The US is now deploying its next-generation nuclear warheads. The ones that it must have designed and built while it was still under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty it withdrew from in 2019.
When you look at the amount of time it takes to design, build, and test a new weapons system, it beggars the imagination to think that the US was able to withdraw from the treaty and be deploying new nukes in 8 months. No, what had to have been happening is that the US was cheating on the treaty so obviously that finally it became time to just give up. If that’s accurate, then it means that Donald Trump was accidentally honest about something; that’s one of the most shocking things about this entire story.
The other, as I have mentioned before, is that the US media has done a so-so job of pretending to believe that the US nuclear arsenal remains a “deterrent.” What’s needed for a deterrent is hard-hitting robust missiles that can’t be stopped, and the new generation are fast-moving, precise, first-strike weapons. Instead of stealthy subs that lurked deep and distant waters, to bring retaliatory death, the submarines are dual-use: they can stealth in close to a target and launch a devastating attack that arrives so quickly nobody has time to react before precise nuclear bursts wipe out their ability to respond. The survivors in the rubble are expected to surrender once they get their feet back under them and put the fires out. This is a huge strategic shift because it changes the US (and by extension the British) Trident force from being a part of mutual assured destruction, into a weapon of aggression. Naturally, all of this happened without any public discussion, or review: the military government of the US decided to make the world a much more perilous place, and only is breaking it to the people that paid for it once it’s too late to do anything about. Welcome to “Democracy, US-style.”
This got me thinking about a serious question: whether the US has a multi-administration strategy intended to accomplish something like that, or whether it’s just a side-effect of capability meeting opportunity. Is it an “emergent conspiracy” or is it an actual long-term plan? Other than global hegemony, why might such a plan exist? I tend to favor the idea of an emergent conspiracy because I don’t want to believe that government is that good at keeping secrets, but what if it is? What if the reason new presidents like Barack Obama and Bill Clinton come in to office pretending to be somewhat liberal, then get a secret briefing down in the “skull and bones chamber” deep below the situation room, and come out changed forever by what they hear? Eisenhower was probably the one to begin the construction, based on advice from murderous freaks at RAND Corporation. Stanley Kubrick heard about it, from a drunk and depressed conspiracy theorist, and made a movie trying to warn everyone. Or, perhaps the masonic core of oddballs who hang around the US government took a hand in it, and the secret room deep under the White House is decorated like one of their temples. Imagine the surprise when new presidents are blindfolded and led down the stairs, and they encounter the Necronomicon-like book containing The Plan, and they see other documents including Monroe’s real doctrine, and realize the marginal notes are in JFK and Henry Kissinger’s hand-writing.
Because of the way my brain jumps around, looking for connections, it fused some of this with a posting by Crip Dyke [pervert justice] about being an “imperfect pacifist.” It got me thinking: what if a person were a legitimate pacifist, so anti-war that they would be willing to risk everything on the throw of a pair of dice? What if you felt that you had a pretty good chance it would work and bring generations of lasting peace – perhaps save human life on the planet – if only you were willing to run the greatest bluff in all gambling, ever? And what if it suddenly wasn’t a bluff? Suddenly you realized you could do it, and save the world, as long as you didn’t roll ’00’ on those dice. ’00’ would be bad. Real Bad. But maybe Real Bad is where the situation is heading, anyway, so “alea jacta est.”
See, I think the US has sneakily positioned itself to win WWIII flat-out with ‘acceptable casualties’ and is not far from being able to declare victory and start dictating terms without having to incinerate anyone. Russia and China are the only countries that could realistically contest such a declaration and neither of them is geared up for the kind of massive first-strike that the US is preparing to deliver. Once the orbital delivery platforms are fully online, and the new Trident missiles are deployed, about the most an opposing power could do is trade a US city, maybe two, for collective death in fire. When the order to “stand down and surrender” goes out to the whole planet, who could contest it? North Korea might volunteer as a demonstration “pour encourager les autres” but the hard part would be convincing the French that “I guess we don’t value your allegiance that much after all, disarm, sit down, and shut up.”
I’ll say for the record that I don’t think that this is what’s happening. I think we are experiencing what I’d call “normal government stupidity.” But what if you were president, and had this window of opportunity, and could declare an end to nationalism and war at such a low cost – a short “war to end all wars” or maybe even just the threat of it? Then, you could re-focus the entire planet toward 1) maintaining US hegemony (because we’re the good guys) and 2) re-tooling human civilization to combat climate change. The orders would go out, “beat your swords into plow-shares, and most ricky-tick, because our satellites and orbital platforms are watching, and so are our subs, and your alternative is to:
- die now.
- die later.
- or do as we tell you.
