Sunday, June 24, 2007

Report: U.S. Should Reduce Nukes and Normalize Relations with Iran and North Korea

The U.S. should reduce its nuclear arsenal, normalize relations with Iran and North Korea, and accept that these countries may become nuclear-weapons powers, according to a recent report prepared by defense analyst Charles Peña of the Independent Institute.

Peña argues that U.S. nonproliferation efforts should be refocused on keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists, while accepting the undesirable fact that countries such as Iran and North Korea may become nuclear weapons powers.

Two somewhat questionable assumptions underlie this position: first, that “such regimes would not automatically give away a nuclear weapon to terrorists and that, in fact, there are significant disincentives to them doing so” and second, that “even hostile countries likely share a common concern over nuclear safety and security, which provides an opportunity for cooperative efforts patterned after the Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction program.”

A Washington Times article, however, strangely describes the report’s conclusion as “The only deterrent for some countries from being next on ‘Washington's hit list’ is to have nuclear weapons themselves.” The article instead focuses on the point that current U.S. nonproliferation policies should be changed from preventing them from gaining this material to figuring out what to do about it once they have acquired such weapons.

But then again, this is the same newspaper that recently published Frank Gaffney Jr.’s car crash of an op-ed lambasting an impressive spectrum of Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty supporters, so it’s not entirely surprising that the article shifts the emphasis from the U.S. reducing its nuclear arsenal and engaging Iran and North Korea to the more debatable portions of Peña’s argument.

Check out the report and make up your own mind about its conclusions.

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