Global Security: Non-Proliferation - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

 Letter from Tim Hart

  I would like the contents of this letter to be considered by the committee during its inquiry.

  Since the non-proliferation treaty came into force in 1970 it has been largely successful in halting the spread of nuclear weapons. This is in spite of the lack of progress of the P5 states, of the USA, UK, China, Russia and France, in nuclear disarmament and their failure to honour their obligations under Article 6 of the treaty.

  The decision to renew Trident is a blatant example of the UK dishonouring its treaty obligations. The intention of the UK government to allow the USA to site new missile systems (euphemistically termed "missile defence" but in reality an aggressive pre-emptive strike capacity) and the acquiescence of the UK government to the USA placing missile systems in Poland are further examples of the UK government complicity with the USA in fuelling a new arms race. This is one of the factors which have led to Russia invading Georgia and remains an important issue in the deteriorating relations between Russia and "the West". The UK Government is light years away from Robin Cook's vision of a moral foreign policy! How can the UK justify spending on new nuclear weapons whilst castigating those states such as Iran and North Korea for having the desire to own nuclear weapons and criticising India and Pakistan for acquiring such weapons? Of course there is also Israel, although little is said by way of criticism of its behaviour.

  In 2007 the UK had the second largest military expenditure in the world, spending $60 billion dollars on armaments; only surpassed by that "peace loving" nation of the USA with spending of $547 billion dollars. The USA expenditure incidentally was more than the aggregate total expenditure of the other nine nations in this notorious league table.

  Unless the P5 make rapid and substantial moves to get rid of their nuclear, chemical and biological weapons then it can only be blatant hypocrisy to lecture to other nations on the evils of acquiring such weapons.

Article 6 of the treaty requires that the P5 nations:

    "pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control".

  How can the UK Government claim to be in compliance with its obligations in Article 6 given its behaviour?

  The USA is the most powerful nation on Earth. Its people are subjugated by the military industrial complex that dominates government policy. The US openly proclaims its right to be the dominant power in the world and to achieve this through pre-emptive military aggression. The only potential countervailing force to this coercive power is the European Union. The UK continually frustrates and undermines the EU potential in this regard by its unquestioning loyalty to the USA in major foreign policy decisions—which have proved disastrous in Iraq and will no doubt prove so in Afghanistan as well. Russia, by its recent behaviour in Georgia, has grown tired of this proclaimed supremacy by the USA. Terrorism is on the increase as a direct result of the UK supporting USA aggression against other nations. One could hardly have a more dangerous and volatile set of conditions in the world. The UK continues to align itself with the USA, like the child in the playground who befriends the bully in the hope that it will not be on the receiving end of the bully's behaviour, no matter that others suffer such fate.

  Isn't it time that the UK took an independent and moral lead on this issue? It could have considerable influence in shaping world events on this vital aspect of international policy. Its influence would be all the greater given it is so closely allied with the USA and a "nuclear state" in its own right.

  Please call for the reversal the decision to renew Trident and to start positive moves to rid the UK of nuclear weapons. Are we so bereft of moral conduct and have so little faith in humanity that the only way we feel that we can achieve safety as a nation is to threaten genocide on other peoples of the world. Please take this opportunity to do something good. Recollect those early days of hope and idealism when you first entered politics and reaffirm your commitment to doing what is right; not what is politically expedient. Ignore those who warn of dire consequences of not towing the line. Take some bold actions. Take the political risk!

28 August 2008

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