Another Nail in the Coffin of the NPTPosted: April 21, 2014
. . . is what this would be if it was actually adopted as policy by the NSG. I’m talking about a Dutch paper, sponsored by the US, UK and the Czech Republic, and submitted to the NSG meeting a couple of weeks ago, which proposed that the NSG take a more “open-minded approach aimed at cooperation with non-NSG members and promoting transparency of the NSG guidelines.” According to our favorite nuclear reporter Fredrik Dahl:
The discussion paper, seen by Reuters, outlined different types of “possible benefits the NSG could consider granting” a country that is adhering to its trade guidelines even though it is not in the secretive 48-nation grouping.
These could include sharing of information, access to NSG meetings and “facilitated export arrangements”, suggesting possible access to some nuclear trade with NSG countries, for example related to safety.
Currently, Israel is the only non-NSG country that fulfils the criteria regarding “adherence” to its guidelines although India and Pakistan have informally indicated that they also follow them, the Dutch Foreign Ministry document said.
So, under this new and improved approach, India, Pakistan and Israel, at least, would likely be promoted to receiving most if not all of the substantive benefits of membership in the NPT – including most importantly civilian nuclear trade with NSG supplier states. So we would go from one travesty – the India exemption already granted by the NSG in 2005 – to at least three and maybe more.
Again, these would be states that have not signed the NPT, but have clandestinely developed nuclear weapons stockpiles on their own. And under this proposal, they would be granted by NSG supplier states, nuclear trade access which the 157 NNWS parties to the NPT had to give up their legal privilege to possess nuclear weapons in order to secure.
Is this a game of how far can we push NPT NNWS before they will finally be convinced that the NPT grand bargain is dead, and that they are upholding their NPT obligations and tacitly consenting to a system of nuclear apartheid for nothing?
This isn’t how Mark Hibbs sees it. Mark seems to think this is a fine idea. In the article he’s quoted as follows:
Nuclear expert Mark Hibbs said such an acknowledgement by the NSG would be important for Israel. “It would be a recognition from a very important nuclear non-proliferation related body that Israel is a responsible nuclear state,” Hibbs, of the Carnegie Endowment think-tank, said.
That’s not the point, Mark. Responsible or not, you can’t undermine one part of the grand bargain of the NPT without expecting the other parts to fall down too.