Nick Clarke exposes Labour’s double standards when it comes nuclear issues
Nothing better illustrates the hypocrisy of imperialism and its apologists at the United Nations than the nuclear issue. The break up of the Soviet Union and the subsequent diplomatic thaw ended the Cold War. The peace dividend that was supposed to flow from this would allow the finger to be taken off the trigger of the nuclear arsenals of the 5 acknowledged nuclear states. We were told that Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) was no longer an option. However, a Marxist understanding of the nature of capitalism in its imperialist stage meant the preparation for war would continue.
In the past few years, the nuclear debate has moved back to the centre of international politics. Membership of the nuclear club is the must-have status symbol of every aspirant, ‘wannabe’ imperialist state. Pakistan and India are engaged in a sub-continental arms race, Mordechai Vanunu exposed the nuclear ambitions and capabilities of Israel, Saddam Hussein was thwarted in his drive to build the first ‘Arab’ bomb and now there is a stand off between the UN and Iran over the latter’s nuclear developments. All indicatethe seriousness of the situation.
In 1970, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) came into force, with the backing of the United Nations. 187 countries have signed the treaty, including the original 5 nuclear states – US, UK, France, USSR and China. The UN website describes the NPT as
a landmark treaty, whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.
These are worthy aims, but the reality of the last 35 years is very different and is a case study exposing the lie of the neutrality and objectivity of the UN.
This glowing testimony to the NPT is exploded by the global experience of the last 3 decades, exemplified by current developments.
Exposing the lie
Over the years, the 5 nuclear states above have all been complicit in providing states in their ‘sphere of influence’ with the necessary technology, which has not
prevent(ed) the spread, but has actually fuelled the proliferation of nuclear weapons. This continues today. Although not signatories to the NPT, India, Pakistan and Israel have escaped UN sanctions and anything but the mildest official criticism over their development and testing of nuclear weaponry. Where are the UN Security Council resolutions, the call for political and economic sanctions against these regimes that brazenly flout this
Contrast this with the imperialist priority given to preventing both Iraq and Iran from acquiring such technology. Like UN Security Council resolutions, the NPT is rolled out as justification for isolating and vilifying ‘rogue’ states. While the members of the ‘axis of evil’ are threatened, cajoled and invaded, Western imperialism’s client states can ignore the NPT with impunity. The stench of nuclear hypocrisy is overpowering.
While the US and UK ramp up the pressure on Iran and its nuclear ambitions, by threatening action at the UN and pressurising the IAEA to do likewise, Tony Blair is bragging about upgrading Britain’s nuclear capability both in terms of energy production and weaponry. This is in blatant opposition to the NPT which commits signatories to furthering
the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and a
binding commitment….to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear weapon states.
In the last month, Blair and, Defence Secretary, John Reid, have already pledged themselves to maintaining Britain’s nuclear ‘deterrent’. They are already looking at what will replace the Trident nuclear missile system. So, far from upholding the spirit of disarmament in the NPT, they are actually looking to upgrade. While lecturing the North Koreans and Iranians on the folly of possessing nuclear capability, they are preparing to spend an estimated £20billion enhancing their own.
This addiction to weapons of mass destruction is not just confined to Britain. At the start of the year, French President, Jacques Chirac declared he was prepared to use nuclear weapons against any incident of state sponsored ‘terrorism’ against France. Like Blair, these comments come at a time when France is also engaged in a debate about upgrading its own nuclear capabilities. The Labour government is also trying to rehabilitate the ‘N’ word in relation to Britain’s energy requirements. Blair is strongly indicating that he is in favour of a building programme of new nuclear power stations.
The impending energy crisis provoked by a thirst and dependency on fossil fuels is concerning the dependent Western economies. The use of oil, gas and coal is no longer guaranteed for a variety of reasons. The biggest suppliers of gas and oil are in the area of the world destabilised by imperialist intervention, inevitably leading to price rises and supply restrictions.
Combined with that, major oil producers such as Iran and Venezuela are flexing their political muscles that come with substantial oil reserves, and threatening to withdraw supplies to the US. Likewise, Russia recently caused palpitations in Europe when it raised gas prices to Ukraine. Until the election of Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine had enjoyed Russian gas at favourable rates; as the political regime changed in Kiev so Russian gas prices have increased.
Iraqi oil production levels are still a long way from the rosy predictions of the neo-con mates of Bush. These uncertainties are compounded by the environmental consequences of the continued burning of fossil fuels. It is inconceivable to think that new nuclear power stations are being planned for Britain, while there is still no solution as to how to dispose of the toxic waste that this source of power produces.
This waste remains dangerous for thousands of years. Combine this with the ‘war on terror’ and the panic over ‘dirty bombs’, and it is inconceivable that the government could promote the building of such explosive targets.
The world is threatened by any or all of the regimes of Bush, Blair, Chirac, Putin, Sharon, Musharraf, Ehud Olmert or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Humanity remains in danger whilst any of them have their finger hovering above the nuclear button. Ultimately, it is not them as individuals who threaten the existence of the world, but it is the system of capitalism and profit which endangers the planet.
Unless we challenge the very system that puts that interest of profit before the interest of humanity, then the horrors of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island will inevitably be repeated.