Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Rowen on ‘Nuclear Free’ Plan: Helps Countries to Get the Bomb

Posted by K.E. White on January 17, 2008

Henry S. Rowen—Hoover Institution Fellow and Former Assistant Secretary of Defense—takes a hit on new policies advocated by George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn that aim to free the world of nuclear weapons.

While Rowen agrees that more must be done to monitor weapons, build early-warning detection systems, and discarding massive attack plans. But Rowan disagrees that there is any way for the nuclear weapons states (America, Russia, Britain, France and China) to assist other nations in developing peaceful nuclear technology without risking increased nuclear weapons proliferation.

But one must ask: Can nuclear states overtly refuse to help developing countries meet their energy needs, especially when the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty—the international framework for legal procession of nuclear weapons—ensures such assistance?

From Rowen’s essay:

There is a sense that Arab fear of Iran’s nuclear weapons, along with lower confidence in U.S. protection, is causing some of them to want the bomb. These governments understand that the way to do this is to follow the traditional path of building reactors for ostensible civilian purposes because the line between civilian and military uses is thin. Moreover, the economics of nuclear electric power in these countries ranges from bad to atrocious. Making big power reactors is hard and lengthy work; our subsidizing their infrastructure and fuel would not only foster uneconomic power systems, it would speed the creation of easy weapons options.

Nor does the statement obligate recipients to refrain from going to the brink of having nuclear weapons with or without the materials supplied by the “advanced nuclear countries.”

The U.S government has a lot of work to do regarding Iran and the stability of the Persian Gulf, but helping countries to get the bomb is not one of them.

The Shultz-Perry-Kissinger-Nunn op-ed builds on an earlier plan they outlined last year.

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