The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

A little nuclear sanity

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“For me, it is a different world”
—Mohamed ElBaradei (Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency)

Ikata Nuclear Power Plant

Image via Wikipedia

This is change. And very good news.

I never have quite understood the logic of the USA’s stockpiling enough nukes to destroy the world six times over while insisting that nukes are bad and no one else should have them.

Nor have I understood how countries who sign treaties allowing  development of nuclear power stations have to endure threats of missile strikes from the USA or Israel for building them.

Good news is that it looks like Mr. Obama has decided fair deals and keeping our promises might be good policy, along with tightening up the rules by which all of us play.  Here’s what he’s proposed in Europe:

clipped from www.nytimes.com
Mr. Obama was embracing a concept that the Bush administration had repeatedly rejected: That to counter proliferation, the United States could no longer simply ignore the fact that some countries — like Iran — were signatories to international treaties and could correctly claim a “right” to produce their own nuclear fuel.

SHARM EL SHEIKH/EGYPT, 19MAY08 - Mohamed M. El...

Image via Wikipedia

Mr. Bush’s approach was to declare that some countries could simply never be trusted.

Mr. Obama’s approach is to tighten the web of treaties, and amend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to make it harder for nations like Iran to limit inspections or refuse to answer questions about suspect documents.

Mr. Obama even embraced two controversial treaties that many in Congress will oppose because of the limits they put on American nuclear strategy: One would ban nuclear testing, they other would cut off production of new fissile material.

“For me, it is a different world,” Mohamed ElBaradei, the Egyptian-born director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told a visitor to his office in Vienna on Monday, as Mr. Obama was finishing up his trip.

“When was the last time you heard a president talk about moving toward zero nuclear weapons? Or fixing a nonproliferation system that is clearly falling apart?”

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Indeed.

Showing some exemplary restraint of our own while putting some teeth into the mutually-agreed rule of law, might just be a step toward a world of greater sanity.

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