Tuesday, August 24, 2010


MENWFZ = Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (not "men with fezzes" although that could be a mnemonic, unless one perceives an ethnic slur of some kind).

I just pulled up a bunch of articles on this idea, which is not a new one, but which "has legs" at the moment.

Many journalists say it's aimed against Israel, but that's to ignore the double-edged sword, as those signing the agreement would be opening themselves to disambiguation, versus following an "ambiguity" policy.

Iran wants to be on record saying it has no such weapons nor plans to develop them. Whether this is true or not is independent of the fact that nations without nukes enjoy disproportionate kudos and credibility these days.

If you want to be trusted, you won't be a source of WMDs, for anyone, not even yourself. Iran gains credibility every day that goes by without evidence of actual stockpiling of weapons grade fissionable materials.

IAEA does get to pry.

The same protocols apply to the USG as it goes with a "demand zero" policy and an across-the-board criminalization of these weapons. The focus needs to be on cleanup and safe storage, a whole other can of worms which the Obama administration has been facing. Cleaning up after nukes is no picnic, as the Hanford cleanup crews will attest.

However I understand those who say the verification process is still insufficient. Part of the problem is public education. What sorts of civilian nuclear power plants share the same food chain as weaponry plants? As with so many issues in our modern world, the definitive journalism on this subject actually has to contain quite a bit of science and engineering.

Beware of the "soap opera press" which turns every story into some episode of Dallas, or tries to pretend it's Team America (world police). If there's no science content, just intrigue and maneuvering, then you're more likely dealing with more armchair know-nothings and their comic book paranoias.

Nuclear power and nuclear weapons each have their own worlds. Where they partially overlap is where much of the action is these days. Stay tuned. The next meeting is in Washington, DC they tell me.