Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Averting Nuclear Annihilation

President Barack Obama has called for a major change in world policy on nuclear weapons, leading to eventual elimination. His initiative is supported by a powerful group of conservative and military allies led by former Republican Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz and Democrats former Secretary of Defense William Perry and Sam Nunn longtime Chair of Senate Armed Services Committee.

These leaders recognize that nuclear weapons are the most inhumane and dangerous ever conceived, that kill and maim without discrimination, the only weapons ever invented that could destroy all life on planet Earth. That must not happen. Disarmament is the only answer: If any country has nuclear weapons, others will want them. Then, some day they will be used by accident, mistake, or design - the ultimate catastrophe.

In The Wall Street Journal and other venues, these conservative leaders argue for their dramatic reforms.
1. No first use of nuclear weapons

2. Immediate reduction of all nuclear arsenals

3. Immediate elimination of short-range nukes

4. Eventual elimination of long-range nukes

5. Guarding nukes and nuclear materials

6. Phasing out production of highly enriched uranium

7. Enhanced verification and enforcement procedures

8. Bringing into force the universal Comprehensive Test-ban Treaty to monitor and discourage cheating

Additional points about nuclear weapons

a. The US does not need to test nukes to maintain its current arsenal

b. The US and Russia own 95% of the world’s nukes and are cooperating in guarding inventories

c. The US and Russia have reduced their ICBM nukes to 2000 and are now negotiating further reductions to about 1600.

d. The US has not tested nukes since September 23, 1992, when Bush senior was president

e. For the CTBT treaty to go into effect, 44 specified countries with nuclear capacity must ratify. Of those countries, the following have not ratified: China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and USA.

During President Clinton’s administration, the CTBT was sent to the US Senate for approval. It failed to reach the 67 votes necessary for ratification, but did attain a majority, 51- 49. In 2010, there will be another attempt to reach 67, hopefully by persuading seven Republicans to join 60 Democrats. Henry Kissinger et al should be helpful in this effort.

Some conservatives and military leaders believe that a worldwide policy of no nukes would be the most advantageous policy for the US, enhancing and protecting its status as the only military superpower with the capability to deploy overwhelming non-nuclear forces anywhere on earth in a matter of hours. It would legitimize US action against alleged rogue states and tighten control over the nuclear black market. It would support present US hegemony by eliminating the so-called suicide defense prepared by North Korea and Iran. Giving up nuclear weapons and accepting US hegemony may be the price that humanity must pay to avert the threat of total annihilation.

Several countries including Libya, Ukraine, Belarus, have given up their nukes as not worth the high cost of development and maintenance. Others have found the prestige of having nukes to be over-rated. And others have found themselves under an informal US nuclear umbrella: Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Israel, and others. And finally, nations that find US hegemony onerous and oppressive, with or without nuclear weapons, could ally themselves for resistance.


an average patriot said...

Jerome the planet is already in a sorry state and no one wants to cooperate with trying to heal what we can.

I am concerned with any future war not just nuclear because the planet is in a stage in her cycle of life where we should be nurturing her not finishing her off.

As you know as far as nuclear goes what we have is here for ever. All the waste, everything it has an indeterminable shelf life.

I know the US and Russia plan on making further reductions but even keeping 100 apiece is too much as they are much more destructive than ever.

However looking at the countries you listed I am very concerned about them not so mush Russia and the US.

Most concerning is the country not mentioned as they will use them and worse and I see war with them as inevitable as they are instigating it. That of course is Iran.

I was disturbed to find that along with Pakistan we gave Iran there nuclear start as part of the atoms for peace program in the 50s.

The nuclear program of Iran was launched in the 1950s with the help of the United States as part of the Atoms for Peace program.
[1] The support, encouragement and participation of the United States and Western European governments in Iran's nuclear program continued until the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran.

We are so concerned about Pakistan and Iran today in regard to nuclear abilities and nuclear weapons and security. I was blown away to find out that we built the first nuclear Reactors in both Iran and Pakistan. Nuclear program of Iran - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stephen said...

I think all the points Jerome lists as being made or supported by conservatives are exactly those made by the FAS (Federation of American Scientists) and the CLW (Council for a Livable World). There is one point missing: the US has such superiority in non-nuclear weapons that we could easily inflict intolerable damage on any rogue country that should choose to attack. We no longer need nukes as a deterrent.

Since I view all the arguments as progressive (liberal in "Republicanese") ones too, I have high hopes for the US and Russia bringing the era of MAD to an end.

an average patriot said...

So much for cutting, did you see this? Medvedev: Russia to Develop New Nuclear Missiles
Voice of America - ‎7 minutes ago‎
Photo: AP Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says his country will develop a new generation of nuclear weaponry, even as it works toward a new strategic arms treaty with the United States.

Stephen said...

Re the Voice of America report: I remarked on bringing MAD to an end. I did not mean to imply that would happen quickly, just that it appeared more possible than ever before.

Regarding VOA and Russia's development of new delivery vehicles, how is that any worse than our proposed reliable replacement warhead (which some say would be much more than just a replacement), and which apparently is going nowhere.

I have no idea how the reliability of the Russian vehicles compares with ours. Maybe to maintain parity, they feel the need to upgrade, not increase the number of delivery vehicles.

Possibly related: the Planetary Society has tried twice to launch an experimental proof-of-concept solar sail using Russian vehicles, both of which failed during the launch process. That may suggest other vehicles are also unreliable. If so, maybe the Russians are just being sensible.

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.


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