Nuclear weapons have now been banned.
Watch how this speeds up the US regime’s hatred of the UN; it’s supposed to be our cheering squad, and now look at this nonsense: [cnn]
UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations announced Saturday that 50 countries have ratified a U.N. treaty to ban nuclear weapons triggering its entry into force in 90 days, a move hailed by anti-nuclear activists but strongly opposed by the United States and the other major nuclear powers.
As of Friday, the treaty had 49 signatories, and the United Nations said the 50th ratification from Honduras had been received.
The treaty’s terms are broad and clear: building, storing, trading, and otherwise having control of these weapons of mass destruction: banned. [wikipedia]
The United States had written to treaty signatories saying the Trump administration believes they made “a strategic error” and urging them to rescind their ratification.
The U.S. letter, obtained by The Associated Press, said the five original nuclear powers – the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France – and America’s NATO allies “stand unified in our opposition to the potential repercussions” of the treaty.
Can’t you picture Joe Pesci, in character from any mobster movie he ever acted in, saying, “we believe you made a strategic error when you ratified that treaty; it has implications.” This is happening at the same time as the incompetent Trump administration absolutely pooch-screwed nuclear diplomacy with Iran and North Korea, as well as encouraging Russia and China to restart their nuclear research programs. Basically, what’s happening is that the nuclear “haves” are pulling away from the nuclear “have nots” and telling them to sit down and shut up. Basically, that’s what non-nuclear powers have always been afraid of, and all of the high-sounding protestations from the US and NATO (“we need this to protect you!”) are bullshit. In case you didn’t know: the US has loudly mooted the use of nuclear weapons in every war since WW2 with the exception of the invasion of Grenada.
For those of us who grew up in the cold war, it’s unsettling to see the general reaction to nuclear weapons, nowadays. The forces (that’s mostly the US) that established the global nuclear stand-off went under cover with it after the USSR collapsed; it was pretty apparent that the justification for mutual assured destruction had just gone out the window. There was a brief moment when US policy makers said out loud, “we are the sole remaining super-power” but even that attitude quickly disappeared – we’re the “good guys” and the Russians are cheating on the treaties, naturally, and we’re going to spend $1tn making more, better, more accurate nuclear weapons and the permission of the taxpayers has nothing to do with it. Right now there are around a dozen (nobody officially knows) ballistic missile submarines lurking under the water, each of which carries enough weapons to devastate Europe, or to scour Australia of all life. And the US, “the good guys” designed NATO as (among other things) an opaque nuclear umbrella: we have used NATO as a cover for proliferating nukes to Germany, England, Turkey, Italy and probably Poland as well. Saudi Arabia has US-made F-16s which carry standard weapons hard-points for delivering NATO-standard nuclear weapons, too; it’s been deliberately obscured who actually keeps these evil things but one thing is for sure: if the US has anything to say about it, we’ll never be rid of them.The US has engaged in some degree of nuclear blackmail whenever it encounters any substantial resistance. Most recently, [drive] was the 2017 near-war with North Korea, that had Blathering Security :eak In Chief Trump talking about causing incalculable damage to that country (bellicose threats are a violation of the UN charter and a war crime under international law). I have mentioned this before [stderr]: the US and its allies attitude toward North Korea has consistently been that there would be a massive unilateral first-strike intended to decapitate the regime. Given that the North Korean regime has experience being bombed by the US, it’s probably dug in deep enough that the US will “have to” use nuclear weapons.
“The Strategic Command in Omaha had carefully reviewed and studied OPLAN 5027 for regime change in North Korea – the U.S. response to an attack that could include the use of 80 nuclear weapons.”
This can be read two ways: a potential attack from the North could involve the use of 80 nuclear weapons, or the same number of weapons can be envisaged as a possible U.S. response to a first strike ordered by Pyongyang.
I don’t think that can be read two ways; the scenario of a first strike ordered by North Korea should not be taken seriously. It’s as likely that North Korea will “go Jonestown” and everyone will line up to drink cyanide Kool-Ade; it might happen, but probably won’t. What is more likely is that the US would first-strike North Korea. North Korea won’t first-strike anyone because they know it would end with their entire nation being burned off the face of the planet, no Kool-Ade necessary.
