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World's Nuclear 'Haves' Spur Fear in 'Have-Nots'

June 21, 2003

Re "Shakier Fingers on the Nuclear Buttons," Commentary, June 15: Rajan Menon omits the most significant fact about the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The nuclear countries, those with the bomb, agreed to eliminate their nuclear weapons as soon as possible. That was 35 years ago. Today, the United States not only has no plans to eliminate its nuclear weapons, it is even planning new types of nuclear weapons. The nonproliferation treaty is dead because it was killed by the U.S. and the other permanent members of the Security Council that refuse to take treaty obligations seriously.

Iraq is the latest example of what happens to a country without a nuclear deterrent. North Korea was wise to develop its own nuclear deterrent for its own national security, and I expect that other countries, such as Iran, will develop their own nuclear deterrent to provide for their own defense. The empty promises of the U.S. government provide no security. If the U.S. expects other countries to refrain from developing and deploying nuclear weapons, the U.S. and the other nuclear powers must set the date for total nuclear disarmament.

John Owen

Los Angeles

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The commander in chief of the most powerful army in history places three nations' governments in an "axis of evil." He then claims a sovereign right to wage preventive war. Soon thereafter, he makes good on his claim by crushing one of the members of the axis. The two evil regimes left standing begin or restart development of nuclear weapons. What a surprise! Equally surprising will be our future discovery of nascent nuclear weapons programs in almost-evil nations such as Syria, Libya, Cuba.

The threat of nuclear fragmentation -- the political dissolution of countries possessing nuclear weapons -- intensifies with each new member of the nuclear club. As the rhetoric and actions of the White House continue to frighten the rest of the world, watch that membership roster grow.

Russ Buchanan

Woodland Hills

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