The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Lust for Power

Our Nuclear World

In 1970 The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT) came into force signed by the then three nuclear powers, and ratified by 40 other nations. Since that date many other states have accepted the treaty by accession, and now a total of 189 countries have agreed to abide by its rules.

India and Pakistan

Only three nations, India, Pakistan and Israel refused to be a part of the treaty agreements. India began testing nuclear weapons in 1974 which forced Pakistan to go down the same road. Now both nations have a considerable number of nuclear weapons designed principally to keep the other at bay in their age-old conflict.

Under Scrutiny

Israel is another non-signatory that has developed a sophisticated nuclear arsenal, which is believed to include submarine launched nuclear tipped cruise missiles. In the case of Israel however, surrounded as she is by ‘unfriendly’ nations, one can perhaps understand the country’s predicament.

North Korea, while originally accepting the treaty, withdrew in January 2003, the reason for which quickly became obvious. Iran ratified the treaty on the 5th of March 1970 and although it has not withdrawn, is suspected of developing nuclear weapons.

Now a new player is on the block!

News came in this week that Burma is the latest country with nuclear ambitions despite acceding to the treaty in December 1992, and you know what they say; ‘There is no smoke without fire’. Based on information from a former Burmese Army Major, Sei Theen Win, the accusation has not been corroborated but shall we say, suspicions run deep.

One Way To Make Money!

One of the disturbing factors here appears to be the high level of co-operation between North Korea and the Burmese Military Junta, which is not surprising. North Korea is a desperately poor country, and one of the sure-fire ways of making money and friends is to export its limited nuclear technology to those countries and governments that aspire to being nuclear states. North Korea is known to have collaborated with Iran on its nuclear ambitions.

Nations like North Korea and Iran think they can ‘Stand Tall’ among the international community, and in particular their neighbouring states, by possessing ‘The Bomb’, although many will say for these two nations it is more about military superiority in their sphere of influence. Whichever way you look at it, its all about power!

Burma has been under military rule since the ‘coup d’etat’ by General Ne Win in 1962 which effectively ended democracy in the country. Pursuing a policy of isolationism, the military rulers of Burma managed to keep a lid on things until May 2008, when Cyclone Nargis destroyed large areas of the Irriwaddy Delta which supplied most of the nations rice. The initial refusal of the military junta to allow United Nations assistance to enter the country with much needed supplies caused a backlash for the junta that is still felt today.

After the devastation, civil unrest grew to huge proportions with mass protests in the streets of all the major cities, and the power of the junta was threatened. Opposition to military rule began to ferment, and in order to silence opposition the junta promised to hold elections, but their main protagonist Suu Kyi, leader of the anti-government movement was arrested and sentenced to house arrest by the junta.

This Way Kim! This Way!

Having successfully dealt the opposition a fatal blow they are now, it would seem, turning to the nuclear option. Which ever way you look at it, and whatever spin you put on it, Burma has no logical reason for wanting nuclear weapons unless it is a means for the military junta to retain power. Burma has not been threatened by any nation since WW2, so why would they want such weapons? You are left with the inevitable; Power!

Pull The Other Leg Ahmed!

Iran wants to be ‘Top Dog’ in the Middle East, apart that is from blowing Israel off the map. Fanatics like Ahmadinejad seem the think that with nuclear weapons, Iran will be able to throw its weight around and no-one will dare say anything against them. Because the middle east is the world’s most important supplier of oil, this could have serious ramifications. Again its all about ‘Power!’

Kim Jong-il's View of the World

So far as North Korea is concerned, the regime of Kim Jong-il has felt threatened from outside its borders ever since the end of the Korean war, principally by South Korea  and the USA, and therefore has taken steps to ensure the ‘wolves’ remain at bay. With the regimes finger on the trigger it is for sure that no-one will start a war with the North. By the acquisition of nuclear weapons, Kim Jong-il and his cohorts have successfully stalemated the Far East and ensured their continued survival.

For many governments, regimes and even individuals, power is a drug far more intoxicating than cocaine and must be retained at any cost. Such is our modern way of life.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” words first uttered in 1887 by  Sir John Dalberg-Acton (1834-1902) an English historian.

Roy.

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