Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Korea talks: Another act about to unfold: "The US insistence that North Korea dismantle its nuclear program 'fully, verifiably, and irreversibly' in advance of dialogue (or rewards) 'is little short of demanding that the DPRK surrender to it', proclaims the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, demanding 'confirmation that the US has dropped its hostile policy' as a precondition to progress. To demonstrate its 'fundamental switchover', Washington must conclude 'a legally binding non-aggression treaty and establish diplomatic relations' and promise not to 'obstruct [North Korea's] economic cooperation' with other countries."

How can Washington credibly demand the nuclear disarmament of other countries when it has violated the NPT itself and threatened those same countries with war? The hypocrisy and double standards of Washington's stance may tend to pass unremarked in much of the West but as Richard Butler has pointed out in his book Fatal Choice is does not go unnoticed in the rest of the world. Butler discovered he had no real answer to people from India or Pakistan who put the question that if Western powers have nuclear weapons for defence or deterrence then why can not we? The NPT included a provision that not only would non-nuclear powers not go nuclear, but also that the nuclear powers would take positive steps to disarmament. The non-delivery of the second part has finally ruined the treaty and led to the inevitable spread of weapons, a process which has been accelerated by the US doctrine of preventive war and open threats to a number of specific countries. Without excusing the erratic and dangerous policies of the North Korean government, the US and other nuclear powers must also have their policies subject to review and criticism if they can be shown to increase the risk of war and proliferation.

No comments: