Dr. Shireen M. Mazari
Islamabad/New York. The US Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton once again exposed the duplicity of the United States towards the whole issue of nuclear nonproliferation, in her speech to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on February 28, 2011.
In the process, she also exposed the contradictions in the US approach towards nonproliferation and nuclear fissile material stockpiles.According to her:
"Nearly 20 years after the end of the Cold War, the world has more than 20,000 nuclear weapons. As I speak to you today, centrifuges around the world are spinning out more enriched uranium, a still significant amount of it to weapons grade. Plutonium is being churned out in reactors and separated from spent fuel in reprocessing plants. The world faces no shortage of ingredients for nuclear bombs. Yet more fissile materials are made every single day.
The question before us today is whether we will--at last--agree to end the dedicated production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons. Halting production is in the interest of every country, and I urge this conference to end the stalemate and open negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) without further delay."
A noble thought perhaps, but let us look at the hard facts:
Of the 20,000 nuclear weapons she herself referred to, the USA has 9,400 and Russia 10,000 warheads, so we all know who holds the bulk of these dangerous weapons. Out of the US stock, only 4000 await elimination, while the Russians are going to eliminate a larger fraction of their warheads.
So both the USA and Russia have a long way to go, before they can be looked at seriously in terms of nuclear weapons disarmament as required under Article VI of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
In the context of the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, or FMCT, the USA knows that a cut-off date for stopping production of fissile material will not rid the world of existing stockpiles, which is why Pakistan is asking for a Fissile Material Treaty where existing stockpiles are first reduced, and then a cut-off date is implemented. Just look at the existing stockpiles that some states hold for adding to their weapons production and, in the case of Japan, for producing nuclear weapons.
Plutonium stocks are as follows (include the total of civilian and military stocks):
- Russia has estimated stockpile of about 181.7 metric tons;
- USA 91.8 metric tons;
- India 3.74 metric tons;
- Japan 36.1 metric tons;
- Pakistan 0 metric tons at present
Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) stocks at present are:
- USA 745 metric tons
- Russia 1,282 metric tons;
- Pakistan 2.6 metric tons;
- India 1.3 metric tons.
So again, if we seriously want to reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and fissile material from the globe, then the USA need to cut its existing stockpiles, along with Russia. It is sheer hypocrisy to point fingers at Pakistan, which is truly seeking to reduce the existing stockpiles and then set up a cut-off mechanism.
This position is the only rational approach to the fissile material problem. while the Clinton histrionics are mere propaganda and reveal that the USA is not in the least interested in nuclear disarmament and fissile stocks elimination. All that the USA demand would only stop those who have no stockpiles from acquiring them, while those who have dangerous stockpiles will continue to hold on to them. This is the farce the USA has reduced the issue to today.
Dr. Mazari, a Pakistani nuclear expert, is the CEO of Strategic Technology Resources, a Pakistani think-tank.
Copyright 2011 PROMETHEUS
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science, Nr. 165, March, 2011