The Real Threat From John Bolton

Memo to: Chairman Richard Lugar, Senate Foreign Relations
cc: Senator Joseph Biden, ranking Democrat
Re: The Plan to Scrap the Nonproliferation Treaty

You have obviously told the White House that you will hold your nose and try to get John Bolton through the committee this week and confirmed by the Senate ASAP. It’s no secret that when the neocons who run foreign policy in this administration via control of Vice President Cheney tried to get Bolton the No. 2 slot at State under Condi Rice, you balked and said he could not be confirmed for that job. My guess, Senator, is that you figure he could not do as much damage at Turtle Bay as he could at Foggy Bottom. There is no way he could dismantle the United Nations, and in the hearings today before your committee he made all kinds of sweet sounds about wanting the "strengthen the UN." His real mission, though, is nothing less than to undermine the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and once he is installed, he will be in a position to take his orders from the Perle Cabal to do so.

In case you had forgotten, countries that are party to the Treaty will gather in New York City next month for the 1970 treaty’s Seventh Review Conference. The members, practically every nation on earth, meet every five years to assess how things are going. Actually, things have been going very well, as evidenced by the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been proven correct in its assessment that Saddam Hussein had no nuke program and would be incapable of building one – an assessment made before the president decided we had to go to war anyway, just to make sure. Yes, there are problems with Iran and North Korea that will be discussed at the Review Conference, but you should know that there would be no problems with either country if it were not for the mess Bolton made in the first Bush term in wrecking the diplomatic efforts Secretary of State Colin Powell was trying to pursue.

What is already happening is that Jackie Wolcott Sanders, the U.S. special representative for nuclear nonproliferation and a Bolton underling while he held the top nonproliferation post at State, has given every indication that the United States will be asking the conference to "fix" the treaty on the grounds that it has become outmoded. You can check this out at the State Department’s home page, where Ms. Sanders’ statement on NPT policy immediately precedes your statement on legislative perspectives on nukes. Also note the president’s statement of NPT support on that same page: "Parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons must take strong action to confront the threat of noncompliance with the NPT in order to preserve and strengthen the treaty’s nonproliferation undertakings."

The reason the treaty is outmoded, she says repeatedly, is because it has become too easy for NPT members to violate the terms of the treaty and get away with it. As Dr. Gordon Prather, whom I believe you know, put it in an e-mail last week: "She has – as Bolton did before her – deliberately confused ‘failure to fully comply with an IAEA Safeguards Agreement’ with ‘violations’ of the NPT. … So far as the IAEA has been able to determine, no country subject to the NPT-IAEA-Safeguards regime [except Iraq, of course] has ‘violated’ the NPT. It is outrageous that Bolton and Sanders deliberately obfuscate the difference between ‘failure to fully comply with an IAEA Agreement’ with ‘violations of the NPT’ or of the even more deliberate obfuscation ‘failure to comply with its NPT obligations.'”

What Prather is saying is that many countries (including the United States), have not fully complied with the Safeguards regime, which actually preceded the NPT, and which simply means that they were have found to have done something that they were obliged to report to the IAEA and failed to do so, for example moving material from Building A to Building B. Most recently, both Egypt and South Korea were found to have "not fully complied" with Safeguard, but there is no evidence that they (or Iran, or North Korea) ever violated the terms of the NPT. Iraq did, but what Bolton and Sanders hate to point out is that the NPT was strengthened when that clandestine effort was discovered after the Gulf War. The new protocols, to which Iran has agreed, permit intrusive, perpetual inspections, not by IAEA snoops coming in now and then, but with on-site cameras and sensing devices that would permit Director General Mohammed el-Baradei’s team in Vienna to monitor Iran’s program night and day.

The real intent of the neocons who cooked up the war in Iraq is to smoke another one past you and the Foreign Relations Committee and ultimately against the president. They will surely propose an amendment "strengthening" the treaty that will remove the "inalienable right" of NPT members to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes (under perpetual monitoring). North Korea was quite prepared to do this several years ago, until it observed Iraq – a fellow "rogue state" according to the president – in full compliance with the NPT and getting bombed and occupied anyway.

There is probably no way the NPT Conference would agree to amending the treaty, as it would have to be agreed to by Russian and China, who clearly see what’s going on here: One of the moves in the neocon chess game is to bring about "regime change" in Tehran, by hook or by crook, in order to satisfy the Likudniks in Tel Aviv that only Israel will have nukes in the Middle East. Dr. Prather points out that every schoolkid knows Israel has a nuclear arsenal, yet each year the American president certifies in his request for financial aid to Israel that he has no evidence of Israeli nukes.

Well, okay, but Iran is not going to sit still if push comes to shove on this issue and the U.S. threatens military action, i.e., the bombing of sites that might someday be converted into nuke sites. What worries Dr. Prather, and frankly me, is that Iran would respond with conventional sea power in the Persian Gulf and with modern sea-skimmers it has acquired from China blow up a bunch of U.S. warships and oil tankers. Pretty soon things could get serious. Don’t you think?

Anyway, if you have a chance, Senator, you might look into all this. Even if you only have a chance to clear up this fuzziness between the Safeguard Regime and the NPT. This is the kind of cloudiness over intelligence that got us in the soup in Iraq. It would be far soupier if we found ourselves on a slippery slope with Tehran. Don’t you think?