The spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons poses a serious threat. To help counter this threat, President George W. Bush has announced a Proliferation Security Initiative. Countries working with the U.S., said Mr. Bush, include the other members of the Group of Eight -- Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, and Russia:
“Over time, we will extend this partnership as broadly as possible to keep the world’s most destructive weapons away from our shores and out of the hands of our common enemies.”
Two countries of special concern are North Korea and Iran. The G-8 countries called on North Korea “to visibly, verifiably, and irreversibly dismantle any nuclear weapons programs.” And they put Iran on notice that it must stop pursuing nuclear weapons.
As John Bolton, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, said, the U.S. seeks to work with other countries “to develop a broad range of legal, diplomatic, economic, military, and other tools” to block shipments of equipment and technologies that could be used to produce weapons of mass destruction or the missiles to deliver them.
As Mr. Bolton pointed out, the aim is not only to prevent the spread of such weapons, “but also to eliminate or ‘roll back’ such weapons from rogue states and terrorist groups that already possess them or are close to doing so.” That is what happened in Iraq, where the Saddam Hussein regime posed the unacceptable threat that it might either use weapons of mass destruction or make them available to terrorists. Now that Iraq has been liberated, the U.S.-led coalition is looking to see where Saddam Hussein may have hidden what President Bush called “his tools of mass terror”:
“We’re on the look. We’ll reveal the truth. But one thing is certain: no terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the Iraqi regime is no more.”
As President Bush has said, the U.S. “will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.”