Monday, March 30, 2015

The Logic of Nuclear Arms

On the eve of a nuclear arms treaty with Iran, the nature of which I cannot guess at, my shopping trip musings turned to the logic of nuclear arms. The general background, I learned later, is that we have nations with nuclear arms, nations without them, and one nation (Israel) which will not say so one way or the other. There is a major treaty, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), 1968, to which most nations are signatories except North Korea; North Korea had once been a signatory but then withdrew. Four nations have never signed NPT: India, Israel, Pakistan, and South Sudan. Of those outside the NPT, India, Pakistan, and North Korea have nuclear warms; South Sudan has none; Israel is believed to have them.

Iran is a signatory but believed to be in violation of the NPT.

Now the logic seems to be, here, that some nations are “grandfathered in” and thus no one disputes their ownership. Others fall, through alliances, under the protection of those who do. Iran is something of an exception, being the sole major Sh’ia nation and not a member of a recognized bloc. But it is geographically also close to Israel, a nation with an ambiguous status, but most closely allied with the United States. Therefore Iran is the target of very, very special oversight. But why? Because it threatens Israel? That assumption is at least logical.

Nothing else is in this context. If nuclear arms are so dangerous, why may so many have them. Why is no pressure placed on India to rid itself of such arms? Is that because it is aligned to the West, more or less?

I wonder what would happen if Iran withdrew from the NPT. It would at least make logical sense, in a way, because no one seems intent on attacking India, Pakistan, or even North Korea. So the problem seems to be—Israel. And its ambiguous status. Maybe they are the chosen people. And Truman must have known that when he finally agreed to impose an Israeli state on Palestinian territory—or was Palestine a British Colony then? I better stop before I drown in an overflow of muddy logic.

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