Hans Blix speaks at SIU about Iraq and nuclear arms race

Hans Blix speaks at SIU about Iraq and nuclear arms race
By: Carly O'Keefe
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Former United Nations Chief Weapons Inspector Dr. Hans Blix spoke at Southern Illinois University Wednesday about the events leading up to the war in Iraq and the current global trend toward nuclear proliferation.
In 2003, Blix conducted hundreds of inspections, but discovered no hard evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That contradicted U.S. intelligence on the matter, which was later found to be faulty. After leaving his post with U.S. in 2003, Blix put his efforts toward putting a stop to what he calls a new arms race.
Blix is currently the chairman of the International Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction. According to the commission's findings in recent years, the spread of nuclear weapons across the globe is on par with the cold war; however the reason behind it is different this time around.
"The past conflicts were about territory, or about borders, or ideologies, religion, but those things don't exist here, they're now quarreling about who can have what weapons," said Blix.
Blix says North Korea's return to the negotiating table is an encouraging step toward peace. However, he fears the Bush Administration's refusal to negotiate with Iran and threatening military action to force the country to give up its nuclear ambitions will have disastrous consequences.
"There is risk in this. One might say if the U.S. Government had intentions to go to war with Iran, they're doing all the right things," said Blix.
Blix believes a better way to force Iran into compliance is to apply financial pressure through trade restrictions.
For an overall solution to stopping the arms race, Blix suggests the U.S. take the first step in reigning in nuclear proliferation, by signing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
"If the U.S. ratified it, I'm pretty sure China would. And if China does, I think India will, then Pakistan will, then I think Iran would, and then Israel and we'll have seen the end of all nuclear tests," said Blix.
That domino effect, according to Blix, would help foster trust between the many countries currently competing in the race for weapons of mass destruction.