Inspections required to prevent proliferation

Trying may indeed be the first step toward failure, but that maxim is a little frightening when applied to nuclear proliferation.

Last week, the Bush administration switched gears and declared it would not support inspections to verify a new nuclear weapons treaty that would ban the accumulation of nuclear material and extend the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty to states that have recently gone nuclear, such as Pakistan, India and Israel.

The treaty, known as the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, would represent a key deterrent for nations seeking to acquire material for nuclear weapons. Without verification, rogue nations could obtain nuclear material and stay below the world’s radar.

But the State Department disagrees, saying, “even with extensive verification measures, we will not have high confidence in our ability to monitor compliance.” That may be true, but that doesn’t mean we should scrap inspections altogether.

The administration’s move is damaging on multiple fronts. It seems to accept nuclear proliferation as a fait accompli, as if nuclear weapons were bound to wind up in the hands of every nation sooner or later. To be sure, part of the rationale behind inspections is to provide a policing organization, but the primary goal of verification is to provide a deterrent for ever obtaining nuclear material in the first place. This decision weakens that deterrent and creates opportunities for nations to defy what will now become a toothless treaty.

Our nuclear stockpile would be immune from inspections, so it’s not as if our nuclear secrets would be in danger. And as we learned from our invasion of Iraq, independent inspections have a better track record of demonstrating a country’s weapons capabilities than our current intelligence bureaucracy does. Implementing verification procedures would at least provide some chance of deterrence or monitoring – something which giving up on independent inspections and relying on the CIA doesn’t offer.

If the Bush administration is attempting to repair bridges and expand the international presence in Iraq, such a unilateralist stance on a treaty that most of the world was ready to sign is hardly reconciliatory. Questionable moves like this will continue to drive away the world in the face of American defiance.

Giving up on inspections fails to increase the security of the world, and only adds fuel the dangerous fire of nuclear proliferation.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

toon
Editorial cartoons for Monday, Feb. 26

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2015 file photo, a tanker airplane drops fire retardant on a wildfire burning near Twisp, Wash. Three firefighters were killed battling the blaze. The story was a top Washington state news item in 2015. Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has proposed a plan to strengthen the ways that Washington can prevent and respond to wildfires. Franz released the 10-year plan last week as part of her $55 million budget request to the Legislature to improve the state's firefighting abilities (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Editorial: Wildfire threat calls for restoring full funding

Lawmakers should restore funding for fighting wildfires and call on one furry firefighter in particular.

Comment: Federal cuts to wildfire crews may hit at worst time

Conditions may increase the threat of wildfires just as the U.S. Forest Service is bracing for budget cuts.

Comment: Founders empowered Congree to support accurate news

The Post Office Act of 1790’s intent was to spread reliable information. The same goes for the media of the day.

Comment: Charity scandal shows Providence ignoring its mission

Ordered to forgive $157 million it charged the poor, the hospital system needs better oversight of officials.

Comment: Presidential primary launches state’s election season

With ballots in the mail, here’s what to know and how to prepare for making your choice for U.S. president.

A leasing sign in visible outside of A’cappella Apartment Homes on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Cap on rent can keep more people in their homes

The legislation balances affordability with the need to encourage growth in the stock of housing.

Jaime Benedict, who works as a substitute teacher, waves to drivers on the corner of Mukilteo Speedway and Harbor Pointe Boulevard while holding a sign in support of the $240 million capital bond proposal for Mukilteo School District on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 in Mukilteo, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Bar set unfairly high for passage of school bonds

Requiring 60 percent approval denies too many students the schools and facilities they deserve.

Flowers and a photo of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny are placed near the Russian consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. Navalny, who crusaded against official corruption and staged massive anti-Kremlin protests as President Vladimir Putin's fiercest foe, died Friday in the Arctic penal colony where he was serving a 19-year sentence, Russia's prison agency said. He was 47. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Comment: Navalny’s death only deepens resolve of Putin’s foes

Even in losing elections, Navalny and others have shown that opposition to Putin is effective.

Women’s health care supporters have chance to flip Congress seat

When Roe v. Wade was overturned it simply opened the floodgates to… Continue reading

Comment: Wildfire problem is matter of fuel load, not climate

By limiting the harvest of timber in the state we allowed the forests’ fuel load to grow; and then burn.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Sunday, Feb. 25

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.