The Unenforceable

The UN Security Council passed a new resolution [pdf] in regards to nuclear disarmament and proliferation yesterday. But does it matter?

The resolution basically holds the status quo and reaffirms the commitment of ”well-behaved” countries to continuing to try and be on their best behavior while having no effective means of stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons in nations whose governments they don’t like. How is it though that we are to prevent countries such as North Korea, Pakistan, or India from selling the knowledge or technology needed to any wannabe players?

If this resolution was in regards to trying to place pressure on Iran or North Korea, as is alluded to in the press, I truly don’t see where it has any teeth. If we believe that these are ”criminal” states then they will probably act as such. It brings to mind the same arguments used in the War on Drugs – stopping the supply and distribution will somehow stop the desire of people for them. Not really, it just drives the prices up and the people underground. In regards to nuclear weapons, the knowledge behind their manufacture may not be easily accessible but it still exists and there are people willing to part with it for a price.

There is also the argument of countries that might not be in favor of our specific world view but still need effective nuclear technology to meet their energy needs. We are all scrambling now for new alternatives to oil and coal, to reduce pollution and because of its finite nature, and nuclear plants do provide one effective alternative to that. If 75% of France’s energy comes from nuclear plants, why is it that a developing country, maybe with a government we might not like, cannot partake of the same benefits?

China, a member of Security Council, and despite its authoritarian government and sometimes belligerent statements about Taiwan, has nuclear weapons of an unknown quantity. Why are they are exempt from the same scrutiny as other countries with similar regimes? Because their economy matters more to us? They would do well to build more nuclear plants versus the 500 some coal plants that will be springing up there over the next few years, in terms of efficiency and climate chang. Would we allow another country the same option if it was not so tied to us economically? Probably not.

Real engagement would do more to stop nuclear proliferation and armament than provocative resolutions. Iran matters more to the future of the US and stability in the Middle East, and Asia in general, than almost any other country. Unenforceable resolutions are not the best way to engage someone that we could see as a potential ally that, once bound closer, could be given the same dignity that we give China and other developing nations.


  1. Ian

    There’s always solar! I can’t imagine a hostile response to that, unless you did something like fight over beaches for the sand to make the silicon.

  2. Jordan

    Maybe that’s why people are buttering up to Qaddafi – solar in the Sahara is the next big thing.