FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Puddle Jumping in New Britain
Matt Johnson
The Rich Are No Smarter Than You
Julian Vigo
College Scams and the Ills of Capitalist-Driven Education
Brian Wakamo
It’s March Madness, Unionize the NCAA!
Beth Porter
Paper Receipts Could be the Next Plastic Straws
Christopher Brauchli
Eric the Heartbroken
Louis Proyect
Rebuilding a Revolutionary Left in the USA
Sarah Piepenburg
Small Businesses Like Mine Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Robert Koehler
Putting Our Better Angels to Work
Peter A. Coclanis
The Gray Lady is Increasingly Tone-Deaf
David Yearsley
Bach-A-Doodle-Doo
Elliot Sperber
Aunt Anna’s Antenna
March 21, 2019
Daniel Warner
And Now Algeria
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail