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Fighting nukes with UN fantasies (NEW YORK POST OP-ED) By Benny Avni 04/20/12)Source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/fighting_nukes_with_un_fantasies_Lm2o49ty1icOjsuhLbqi1L NEW YORK POST NEW YORK POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
North Korea tested a nuclear-capable long-range missile the other week, and plans a nuclear-bomb test in the near future — while Iran nears the end stage of its nuclear-weapons program. Oh, and India tested its own nuclear-capable missile late Wednesday night.

But, hey, the Obama administration yesterday achieved one of its top anti-proliferation goals: It got the UN Security Council to debate a symbolic joint statement on “nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.”

US diplomats timed this Kumbaya moment to culminate America’s stint this month as the council’s president.

Our ambassador, Susan Rice, and others glorified disarmament pacts among nations, such as the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But, oops, the council yesterday couldn’t even agree on mentioning the NPT in its debate-summing statement — because India and Pakistan, two countries that never signed the NPT, now hold seats on the 15- member council.

That led to some awkward moments. As the Indian ambassador, Hardeep Singh Puri, noted, countries only comply with “treaties to which they are a party.”

Thus India and Pakistan didn’t violate the NPT when they openly tested atomic weapons in 1998; they just joined the nuclear club.

Yet no one flinched yesterday when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke eloquently about the non-proliferation responsibilities of the “five nuclear powers” — as if the list were still limited to the United States, Russia, China, France and England.

Of course, reality and the UN often have little to do with each other. North Korea and now Iran have skillfully exploited that fact; they used the privileges they won for signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty to facilitate their nuclear programs. (By the way, the two remaining Axis of Evil powers increasingly cooperate with each other. According to Seoul media, Iranian rocket scientists attended the recent Korean launch.)

NPT membership didn’t deter the North Koreans from violating the treaty in 2006 by testing a nuclear weapon; Pyongyang simply then withdrew from the treaty. It’s been making and breaking promises to stop its programs ever since.

Now, five weeks after agreeing with Washington to end provocations in return for food, young Kim Jong-un did it again.

Our response? This week, the Security Council issued a US-worded statement that threatened some unspecified punishment for more North Korean violations.

The council has already imposed heavy sanctions on the Kim regime.But how effectively? The Financial Times reported Wednesday that China may have violated the sanctions, supplying Kim with missile launchers and possibly other arms.

So Iran and others can be forgiven for assuming that blatant disregard of signed treaties and bilateral agreements will be punished by more finger-wagging.

No wonder countries that face nuclear threats would rather rely on their own arms than on empty UN promises. Thus, hours before India’s UN ambassador told his colleagues that Delhi believes in a “world without nuclear weapons,” his country tested that 5,000-mile-range missile that can reach major cities in China.

But yesterday’s Kodak moment of unity wasn’t just a symbolic farce; it may eventually harm US interests. Arab states use any discussion of eliminating nukes to demand a “nuclear-free Mideast” — a code for disarming Israel (which never signed the NPT, although it’s never admitted having nukes). The whole discussion irritates India and Pakistan, nations we’d rather cultivate.

Regardless, “We’re very pleased with the session,” Rice told me yesterday, calling the gathering a “collective affirmation” of a similar meeting that Obama chaired in 2009, his first year as president.

Hmm. At that session, French President Nicolas Sarkozy memorably berated the American rookie, saying that he too would love a nuclear- free world — “but we live in the real world, not a virtual world.”

Even after facing reality for nearly four years, the Obama team apparently finds it hard to abandon that fantasy. (Copyright 2012 NYP Holdings, Inc. 04/20/12)


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