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Nuclear Policy: Moral Clarity or Double Standards?

Nuclear Policy: Moral Clarity or Double Standards?

By Muqtedar Khan, Ph.D.

Have you ever seen an alcoholic preaching abstinence and advocating prohibition?

Just listen to President George W. Bush the commander-in-chief of a military force that not only possesses and maintains nearly 10,000 nuclear weapons but also boasts an array of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological, lecturing the world on the threat from Iraq and North Korea and on the virtues of nuclear non-proliferation. American hypocrisy on this subject runs much deeper.

Level one: The US continues to remain the number one proliferator of weapons in terms of marketing. Even in regions such as the Middle East where peace is deemed crucial to American interests, America is the number one exporter of advanced weapons including strategic fighters (such as F-16s) and missiles to both sides – Israel and Arabs.

Level two: The US continues to remain the number one proliferator of weapons in terms of technology. The US was not only the first to produce nuclear weapons but to date remains the only nation in the world to have used nuclear weapons, more than once. Even now, long after the end of the cold war, it continues to possess chemical and biological weapons and has just announced a massive new missile system that will enhance its global military domination in turn facilitating an enhanced unilateralist posture. It will also ensure a new arms race by triggering the security dilemma for other nations wary of Washington.

Level three: On nuclear proliferation it continues to have very close relations with nations that have refused to sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty such as India, Pakistan and Israel and are widely known to possess significant nuclear arsenals (Israel is reputed to have anywhere between 50-200 illegal nukes), but is determined to intimidate and punish nations which evidently do not have any nuclear weapons but merely nuclear ambitions, such as Iran and Iraq. All Iran and Iraq want to do is emulate the country.

Level four: The US has constantly accused Iraq and Iran of nursing an unquenchable thirst for nuclear weapons. American propagandists have also argued that these nations desire these weapons of mass destruction for the explicit purpose of using them against the US and its allies (read Level five: In his first State of the Union address, President Bush made his intentions clear about the so called “axis of evil”, Iran, Iraq and North Korea. He was determined to eliminate their capacity to threaten America.

On many levels America’s present policies raise questions about its moral clarity. Washington articulates policy in idealistic terms but applies it in realistic fashion. If the objective is to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons then the US must continue to pressure those who already have them (India, Pakistan and Israel) and those who are about to have them (North Korea) just as much if not more than those who aspire for them (Iraq and Iran). And if nuclear weapons are indeed seen as a danger .

Presidential candidate George W. Bush had promised that if elected his administration would provide “moral clarity” in foreign policy. I am now reminded of another Presidential candidate George H. Bush who had promised “read my lips; no more taxes”. Dr. Muqtedar Khan is Director of International Studies at Adrian College. He is the author of the recent book American Muslims: Bridging Faith and Freedom,

M. A. Muqtedar Khan, Ph.D.
Director, International Studies Program
Chair, Department of Political Science
Adrian College, Adrian, MI 49221

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