By Juan Cole
After four weeks of negotiations, a revised UN treaty on nuclear disarmament has been torpedoed by the United States, leaving the issue of global disarmament dead in the water for the next five years. Non-nuclear states are furious at Washington and also fearful that in the absence of an agreement, nuclear proliferation will now march on. Moreover, they are upset at the slow pace of reduction of numbers of nuclear weapons by nuclear-armed states such as the US and Russia.
The US vetoed the document because it contained a clause requiring Israel to meet with Arab neighbors and to participate in talks leading to the making of the Middle East a nuclear free zone. Israel is the only country in the Middle East with a substantial nuclear arsenal, which it hides in plain sight by refusing to talk about it. UN-mandated negotiations with Egypt and other Arab states could have forced Israel to admit its nuclear stockpile and begin reducing it.