If the world goes boom

There is a country on Earth right now that is planning to develop 125 nuclear bombs per year until 2022. No, they are not located in the Middle East or even the Eastern hemisphere. I’ll give you the initials as a hint: USA.

Last week the United States Department of Energy unveiled its plan to modernize the nation’s massive network of laboratories and factories for nuclear bombs on the largest scale since the end of the Cold War.

Such a move comes as a shock to some who thought America was anti-nukes. The Bush Administration is worried that Iran might have one in five years. What’s to worry when we are churning out 25 times that per year, right?

This is another chapter in our government’s closed-ears foreign policy. At a time when Iran is being accused of “brinksmanship” because of a nuclear buildup that no one can prove is going on, we do our build up the American way; we flex our muscles. You want to make one nuclear bomb in 5 years? We’ll make 625.

We let some countries get away with perceived infractions, while others are demonized for the same reasons. Just last month we signed a nuclear agreement with India to provide them nuclear technology and resources, with a stipulation that they must keep their civilian facilities separate from their military facilities, as well as letting in watchdog groups to monitor their nuclear activity.

While this deal with India does sound mutually acceptable, it only feeds the negative American image in the Middle East. India has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was one of the means by which the US got Iran in trouble with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran has been trying to get a deal similar to the US-India deal with the Russians but have run into staunch opposition from Europe and the United States. Pakistan asked for the same deal as India from us but was brushed off because “we just can’t trust them yet.”

Iran must be dealt with concerning their antagonistic nature towards Israel, but it must be diplomatically. At a time when our nation is so fervently against weapons of mass destruction, it makes us look like hypocrites to have weapons build up that, if any nation that wasn’t a US ally employed, would surely feel the wrath of America in some manifestation.

Come June, an enormous plume of smoke will rise in the desert 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The US will detonate a 700 ton “bunker buster” as part of an effort to test weapons that can destroy fortified underground targets. While it is not a nuclear test, it is “the largest single explosive we could imagine doing,” said James A. Tegnelia, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which is conducting the test. The question is, will this massive explosion be the “breaking of the champagne bottle” on the next arms race?

Let’s hope we can become more evenhanded in our foreign policy and less gung-ho in our rush for those pesky weapons of mass destruction that have already gotten us in so much trouble in the first place.

–Jason Harrison

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