Taking Up Where Clinton-Gore Left Off

This week several thousand delegates to the 2009 Policy Conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee will descend upon The Best Congress Money Can Buy, to conduct more than 500 separate meetings with congresspersons and key aides, to urge them "to deal with Iran’s nuclear threat against the Jewish state."

Or else.

Of course, Secretary of State Clinton has already testified under oath that

"The Non Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime, and the United States must exercise the leadership needed to shore up the [associated nuclear-weapons proliferation prevention] regime."

The nuclear-weapons proliferation prevention regime which Obama-Biden-Hillary just declared we must "shore up" – as a consequence of the largely successful attempt by Bush-Cheney-Bolton to tear it down – is based upon what the IAEA Secretariat is required to do in the event it discovers that some nuclear materials subject to one of its Safeguards Agreements is "diverted to a military purpose."

The IAEA Secretariat is required to report any such diversion to the IAEA Board of Governors and to the UN Security Council. If the IAEA Board – by a two-thirds vote – decides that the reported diversion appears to warrant it, it may recommend that the Security Council make a determination (under Chapter VII of the UN Charter) as to whether or not the reported diversion constitutes a threat to the peace in the region.

As of this writing, the Security Council has never determined that a reported diversion – including that suspected to have occurred in North Korea in the early 1990s – constituted a threat to the peace in the region.

Indeed, Iran has been a NPT-signatory in good standing since 1974. And Director-General ElBaradei continues to report to the IAEA Board of Governors and to the UN General Assembly that no Iranian IAEA safeguarded materials have ever been so diverted.

Furthermore, the audits and analyses included in the IAEA reports effectively give the lie to Likudnik charges about the potential for weapons-grade fissile materials even being produced, much less diverted to a nuke program, in foreseeable future.

On the other hand, Israel is not an NPT-signatory, has numerous nuclear facilities, tons of weapons-grade fissile materials and at least a hundred nuclear weapons, none subject to IAEA Safeguards.

Nevertheless, on April 1, 2009, the IAEA Secretariat published a joint (U.S.-Brit-French-German-Russian-Chinese) statement regarding Iran’s IAEA Safeguarded nuclear programs.

Among other things, the six conspirators endorse the (illegal) demand of the IAEA Board of Governors that Iran immediately suspend essentially all current IAEA Safeguarded programs.

Or else!

Meanwhile, in the real world, at the conclusion of the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Havana, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla reported that a "consensus" had been reached on a Final Declaration draft to be addressed at the NAM Summit meeting to be held in July in Egypt.

The NAM draft declaration "condemns crimes committed by Israel, especially in the Gaza Strip," and asks the UN and its Council on Human Rights to carry out an investigation.

Then, this week, the delegates meeting at UN headquarters to prepare an agenda for the 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons also reached a "consensus."

In particular, this time the review will fully take into account the results of the 1995 RevCon as well as the "Final Document" adopted at the 2000 Review Conference.

What about the decisions and documents adopted at the 2005 Review Conference?

Well, thereby hangs a tale.

You see, President Clinton had hoped to make his legacy the elimination of nuclear-weapons altogether, getting every nation – including India, Pakistan and Israel – to become a signatory to (a) the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and (b) the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

President Clinton more than approved the "action agenda" of the 2000 NPT Review Conference, which called for "systematic and progressive efforts" to faithfully implement the NPT.

Recall that the NPT has three "pillars":

  • an affirmation of the inalienable right of all signatories to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy "without discrimination"
  • a mechanism for verifying to other signatories that nuclear energy was not being diverted from peaceful to military purposes
  • a promise by the weapons-states to eventually dispose of their nukes

Okay, then comes the Bush-Cheney-Bolton cabal to power. The cabal had no intention of complying with any of the Clinton-Gore international commitments, especially those constitutionally incorporated into the Law of the Land by treaty.

And certainly no intention of incorporating new treaties, especially the CTBT and the FMCT, into the Law of the Land.

So, it took delegates to the 2005 NPT RevCon two weeks to even agree on an agenda because the U.S. delegation refused to allow the Final Report of the 2000 RevCon to even be discussed, much less be reaffirmed.

But, Sergio Duarte of Brazil, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, promises that things will be different this time. In particular, "the review will be conducted in the light of the decisions and the resolution of previous conferences," including the calls by the NAM et al for the establishment of a "nuke free" zone in the Mid-East.

Among other things, the 2000 RevCon Report affirmed:

"An unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all states parties are committed under Article VI…

"The importance and urgency of signatures and ratifications, without delay and without conditions and in accordance with constitutional processes, to achieve the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty…

"The [2000] Conference reaffirms that IAEA is the competent authority responsible for verifying and assuring … compliance with its safeguards agreements … with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. … It is the conviction of the Conference that nothing should be done to undermine the authority of IAEA in this regard…

"The [2000] Conference notes the reaffirmation by the nuclear-weapon states of their commitment to the United Nations Security Council resolution 984 (1995) on security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons…"

So, if Obama-Biden-Hillary really want to "shore up" the NPT and its associated nuclear-weapons proliferation-prevention regime, and to marginalize the AIPAC missionaries, here’s their chance.

At the 2010 RevCon, disavow practically every thing Bush-Cheney-Bolton did and take up again – if possible – where Clinton-Gore left off in 2000.

Author: Gordon Prather

Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.