US preaches hypocrisy over nuclear power

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 June, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 June, 1998, 12:00am

Much has been said and written regarding the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan.

It is very easy for countries to pass judgment on India and Pakistan and condemn their acts as being detrimental to world peace.

In 'Muslim 'missile men' face off in arms race' (Sunday Morning Post, May 24) a chart showed the extent of nuclear-weapon capabilities of various countries possessing the nuclear option. One notes with interest that the United States has conducted 1,030 tests and has a huge nuclear arsenal of 12,070 warheads, which is enough to wipe out the world a couple of times over.

It is extremely easy to sit behind a huge stockpile of nuclear weapons and dictate how other countries should conduct themselves in testing and acquiring nuclear weapons.

The reason frequently cited for a ban on nuclear weapons by some countries possessing these systems is that they may pass into the hands of unstable countries and governments.

It is often said there is a fine line between genius and insanity. Similarly, stability and instability are also relative terms and must be viewed in the correct perspective.

Take for example the murders of five schoolchildren and a teacher in March in Jonesboro, Arkansas. This was carefully planned and executed by two boys aged 11 and 15. History repeated itself last month in Springfield, Oregon, when a schoolboy assassinated his parents and gunned down a couple of his classmates.

Do these incidents reflect psychological and mental stability? What right has the US, which cannot keep handguns away from schoolchildren, to preach to the world about nuclear non-proliferation? It is frightening to visualise that one day in the near future the 12,070 nuclear weapons in the US arsenal might pass into the hands of people such as these schoolchildren from Jonesboro and Springfield, who are mentally unstable and psychologically imbalanced.

After all, the actions of these children are but the tip of the iceberg and depict a cross-section of society and the next generation in the US. Hence India's demands and stand on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty are fair.

The demand that all countries possessing nuclear-weapon capabilities should dismantle these systems would ultimately lead to enhanced stability all over the world.

It would ensure trust among countries and put a stop to nuclear-weapon proliferation.

But then would the US want to lose its advantage? PRADEEP KALE New Delhi