I barely got out that last post (in which I discussed the hypocrisy of lecturing Iran about its nuclear intentions while not even acknowledging Israel's sophisticated nuclear weapons program) and now it's official; the U.S. President, Barak Obama, just as with every President before him, "does not intend to press Israel to give international monitors access to its nuclear weapons" (source: Global Security Newswire (GSN), Friday, October 2, 2009).
The agreement or "understanding", which allegedly began with U.S. President Richard Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier in 1969, essentially says that the U.S. will look the other way so long as Israel doesn't do anything to flaunt its nuclear muscle (such as testing a weapon or having one of those big parades for which the Soviet Union was famous).
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems confident that President Obama will continue the treatment of the past 40 years, and that this "understanding" will continue as official/unofficial U.S. policy (albeit very quiet policy). It would seem self-evident that international treaties such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which the U.S. is a signatory, would supercede any such "understanding", and that the President of the United States, having sworn to uphold the Constitution, would honor such treaties.
That President Nixon entered into such an "understanding" with Golda Meier would itself have been unconstitutional (assuming he did not have the consent of Congress), considering that the Constitution prohibits the President alone to commit the United States to any agreements with other nations.
The GSN article quoted a Senate staff member as saying that "the president gave commitments that politically he had no choice but to give regarding Israel's nuclear program." Aside from the fact that the President's entire non-proliferation agenda could end up in the trash can should he not deal with the issue of Israeli nuclear weapons, the President is bound by the Constitution to uphold the NPT, and therefore must deal directly and openly with Israel as a nuclear power (whether declared or undeclared).
I am calling on President Obama to uphold the Constitution and the spirit of the NPT, and asking him to publicly recognize the illegality of the 40 year-old "understanding" between Nixon and Meier. At the same time, I am thanking him for his leadership that past presidents have not demonstrated. I hope you will join me. Continuing the folly of the past 40 years will only serve to weaken global disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. You can send the President an email by clicking here.
Reference: U.S. Not Seeking Disclosure of Israeli Nuclear Arsenal, Global Security Newswire, Friday, October 2, 2009
Photo: President Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meier meeting in Washington in 1973. Photo from Getty Images.