Sunday, October 15, 2006

Nuclear-weapons-free zones

It was nice to read in a NY Times article by Warren Hoge entitled "Security Council Backs Sanctions on North Korea" that President Bush is committed to having the Korean Peninsula being nuclear-weapons-free:

Speaking Saturday outside the White House, President Bush said the resolution sent “a clear message to the leader of North Korea regarding his weapons programs. This action by the United Nations, which was swift and tough, says that we are united in our determination to see to it that the Korea Peninsula is nuclear-weapons-free

It would be doubly nice for the President to commit to the Middle East being nuclear-weapons-free, but that it almost certainly not going to happen. Yes, President Bush will push for Iran and any Arab or Muslim nation to be "nuclear-weapons-free", but even if he were successful, the Middle East would not be nuclear-weapons-free since Israel possesses a substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons that they almost certainly would be unwilling to give up given the current leadership of that country.

So much for the concept of nuclear-weapons-free zones as a global concept.

Notice the semantic distinction: "nuclear-weapons-free", as opposed to the traditional "nuclear-free"? The new phraseology would suggest a willingness to permit North Korea to possess nuclear power plants and maybe even enrichment and reprocessing facilities. I wonder if the Bush administration is even contemplating a similar "offer" for Iran.

-- Jack Krupansky


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