wmd free mid-east
April 16, 2003 11:31 AM   Subscribe

Weapons of mass destruction free mid-east
sound like a good idea - perhaps could lead to other countries in hot zones giving up their WMDs as well? I wonder if other countries in the region would consider giving up their stockpiles?
posted by specialk420 (27 comments total)

 
so long as we have'm, I think everyone else is gonna want'm.
posted by mcsweetie at 11:52 AM on April 16, 2003


so i tell the guy with the gun to put it down and fight me like a man because i'm unarmed?
posted by th3ph17 at 12:06 PM on April 16, 2003


So, umm, the arab countries agree that:
a) any country in the region with WMD should give them up; and
b) Israel is the only such country.
posted by kickingtheground at 12:10 PM on April 16, 2003


b) Israel is the only such country.

Yeah. Except Syria.
posted by goethean at 12:17 PM on April 16, 2003


As in many things, I like Bill Hicks' take:

We arm the world, we arm these little countries, and then we send troops over to blow the shit out of 'em. We're like the bullies of the world, we're like Jack Palance in the movie Shane, throwing the pistol at the sheepherder's feet.

Palance: Pick it up.

Sheepherder: I don't wanna pick it up mister, you'll shoot me.

Palance: Pick up the gun.

Sheepherder: Look mister, I don't want no trouble, I just came to town to get some hard rock candy for my kids, and some gingham for my wife. I don't even know what gingham is, but she goes through about 4 or 5 rolls a week of that stuff. I don't want no trouble, mister.

Palance: Pick up the gun.

[Sheepherder reluctantly picks up the gun, Palance promptly shoots him dead.]

Palance: You all saw him. He had a gun.

posted by RylandDotNet at 12:24 PM on April 16, 2003


in my dreams i do exactly that to georgie and rummy.
posted by quonsar at 12:36 PM on April 16, 2003


"Hey, can you guys get rid of your weapons of mass destruction please? We won't invade once you're totally defenseless, I promise. And we would never use our military power to put economic and political pressure on you to sell us your natural resources for a hundredth of their value... you conspiracy nuts, you're so paranoid."
posted by zekinskia at 12:39 PM on April 16, 2003


what i want to know is just exactly WHEN weapons of mass destruction freed the mid-east? i'da thunk something like that woulda been on the news.
posted by quonsar at 12:46 PM on April 16, 2003


Um, a few problems with this:

1. Syria & company either have WMD's, or they don't. If they don't, then they don't have to do anything. If they do have 'em, do you really think they'll actually destroy their WMD's? Nah, they'll just hide them. So this treaty wouldn't actually disarm any of the Arab countries.

2. Israel has the bomb. It's the worst kept secret in the world. They're not going to give it up. This doesn't make them evil, they've got good reason not to. See, nukes are a great deterrent when a potential enemy has a lot more people than you. That's why we were so battlefield nuke happy in western Europe during the Cold War. The Russians could field alot more troops and tanks than we could, and everyone knew it. The threat of battlefield nukes being used to destroy troop concentrations evened the odds. Israel's now in the same position. The Arab states have made no secret of their dislike of Israel, and they have a huge numerical advantage. This advantage is offset largely by Israel's nukes. If they were to give them up, then it's possible that the Arab states would eventually invade. Remember, Egypt, Syria and the rest stopped attacking only because every time they went to war, they lost. If they thought that they had a real chance of winning this time, they'd attack Israel again.

So, nobody, neither Arab or Israeli, would follow this treaty. Pointless.
posted by unreason at 12:48 PM on April 16, 2003


unreason, you're exactly right.

Asking for a WMD free middle east is the same as asking for permission to attack Israel.
posted by tiamat at 12:53 PM on April 16, 2003


unreason, tiamat,

I'm not so sure the Israeli nuclear program makes much sense. They are already the dominant military power in the region without it.

They already outgun their neighbors and have bested them all multiple times back when the Egyptians and Syrians were better armed than the Israelis. With the end of Moscow's military aid programs, the Israelis have pulled way ahead. That is why Syria in particular was so keen to stockpile nerve gas-they couldn't compete in conventional terms.

The Israeli nuclear program only makes sense if their neighbors have WMD: you gas us, we nuke you. Without Syrian, Iraqi, and Iranian nerve gas, it loses its value.

This is why I can't see the Syrians as serious about ditching their nerve gas. Without it, the Israelis could make good on repeated threats to go to Damascus if Hizbullah does X. On the other hand, 1) they are backing off on supporting Hizbullah, and 2) they must realize that all the nerve gas in the world isn't going to get the Golan back, so why run the political risk such stockpiles entail?

If they are serious, and if the Iranians could be persuaded to ditch their WMD programs (now that Iraq isn't a factor) it could be a hugely positive development.

