Iran signs additional NPT protocol

Vienna, Dec 18, IRNA – Iran signed the additional protocol to the
nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) here on Thursday, thus
allowing snap inspection of its nuclear facilities by IAEA
experts.

The United States has long believed that Iran’s nominally peaceful nuclear program is being used to conceal a covert nuclear weapons project.

Though denying nuclear weapons ambitions, Iran had resisted closer IAEA monitoring.

But it reversed course under diplomatic pressure in October, telling the visiting foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany that it would accept the snap inspections and suspend uranium enrichment.

(Primary documents, both from IAEA and response from VOA, are available in the updated News Archive at Globalsecurity.org.)

Some questions:

  1. Is the lesson of NK/Iraq still “Hurry up and declare yourself a nuclear power as soon as possible?”

  2. Is the lesson of NK/Iraq still “Regimes will now be motivated to develop nukes even faster?”

  3. Or is the lesson of NK/Iraq possibly, “Geez, is this nuke stuff really worth it? Maybe not. Hey, Dr. El-Baradi, you’re welcome here anytime. Where do we sign up for snap inspections?”

Update: Libya admits it has been working on a secret nuclear weapons program, but will scrap it and allow unfettered inspections to verify.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3335965.stm

Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi has admitted his country was developing weapons of mass destruction, but will dismantle its secret programme…

UK officials believe Libya was close to obtaining a nuclear weapons capability before the deal.

US President George Bush said Colonel Gaddafi had agreed “immediately and unconditionally” that international weapons inspectors could enter Libya…

The decision entitled Libya to rejoin the international community, Mr Blair said.

"It shows that problems of proliferation can, with good will, be tackled through discussion and engagement, to be followed up by the responsible international agencies.

“It demonstrates that countries can abandon programmes voluntarily and peacefully.”

Indeed.

Same three questions from my original post.

Saddam baaaad. Ghadafi goooood.

Oh, he’s a dictator he gassed people too, killed US citizens, and sponsored terrorism. Unlike Saddam though, he gets to stay in power.

I’ll remember that next time someone says we went into Iraq to free the Iraqi people.

Isn’t Bush technically, like, you know, appeasing Gaddafi?

A) First thing’s first…we must agree that the oft-raised argument about how rogue regimes would be incentivized to acquire nuclear weapons is now demonstrably debunked. I read this argument countless times on this forum. In light of Iran’s and Libya’s actions this week, I would now like the argument dismissed.

B) Secondly, we can move on to the amusing suggestion that the U.S. is somehow “appeasing” Ghadafi or, yet more hilariously, is somehow obligated to invade Libya in order to avoid hypocrisy in its foreign policy. I haven’t read my history of Munich recently, but I seem to recall that “appeasement” was the term labeled to the West’s failure to enforce the disarmament of the remilitarizing Germany. I don’t understand how forcing Libya’s disarmament can constitute appeasement, when it’s, by definition, the opposite of appeasement.

(But, just for the sake of a hilarious sidebar, let’s assume for a moment that you actually believe your own remarks. Are you then saying that you will not be satisfied until the U.S. conducts a full-scale invasion of Libya with regime change as its goal? Pardon me if I doubt that you’d have been very happy to read that headline.)

C) But one has to admire the sheer tautalogical absurdity: if the U.S. disarms Libya by means of invasion, it is a disaster, whereas if the U.S. disarms Libya by means of diplomatic pressure enabled by the display of will in Iraq, it is appeasement. Thus, any beneficial outcome in Libya is actually a failure of U.S. foreign policy.

Dan, the sample size is like 3, and NK isn’t exactly going along.

The appeasement claim is a joke - remember back when the hawks said multilateral talks in NK were appeasement?

By the way, isn’t Bush kind of selling out Libya’s suffering citizens? Aren’t we going to liberate them like the ones of Iraq? Seeing how this administration is so deeply concerned with human rights, and all.

Read a funny quote from some UN or IAEA inspection agency. Something like “Well, from what we can gather, they never actually got any, but we have to go there and take a look ourselves.”

I must say, well played, Mr. Qhadafi. Well played, indeed.

I don’t agree whatsoever. In the short run, extreme pressure has caused a couple of countries to go along with NPT, but the incentives are still there for them to attempt to become nuclear powers ASAP. Not to mention, NK hasn’t exactly bent over yet.

http://slate.msn.com/id/2093015/

…the compromise over WMD can, if properly handled, act as a curtain-raiser for regime change in both societies. Iranians and Libyans are not fools, and they have increasing access to non-state media. They know that their boastful and pious leaders have been cringing and conceding. In a more than subliminal way, this presages the end of governments that are bankrupt in other ways as well…The mullahs have run Iran into the ground over two decades, and Qaddafi has been in power since I was an undergraduate. Their rule is condemned by actuarial calculations as well as by moral and political ones, and it’s now quite possible to envisage a future without them. The tipping point in all this is, and has been, and will be seen to have been, the liberation of Iraq.

To your point, Qenon, you confuse the NPT (an entirely toothless agreement, habitually flouted) with IAEA “snap inspections.” NPT is a gentlemen’s agreement — whereas snap inspections are an ongoing regime of unannounced and invasive examinations.

