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January 22, 2010 |  7 comments |  Print  Your Opinion  

Accepting American Hegemony

Jerome Grossman: A world without nuclear weapons would do much in terms of security, but more so, it would enhance and protect the superpower status of the United States. Giving up nuclear weapons and accepting US hegemony may be the price humanity must pay to avert the threat of total 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 the 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.

These conservative leaders agree with the Democrats in the US Senate. Both argue for dramatic reforms in the US and world nuclear policy. The problem is political, how to persuade the Republican Senators to adopt these reforms. It won’t happen unless Kissinger et al do some serious lobbying. Obama can not do it alone and GOP support is essential.

While the public argument will advocate the ‘no first use’ of nuclear weapons, immediate reduction of all nuclear arsenals, guarding nukes and nuclear materials, enhanced verification and enforcement procedures, their private argument will point out that complete and verifiable elimination of all nukes will enhance world-wide US military hegemony.

During President Clinton’s administration, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty 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.

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 the 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. Some 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.

Jerome Grossman is the author of 'Relentless Liberal' and the retired president of the Massachussets Envelope Company. He is a former member of the Democratic National Committee and the Chairman Emeritus of Council for a Livable World.


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Tags: | Barack Obama | nuclear weapons |
 
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Greg Randolph Lawson

January 22, 2010

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However, I am not sanguine about these prospects. I argued in my article (linked above) on the "Golden Age of Proliferation" that it is utopian daydreaming to think we can ever reach this goal.

Some comments from that piece:

"Nuclear weapons are here to stay. The genie is out and will not go back into the bottle. Knowledge cannot be unlearned and despite the best efforts of stigmatization, the truth is, nuclear weapons are a symbol of power as well as a useful negotiating chip for some nations. To pretend that the "Golden Age of Proliferation" is either not here or that we can stall it by paens to a "nuclear free" world doesn't seem wise.

It appears we need to examine how to deal with, and control, nuclear technology flowing to civilian programs while at the same time examining our deterrence posture. It is time to change from a Cold War, Superpower based model that is rigid, to a flexible model that allows numerous options to be examined before being summarily dismissed."

Further, here are several thoughts from the estimable Thomas Schelling of game theory and deterrence theory fame:

"If a world without nuclear weapons; means no mobilization bases, there can be no such world. Even starting in 1940 the mobilization base was built. And would minimizing mobilization potential serve the purpose ? To answer this requires working through various scenarios involving the expectation of war, the outbreak of war, and the conduct of war. That is the kind of analysis I haven't seen...

We are so used to thinking in terms of thousands, or at least hundreds, of nuclear warheads that a few dozen may offer a sense of relief. But if, at the outset of what appears to be a major war, or the imminent possibility of major war, every responsible government must consider that other responsible governments will mobilize their nuclear weapons base as soon as war erupts, or as soon as war appears likely, there will be at least covert frantic efforts, or perhaps purposely conspicuous efforts, to acquire deliverable nuclear weapons as rapidly as possible. And what then?...

In summary, a world without nuclear weapons would be a world in which the United States, Russia, Israel, China, and half a dozen or a dozen other countries would have hair-trigger mobilization plans to rebuild nuclear weapons and mobilize or commandeer delivery systems, and would have prepared targets to preempt other nationsnuclear facilities, all in a high-alert status, with practice drills and secure emergency communications. Every crisis would be a nuclear crisis, any war could become a nuclear war. The urge to preempt would dominate; whoever gets the first few weapons will coerce or preempt. It would be a nervous world."

Tags: | Obama Nuclear Weapons |
 
Greg Randolph Lawson

January 22, 2010

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Some of my comment above was cut off.

My introduction was to commend Mr. Grossman for presenting the intriguing idea that a world without nuclear weapons would serve to solidify American hegemony and could be an accpetable "price" for the world to pay in order t avoid the potential for catastrophe.

I then went on to offer my significant reservations of the "Global Zero" effort.
 
Member deleted

January 22, 2010

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China felt the pain when making a hundred and eighty degree turn in Copenhagen conference, and that's not really a surprise.

It's difficult and painful for all giants to do so, making turns. But when giants are making the right turns meeting each other half way, something good might happen.

Now that US-Russia relationship improved, in much more harmonious terms now, since they made the right turns to meet each other half way, even if just for the moment. Maybe a lot more could come up if it's meant to be sustainable.

By the same token, other giants could do the same, as well.

Thus, the objective of a world with no nuclear weapons is possible, step by step, and going forward.

Then comes the task of developing mechanisms to share the responsibilities, which used to be the sole responsibility of the US - the world cop.

Maybe a world government under UN would do.
 
Heinrich  Bonnenberg

January 22, 2010

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Please, let us not forget EUROPE in this debate.

