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Title: An open letter to President Clinton - The Hindustan Times

Jagmohan ()
June 18, 1998

Title: An open letter to President Clinton
Author: Jagmohan
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: June 18, 1998

Dear Mr President, May I invite your attention to what
President Woodrow Wilson had said in 1915 in his address
to American citizens of foreign birth: "If I have in any
degree forgotten what America was intended, I will thank
God if you will remind me." The purpose of this letter is no
more than to serve as a small reminder. In the aforesaid
address, President Woodrow Wilson had also observed:
"My urgent advice to you would be, not only always to
think first of America, but always, also, to think first of
humanity. You do not love humanity if you seek to divide
humanity into jealous camps. Humanity can be welded
together only by love, by sympathy, by justice, not by
jealousy and hatred. I am sorry for the man who seeks to
make personal capital out of the passions of his fellow-men.
He has lost the touch and ideal of America. For America
was created to unite mankind."

How do you, Mr President, reconcile this ideal of America
with your stand on nuclear weapons a stand that would
have the effect of dividing the, world into two parts -
'nuclear haves' and 'nuclear have-nots'. Is not jealousy and
instability inherent in this division? I am sure, you are not
unaware of these observations of the Canberra
Commission: "Nuclear weapons are held by a handful of
States which insist that these weapons provide unique
security benefits, and yet reserve uniquely to themselves the
right to own them. This situation is highly discriminatory
and thus unstable; it cannot be sustained. The possession of
nuclear weapons by any State is a constant stimulus to other
States to acquire them."

India's explosion of nuclear devices on May 11 and 13 are,
in an essence, an expression of her refusal to submit to a
blatantly discriminatory nuclear regime -which is intended
to be established. You cannot expect a nation of 1000
million, with a civilisation as old as 5000 years, to allow
itself to put permanently in a situation wherein any of
'nuclear baron' can twist its arms any time. India's history
tells her in no uncertain terms that greatness of a
civilisation provides no guarantee or safeguard against
military or technological power. The communique issued
on June 5 from Geneva, after the foreign ministers'
conference, already smacks of arrogance of power. It
virtually dictates India to do what five nuclear powers tell
her to do. Your Secretary of State, Ms Medeleine Albright,
leaves hardly any one in doubt about what she implies
when she says: "What international community wants the
(India and Pakistan) to do they should do".

What, Mr President, is this international community but a
power cartel? Here is what one of the distinguished
American intellectuals, Samuel Huntington, has observed:
"The West in effect is using international institutions,
military power and economic resources to run the world
that will maintain Western predominance, protect Western
interests and promote Western political and economic
values." An equally distinguished Soviet scholar of the
international scene, Flex Yurlov, has said: "International
political, economic and security institutions are effectively
settled by a directorate headed by the United States."

True peace and power cartels do not go together. If United
States wishes to ensure real and lasting peace, you have to
lift your vision to a new horizon and take initiative for
bringing about a fair and just global order, including, the
nuclear one. You hardly need to be reminded about what
the International Court of Justice has said In its unanimous
opinion tendered on July 8, 1996: "There exists an
obligation to pursue in good faith and to bring to a
conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in
all its aspects under strict and effective international
control." This obligation devolves on you most. You are a
powerful Chief Executive of the most influential nation in
the world today. A decisive lead by you is bound to yield
quick and positive results.

The destructive impact of the nuclear weapons in different
arenas is too well known to need any elaboration.
Nevertheless, what President Eisenhower said bears
repetition: "Every gun that is made, every warship
launched, every rocket fired, in its final sense, a theft from
those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and
are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money
alone. It is spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius
of its scientists, the hopes of its children." Is it not
astounding that, after expression of such noble sentiments
as these, the United States should have carried out
thousands of nuclear tests and not moved effectively, even
after the end of the cold war, for destruction of all nuclear
stockpiles and creation of a nuclear weapon free world? Is
it appropriate that even now it should be spending 4 billion
dollars on ballistic missile defence, 33 billion on
maintaining warheads and also many more billions on
developing, through computer simulation, B 61-11 earth
penetrating warheads?

These days, an argument is often heard that India, with a
massive burden of poverty and under-development on her
back, should not have thought of becoming a nuclear
power. This argument is far from being tenable. India's
poverty, like that of any other developing country, is a
crippling legacy of two centuries of colonialism from which
she could be relieved, after the Second World War, only
through a fair and just international order - an order which
could undo the wrong done in the past and ensure liberal
and regular flow of resources from the industrialised
countries to the erstwhile colonies. But what was done was
the continuance of colonial order in a different form. What
was earlier taken through military might began to be taken
through subtle manipulation of the international economic

May I, in the end, recall two pertinent observations.
Gorbachev, in his book on Perestroika, has remarked: "The
new political outlook calls for the recognition of one simple
axiom: security is indivisible. It is either equal security for
all or none at all." Baruch who authored the famous Baruch
Plan, conceived in late forties, was no less forthright:
"Behind the black portent of the new atomic age lies a hope
which, seized upon with faith, can work our salvation. If we
fail, then we have damned every man to be the slave of

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