Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Mini-nukes

Some "diplomats" and "nonproliferation experts" think that US research on "mini-nukes" could "undermine international efforts to stop the spread of nuclear arms."

Research on a new generation of precision atomic weapons by the Bush administration threatens to undermine international efforts to stop the spread of nuclear arms and to tarnish recent successes, according to diplomats and nonproliferation experts.

The criticism focuses on the administration's decision to lay the groundwork for developing low-yield weapons — known as mini-nukes — while pursuing President Bush's doctrine of preemptive strikes against rogue states.

The diplomats and independent experts said Washington's strategy weakens support for more stringent controls at a time when the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty faces serious challenges from North Korea and Iran and amid widespread fears of terrorists acquiring atomic weapons. The U.S. strategy, critics say, may cause other countries to pursue nuclear arms.

"The U.S. follows a double standard that allows it to develop and threaten to use nuclear weapons while denying them to smaller countries," said Hussein Haniff, Malaysia's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. "We do not know whether the nuclear nonproliferation treaty can survive with these U.S. policies."

The only problem with their theory is that both Iran and North Korea were working on nuclear weapons far before Bush came in to office, and far before the "mini-nuke" research began.


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