Shame On U.S.

String of U.N. votes belies U.S.' own reluctance to give up WMD

| January 1, 2004

For all their hunting to uproot weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and North Korea, the Bush administration has again proved unwilling to scale back -- and eventually eliminate -- its nuclear weapons program. And, not unlike its contentious decision to declare war on Iraq, the US seems content to stand apart from the crowd with regard to nuclear disarmament.

John Burroughs, representing the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy, a national nonprofit educational association, which uses national and international law to promote peace and disarmament, writes on the LCNP's web site that 'The United States consistently voted against the most important resolutions on nuclear and space disarmament' at the UN General Assembly's meeting on December 8.

Among the 52 resolutions voted upon by the UN was a measure that would bring the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty into effect. The CTBT calls for 'the cessation of nuclear-weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions.' Despite the importance and urgency of signing and ratifying the treaty, as stressed by the Assembly, the United States voted against it; the only country -- of 178 -- to do so.

The US was also one of six countries to vote against the resolution calling for compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty program of 2000, which 'obligates the five acknowledged nuclear-weapon states (the United States, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, France, and China) not to transfer nuclear weapons, other nuclear explosive devices, or their technology to any non-nuclear-weapon state.' The other nay-sayers were France, India, Israel, Pakistan and the UK.

Another resolution, to which the US also said no 'underlines the Court's [International Court of Justice] unanimous conclusion that there is an obligation to pursue in good faith ... negotiations on nuclear disarmament in all its aspects'

The last important resolution Burroughs cites is one that would prevent an arms race in outer space. The US was one of four countries to abstain from voting.
-- Eric Larson

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