Chinese and Russian Nuclear Engineers


You and I can work on our continuing project of “Saving the Human Race.”

That is not excessive. David Krieger, President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, in a 12/27/11 letter to the Wall Street Journal says: “The world is far from perfect, and humanity must strive to make peace and encourage democratic practices as we strive to eliminate nuclear weapons, the only weapons that have the potential to eliminate us.”

That last phrase is exactly right: Nuclear weapons stand alone at the head of the class; the only weapons that can evaporate 14,000 year of human civilization in a good afternoon’s work. Unfortunately, he is wrong in the rest of it.

To China and Russia, Nuclear Weapons mean that Chinese and Russians can consolidate their control on non-majority ethnic populations inside Russia and China. They are free of the Tall White People interfering with events inside their country. They get to do now what the Tall White People did in the counties now controlled by the Tall White People- a hundred years ago. They get to kill their Indians.

Think Wampanoag, Abenaki, Cherokee, etc. etc. Accordingly, no one  alive today will see the end of nuclear weapons.

Change the word “democrat” in your head for the word “white race” and you see how long the Russians and the Chinese will cling to nuclear weapons. A long long time.

Now, how should the U.S., or the white race generally, deal with that Nuclear Monster standing at the head of the class on terrorism?  The neoconservative position is that the nuclear threat is no different than a long chain of military threats since the founding of the country. Enough determination and enough wealth can defeat the threat.

Well, maybe. But- maybe not.

There are major themes that what sees consistently presented in the writings of neocon enthusiasts. These themes are important. If the facts the neocons position is based on are as they assume; they are a long way toward carrying the argument that they have to carry. Conversely, if the facts are very very different, the neocon position is as dangerous a position as has ever been articulated.

The Wall Street Journal is as intelligent and fair defender of a capitalistic system as one could find. It is also relentlessly interventionist and aggressive. It assumes American exceptionalism means American soldiers everywhere; now and forever. It is neoconservative.
 Let’s start with 10 articles which, taken as a package, demonstrate what the intelligent neocon establishment believes about nuclear missiles.

1. The first is Warren Kozak, “The ‘Dayton’ Lesson  for America’s Shrinking Military.”

2. The second is “The Bogus Iran Intelligence Debate” by Bret Stephens which appeared March 20, 2012.

3. The third is “Where’s an Open Mic When We Really Need It?” by Martin Peretz which was published March 30, 2012.

4. The fourth, “What’s at Stake in the Missile-Defense Debate?” was written by Senator John Kyl and appeared April 3, 2012.

5. The fifth was a April 5, 2012 Editorial: “Intercepting Kim’s Rocket.”

6. The sixth, by John Lehman, “The Seas Are Great but the Navy is Small,” appeared April 27, 2012.

7. The seventh appeared May 1, 2012, was written by Bret Stephen and has a nice directness about it: “Anyone But Condi.”

8. The eighth contribution to the feast is Daniel Henninger’s, “The Great Human-Rights Reversal” which appeared May 10.

9. The ninth appeared May 11, 2012; “Awaiting the Next Revolution” by David Satter.

10. The tenth “NATO’s First Step on Missile Defense” by Anders Fogh Rasmussen appeared May 14, 2012.

Let’s start with the eighth. Daniel Henninger has written the most complete, insightful and important piece of the lot. He says what everyone thinks, but wants to avoid: There is a political movement in this country that wants to pick fights with other countries if those countries do bad things; whether or not they affect the security of America.

Henninger labels that impulse “idealism” and correctly, I think, provides a historical and political framework for that impulse in the past few decades:

“Liberals and  Democrats who work on human-rights issues won’t like to hear this, but with the Obama presidency, human rights has completed its passage away from the political left, across the center and into its home mainly on the right-among neoconservatives and evangelical Christian activists.”

Now, I think that ethnic identities here in the United States are more important in the transformation that the Henninger piece acknowledges; but let’s takes the column as it sits.