46 states are existing in EUROPE (740 million inhabitants); 27 of them are member states of EU.

25 of the states in EUROPE are member states of NATO. 21 of these are member states of EU; not each member state of EU is member state of NATO.

EUROPE has three states with nuclear weapons: France, Great Britain and Russian Federation.

These three EUROPEANS have to find a nuclear weapon strategy for designing future EUROPE, fairly dealing with the other 43 states of EUROPE and in a constructive relation to the non-EUROPEAN member states of NATO, to US, Canada and Turkey .

The Munich Conference on Security Policy and all other similar discussions should have in mind and preserve the interests of future EUROPE, mainly the necessity to increase its identity and as result its ability to withstand competition of China, India and US. EU needs Russia and Russia needs EU, together strong in a future EUROPE with strength.


 
Member deleted

January 22, 2010

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Dear Greg,

Your analyses seem to cover the past and the present I suppose!

Nevertelessly I am inclined to assume that mankind has been growing more and more peace-oriented over the decades. On the other hand I see reginalization not only as an economical and political integration but also as a regional peace insurance. In this sense some form of globalization may also be conceived as an insurance for world peace at least to some degree.

I am tempted to look ahead for a brighter and more peaceful future for the mankind. By doing so mankind would be more likely to plant the seeds of total world peace which the future generations may be able to harvest.

To look at it from the counter point of view would only encourage the nations fuel the present conflicts towards their peak and somewhere along the line -I am very afraid- the total destruction of the mankind would erupt like a merciless volcano...

Therefore I have to defend eventual global zero if mankind is to avoid complete nuclear destruction in the future altogether.

Please let us be optimistic and live without fear while alive at least??

With my respects,
Mustafa
Tags: | nuclear weapons |
 
Unregistered User

January 24, 2010

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Elimination of nuclear weapons, which served Cold War conditions, is economically
responsible. But this doesn't mean by any imagination the elimination of nuclear weapons per se.
Nuclear devices for close proximity conditions, for example, are extensively researched in the US.
But to completely eliminate nuclear weapons, which must include nuclear weapons research, I am afraid, is just wishful thinking.
Especially as it comes on the heels of a report in The Jerusalem Post online, in which the Obama
administration admiited that it overestimated its ability to persuade Israeli and Palestinians to resume
meaningful peace talks.
Now Israel is a nation with a 3 billion $ life-line from the US. Israel controls a inventory
of about 200+ nuclear weapons, although not officially confirmed by Israel. It has not signed the NPT and has also not signed onto the International Court if Justice, while it keeps the IAEA at bay.
On another note, this nuclear fear mongering which suggests the prospect of annihilation,
is not only old fashioned but also doesn't serve any purpose, as 9/11 has taken the sting
out of this annihilation fear and opened to the question--why America.
We have to understand that nuclear science is not proprietary to the US and foreign research
successes are not by any means US intellectual property.
In a recent science competition, sponsered by IBM, NYSE and Berkley the Gold Medal Winners
were Universities from Russia(1), Russia(2), China(3) and Russia(4). MIT received Silver in 7th place.
Accepting now American Hegemony especially under the patronage as a military super-power
would simply mean putting most global societies under a " colonial balnket".
If it is believed that supporting a military superpower hegemony, nuclear free, is humanity's price for peaceful existence, you just opened the recipe book fo insurgencies etc.
Hegemony is an interesting phenomenon or as some qualify it as " preponderance of influence
with a small dose of imperialism while acting like an iceberg ".
Unfortunately only 1/11 of an iceberg is visible on the surface, but when observed under the water
line all potential brutality of its size can be observed.
Hegemony can domestically occupy a nation through control of our media and institutions.
It can condition a nation to accept a moral code and it can influence the culture of a whole nation.
Hegemony can also be very powerful in the construction of consent of the powerless.
When in the American West the American Indian was defeated, many attributed it to" the superior
Winchester Rifle." I don't think they would like to know that about 50% died of White Men's diseases.
Is the desire for hegemony one of them.

HRF





Tags: | athens/ hegemony |
 
Unregistered User

April 27, 2010

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"A world without nuclear weapons would do much in terms of security, but more so, it would enhance and protect the superpower status of the United States. Giving up nuclear weapons and accepting US hegemony may be the price humanity must pay to avert the threat of total annihilation."

What an audacious statement! As far as I know, only the US has used Nuclear Weapons so far. How about Israel leaves the Middle East so that its Muslim neighbors do not feel threatened. Or all the muslims go to Indonesia and Malaysia so that Israel and the rest of the world live in peace.

And last but not least, what if the US drops its nuclear weapons unilatery and drops this Hegemony ambition business all together.

I am surpised that for world peace and coexistance the only strategy suggested is one master and everybody else a slave. Which side would you pick Mr. Grossman? Would that be by default or by design?


 

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