Letter: Bullying by nuclear 'enforcers' brings non-proliferation treaty into disrespect

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Sir: Even if the 'stick and carrot' policy may induce some countries to go through the motions of compliance, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty cannot command genuine respect (leading article, 19 August). With their power to intimidate the weak and deter the strong from aggression, nuclear weapons will continue to tempt non-nuclear states to join the club - albeit fear of the stick and greed for the carrot may keep this temptation dormant until they can discover ways of eluding the prying eye of the 'big brothers', or the means of inducing them to turn a blind eye towards their projects.

It is futile to hope that people will respect the law so long as some are allowed to get away with flouting it. To win genuine respect for the non-proliferation treaty - and 'voluntary' compliance by the non-nuclear states - the enforcers will have to begin by getting rid of their own stockpiles of nuclear weapons, abandon their own nuclear weapons programmes and open up their own nuclear facilities for inspection by the non-nuclear world.

The first step in this direction could be to make the killing of non-combatants a war crime. This step, if enforced without fear or favour, could make the development of weapons of mass destruction redundant - and pave the way for getting rid of the existing nuclear, biological, bacterial and similar weapons of mass destruction.

Yours sincerely,


Speaker, Muslim

Parliament of Great Britain

London, WC1

20 August