Iraq may have shown regimes that WMD are not worth the response they could generate from the US.
posted by ednopantz at 1:35 PM on April 16, 2003


I think the reason why Israel would never and can't ever give up their nukes is that they can't lose if they are invaded. The surrounding attacking arab states can lose, Israel can't. It means total destruction.
posted by abez at 1:59 PM on April 16, 2003


Ednoplatz is right, plus it's important to remember a lot of Israel's old enemies, e.g. Jordan & Egypt require US support as much as Israel does.
posted by Celery at 2:43 PM on April 16, 2003


Ednoplatz is right, plus it's important to remember a lot of Israel's old enemies, e.g. Jordan & Egypt require US support as much as Israel does. And invading America's favourite little brother wouldn't help their case.
posted by Celery at 2:44 PM on April 16, 2003


OK i'm only new i haven't got the hang of this preview thingy. Sorry!
posted by Celery at 2:46 PM on April 16, 2003


good lord. and nobody sees that WMDs/nuclear weapons make places like tel aviv and washington dc... less safe - not more... a softball sized chunk of russian (or pakistani) plutonium stolen and sold on the black market could flatten either city - who do we/they in turn bomb? moscow? riyadh? cairo? what if they guy who procured and delivered the bomb was born in london and raised in new jersey?
posted by specialk420 at 2:53 PM on April 16, 2003


The problem is WMD are quick to get. You can say you don't have them and be honest but also have a lab capable of makeing them on short notice. Plutonium is hard to deal with but other forms are easier for dirty bombs. The whole thing must seem rediculous to Syria.
posted by stbalbach at 2:57 PM on April 16, 2003


How Do they get rid of Chemical Weapons? In the US we have built Billion Dollar Furnaces which we now seem reluctant to use, but after the Gulf war when inspections were working I guess they just dumped them in the ground.
posted by Mack Twain at 3:38 PM on April 16, 2003


WMD sound like a great investment. I don't agree with ednopantz's post about how the war in Iraq has shown that having WMD can be destabilizing, as the opposite is occuring. Iraq's WMD capabilties (if it even had any) were grossly exageratted by the Bush administration and the battle turned out to be the WMD-less world's most powerful military vs. a paper tiger some skeptics claimed it would be. If Iraq had WMD and the capabilities to use them there simply would be a lot more dead Americans right now.

Meanwhile North Korea is being handled with kid gloves possibly because it can send a couple of nukes to its neighbors. Or perhaps just because it has so much artillery pointed at Seoul. WMD's pay off in the long run: they compensate for a third-rate military, scare even the big players, and could even have MAD-like stabilizing effects.

Who knows, maybe world peace can only happen when everyone has a couple nukes pointed at each other. The policies of MAD might actually work in the long run. Scary thought eh?

If anything the recent war in Iraq probably has world leaders scrambling more more WMDs. "Look what happened to Hussien after he disarmed," they must be thinking.
posted by skallas at 3:39 PM on April 16, 2003


I would simply like to join skallas in strongly denouncing the view that we have scared the livin' WMDs out of potential targets. How many have we found in Iraq? None. How many did Iraq use? None. Could we protect Israel from their use if we decide to extend our crusade to Syria? That's really the question, isn't it. Could we defend our own troops from them if they are deployed in a war. My suspicious opinion is that we hoped to find out in engaging the Ba'aths. We didn't.

The questions are what scare potential aggressors, not the possession. So what incentive remains to disarm, for anyone?
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:53 PM on April 16, 2003


It's inevitable that someone else in the Middle East will develop or get nukes. Not desirable, or right, but inevitable. once they do, Israel's current advantage and reason for possessing them will be gone. It'll be a standoff in an area of the world where people tend to push standoffs to the breaking point.
posted by pyramid termite at 7:45 PM on April 16, 2003


t's inevitable that someone else in the Middle East will develop or get nukes. Not desirable, or right, but inevitable. once they do, Israel's current advantage and reason for possessing them will be gone.

Totally wrong, just as the Soviets developing them didn't mean we didn't need to deter them with our own.

Nukes are Israel's ultimate protection. And that's how it should stay.

Amen.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:23 PM on April 16, 2003


The problem is WMD are quick to get.

Not if you're Iraq, apparently.

Nukes are Israel's ultimate protection. And that's how it should stay.

No, the open wallet and brown nose of the US administration (of whichever party) fulfils that function.
posted by riviera at 11:45 PM on April 16, 2003


What riviera said. double.
damn likudniks.
posted by nofundy at 5:24 AM on April 17, 2003


Nukes are Israel's ultimate protection. And that's how it should stay.

from whom? other states with organized militaries and perhaps someday nuclear weapons? i guess your forgetting 9-11 ... the more states that are making nukes/wmds - the greater the chance they may fall into the wrong hands and be set off in tel aviv or washington dc - which is all the more likely with the aggressive leadership of Bush and Sharon.
posted by specialk420 at 8:13 AM on April 17, 2003


One shouldn't assume that only nation states can possess WMD. I recall that Aum Shinrikyo was able to successfully brew up and deploy sarin in the Tokyo subways. This was a private organization acting secretly in one of the most peace-loving societies in the world.

And even if a government signs a piece of paper saying they'll give up their WMD, who's to say they couldn't get around this by having the weapons held by a "private contractor?"
posted by SPrintF at 6:57 PM on April 17, 2003


SPrintF, that's actually a somewhat brilliant idea -- couldn't you set up a company in Israel to function as a "WMD haven" someplace for countries to store things like VX gas and anthrax spores? Mail all your poisons to WMD R US, sign over ownership to them, with the option to buy at a slightly higher price at any time in the future, and then sign your anti-WMD treaty.
posted by Ptrin at 7:17 PM on April 17, 2003


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