Conrad Black: Is this a return to global MADness?


A nuclear weapons test is seen in Nevada in a June 18, 1957 photo. It's believed Iran and North Korea are about to become nuclear powers, joining the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India and Pakistan. PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES

In all of these circumstances, the rest of the world has little choice but to assume that Iran and North Korea are about to become nuclear powers, joining the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India and Pakistan. The thought of the aggressive dictatorships of Iran and North Korea, which in all other aspects except nuclear weapons development and the techniques of totalitarianism, are poor and primitive countries, achieving such a military capability is distressing to any civilized person. And the fact that China and Russia, which are much closer to those countries than the major Western powers, have been so flagrantly cavalier in effectively encouraging them to become nuclear powers, is a cautionary tale about how far we are from the quasi-nirvana that much of the world thought had been achieved at the end of the Cold War when there would be no more threats of nuclear devastation. In fairness to Iran and North Korea, , they are correct to object that the existing nuclear arms control regime is rank hypocrisy.

The original nuclear powers, the U. Although Pakistan has not been a very successful self-governing country, as a nuclear power it has been sensible, and the other nuclear powers have all been discreet and cautious, since the piping days of the 1950s when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev routinely threatened nuclear incineration of much of the West, and U. There is no question that nuclear weapons add an immense cubit to the geopolitical stature of the countries who possess them and Iran and North Korea are correct in asserting that the existing nuclear club is in many respects a pious fraud, in that it happily retains and updates its nuclear arsenals while admonishing the other 190 countries in the world not to destabilize the international political climate by trying to join the club themselves. Iran and North Korea are of course notoriously unacceptable as nuclear powers because of their support of international terrorism and frequent belligerent threats against other countries. But if such politically disreputable countries as they are going to arm themselves to the teeth with nuclear weapons, it would be prudent for responsible nuclear-capable countries, such as Canada, Japan, Germany, Turkey, Thailand, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Vietnam, Egypt and Poland, to do the same. If the nastiest regimes in the world are going to become nuclear powers it is asking a great deal of the rest of us to continue to outsource our national security entirely to the early members of the nuclear club and particularly to the United States.

…one of the principal arguments in favour of the French and British nuclear deterrents was that the United States might not enter into an exchange of nuclear weapons with the U. to defend any country except itself, and that Western Europe needed its own nuclear deterrent. These problems can be managed but not without much more creative statesmanship than the world’s principal countries, including Canada, with Justin Trudeau’s waffling about «a post-national world,» are now showing.

Source: Conrad Black | NP

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