2002 September 16 Monday
Peter Preston goes half way on proliferation problem

Writing in The Guardian Peter Preston seems to start to get the scope of the problem of nuclear proliferation:

Let's be grimly clear-headed here. The more nukes there are around, the more likely it is that some Bin Laden figure will get hold of them. And the more countries who have nuclear weapons in unstable parts of the world - a mad MAD world - the likelier they are to be used by accident or design.

But it is not individual dictators, scurrying from bunker to bunker, who are the true problem. (Saddam is a cautious, cringing old conservative when it comes to risk-taking for himself.) The problem is the weapons themselves. Conventions against biological and chemical threats begin at home, in the homeland. Nuclear non-proliferation picks up where Mr Bush and Mr Blair - and their four unhelpful little words - leave off.

But in the second paragraph he appears to draw back from the logical conclusion: Saddam is only part of the problem but he really is part of the problem. There are a whole list of non-democratic, anti-Western, and repressive regimes that are trying to get technology to develop nukes and which are willing to help each other get supporting technologies and other technologies useful for the development of other types of Weapons Of Mass Destruction (four very helpful words). Therefore if we are gong to follow a strategy of preemption then we have to start somewhere and it might as well be with Saddam.

Here we run into the moral equivalency arguments of the Left. Is the problem with nukes that they are in the hands of stable Western democracies and, parenthetically, managed with rigorous security and carefully designed command and control systems? Mr. Preston would apparently have us think so. He sees no need to draw moral distinctions between, say, Britain's possession of the bomb and the prospects of Saddam's eventual possession of same. But are those nukes in the hands of the UK government really causing nuclear proliferation? Hello? Can the Left be serious? Is that asking too much? Or does their resentment of their own societies and of the US of A just prevent them from thinking rationally about this subject?

Are we to begin at home to control the proliferation of WMD by destroying our stocks in hopes that Saddam Hussein will be so emotionally choked up by our magnanimous gesture that he will decide to abandon his own WMD programs, destroy his chemical and bioweapons stocks, and perhaps even hold free elections, establish an independent judiciary, and allow freedom of speech and press?

What is lacking in the editorial pages of the Guardian is any sign of serious thought about what to do about the proliferation of WMD to unstable, hostile, and dangerous regimes. Bush and Blair have a strategy: Preemption. Invade the proliferating countries and remove the regimes that pursue WMD development. Its expensive and comes with a cost in human life. But its a strategy that will work. Do the editors and columnists of The Guardian have a strategy that will work? If so, lets hear it.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 September 16 01:47 PM  US Foreign Preemption, Deterrence, Containment


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