Thursday, 9 January 2003

World on path to disaster, bomb pioneer warns

President George Bush, hijacked by hardliners in his administration, is setting the world on a course towards nuclear disaster, a founder of the nuclear deterrence policy said.

The 1995 Nobel peace laureate, Professor Sir Joseph Rotblat, accused the US of developing a policy which regarded nuclear weapons as bad if in the possession of some states or groups but good if they were kept by the US for the sake of world security.

The fact that it had signed the non-proliferation treaty and was legally bound to the elimination of nuclear weapons was ignored, he told the Guardian-sponsored non-proliferation conference, jointly hosted by the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

"Nuclear arsenals will have to be retained indefinitely, not just as a weapon of last resort, or as a deterrent against a nuclear attack, but as an ordinary tool in the military armoury, to be used in the resolution of conflicts, and even in pre-emptive strikes, should political contingencies demand it.

"This is in essence the current US nuclear policy, and I see it as a very dangerous policy."

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