Tag Archives: atomic weapons

For 50 years Republicans have fought against treaties that brought peace

Summary:  To understand the dynamics and stakes of the Iran deal we should look at our past, rather than conservatives’ confident warnings about the future. The peace we’ve enjoyed for decades results in part from 50+ years of arms control treaties — all strenuously fought by the Right. We can learn much from their false predictions, as they’re repeated today about Iran.

Atomic bomb explosion

Contents

  1. Unceasing war.
  2. Clinton takes a turn.
  3. Obama negotiates a New START.
  4. Reagan the peacemaker.
  5. Conclusions.
  6. For More Information.

(1)  Unceasing war

The far-right’s grand strategy since WWII has been one of unceasing war and rigid opposition to all arms control treaties (we are always in 1938 Munich; are foes are always NAZI Germany). We see that in their opposition to a deal with Iran (where the likely alternative is war), just as we saw in their support for the continued above ground nuclear testing that was blanketing the world with radioactive fallout. Even after a full-court press by Kennedy, 19 Senators voted in 1963 against the first Nuclear Test Ban Treaty JFK negotiated in 1963. Fortunately saner people prevailed.

To get an idea of the results if the conservatives had won, read the National Institute of Health’s pages about exposure to radioactive Iodine-131 from fallout. These debates would play out repeatedly during the next 6 decades, but not always with a happy ending.

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Martin van Creveld asks: the more, the better for nuclear proliferation?

Summary:  For over a decade the US and Israel have scared us with stories about the imminent threat of Iran’s nukes, a louder version of a game they’ve played since 1984. Here Martin van Creveld gives a very different view of the problem.  (1st of 2 posts today.}

Nuclear Kraken

Release the Kraken! Art by lchappell

 

More May Be Better

By Martin van Creveld
From his website, 2 April 2015

Here with his generous permission

 

Spread of Nuclear Weapons: More May be Better was the title of an article published back in 1981 by the redoubtable political scientist Kenneth Waltz. Going against the prevailing wisdom, Waltz argued that nuclear proliferation might not be all bad. Nuclear weapons, he wrote, had prevented the US and the USSR from going to war against each other; as, by all historical logic since the days of Athens and Sparta in the fifth century BC, they should have done. Instead they circled each other like dogs, occasionally barking and baring their teeth but never actually biting. Such was the fear the weapons inspired that other nuclear countries would probably follow suit.

To quote Winston Churchill, peace might be the sturdy child of terror.

Since then over thirty years have passed. Though Waltz himself died in 2013, his light goes marching on. At the time he published his article there were just five nuclear countries (the US, the USSR, Britain, France, and China). Plus one, Israel, which had the bomb but put anybody who dared say so in jail. Since then three (India, Pakistan, and North Korea) have been added, raising the total to nine. Yet on no occasion did any of these states fight a major war against any other major, read nuclear, power.

And how about Iran? First, note that no country has taken nearly as long as Iran did to develop its nuclear program. Started during the 1970s under the Shah, suspended during the 1980s as the Iranians were fighting Saddam Hussein (who had invaded Iran), and renewed in the early 1990s, that program has still not borne fruit. This suggests that, when the Iranians say, as they repeatedly have, that they do not want to build a bomb they are sincere, at least up to a point. All they want is the infrastructure that will enable them to build it quickly should the need arise. That is a desire they have in common with quite some other countries such as Sweden, Japan, and Australia.

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Madness walks the streets of America. We can defeat it.

Summary: The front pages of major American newspaper these days read like the community newsletter for a high-class asylum, written by and for educated but mentally dysfunctional people. Those of the far Right read like the Arkham Asylum newsletter, written for and by brilliant but deranged people. While a natural reaction, it’s wrong. They prey upon our fears because it works, and generates cash for their patrons.  Understanding that is the first step to reform. This post gives two unusually clear examples.   {2nd of 2 posts today}

No Fear

Contents

  1. ISIS: a threat as big as the NAZIs!
  2. We must risk a nuclear war!
  3. For More Information.

(1)  The Islamic State poses a threat as serious as NAZI Germany

To our warmongers it’s always 1939. Threats are always like NAZI Germany. Negotiation always risks a repeat of Munich. Why don’t we laugh at the work of these people — such as “The Evil of our time” by Frederick W. Kagan at the American Enterprise Institute, 10 June 2015 — Excerpt…

The Islamic State (ISIS) is not a terrorist organization. It is an army of conquest destroying all traces of civilization in the lands that it holds. It has taken root in Iraq and Syria, but its evil threatens the whole world. The US must find an answer.

The greatest evil of our time has taken root in Iraq and Syria. … Comparing ISIS to the early Nazis is not hyperbole. … The threat of ISIS is more complex and insidious than that of Nazism.

… It is causing a humanitarian catastrophe on a scale not seen since World War II.

… There is no easy answer to the question: “What should we do?” But we must find the hard answer soon and gird ourselves for the pain and effort it will require. If not us, who? If not here, where? If not now, when?

Political rhetoric masquerading as analysis is the tool of choice for modern warmongers, and it has worked well. After 15 years of almost uniformly bad advice, the Kagan clan still has a prominent role in American geopolitics — a remarkable demonstration of our inability to learn from experience.

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