in existence and the number of nuclear powers has grown from five to nine.

Thus, the NPT review conference this May could simply continue the old game of duplicity and delay. Nuclear nations could avoid making plans to eliminate their very substantial nuclear arsenals, while demanding that other countries remain non-nuclear. Non-nuclear nations could point to the failure of the nuclear nations to disarm and use that as their justification for joining the nuclear club.

But there is an alternative. The world public might decide that enough is enough—that it’s time to move beyond the cautious, half-way measures of the past and bring an end to the terrible danger of nuclear annihilation. That would require a massive outpouring of public sentiment, this May and in the following months, demanding nothing less than the abolition of nuclear weapons. Such an outpouring would provide a solid basis on which reluctant government officials might finally do what they should long ago have done: take effective action to build a nuclear weapons-free world.


Dr. Wittner is Professor of History at the State University of New York/Albany. His latest book is Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement (Stanford University Press).



Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on April 27, 2010.

 

Public Service Ads: