FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Twittering While the World Comes to its Senses

Photo by Marc Nozell | CC BY 2.0

Photo by Marc Nozell | CC BY 2.0

When Donald Trump Twittered something about nuclear weapons Dec. 23, I thought he must be deliberately trivializing the Bomb to make it appear small, the way he makes light of sexual assault, punching critics, deporting millions, torturing suspects, and assassinating women and children. About the Bomb, the world’s most famous Twitterer reportedly said, “The US must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

The Tweeter in Chief is unaware that the world actually is coming to its senses regarding nukes. Mr. Trump either knows next to nothing about nuclear weapons — and isn’t afraid to teach nonsense, even contradicting his Secretary of Defense nominee — or he wants to direct attention away from current progress being made toward their abolition.

On December 23, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a historic resolution to begin negotiations in 2017 on a treaty banning nuclear weapons. The vote follows an Oct. 27 decision by the UNGA First Committee to begin work on the new treaty, a resolution opposed by the US and several other nuclear-armed states.

The latest resolution passed 113 to 35, with 13 abstaining. Putting the lie to President Barak Obama’s lip-service about pursuing “a world without nuclear weapons,” US delegate Samantha Power voted against the resolution. So did nuclear-armed England, France, Russia, and Israel. Yet not every nuclear power parroted US obstructionism. US partners India and Pakistan abstained, as did China. North Korea (with perhaps 10 nuclear weapons) and Iran (with zero nukes) voted in favor. Saudi Arabia blew off its principle arms supplier and voted Yes, as did Italy despite being both a NATO partner and home to about 80 US H-bombs still deployed at two if its air force bases.

The US knows a treaty ban will demolish the US-manufactured perception that nuclear weapons are legitimate — while landmines, gas, poison, biological and cluster munitions are not. An international ban would also make it politically embarrassing and legally suspect for the US and NATO to continue their nuclear war planning.

The UN treaty talks will proceed in two sessions: March 27 to 31, and June 15 to July 7. During a UN budget committee meeting in December, the US fought against a funding request for the planned four weeks of negotiations. But under pressure ban proponents Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria and South Africa, the US withdrew its opposition and the funding was Okayed.

In a leaked document sent to NATO members in October, before the UN First Committee decision, the US urge opposition to the resolution and a boycott of the negotiations. US marching orders were disobeyed by allies including The Netherlands, India, and Pakistan which all abstained (and by Italy which voted Yes).

The “capability” of the US nuclear arsenal is already redundant, according to Mr. Trump’s nominee to head the Pentagon. In January 2015, Gen. James Mattis ridiculed our 450 land-based missiles, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee, “You should ask: ‘Is it time to reduce the triad … removing the land-based missiles?’” Gen. Mattis is friends with former Defense Secretary William Perry who earlier called for eliminating the same missiles. They should be scrapped, Perry says, because “They’re not needed.” The same position is advocated by Gen. James Cartwright, a former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former commander of US nuclear forces, and by Republican Senator Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

To “greatly strengthen and expand” the explosive, incendiary, and cancerous power of H-bombs is militarily irrational, economically bankrupting, and environmentally self-destructive. The Nobel Prize-winning Physicians for Social Responsibility, which has studied the subject for 4 decades, reported in 2014 that just 100 nuclear warheads — if detonated — could plunge the Earth into a smoke-clouded darkness long enough to destroy agriculture and starve billions of people to death. The US has 7000 warheads, 70 times the “strength” to do ourselves in. But then, Mr. Trump and his supporters would have to read something to know this.

More articles by:

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail