If another country were planning to develop a new nuclear weapon and contemplating pre-emptive strikes against a list of non-nuclear powers, Washington would rightly label that nation a dangerous rogue state. Yet such is the course recommended to President Bush by a new Pentagon planning paper that became public last weekend. Mr. Bush needs to send that document back to its authors and ask for a new version less menacing to the security of future American generations.
The paper, the Nuclear Posture Review, proposes lowering the overall number of nuclear warheads, but widens the circumstances thought to justify a possible nuclear response and expands the list of countries considered potential nuclear targets. It envisions, for example, an American president threatening nuclear retaliation in case of "an Iraqi attack on Israel or its neighbors, or a North Korean attack on South Korea or a military confrontation over the status of Taiwan."
In a world where numerous countries are developing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, it is quite right that America retain a credible nuclear deterrent. Where the Pentagon review goes very wrong is in lowering the threshold for using nuclear weapons and in undermining the effectiveness of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
The treaty, long America's main tool for discouraging non-nuclear countries from developing nuclear weapons, is backed by promises that as long as signatories stay non-nuclear and avoid combat alongside a nuclear ally, they will not be attacked with nuclear weapons. If the Pentagon proposals become American policy, that promise would be withdrawn and countries could conclude that they have no motive to stay non-nuclear. In fact, they may well decide they need nuclear weapons to avoid nuclear attack.
The review also calls for the United States to develop a new nuclear warhead designed to blow up deep underground bunkers. Adding a new weapon to America's nuclear arsenal would normally require a resumption of nuclear testing, ending the voluntary moratorium on such tests that now helps restrain the nuclear weapons programs of countries like North Korea and Iran.
Since the dawn of the nuclear age, American military planners have had to factor these enormously destructive weapons into their calculations. Their behavior has been tempered by the belief, shared by most thoughtful Americans, that the weapons should be used only when the nation's most basic interest or national survival is at risk, and that the unrestrained use of nuclear weapons in war could end life on earth as we know it. Nuclear weapons are not just another part of the military arsenal. They are different, and lowering the threshold for their use is reckless folly.
International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons
July 8, 1996
A threat or use of nuclear weapons should also be compatible with the requirements of the international law applicable in armed conflict particularly those of the principles and rules of international humanitarian law, as well as with specific obligations under treaties and other undertakings which expressly deal with nuclear weapons.
It follows from the above mentioned requirements that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law.
seven votes to seven, passed by the President's casting vote
There exists and obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.
Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems
Signed by the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics May 26, 1972; entered into force October 3, 1972
Each Party undertakes to limit anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems and to adopt other measures in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty.
Each Party undertakes not to deploy ABM systems for a defense of the territory of its country and not to provide a base for such a defense, and not to deploy ABM systems for defense of an individual region except as provided for in Article III of this Treaty.
Each Party undertakes not to deploy ABM systems or their components except that:
within one ABM system deployment area having a radius of one hundred and fifty kilometers and centered on the Party's national capital, a Party may deploy: (1) no more than one hundred ABM launchers and no more than one hundred ABM interceptor missiles at launch sites, and (2) ABM radars within no more than six ABM radar complexes, the area of each complex being circular and having a diameter of no more than three kilometers; and
within one ABM system deployment area having radius of one hundred and fifty kilometers and containing ICBM silo launchers, a Party may deploy: (1) no more than one hundred ABM launchers and no more than one hundred ABM interceptor missiles at launch sites, (2) two large phased-array ABM radars comparable in potential to corresponding ABM radars operational or under construction on the date of signature of the Treaty in an ABM system deployment area containing ICBM silo launchers, and (3) no more than eighteen ABM radars each having a potential less than the potential of the smaller of the above-mentioned two large phased-array ABM radars.
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
Ratified by 187 states (all countries except India, Israel, and Pakistan. North Korea has recently withdrawn from the treaty); entered into force March 5, 1970; indefinitely extended in 1995
Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices.
Each non-nuclear weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
Article V paragraph 1
Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production, and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.
Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol 1)
Adopted on 8 June 1977 by the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law applicable in Armed Conflicts; entered into force 7 December 1979
Article 35 paragraph 3
It is prohibited to employ methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment.
Article 51 paragraphs 1, 2, 4 and 5 (excerpts)
The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations.
[C]ivilians shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.
Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited, [including an] attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
Charter of the United Nations
Signed June 26, 1945; came into force October 24, 1945
Article 2 paragraph 3
All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
Article 2 paragraph 4
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.
The International Court of Justice shall be the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It shall function in accordance with the annexed Statute, which is based upon the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice and forms and integral part of the present Charter.
Article 93 paragraph 1
All Members of the United Nations are ipso facto parties to the Statute of the International Court of Justice.
Article 96 paragraph 1
The General Assembly or the Security Council may request the International Court of Justice to give an advisory opinion on any legal question.
United States Constitution
Adopted September 17, 1787
Article VI Clause II
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
Bush Opposes Kyoto Protocol
Despite evidence of the need for action, the Bush administration has backed out of the Kyoto global warming agreement.
In March, the Bush administration struck two heavy blows against international efforts to prevent global warming. Despite indisputable scientific evidence that global warming is real -- and the undeniable role of the United States in creating it -- the administration walked away from its responsibility to address this momentous threat. First, President Bush reneged on a campaign pledge to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants. Soon after, his administration explicitly opposed the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement setting country-by-country limits on emissions of greenhouse gases. Scientists, environmental groups and leaders from across the world were quick to condemn these twin decisions, which have put a cloud over the treaty's future.
The Kyoto Protocol addresses rising concerns about rising temperatures, which are caused when greenhouse gases collect in the atmosphere and trap heat. There is no credible scientific debate over the existence of global warming, or the need to reduce emissions of these gases substantially if the world is to avoid such consequences as rising sea levels and dramatic shifts in the weather. More than 80 countries have signed the Kyoto Protocol. But the treaty has not yet gone into effect, because not enough of these countries have ratified it. (The United States has signed, but not ratified, the agreement.)
In November 2000, negotiators from around the world met in The Hague to hammer out the details of how the treaty would be implemented. They found a great deal of common ground (for instance, they essentially agreed on a system for evaluating compliance with the agreement), but in the end, several technical issues derailed the talks. The most contentious question was how to account for carbon absorption by soils, forests and other areas (known as carbon sinks). This absorption can offset carbon emissions, but negotiators disagreed over how much credit countries should receive for it. Some countries, including the United States, tried to use carbon absorption to justify large increases in their allowable carbon emissions; others, led by the European Union, resisted, fearing that those countries would then relax their efforts to decrease emissions. Although their positions eventually moved closer, negotiators could not reach agreement before the talks ended. A follow-up meeting in Ottawa, held in December, also failed to close the gaps.
Still, despite their ultimate failure, the talks revealed progress in several broad areas. For instance, participants accepted the basic science of global warming -- a stark contrast to previous meetings, at which several negotiators expressed strong doubts. In another promising sign, industry opposition to the accord had clearly weakened. The business community, led by the oil, gas and automotive industries, has long fought limits on emissions. But recently, fissures have emerged in this once-unified opposition. Today,
many businesses recognize global warming as a threat and realize that reducing emissions is in their economic interest. Several -- including such giants as BP-Amoco, IBM and Johnson & Johnson -- have voluntarily adopted emissions reductions stronger than those called for in the Kyoto Protocol.
These and other developments could have set the stage for further progress. In fact, for a time, environmentalists saw signs that the Bush administration might take the climate issue seriously, noting not only President Bush's campaign promise to control pollution from power plants, but also the encouraging comments made by EPA chief Christie Whitman early in the year. But with its March announcements, the administration erased these hopes -- and seriously undermined U.S. credibility on climate issues.
In renouncing the protocol, the president and members of his administration have used a number of seriously flawed arguments. Contrary to their claims, for instance, other industrialized countries do in fact support the protocol. As recently as early March, the G8, a group consisting of the world's eight largest industrialized nations, issued a declaration committing "to strive to reach agreement on outstanding political issues and to ensure in a cost-effective manner the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol." Nor is it true, as the administration asserts, that the protocol exempts developing countries from addressing
global warming; in fact, all countries -- developing or industrialized -- are required to develop programs to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and to report on their progress.
The administration has also said repeatedly that implementing the protocol or regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants would harm the U.S. economy -- but the administration has not conducted any analysis to substantiate these claims. In fact, two comprehensive government studies have shown that it is possible to reduce greenhouse pollution to levels called for in the Kyoto agreement without harming the economy. The only study that President Bush cited in announcing his reversal on CO2 reductions, a report by the Energy Information Administration, failed to consider the inexpensive reductions in greenhouse pollution that can be achieved through energy efficiency. The study also ignored the Kyoto Protocol's market mechanisms, which the United States has spent the last three years negotiating with other signatories.
What's next for the protocol? Talks will still take place throughout 2001, with the next formal negotiations scheduled for November. Many foreign governments have condemned the U.S. position and are pressing the Bush administration to reconsider. In the meantime, U.S. environmentalists continue to urge the European Union, Japan and Russia to ratify the treaty without waiting for the United States. This would increase the pressure on the United States to ratify, and could allow the treaty to enter into force even without U.S. participation. Environmentalists will also continue to pressure the Bush administration to reverse its course, as ultimately the United States must not only participate but lead if the world is to
succeed in stopping global warming.
1. In December 2001, the United States officially withdrew from the 1972
Antiballistic Missile Treaty, gutting the landmark agreement-the first time
in the nuclear era that the US renounced a major arms control accord.
2. 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention ratified by 144 nations
including the United States. In July 2001 the US walked out of a London
conference to discuss a 1994 protocol designed to strengthen the Convention
by providing for on-site inspections. At Geneva in November 2001, US
Undersecretary of State John Bolton stated that "the protocol is
dead," at the same time accusing Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Sudan,
and Syria of violating the Convention but offering no specific allegations
or supporting evidence.
3. UN Agreement to Curb the International Flow of Illicit Small Arms,
July 2001: the US was the only nation to oppose it.
4. April 2001, the US was not re-elected to the UN Human Rights
Commission, after years of withholding dues to the UN (including current
dues of $244 million)-and after having forced the UN to lower its share of
the UN budget from 25 to 22 percent. (In the Human Rights Commission, the US
stood virtually alone in opposing resolutions supporting lower-cost access
to HIV/AIDS drugs, acknowledging a basic human right to adequate food, and
calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.)
5. International Criminal Court (ICC) Treaty, to be set up in The Hague
to try political leaders and military personnel charged with war crimes and
crimes against humanity. Signed in Rome in July 1998, the Treaty was
approved by 120 countries, with 7 opposed (including the US). In October
2001 Great Britain became the 42nd nation to sign. In December 2001 the US
Senate again added an amendment to a military appropriations bill that would
keep US military personnel from obeying the jurisdiction of the proposed ICC.
6. Land Mine Treaty, banning land mines; signed in Ottawa in December
1997 by 122 nations. The United States refused to sign, along with Russia,
China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Egypt, and Turkey. President
Clinton rejected the Treaty, claiming that mines were needed to protect
South Korea against North Korea's "overwhelming military
advantage." He stated that the US would "eventually" comply,
in 2006; this was disavowed by President Bush in August 2001.
7. Kyoto Protocol of 1997, for controlling global warming: declared
"dead" by President Bush in March 2001. In November 2001, the Bush
administration shunned negotiations in Marrakech (Morocco) to revise the
accord, mainly by watering it down in a vain attempt to gain US approval.
8. In May 2001, refused to meet with European Union nations to discuss,
even at lower levels of government, economic espionage and electronic
surveillance of phone calls, e-mail, and faxes (the US "Echelon"
9. Refused to participate in Organization for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD)-sponsored talks in Paris, May 2001, on ways to crack down
on off-shore and other tax and money-laundering havens.
