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USA and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

By Hasan Ehtisham

“There are two ways of lying. One, not telling the truth and the other, making up statistics.” U.S. State Department followed precisely the other way in busting the myths concerning the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Regime in its recent Fact Sheet.  This fact sheet is an effort to dilute the claims that NPT is a regime used by powerful, exclusively the U.S. to curb the weak.
 
According to the fact sheet (which in my view not so factual), U.S. has done enough in pursuit of nuclear disarmament. While giving datum how U.S. reduced its nuclear warheads up to 80 percent, Department of State intermingled the concepts of Arms Control and Disarmament. Perversely, a comprehensive analysis of U.S. nuclear policies and strategic doctrines will evidently reveal an increasing dependence of U.S. on its nuclear weapons.
 
U.S. always followed the policy of first use of nuclear weapons. Washington on numerous occasions publicized its right of using nuclear weapons (as it did in 1945) if U.S. or its allies confronted a threat of biological or chemical weapons.  On the contrary to nuclear disarmament U.S. is relying more and more on its nuclear inventory. Therefore, when Germany proposed U.S. to abandon its first use policy, Washington and NATO bluntly rejected the recommendation.
 
The Department of State is also of the view that Washington never endorses a double standard with respect to opposing nuclear proliferation and U.S. always promoted a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction. True! U.S. never followed double standards but carry on to exhibit triple and quadruple standards in its policies toward nuclear proliferation and disarmament, especially in Middle East. The foremost determinant which is hampering the progression on Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in the Middle East is U.S. policy of sheltering the Israeli nuclear program.
 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee published a report, “Chain Reaction: Avoiding a Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East,” in 2008. The report comprised chapters on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey—but Israel was an exception. The main imperative of United States in accomplishing its own agendas of international non-proliferation is its adherence to the Israeli policy of nuclear opacity.  U.S. biasness on Middle Eastern nuclear status quo is generating commotion in the Arab World. For instance, Egypt already has threatened a withdrawal from NPT in the backdrop of insignificant progress in achieving a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East.
 
The fact sheet is concluded with utmost caustic proclamation, “Nothing in the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement violates the NPT.” It is contrary to what the U.S. foreign policy has been in the past as 39th U.S. President Jimmy Carter stated in 2006“Knowing for more than three decades of Indian leaders’ nuclear ambitions, I and all other presidents included them in a consistent policy: no sales of civilian nuclear technology or uncontrolled fuel to any country that refused to sign the NPT.”  Membership of NSG could also entice India to sell reactors and enrichment/reprocessing technology to anyone because it is outside the NPT and has no obligations.
 
The membership of NSG, like US-India nuclear deal will dent the global nuclear non-proliferation efforts and weaken the international safeguards system because it may lead to diversion of India’s indigenously-produced fissile materials to military programmes.  India will become inebriated with its new power, contend destructively with western economies, bully its neighbours and possibly even launch a nuclear first strike against Pakistan. India could also play hardball and freeze consensus on FMCT. It is currently taking a comfortable cover behind Pakistan. Though the spotlight is on Pakistan’s nuclear programme, India will further enlarge strategic reserves of weapons stockpiles, and thus start challenging the major nuclear powers. Then, it would be too late to give precedence to economic imperatives over nonproliferation pipedreams and global stability.
 
U.S. as a major global power should carry on its efforts for nuclear disarmament rather than explicating justifications on its erroneous policies towards nonproliferation by such Fact Sheets. There is a necessity to address the subject that why the NPT was powerless to thwart India and Pakistan nuclear weapons programme and what are the insurances that NPT will not fail again. The major problem for NPT is the regions which are prone to conflicts i.e. South Asia and Middle East, as state will proliferate (horizontally/vertically) when their existence is threatened.  Nowadays NPT is facing numerous and variety of challenges and the only option is to redesign it.

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Hasan Ehtisham

Hasan Ehtisham is a M. Phil student at Department of Strategic Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

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