The planetary administration would be structured along the US’ flawed model, with the rest of the world being treated like poor southern states, gerrymandered so their opinion counts but only so far. National identities would become “states’ rights” and national banners would be as meaningful as the confederate battle flags some ignorant USAins still fly. Economies would (for a start) be run under the same administrators that currently run them, though the regime would install oversight and begin to tighten the screws as they expected to observe war production shifting to green technology. “Or else.” In fact, I believe after the first (hopefully) bloodless World War III, it would get harder and harder for a country to re-militarize, once the satraps began to fan out and oversee what was going on. The book in the candle-lit room refers to this process as “Pax Romana” because it’s a familiar process: top-down administration where the local administrators can be corrupt as they want, within certain boundaries, or they’d encounter a horrible fate.
It would be a huge gamble. The biggest ever. But, in truth, humanity does not have what it takes to deal with climate change under a nationalist system. War is an inefficient way of getting what we want; it would be much better to be able to stand our own army down (mostly) and simply dictate orders, backed with the force of unrestrained nuclear incineration. Let’s do it, now.
I’m not serious about any of this, though I’d like to editorialize a bit more, in a less structured way. As some of you may know, I’m not a fan of consequentialism for, well, exactly this sort of reason. The consequentialist claims that they can access (ideally, some day) some kind of “moral calculus” that may allow them to argue in favor of “the greatest good for the greatest number.” Then, when someone presents a thought experiment like this one, they claw back rapidly from that position and start arguing that there are some basic rights and wrongs and threatening people by targeting a hydrogen bomb at them is immoral. Well darned skippy, it is, but what if the greater good for the greater number was world peace and surviving the climate crisis and the cost we had to pay was being a bit naughty with the threats of incineration but we really hoped nobody’d call us on it? Let me go a bit farther: the consequentialists would tell us that we can reason about trolley car scenarios [stderr] using some dubious “moral calculus” why can’t we reason our way forward from a more realistic scenario. What if I told you that there was only a 1% of global destruction when the US issued its “stand down” order? If we don’t handle climate change effectively, we could all die as a species, so let’s say it’s 90% versus 1%, just those odds alone should be convincing.
No doubt a rational pacifist would reply something like, “no! I am always a pacifist, and scenarios where I threaten to rain nuclear fire on people who aren’t peaceful is not pacifism!” Well, that’s a good point. Maybe it’s a problem with pacifism, then.
Many times in discussion/debate on the internet, I’ve had someone throw the move at me, “well, what’s your solution wise guy?” and my usual answer is “if I were in charge of the planet, as I would have to be in order to ‘solve’ this problem, nobody would like it much.” And now you see why. I’ll note that it’s odd when someone asks, “well, how would you solve the Palestine/Israel problem?” and my reply is “I’d give the Israelis a chunk of Austria and give them 6 months to go back to Europe, and 6 months for the Austrians to evacuate while they contemplated the consequences of centuries of European anti-semitism” – suddenly nobody wants to know my solution after all! Of course that solution would result in litanies of complaints from everyone involved but I can fairly easily argue that it’s more ethical than the current situation and its antecedents. Besides, isn’t peace worth something? Oh, it’s not? What’s your solution?
Final observation: humans have long displayed a behavior that argues that we are willing to contemplate a moral crime in order to somehow reduce or punish a wrong. That’s why our prison populations (in principle, not fact) are full and our torturers and war criminals are all in The International Criminal Court in The Hague. In my opinion, these behaviors amount to retroactive attempts to have two wrongs make a right, which we know is bad ethics. But if we’re willing to contemplate that sort of thing, why not have a proactive wrong make a whole lot fewer wrongs? Especially if there’s a good chance it would work, for some value of work.
[The new world order would have to use a Roman/Mongol trick, namely to station overseers internationally so as to break down national identity and solidarity. So, while (say) the US republican-led south might continue to be racist, homophobic assholes, their overseers would be from (say) the state formerly known as Nigeria. If you don’t like that, raise a hand and the shooty guys will come explain it to you. Most successful empires, including the US empire, assign their satraps from remote populations for exactly that reason. If done with an eye toward improving formerly inter-national but now global relations, I think it could be a positive thing! Get to know your new overlords!]
Speaking of Trident and the Brits: the Brits are just now in the process of discovering the disadvantage of having a fake deterrent that is actually based completely on US technology: they are getting the new nukes whether they want them or not because the Brits don’t actually make nuclear missiles any more; they sail a ship around to North Carolina every so often and get a missile-swap of good old-fashioned American missile
proliferation know-how. I bet the Brits really wish they knew what was in the software of those things – but, in the meantime, worry about Huawei, suckers!