INSPIRATIONAL, 26 Oct 2015
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is charged with supervising the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), in an effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. But it can now inspect only sites that member countries voluntarily place under its supervision, at regular 6-month intervals.
If a suspected drug smuggler could tell a border guard, “You may check my trunk, but don’t open the glove compartment,” such an “inspection” would be meaningless. The IAEA must have the power to inspect any suspected nuclear facilities, without advance warning, even in non-member countries; otherwise, it is impossible to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
Many governments today would strongly object to such intrusive inspections as a “violation of their national sovereignty.” However, many airline passengers also protested first against having their luggage searched for guns or explosives, when that policy was introduced after a series of fatal hijackings. Today, most realize that they can only be secure if everybody’s luggage is inspected, including their own.
Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear. Sooner or later, governments will reach the same conclusion. The question is only whether this will happen before or after the first terrorist nuclear bomb explodes.
Dietrich Fischer, born in 1941 in Münsingen, Switzerland, got a Licentiate in Mathematics from the University of Bern 1968 and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University 1976. 1986-88 he was a MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security at Princeton University. He has taught mathematics, computer science, economics and peace studies at various universities and been a consultant to the United Nations.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 26 Oct 2015.
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