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Bush's nuclear weapons hypocrisy
US PRESIDENT George Bush used last week's APEC summit in Chile to demand that 'rogue state' North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons programme. Hypocritically, he failed to call on other bellicose states such as Israel, India and Pakistan to dismantle their weapons of mass destruction. Neither did he mention his own country's accelerated nuclear weapons programme.
US secretary of state Colin Powell, playing the 'bad cop' to the European Union's 'good cop', has also weighed in against another country with nuclear weapons capability, Iran.
Powell insists that the Tehran leadership is still developing its uranium enrichment programme and its ballistic technology. Washington has been at the forefront of moves to persuade the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) nuclear watchdog to refer the country to the United Nations Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions. However, EU ministers have taken a more conciliatory line. Iran has now said that it has frozen its enrichment programme and has angrily rebutted Powell's claims.
Meanwhile, the US administration continues to talk tough about North Korea's nuclear weapons, ruling out bilateral talks. However, with the increasing Iraqi resistance to the US occupation of Iraq, the US military is facing serious overstretch. Moreover, a war against North Korea would trigger a nuclear conflagration, devastating the whole of the Korean peninsula with massive casualties and causing economic collapse.
The floundering Stalinist regime of North Korea led by the dictator Kim Jong-il is using its nuclear arsenal as a bargaining counter to win concessions from the US. Above all, the North Korean regime wants to end its diplomatic and economic isolation.
In 1994 the US had agreed to provide economic aid in return for North Korea suspending its nuclear weapons programme. But serious talks aimed at normalising relations weren't pursued under president Clinton despite the agreement, and in 1998 North Korea restarted its bomb making.
When Bush came to power with a hawkish foreign policy he declared North Korea, along with Iraq and Iran, to be part of an "axis of evil". He persuaded Japan and South Korea to stop sending oil supplies to North Korea and authorised a policy of pre-emptive military strikes against any state acquiring WMDs, thereby ratcheting up the conflict.
Embarrassingly for Bush, it has emerged that ballistic and nuclear technology was supplied by the Pakistan regime to both North Korea and Iran. However, instead of being hit by sanctions general Musharraf's regime has received economic assistance now that it has joined Bush's coalition against 'terrorism'.
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
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In The Socialist 27 November 2004:
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