Columns / Discourse / January 25, 2012

World Politics Corner: Nuclear double standards

Everywhere we look we see someone claiming a double standard against their favor. At the same time, the ones complaining tend to be holding their own double standards. It’s as if, to these people or nations, nothing is fair unless it’s on their side.

For instance, when Fox & Friends decided to pose the issue of double standards on the Left about a Newsweek article calling Tea Party members “dumb,” Jerry Springer (of all people) called them out on it.

Gretchen Carlson, the self-proclaimed moderate on the panel, refused to believe that her show was as insensitive and biased as the Newsweek article title. They did not spend much time actually talking about the content of said article.

Springer said, “We’re here on Fox News, every single day you guys bash President Obama.”

He called them out on their unfair and unbalanced reporting; this is hard to refute. Not to say that other media outlets aren’t bad, their problem is that they suck at reporting more so than have a bias, but there’s that too.

So, thank you, Springer. You’ve inspired this article, as bizarre as that seems. I’d like to follow his lead and call out one large double standard in the wake of this issue of nuclear proliferation.

The larger scheme of this issue seeks to end the spread of nuclear weapons, allowing the countries that already have them to keep them. The only known uses of A-bombs in a time of war are in the cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We know their destructive capabilities.

However, even after such devastation, the Cold War superpowers did not see any need to control the spread of these weapons, so long as they were in the hands of allies. Thus a nuclear arms race began, and countries such as India, Pakistan and Israel all got their weapons. The United States, of course, has the most.

After this, somewhere down the line, the world (or rather the country with the most bombs and its allies) decided that spreading this technology was bad. And thankfully, we still only have two uses of the A-bomb under the belt of history.

That larger history seems to promote a double standard, in which the people who created and used and spread the technology, now want to stop it from reaching others while maintaining to keep theirs as a “deterrent.”

Because obviously Iran doesn’t need a deterrent of its own, right? It’s only surrounded by a world that wants to get rid of them. (The entire Middle East save for Syria does not enjoy Iran’s company.) This argument sounds awfully familiar. But I digress.

Really, the bigger double standard by those nations that are for the end of nuclear proliferation is that while simultaneously demanding that other nations not acquire these weapons, nations like the United States still use them.

No, not something as large and crude as the A-bomb. Instead, we look at sleeker ballistic missiles with depleted uranium, otherwise known by its friendlier name, Q-Metal. And yes, they’ve been used.

As a liability issue, consult your doctor before you look up “Depleted Uranium Babies” on Google images. Don’t be surprised if many of the images come out of the Iraq War of 2003. To date, Iraqis are still giving birth to babies who, if not stillborn, die very shortly.

The radiation of this depleted uranium has killed scores in addition to those already killed by the impact and explosion of these missiles. While there is no mushroom cloud to grasp people’s attention, the effects are horrible. Conveniently, though, it is legal.

This is just food for thought, something to think about when contextualizing the issue of nuclear weapons as a whole. Whether the issue of fairness matters in global politics matters to you or not, the United States is putting pressure using sanctions against one nation that is trying to get the same weapons that the U.S. freely uses without consequence.

Rana Tahir
Rana Tahir is a political columnist for The Knox Student, primarily covering international issues. She will graduate in June 2013 with degrees in political science and creative writing, after which she will attend the University of Denver's publishing institute.

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