|October 10, 2006
A NEW NUCLEAR ARMS RACE AMONG ‘ROGUES’:
According to the experts the Bush administration’s ‘war on terror’ has resulted in more global terror and more turmoil in the nations it was intended to rescue from terror. So the war’s latest byproduct, a nuclear arms race among ‘rogue nations,’ should surprise no one.
Once the American war machine had pointed the finger of ‘I will get you’ on the ‘Axis of Evil’ (Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria) every small state not included on Washington’s ‘friendly nation’ list must have started to search for a way to deter American bombers devastating their country.
The race for a nuclear deterrent was on.
North Korea won the race when it exploded its first nuclear device this month, causing furor among members of the world’s nuclear club, the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France, Israel and the newcomers India and Pakistan. As always the U.S. yelled ‘unacceptable’ loudest even though Washington, year after year, has refused to ratify the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
If nuclear analysts are right Washington will soon have to do more shouting. Iran, another of Washington’s bad-boy targets, is preparing its own nuclear membership test, an obvious answer to the finger-pointing rhetoric of the American President and his gun-ho entourage.
No one should be surprised if other ‘rogue’ nations or nations unwilling to buckle under to U.S. dominance are either experimenting or buying know-how to build their own bombs. All of them have witnessed the daily broadcasts for the last three years which graphically showed what happens to a country like Iraq or Afghanistan when the U.S. unleashes its democratic armed forces to bring freedom and human rights to these ‘dictatorships.’
Who wants it – at that price?
In fact the war on terror has yet to surface with a success story.
In Afghanistan the women are veiled again, the Taliban have returned to large tracts of the country; the streets are unsafe; civil war between the old war lords and Islamic fundamentalists has resumed and the general in charge of the U.N. forces warns unless tangible evidence of reconstruction appears within a month or two the population will call for the return of the Taliban.
In Iraq civil war has caused tens of thousands of deaths, the allied forces are hunkered down, virtually ineffective; chaos, suicide bombings and massacres are daily news and the reconstruction of a bombed out nation proceeds at snail’s pace.
To this list of formidable setbacks North Korea added its bomb, a small bomb no doubt but one that makes it clear the technology to make more and sell one or sell enriched plutonium does exist – and could be for sale.
(According to statistics during the Cold War 128,000 nuclear heads existed around the world, 70,000 of them owned by the United States, 55,000 by the Soviet Union. Today Russia and the U.S maintain an arsenal of a total of 12,000 operative nuclear heads with another 14,000 in reserve. France has 350 heads, China and Great Britain about 200 each, Israel 200 to 400 and India and Pakistan about 110 between them. All together these nations exploded 2024 nuclear tests, 528 of them in the atmosphere creating radioactivity which, it is estimated, over the years provoked more deaths then Hiroshima and Nagasaki.)
Pyongyang has always considered ‘the bomb’ might have to become the country’s ultimate deterrent if ‘capitalist warmongering’ threatened to invade the hermit dictatorship. North Korea is a sad country. When I visited it in 1989 it made the Soviet Union look like a paradise. Even then, fifteen years ago, the North Koreans were busy building their nuclear plant with Soviet help and technicians. But the Soviets were reluctant to finish the plant, offering one excuse after another to draw out the completion. In the end it is probably thanks to Soviet fear of a global nuclear conflagration triggered by the xenophobic North Koreans that prevented Pyongyang from having the bomb years ago. At least that was how Soviet engineers, well into their cups, explained to me the amazing delay in the completion of the plant.
The bomb has given the impoverished North not only a new military clout and a powerful bargaining chip at the negotiating table but a means to replenish its empty coffers and obtain food, medicine and some of the smaller luxuries of modern life for a people who often have to stare at empty shelves and whose entertainment and information comes from one TV channel and one radio station.
Reported often on the pangs of starvation the North, if driven to it by envisaged and harsh U.N. sanctions, could well act in despair and kindle one of those incidents on which wars are hung. Only this time it might be a nuclear war.
Around the world the North Korean bomb has caused more then seismic waves.
Many nations are more then ever anxious these days to have their own bomb, arguing: Why should the bomb be the exclusive right of some nations in a global system where all nations are supposedly equal?
In fact there already exists a sizeable brotherhood of anti-American and anti-Semitic nations who could well band together and form The Other Nuclear Club whose members swap, buy or bargain nuclear technology from one another – or have already done so. One point is certain: The race to have the bomb has accelerated since 2003 thanks to the war on terror.
Unfortunately in this horse-trading one or the other ‘bomb’ liberated by proliferation could end up in the hands of suicidal fanatics.
But for the moment the greatest fear for all of us might be how the Bush administration intends to retaliate against a North Korean bomb created by its own misguided policies.