promoting the unwanted, redheaded stepchild that is individual liberty

National sovereignty and the “right” to go nuclear

In foreign policy, sovereignty, war and peace on March 8, 2010 at 3:33 am

Why is it that the United States so fears a nuclear Iran? Does a nuclear Iran pose a greater threat than that of a nuclear Russia or China?

Referring to the non-proliferation treaty, Egypt’s second president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, once said, “basically they did whatever they wanted to do before the introduction of NPT and then devised it to prevent others from doing what they had themselves been doing before.”

Nasser’s comment is insightful; especially his accusation that the nuclear weapon states designed the NPT to control other states from obtaining that which they already had.

Often, opponents of a nuclear Iran claim the nation to be “unstable” and “radical.” How can the international community trust a rogue nation with such powerful weapons? The answer is the same way in which it trusts the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, North Korea, Pakistan, India and Israel.

To be sure, an nuclear Iran is worrisome. Any increase in the destructive potential of nuclear weapons is worrisome. But Iran poses no more of a threat than of its nuclear neighbors. It definitely does not pose a threat equal to that of the dominant world powers of China, Russia and the U.S.

At the heart of the debate over who should be allowed to have nuclear weapons is the issue of national sovereignty. Powerful nations such as the U.S. and Russia should not have authority over smaller nations simply because of their status. 

Iran, like the U.S., is a sovereign nation. It has a “right” to make internal decisions as it sees fit — including the regretful decision to develop nuclear weapons.

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