And I’d ask again, what exactly are these oft-touted “incentives” for nuclearization? Are you honestly holding North Korea up as the beacon for nuclear regime-empowerment? Since announcing its nuke program, NK has been internationally censured, diplomatically isolated by all its neighbors (including long-time patron China), lost all food aid from the crucial UN World Food Programme, lost significant oil aid from China, and lost vital shipments of heating oil from the United States.

Far from ensuring the regime’s continued rule, NK has forced the IAEA to the Security Council for consultations on “next steps.” The regime’s strategic situation could not be worse. All of which is to say, be assured that Kim’s deal-making on a nuke handover is already well underway.

Here’s how it works:

  1. It used to be, you could do pretty much anything you want as long as you don’t directly attack a US interest.
  2. The Bush administration has radically expanded the definition of “US interest”, so this isn’t really true anymore.
  3. However, the US won’t do shit to you if you have the bomb.
  4. Your options are playing nice, or playing dirty sitting on a nuke.

Apologies if I laugh at “how it works.”

We’ll continue this discussion in 6-9 months when NK is dismantling its nuclear weapons program under close IAEA supervision.

(And a parting reminder that we are currently continuing the discussion begun 6-9 months ago about the impact of the Iraqi War on proliferators such as Iran and Libya.)

Some countries will learn the lesson from the Iraq war to disarm - surprise! Others will learn the lesson to get nukes quick before the US can stop you - surprise!

Don’t you think it undercuts your argument that since we invaded Iraq, the only movement has been out of category 2 and into category 1? That two nations have abandoned their nuke programs, but nobody, as far as we know, is accelerating a nuclear program to try and get it finished before the US comes down on them? As Quenan is struggling with, the best possible example of a rogue regime you can find is North Korea–a country that has suffered terribly since declaring itself a nuclear power and seems to be moving in the direction of disarmament. On what basis do you declare that some countries are trying to “get nukes quick before the US can stop you”?

Not that I have an opinon on this, but you wouldn’t expect a country that was trying to get a nuke to tell you they were putting it into high gear. So it shoudln’t be unexpected that you don’t know about it.

Like the famous Rummy quote goes, “There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”

Although I agree with what you’re saying, I think that it is at least somewhat difficult to hide a crash nuclear program. Even if it weren’t, at best you’ve got Jason claiming that some rogue states are secretly accelerating their nuclear programs, and his evidence is I guess the eerie silence of our not having heard about it. In other words, when two fairly serious proliferators turn around and dismantle their programs, and the US is unaware of any other programs, it seems weird to assume that the Bush Doctrine has caused some unknown regime somewhere to secretly ramp up a serious nuke program that we’re totally oblivious to. That sounds less like someone drawing conclusions from the evidence, and more like someone who hates the Bush Doctrine and will always assume it’s counterproductive no matter what happens in real-world events.

Remember when the entire US government was totally blindsided by the Pakistani bomb?

North Korea was suffering anyway, but I’ll concede the point that at the moment invading Iraq on spurious WMD claims seems to have had the desired effect. I don’t know if we’ll be able to say the same thing in 20 years, though.

This line of reasoning is also on a complete collision course with the administration’s professed concern with human rights - we’ll leave you alone as long as you don’t get nukes or oppose the US, no matter how awful you are. The problem is that for the “we’ll invade you unless you drop your nukes” syllogism to work, we can’t invade countries that drop their nukes. Libya gets a free pass. I just don’t understand how our current foreign policy is coherent; it looks more like a grab-bag of one-off solutions, calibrated to satisfy various domestic GOP constituencies, with a thin veneer of fake moralism on top.

Are you then saying that you will not be satisfied until the U.S. conducts a full-scale invasion of Libya with regime change as its goal?

IMHO, the US should work for the removal of every non-democratic regime as its top priority. There’s obvious constraints - you can’t support an armed insurrection in China or invade Pakistan, but you can fund opposition groups, work them into international organizations that will trick them into liberalizing, invade if you absolutely have to, whatever.

But what are we doing in Libya? The same thing we’re doing in Turkmenistan - giving a free pass to a dictator who’s willing to cozy up to the west because we’re eager to engage in immoral realpolitick, selling out the oppressed of the world for the chimera of stability. Exactly the horseshit that got us into such trouble with Saddam and Saudi Arabia in the first place - pliable dictators never turn out well.

See, I totally agree with 95% of what you’ve said here. But I have to agree with Daniel that it’s a kind of misdirection; that lots of antiwar folks were saying that invading Iraq was an awful idea in part because it would cause all these other rogue states to go completely off the deep end. Many conservatives argued that the opposite was true–that these states are led by craven men who will flout diplomacy but roll over if they feel threatened. As it turns out, the conservatives were right on that score, but every time one of them brings it up, they get met with a “Well, but what about X?” argument that totally misses the point. We can argue about X, but before we do, let’s agree that Bush and his cronies were right when they said that Iraq would serve as an example to worldwide proliferators. Christ, everyone probably knows how little I like Bush, but I have to admit that he’s (or more accurately, his advisors are) 100% right on this one point.

Oh, ok, I can see that. I was in favor of invading, I just figured Bush would fuck it up - partly because they don’t seem to have a coherent foreign policy narrative.

Though I remember this argument normally going like “we invade Iraq, the rest of the world disarms and starts to turn into western-loving democracies rather than be invaded”…