• EDITORIAL

    ‘Nuclear Nine’ and the NPT

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    THEY who hold the gold make the rules.

    True, especially in the case of the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel, which are the nine countries in the world that possess nuclear weapons.

    Knowing that such lethal weapons are more than their weight in gold, the “Nuclear Nine,” as we will call this overreaching political and ideological bunch of game changers and rule breakers, expectedly did not take part in the negotiations or the vote for a global agreement banning nuclear weapons.

    The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was adopted at the United Nations last Friday by 122 countries, including the Philippines, with Britain, France and the United States, in particular, reportedly objecting to it because the agreement “disregards the reality of dealing with international security threats such as North Korea.”

    “We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it. Therefore, there will be no change in the legal obligations on our countries with respect to nuclear weapons,” a statement from the United States, Britain and France said.

    The Netherlands, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), thumbed down the NPT, while Singapore—one of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Nations that include the Philippines—abstained.

    Most NATO countries boycotted the talks as did Japan—the only country to have suffered atomic attacks, in 1945, when Hiroshima and Nagasaki paid the price for Tokyo, Rome and Berlin’s diabolical plan for world domination.

    “The key thing is that [the NPT]changes the legal landscape,” said Richard Moyes, director of the British-based organization Article 36.

    “It stops states with nuclear weapons from being able to hide behind the idea that they are not illegal,” Moyes reportedly said.

    The NPT, which is actually decades-old, dating back to the 1970s, as only its adoption took longer, provides for a total ban on developing, stockpiling or threatening to use nuclear weapons.

    But it lost its teeth ab initio because the Nuclear Nine that had been expected to also sign it but unsurprisingly did not, simply distrust each other, the NPT being a death sentence for their unquenchable thirst for nuclear weapons.

    The United States could be comfortable with Britain, France, India, Pakistan and Israel as well as Russia as long as the Crimea’s annexation and Trump’s election triumph do not get in the way; and China and North Korea could be happy together provided Beijing disregards suggestions from the West to rein in Pyongyang over its threat to nuke the US mainland with ICBMs, among other reckless statements that concededly may not just be Cold War-era propaganda.

    At best, the NPT is and can only be a deterrent against the leader of any of the nine countries who might get stupid or crazy enough to press the button that would send the rest of the world to kingdom come.

    Of course, nobody among Trump, Putin and the rest of the gang would want to have it on record that he had caused Armageddon.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world has been reduced to becoming helpless spectators as the Nuclear Nine parade their nuclear stuff even as they cry bloody murder against so-called weapons of mass destruction or WMD (they have found none that they said were possessed by Iraq under Saddam Hussein).

    The NPT is a joke partly because it only prohibits developing and stockpiling of nuclear weapons; it does not carry a provision for recall or destruction of such weapons that at present may be in the nuclear depots of the Nuclear Nine.

    Besides, part of the provision encapsulated in “threatening to use nuclear weapons” can only apply to North Korea, whose rhetoric on the subject is fodder for the world’s media.

    No wonder, the NPT’s adoption was not a cause for celebration for the Philippines, with not even the Department of Foreign Affairs hailing it as a milestone in nuclear disarmament.

    Good, because by adopting it in “defiance” of the US, the Philippines seems to have begun treading an independent path where its foreign policy is concerned.

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