Global Security: Non-Proliferation - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

 Letter from John Meager

  I wish to submit some views on the matter of global Security and Nuclear Non-Proliferation for the FAC inquiry. The NPT has long been praised for its effect in restricting nuclear proliferation, but there is a real need for it to receive real support from its signatories. To this end, there is much the British government (of whatever party) can do.

  First, there is the contradiction between supporting the Treaty and modernising our own nuclear arsenal. The commitment to disarmament is clear in Article 6. The other nuclear weapons states are in the same position. There will be few better opportunities to remove the possibility of nuclear tension and to extend a friendlier hand to Russia (than we seem to wish to do) than to continue nuclear "run down" and decommissioning. They need what expertise we have on that.

  Second, this would involve a serious reconsideration of the posture taken towards Russia, not merely over Georgia, but also with respect to the "missile shield" arrangements in Poland and the Czech Republic and to the use of the so-called RAF stations at Menwith Hill and Fylingdales.

  Third, this contradiction leaves us wide open to exploitation by North Korea and Iran. Their governments are making the most of it, having a field day laughing, primarily at Washington but by association with the rest of us drawn along on US coat-tails.

  The NPT must be strengthened and observed both to the spirit and letter by its signatories. Otherwise, dodgy regimes can ridicule it and become much harder to "muscle" back into line.

25 September 2008

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