Monday, June 20, 2005


Here's one that slipped through the media net.

In November 2004, the United Nations Committee on Disarmament voted on FISBAN. This is, or was, a Verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty the intention of which was to prevent the addition of any more nuclear bomb material to existing stocks throughout the world.

The vote was 147 to 1 in favour with two abstentions.

Job done, one would have thought.

Well actually, not quite, professor. The 1 carried a power of veto, cast as it was by the good ol' US of A. No surprise there, then.

The two abstentions should cause you no problems either, were you of a mind to attempt an identification of their countries of origin. Go on. Have a wild guess. The two patients sitting cross-legged in the surgery having that spot below their patellas tapped by Uncle Sam's hammer are...

You got it. Israel and Britain.

Shocked? Thought not.

I suppose a case could be made for the two abstentions being the most honest, brave and non-hypocritical decisions. After all, in the event of governments in fact disagreeing with the resolution but eager to curry political favour among their electorates (always allowing that the vote is actually covered in their media which is by no means assured), it is easy to vote for something that you know the US will veto anyway and thus destroy two targets with one missile.

Be that as it may, the point in all this which really transported away the chocolate digestive was Britain's reasoning behind its abstention.

The resolution had, apparently, "divided the international community at a time when progress should be a prime objective".

147 to 1. Some divide.

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