10. Refused to join 123 nations pledged to ban the use and production of
anti-personnel bombs and mines, February 2001
11. September 2001: withdrew from International Conference on Racism,
bringing together 163 countries in Durban, South Africa
12. International Plan for Cleaner Energy: G-8 group of industrial
nations (US, Canada, Japan, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, UK), July 2001:
the US was the only one to oppose it.
13. Enforcing an illegal boycott of Cuba, now being made tighter. In the
UN in October 2001, the General Assembly passed a resolution, for the tenth
consecutive year, calling for an end to the US embargo, by a vote of 167 to
3 (the US, Israel, and the Marshall Islands in opposition).
14. Comprehensive [Nuclear] Test Ban Treaty. Signed by 164 nations and
ratified by 89 including France, Great Britain, and Russia; signed by
President Clinton in 1996 but rejected by the Senate in 1999. The US is one
of 13 nonratifiers among countries that have nuclear weapons or nuclear
power programs. In November 2001, the US forced a vote in the UN Committee
on Disarmament and Security to demonstrate its opposition to the Test Ban
15. In 1986 the International Court of Justice (The Hague) ruled that the
US was in violation of international law for "unlawful use of
force" in Nicaragua, through its actions and those of its Contra proxy
army. The US refused to recognize the Court's jurisdiction. A UN resolution
calling for compliance with the Court's decision was approved 94-2 (US and
Israel voting no).
16. In 1984 the US quit UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization) and ceased its payments for UNESCO's budget, over the New
World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) project designed to lessen
world media dependence on the "big four" wire agencies (AP, UPI,
Agence France-Presse, Reuters). The US charged UNESCO with "curtailment
of press freedom," as well as mismanagement and other faults, despite a
148-1 in vote in favor of NWICO in the UN. UNESCO terminated NWICO in 1989;
the US nonetheless refused to rejoin. In 1995 the Clinton administration
proposed rejoining; the move was blocked in Congress and Clinton did not
press the issue. In February 2000 the US finally paid some of its arrears to
the UN but excluded UNESCO, which the US has not rejoined.
17. Optional Protocol, 1989, to the UN's International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights, aimed at abolition of the death penalty and containing
a provision banning the execution of those under 18. The US has neither
signed nor ratified and specifically exempts itself from the latter
provision, making it one of five countries that still execute juveniles
(with Saudi Arabia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Nigeria). China
abolished the practice in 1997, Pakistan in 2000.
18. 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women. The only countries that have signed but not ratified are the
US, Afghanistan, Sao Tome and Principe.
19. The US has signed but not ratified the 1989 UN Convention on the
Rights of the Child, which protects the economic and social rights of
children. The only other country not to ratify is Somalia, which has no
20. UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
1966, covering a wide range of rights and monitored by the Committee on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The US signed in 1977 but has not
21. UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide, 1948. The US finally ratified in 1988, adding several
"reservations" to the effect that the US Constitution and the
"advice and consent" of the Senate are required to judge whether
any "acts in the course of armed conflict" constitute genocide.
The reservations are rejected by Britain, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands,
Spain, Greece, Mexico, Estonia, and others.
22. Is the status of "we're number one!" Rogue overcome by
generous foreign aid to given less fortunate countries? The three best aid
providers, measured by the foreign aid percentage of their gross domestic
products, are Denmark (1.01%), Norway (0.91%), and the Netherlands (0.79),
The three worst: USA (0.10%), UK (0.23%), Australia, Portugal, and Austria
Copyright, Richard Du Boff, Reprinted for fair use only.
The Bush administration has also declined to sign the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, sign a World Health Organisation treaty with the aim of reducing the 4 million people who die from tobacco related diseases every year. Bush did this because of the donations he recieved from the tobacco companies and is one of the few countries not to sign. Tobacco could be called the biggest weapon of mass destruction...
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