In an interview with NPR, Woodward cleared up any confusion, noting that the 80 nuclear weapons were part of a U.S. attack plan – OPLAN 5027, which would include ‘decapitating’ the North Korean regime of dictator Kim Jong-un.
“I think given North Korea is a rogue nation, they have, as I report, probably a couple of dozen nuclear weapons well-hidden and concealed,” Woodward explained to NPR. The veteran journalist confirmed that the then U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was worried he might have to issue orders for a nuclear strike on North Korea. “The potential we’d have to shoot to prevent a second launch was real,” Mattis admitted.
“You’re going to incinerate a couple million people,” Mattis told himself, according to Woodward. “No person has the right to kill a million people as far as I’m concerned, yet that’s what I have to confront.”
One of the tropes that comes up, over and over, when the US talks about using nukes is “it’s what we have to do.” Remember how the Japanese practically forced the good guy Americans to nuke two cities full of civilians? (when there were actual substantial Japanese Army forces drawn up in the Kanto plain south of Tokyo?) These guys like Mattis are able to simultaneously believe that they are part of the most powerful nation that has ever existed, and that that nation can be strong-armed by a tin pot dictatorship into having to use nuclear weapons against it. [By the way, targeting nuclear facilities is a war crime under Geneva II protocols] [Even if it’s a North Korean nuclear facility]
If you choose to be a greeter at Wal-Mart, you will not have to decide whether or not to incinerate a few million people with nuclear weapons. If you’re James Mattis and you choose to be a member of the military government of a superpower then you may have to decide whether or not to incinerate a few million people with nuclear weapons. But don’t be a chickenshit about it: own your decision. You don’t have to you want to.
The book describes one particular missile alarm in particular detail. This occurred at 5:57 a.m. on August 29, 2017, when “exquisite” intelligence indicated that North Korea was about to launch another missile. Mattis was at home and entered the communications room, where he was told that U.S. interceptor missiles were ready to fire. The defense secretary monitored the progress of the North Korean missile on a geospatial map, watching it pass over Japan then come down in the sea. Woodward describes Mattis’s job at this time as “a nonstop crucible, personal and hellish. There were no holidays or weekends off, no dead time.”
The US is not so concerned about Chinese, Russian, or Israeli nuclear weapons, in spite of their obviously being a much greater threat. This is where the madness of nuclear weapons really kicks in: this stuff is supposedly “defense” but it actually endangers everyone even more. How many Americans knew that Mattis was locked into position at a critical point in the US’ nuclear response? In a democratic government, the people would be somehow involved, or represented, in these things – it wouldn’t be a political appointee called “Mad Dog” in charge of it.
Humanity’s got a lot of nasty shit to deal with. We have a climate catastrophe bearing down on us. We have an economy that is controlled by fossil fuel interests that regulate government, not the other way around. We have a novel virus causing a pandemic and – collectively – we’re not demonstrating amazing competence responding to it. We have massive releases of methane from the Arctic and tundra is burning. We’ve got a lot of nasty stuff going on and it just seems like the icing on some kind of horrible shit-cake that there’s a massive semi-secret apparatus of global death that has been built with good old-fashioned American know-how, and placed in the hands of some of the worst people in history. How is any of this smart?
I’m happy that there are a lot of sensible humans who went out of their way to make nuclear weapons illegal. But it’s the mice voting to bell the cat. I suppose the best-case outcome is that it forces everyone to stop bullshitting around about how ‘cat’ isn’t short for ‘autocrat’.
The US says:
It says the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, known as the TPNW, “turns back the clock on verification and disarmament and is dangerous” to the half-century-old Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, considered the cornerstone of global nonproliferation efforts.
These are the same idiots who pulled out of the medium-range missile control treaty, proliferate constantly to Britain and Germany, and secretly developed a new generation of weapons in violation of several other treaties including START. These are the same idiots who pushed Iran out of a nuclear weapons control regime, and pressured North Korea into hiding its arsenal all over the country. These are the same idiots who want nothing more than to turn back the clock on verification and disarmament – they’re just a big pack of fucking liars who love their nukes and will never, ever, give them up.