Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Nuclear Option

Monitoring several reports from different news organizations, the Christian Science Monitor notes that both North Korea and Iran are vocalizing their continued intentions toward their nuclear weapon/atomic energy programs:

In an announcement likely to set up a collision with the United States, North Korea announced Monday that it will continue to demand the right to "peaceful" use of atomic energy. CNN reports that the six-nation talks – which also include China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea – resumed Tuesday in Beijing. AFXNews reports that the North Korea statement is the same demand that broke up the talks five weeks ago.
(North Korea) has a right on peaceful nuclear activity. This right is neither awarded nor needs to be approved by others,' the country's chief envoy to the talks, Kim Gye-gwan, told the official Xinhua news agency at Pyongyang airport.

'We have this right, and the more important thing is that we should use this right. If the United States tries to set obstacles to the DPRK's (North Korea) using this right, we can utterly not accept that.'
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Iran is "working hard to gather allies" to defeat a US-European attempt to "refer Tehran to the UN Security Council because of their fears it may be developing nuclear weapons."
EU diplomats said Iran was focusing its lobbying efforts on key International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board members such as China, Russia, India, Pakistan, South Africa and other non-aligned developing states, which have a good deal of sympathy for Tehran's arguments.
In the past two weeks, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, visited Pakistan and India. While successfully negotiating a deal to allow Iranian natural gas to pass through Pakistan to India, Xinhua reports he also persuaded both countries to publicly support Tehran's position for "a peaceful resolution of Iran's nuclear issue and Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with related international conventions."

Think Progress also notes our move to a nuclear preemption policy:

The Washington Post reported Sunday that the Pentagon has drafted plans to use nuclear weapons preemptively against countries or terrorists with suspected WMD stockpiles:
The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
A few obvious questions to ask before Rumsfeld approves this doctrine: would the Bush Administration be capable of gathering accurate intelligence before launching our nuclear weapons? Would a nuclear strike do more harm than good by sending deadly chemical and biological agents into the atmosphere? And would this new policy push North Korea and Iran to develop nuclear weapons more quickly?


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