Lost in all the uproar about the proliferation of nuclear technology, and the inevitable consequent weaponry in North Korea and Iran, is the murky argument against their possession of such know-how. Why is the nuclear club restricting its monopoly membership?
The club’s original five members, US, Russia, China, Great Britain, and France, has grown to nine or ten members, depending on who’s counting. Non-signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), who now have such weapons, include Pakistan, India, and Israel. North Korea withdrew its membership in 2002.
A little talked about, yet very important issue is the existing worldwide total number of warheads--estimated to be in excess of 20,000--that are aimed at various military targets and population centers around the globe. Why so many--given that number could destroy our planet several times over? One can only guess at the brilliance behind such planning, and it conjures up images of the preparation that went into such masterful strokes such as Vietnam and Agent Orange, and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, given that these weapons have a limited shelf (or silo) life, and disregarding the huge cost of building them in the first place, what of the price of maintenance, and now of replacement? Congress mandated the never discussed Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program in 2004 “to improve the reliability, longevity, and certifiability of existing [nuclear] weapons and their components.” Lots of money for defense contractors involved here.
Whenever this subject comes up, the US’s arsenal is benignly described as a “deterrent force,” meaning that no one would dare attack us for fear of retaliation—read annihilation (or “obliteration” as Hillary Clinton once warned Iran it faced). The deterrent argument’s thrust is that by owning nuclear weapons others are deterred from attacking you. This rationale obviously does not apply to nuclear wannabes Iran and North Korea. After all, if ever we wanted to mount an attack on either of these nations, it wouldn’t do for them to have big bombs riding atop missiles that might be launched in retaliation.
Another argument for restriction is that these governments are unstable “rogue” states and their weaponry could easily fall into terrorist hands. This argument has been effective with the American public because it plays the fear card. The “wolf is at the door” claim is not new to us. A frightened populace has been proven time and again to be a controllable populace--one that is quite willing to give up basic freedoms while entrusting their safety to a few “brilliant” bureaucrats. These are the “smartest people in the room” who plot the fate of the world--in fortified, undisclosed locations that will ensure their survival in case of nuclear war. Never mind that they are of the same ilk as those who decided that we should fill our arsenals with more than enough nuclear warheads to end civilization as we know it, and other previously mentioned colossal blunders.
Also disregarded is the notion that if nukes are a defensive weapon for us (even though the previous administration threatened to violate that premise) why wouldn’t they be the same for every nation? Why would North Korea, or Iran, want to launch what would amount to a Kamikaze attack on anyone? Surely they know that their country would be in ashes shortly after such a blunder. This result is spelled out in the Mutually Assured Destruction corollary to the deterrence strategy. (It has a wonderfully descriptive acronym--MAD!)
By the way, what standing do the nuclear-tipped nations have to deny other nations the same capability? Is it like an exclusive country club that has racial or social barriers to entry? Would the presence of such weapons deter the current nuclear powers ability to blackmail others into doing their bidding?
Let’s face it, the US has become a militaristic enterprise that feeds on controlling the activities of other nations. We now have a military presence in 135 countries around the globe. For what purpose? Take a wild guess.
Finally, if our deterrence strategy is indeed sound, then we have nothing to worry about. In fact it’s so good it should be expanded to include everyone. Just think, if every country had nuclear weapons then no one would be attacking anyone else for fear of retaliation, and there would be no wars--because everyone would be…deterred!
Sounds good to me.