Saturday, September 2, 2017

Nuclear Twilight's Last Gleaming

Seventy two years ago today, aboard the USS Missouri, the Japanese government signed the Instrument of Surrender bringing to an end their involvement in World War II and permanently barring them from engaging activities that would allow them to “re-arm” for war.  This week, without provocation from Japan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea launched a missile that flew above Japan.  Within hours, the global media was buzzing with the prospects of re-arming Japan.  In 1945, the U.S., China, the United Kingdom, the USSR (Russia), the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of Canada, the provisional Government of France, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Dominion of New Zealand stood united in their resolve to end hostilities, to defend the Pacific, and to work towards a common good in the world. 

Seventy two years later the situation is quite altered.  The U.S. is engaged in militant rhetoric with North Korea.  Russia and China are both advising negotiations and talks.  The U.K. is so engaged with its protectionist agenda it is blissfully on the side-lines.  Australia is spending record amounts of money to subsidize U.S. and European defense contractors to arm themselves and the region with “strategic assets” for a defense doctrine that is patently absurd.  Australia is preparing to defend itself against the threats posed by China and “terrorists” despite the fact that its largest trading partner is China.  Over 34% of Australia’s exports go to China followed by 15% to Japan.  No other trading partner even makes it out of single digit percentages.  Oh, and for the record, Australia intends to spend 5600% of its export trade with France for its submarines and 1100% of its export trade with Germany for its land vehicles.

Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945) are the only two populated cities to be bombed by the United States of America with nuclear weapons.  The same U.S. that insists that North Korea shouldn’t have a bomb is the perpetrator of history’s only evidence of the use thereof.  With an immediate death toll of estimated between 129,000 and 220,000 people and with a subsequent physical and mental toll in the millions, this unspeakable technological depravity took the murderous business of war to an inconceivable scale.  And while perpetrators and historians alike defend the barbarism as a necessary evil to end Japan’s resolve in the war, the seduction of mass destruction went viral.

So when, over the past few weeks, President Donald Trump has sought to goad North Korea into precipitous foolishness (on both sides, let me assure, both sides), I reflect on some of the mercantile facts that seem to be eluding the real and fake media alike.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are armed by the U.S.  Rounding out the top 10 countries we officially arm are Turkey, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, India, Singapore, Iraq, and Egypt.  Oh, and then there are the top recipients of foreign military financing leading off with Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, and Iraq.  Isn’t it ironic that Pakistan – a nuclear power and nuclear proliferator – is being financed by the U.S. while they are also inextricably linked to the North Korean nuclear program?

Over 1/3 of the world’s disclosed arms trade originates in the United States making it the largest exporter of armaments. 

The U.S. doesn’t export arms directly to North Korea but would certainly like to have ample reasons to diversify its sales to Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.  And with 40% of its weapons currently flowing to the Middle East, market diversification is vital to the commercial interests of the U.S.

Missile defense systems are big business.

Having evidence of the “need” for missile defense is a vital market development tool.  Remember how valuable Iron Dome was for Israel?

Missile intercept technologies are a much more competitive marketplace and owning the future of missile defense business will put the U.S., Russia, China, India, Israel, and France in fierce competition for dominance. 

The world has lived with the experiential specter of nuclear weapons for 72 years.  This menace to human decency fueled the Cold War mercantile interests of a few for the better part of 35 years.  We’re now in an era where the diffuse enemies created by cartographers, ideologues, and despots (on both sides, really, on both sides) do not conveniently create industrial efficiencies.  Variously arming thugs – from Toyota’s ubiquitous presence in land transport for all manner of vigilantes, to unmanned air, land and sea vehicles, arms and explosives – industrial scale defense contractors would benefit from a more robust and sizable threat.  And missile defense is just the right target.  Let’s face it.  If we really cared about state and non-state actors having nuclear weapons, we’d realize that Pakistan’s Punjab Province nuclear arsenal is as likely put in service to North Korea or Iran as it is to “deter” India from attacking.  And Pakistan is capable of putting their nuclear arsenal in any neighborhood on the globe with submarine and surface delivery efficiency rivaling the U.S., Russia, or France.  We don’t want a “nuclear free” Korean Peninsula.  We want armaments markets that serve our commercial interest.

So 72 years later, have we as world citizens learned anything?  Precious little!  Using our taxes, governments are rattling sabers in an effort to instill fear and uncertainty in the populace.  Unquestioningly, a cowed public is taught to fear and surrogate their sense of security to the architects of the menace in the first place.  And, when we all blindly call for defense and security, the government acting on our behalf and with our blind confidence, obliges with more technologies of terror.  This genius, nefarious system has been working with remarkable efficiency for thousands of years.  And it will until we realize that putting real people under flying missiles does not advance an ideology or moral “right”.  It merely puts real people in real harm.  It’s time for us to realize that governments and their benefactors are NOT serving their headline missions.  Instead, they’re creating instability into which those who prey thereon can serve their gluttonous ends.  And it’s time, on this anniversary of the end of hostilities, that We The People stop falling for the lies and start building our common defense – namely, erasing fear and rage with engagement and understanding.  Salam, Pax, Paz, Nyimbur-ma, Achukma, Heiwa, Peace, Heping, Mir, you get the point.



  1. We need a global grass roots movement to eliminate nuclear weapons. I was a Air Force Weapons Control Mechanic during the Cuban Missile Crises, working on the F101-B interceptor that carried two-infrared missiles and two Genie atomic rockets. Our planes were all loaded. I've been concerned ever since, more than ever now.

  2. No, we need a grass roots movement to end the wealthy controlling government, the rest will follow.


Thank you for your comment. I look forward to considering this in the expanding dialogue. Dave