Henninger provides a mini-history of the modern human-rights movement in America and suggests that something new appeared with the Protestant Evangelical Jimmy Carter. He points to the elevation of the human-rights office inside the State Department as an important initial impulse.

The Christian Evangelical groups continued to support victims of  government persecution outside official governmental aegis. They are the primary supporters of Chinese and North Korean dissidents.

According to him, the left abandoned the human rights struggle once it was articulated by President Bush as a rational for attacking Iraq. Neoconservatives and religious human-rights groups  supported Bush; the left loathed the invasion.

Interestingly, Henninger thinks that the real reason that Obama wants to cut the Pentagon down to size is that it is an endless money pit that devours funds that could be better spent helping America’s poor; not that it is inevitably an ethnic instrument of violence that interferes in other peoples’ ethnic struggles.

It is the Pentagon, Henninger tells us, that is the heart of America’s ability to argue on behalf of Chinese dissidents, give voice to anti-authoritarian movements, and prevent rogues such as Iran and North Korea from becoming nuclear powers. But it is expensive, that money does take resources away from social programs; thus what he labels “the left’s ‘ambivalence'” to military expenditures.

I think that it is fair to see that Henninger’s theme; the need for more money in military expenditures as the most common theme in all the neocon literature; and is a basis for the arguments in a number of the listed articles. By way of example: Kozak says, “The next time some unforseen event threatens the mainland as the U.S. is slashing its military budget, this country won’t have the luxury of time to rebuild…” John Lehman piece is largely about the Obama’s adminstration’ attempt to cut the size of the Navy.

The second theme is that America has not been aggressive enough on the nuclear issues everywhere, but particularly in the Middle East. “Anyone But Condi” takes Ms. Rice to task. “She opposed a U.S. attack on the nuclear reactor North Korea had built in Syria, leaving Israel to do the job.”

“The Bogus Iran Intelligence Debate” concludes “For real intelligence, merely consider that a regime that can take a rock in its right hand to stone a woman to death should not have a nuclear bomb within reach of its left.”

The third theme is the need for the United States, along with a allies whose military moves are obviously controlled by the U.S., to develop a defense against nuclear missiles. Russia, as the country which was the first country to develop the capability to destroy has a special place here.  The editorial, “Intercepting Kim’s Rocket” would welcome a chance to demonstrate how advanced American missile defense is by shooting down a North Korean missile. “It would also be a real-world test of missile-defense technology, and if it succeeds would be a useful demonstration to the world’s rogues that the U.S. and its allies aren’t helpless against their missile attacks.”

On the same theme, Peretz attacks Obama for suggesting to Medvedev that he would be more conciliatory to Russian objections to American attempts to build a European missile defense system after he is reelected. Satter underlines America’s differences with Russia: “Mr. Putin accused the West of meddling in Russian affairs, saying ‘The Battle for Russia continues and we will win.'”

Rasmussen presents a cheery explanation of how the NATO countries are playing well together for a common goal, and he outlines how various countries are contributing to the big missile defense pot. Senator Kyl concludes his piece: “Supporting a robust nuclear deterrent and an effective missile defense is a moral obligation for all those who are entrusted with ensuring our nation’s security.”

This blog is largely about exploding those neocon three themes and calling attention to the dangers in failing to appreciate the basic fact about the nuclear weapons game, whether the game is labeled offense or defense. The nuclear weapons game is a game about national IQ.

The American Right; particularly that portion of the Right that is taken up by neoconservatism; will be forced in the next half century, to deal with a very unpleasant reality: Military expenditures in the nuclear field, whether they are labeled “offense” or “defense” cannot make America more secure.

Something has been established in the first 50 years of the nuclear weapons age. The Chinese and Russian engineer is simply too smart to ever again accept the world as it was in 1956: America infinitely safe and China and Russia infinitely vulnerable. Stay tuned.


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