When hearing someone of influence establish a goal for a nuclear free world, there is anticipation that the stance is strictly intended as precursor to some stimulating arguments, all preceded by extensive critical thinking and analysis. When the statement comes for the podium of the U.S. Presidency, the response is more puzzlement than anticipation of a lucid deployment of creative concepts, and it makes one wonder what Obama could possibly be leading to.
Other than making the brash statement, the President has provided little insight since making his pronouncement to clarify what analysis might have provided his administration with such a conclusion.
It would be disconcerting to think that thorough analysis led to what can only be considered a naïve objective. Reversing the trend of nuclear weapon proliferation is obviously in the interest of all humanity. Eliminating nuclear weapons altogether, on the other hand, is by any measure of common sense an impossibility. A world leader setting such a goal demonstrates an ignorance of the reality that is human frailty, and dismisses the existence of the many implacable, narcissistic egos that too often gain control of countries and the arsenals at their disposal.
Is it really so obscure that nuclear weapons have provided the world’s major powers a level playing field? Has there not been a greater sense of international security since the end of WWII? Regional conflicts have always, and may forever exist, however world scale war is a completely different beast. Why would Obama think that undermining the past fifty years of security would be an intelligent concept? International oversight of nuclear capabilities and control of nuclear technology proliferation may be difficult, but not impossible.
Making the assumption that all existing nuclear weapons would be destroyed by their owners, would require taking countries such as Russia, China, and Pakistan at their word. That assumption is well beyond the margins of wishful thinking. It borders on the idiotic. The obsession for evermore powerful arms, will always lead countries toward the nuclear door. If there were no nuclear weapons in existence, scientist would be enlisted to produce them.
Obama is obsessed with making change, although the change he campaigned on to reach the Presidency was apparently not the change American taxpayers are now succumbing to. His push for change on the nuclear front should be to stimulate the building of nuclear energy plants, not the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Paranoia and fear were centerpieces of military strategy long before Ghengis Khan’s “wrath of Khan” psychological warfare founded the largest contiguous empire in history during the early 13th. century. Nuclear arms moved this doctrine to the top of the security objectives list for most nations during the past 50 years. Fear of the extreme destructive force available with nuclear weapons makes statesmen of would-be aggressors, instilling the need to find alternatives to annihilation when searching for settlement of disagreements.
The challenge of reducing the total nuclear arsenal around the world is a daunting task which would have to start with getting an inventory remotely resembling the actual number of warheads, and the number of delivery vehicles. All one can honestly expect from this endeavor will be approximations. The Moscow Treaty of seven years ago came closest to an established and agreed-to measurement which was termed “operationally deployed warheads,” which only included warheads virtually sitting on missiles-ready-for-launch. Evidently the veracity of any international nuclear warhead accounting is about as valuable as that used by past A.I.G. executives prior to calculating their bonuses.
The most critical consideration is the capability of launching a devastating first-strike. This is where real stability between the superpowers rests, and the point on which control must be operationally and practically retained over arsenal developments of all nations. Countries considered “rogue states,” which seek nuclear arms should be held in check through the only viable tool, fear. Debate and discussion is valid only when negotiating with reasonable people and reasoning individuals.
The Pandora’s Box that was opened on July 16, 1945 in the New Mexico desert unleashed a devastating force on humanity. Although our wisdom seems not to have advanced, the physical power handed to mankind on that day can never be extinguished. It can, however, be controlled. In the arsenal of all weapons ever developed, nuclear warheads remain the most fearsome. Nuclear attacks are never an option, until they are.
A world without nuclear weapons is impossible, and a world leader, such as America, not having nuclear weapons is not remotely conceivable. Setting as an objective the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons is more evidence of the incomprehensibly simplistic contemplations and decisions exhaling from the White House. The real concern now is whether there is real political will in this new administration to carry out what might be needed to prevent proliferation of nuclear power in rogue countries.
James Raider writes The Pacific Gate Post