Proliferation Press

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

  • Top Posts

  • Postings By Date

    November 2019
    M T W T F S S
    « Jul    
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    252627282930  
  • Blog Stats

    • 107,101 views
  • Join 10 other followers

Posts Tagged ‘2010 Conference’

NYTimes Sloppy Reporting on The NPT and Israel

Posted by K.E. White on July 4, 2010

Did the Obama administration snub Israel during a nonproliferation summit earlier this summer?  The NYTimes wants you to think so, and—in so doing—offers a master-class in cherry picking facts.

The NYTimes reports on the costs of America negotiating a successful Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference earlier this summer.  Its focus?  The continuing strains plaguing the U.S.-Israel relationship.

The report portrays the United States as conceding to Arab demands “that the final (NPT) document urge Israel to sign the treaty.”  The reward?  President Obama ensured the quincennial conference would reach a final declaration, unlike its 2005 predecessor.

The article suggests this concession has further chilled relations between the United States and Israel.  But in implicitly shaping this clause of the NPT document as a U.S. concession, the article makes three critical omissions.

First, the document “recalls the reaffirmation by the 2000 Review Conference of the importance of Israel’s accession to the Treaty,” not what I would describing as ‘urging’ Israel to join the treaty.  (2010 Final Document)

But, more importantly, this reference to Israel is not novel.  Indeed, similar language appears in the conference’s 2000 declaration.  (2000 Final Document Article VII, Paragraph 3)

Admittedly, this request was not repeated in 2005.  But the tumultuous 2005 conference ended without any final declaration.

So Obama’s ‘concession’ merely recognized the status-quo.  Shouldn’t the NYTimes explore why 1) Israel expected such a shift and 2) the benefits-and-drawbacks of the status-quo?

But the NYTimes, latter on in the piece, suggests that it isn’t the reference itself, but rather the singling out of Israel—and not Iran’s nuclear program:

The United States, recognizing that the document would upset the Israelis, sought to distance itself even as it signed it.

In a statement released after the conference ended, the national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, said, “The United States deplores the decision to single out Israel in the Middle East section of the NPT document.” He said it was “equally deplorable” that the document did not single out Iran for its nuclear ambitions. Any conference on a nuclear-free Middle East, General Jones said, could only come after Israel and its neighbors had made peace.

The United States, American officials said, faced a hard choice: refusing to compromise with the Arab states on Israel would have sunk the entire review conference. Given the emphasis Mr. Obama has placed on nonproliferation, the United States could not accept such an outcome.

But the report omits another two critical facts:  1) Iran has not breached its obligations under the NPT (Iran claims to be pursuing a peaceful nuclear program) and 2) the final document doesn’t single out Israel—it also calls on India, Pakistan and North Korea to join the NPT.  (Paragraphs 108, 109 and 115)

Now was it smart policy for Obama to permit the NPT declaration to mention Israel directly?  I would argue it was his only choice:  if the NPT failed to reach a final declaration in back-to-back meetings, the treaty system would face a legitimacy crisis.

Why does the NPT matter?  It represents the legal basis for 189 countries—including Iran—not to proliferate nuclear weapons.

There are arguments for junking the NPT all-together, a subject the NYTimes article fails to mention.  Instead, the NYTimes settles for swallow reporting and simplistic analysis.

Posted in NPT | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Susan Burk Returns As U.S. Representative to the High Stakes 2010 NPT Review Conference

Posted by K.E. White on April 23, 2009

Update: Susan Burk’s confirmation is still held up after Sen. DeMint’s May 5th ‘hold’ on her nomination.

Summary: Obama has made it clear he sees the “sound” Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as critical to stemming nuclear weapons proliferation. So what will Obama’s bold nuclear moves-warming up to Russia on a new START treaty, calling for eventual nuclear weapons abolition, and bringing focus back to the NPT-yield? It’s too soon to tell. But the nomination Susan Burk as Special Representative reflects the high aims Obama has for the 2010 meeting. Below is a review of Burk’s testimony to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and discussion of NPT 2010 meeting’s significance to Obamaland foreign policy.

Two key-if little noted-nominees for diplomatic roles in the Obama White House testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday.  Ivo Daalder has been tapped for U.S. Representative on the NATO Council, and Sarah Burk has been nominated for U.S. Representative to the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.

President Obama’s recently announced commitment[i] to revitalizing the NPT to stem nuclear proliferation brings Burk’s likely role special significance.

Burk, if confirmed, will play a major role in the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Held every five years, these meetings bring together the 188 treaty members to discuss nonproliferation and disarmament issues. With Iran inching closer towards nuclear weapons capability and North Korea reneging on its pledge to disarm, this meeting may be the last chance to exert multinational pressure on these rogue states.

NPT meetings have had a erratic track record. In 1995, with Susan Burk heading up Clinton’s delegation, the NPT treaty was renewed permanently. But the 2000 conference was marked more by what was avoided (fears of collapse in the wake of 1998 nuclear tests of Pakistan and India), and 2005’s has been considered “a near total fiasco.”[ii]

Iran, as a member of the NPT, holds a unique test for the treaty regime. While Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea have developed nuclear weapons since the treaty’s ratification, none were members of the NPT (North Korea left the organization before developing its limited nuclear weapons capability). Iran crossing the nuclear line would represent the treaty’s largest failure-and call into question its grand bargain of nonproliferation in return for peaceful nuclear technology sharing and eventual nuclear weapons disarmament.

Susan Burk’s opening statement offers a concise review of the Obama administration nonproliferation policy aims and the challenges it faces as it heads into the 2010 NPT Review Conference. The administration has an ambitious agenda, calling for:

continue reading article

Posted in NPT | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »