Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Year, Old Conflicts

Nuclear crises in 2011 and their implications for US-China relations
As the New Year is upon us, it might be worth looking at what 2011 will bring in terms of potential international crises, especially those with a nuclear dimension to them. Two conflicts in particular seem as if they might escalate into military action: first, the sharply rising tensions between North and South Korea, and, second, the standoff between Iran and the US and its allies on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. A third conflict worth mentioning is the ongoing dispute between India and Pakistan which, ever since both countries achieved nuclear weapons capability, has taken an especially ominous turn.
No real surprises there. These three are among the usual suspects when it comes to threats to international peace and security. Nevertheless, these cases deserve to be mentioned as they involve nuclear security concerns and, interestingly, also shed some light on the increasingly strained relationship between the United States and China.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Can We Still Blow Up the World?

I was recently asked the following questions: How many times could we blow up the world with the number of nuclear missiles New START will take off the table? And with the number still on the table afterwards, how many times can we blow up the planet?  Here is my response:

I’ve actually never thought there was a good answer to the questions you pose.  First of all, you can’t really “blow up the world.”  What you can do, though, is destroy civilization and potentially annihilate the human species and most complex life.  We could do the worst we can to the planet and it will survive us, although not in a way we would necessarily recognize over the next few hundred thousand years.  And it is unlikely that members of our species would be here to observe the planet at all after an all-out nuclear war.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Act Now: Senate to Consider New START Today

Today the Senate is finally scheduled to begin discussion on the New START treaty. After months of obstruction and delay, the Senate has one last chance to ratify the treaty before the end of the year. The original START treaty expired over a year ago, during which time there have been no inspections or verification measures in place between the US and Russia.

Click here to contact your Senators TODAY and urge them to vote YES on ratification of New START. If the treaty is not ratified now, it will be much more difficult to get the required 67 votes when the 112th Congress begins in 2011.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Missile Defense Test Canceled Due to Clouds

There was a test of a Ground-Based Interceptor, part of the US missile defense system, scheduled for this morning up the road at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Near the end of the four hour launch window, Vandenberg announced that the test would be delayed until tomorrow because of bad weather. The test can't happen because of fog? Memo to "rogue" states: if you want to launch missiles at the US, do it when it's cloudy on the California Coast.

This test, estimated to cost $120 million, is the latest in a long series of failed and questionable tests of the US missile defense system. While many tests have resulted in outright un-spinnable failure, others have seen "success" through rigging the incoming missile with a homing device. Regardless of the result of any individual test, the missile defense program is a failure for the United States and a massive waste of resources.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Guilty of Trying to Uphold International Law

Members of the Disarm Now
Plowshares with their legal team.
Five individuals have been found guilty of a number of charges related to their November 2009 protest at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base in Washington state. Anne Montgomery, Bill Bischel, Susan Crane, Lynne Greenwald and Steve Kelly were part of a Plowshares action to challenge the legality and morality of the US storage and use of thermonuclear missiles by Trident nuclear submarines.

On the first day of the trial, the prosecution objected to the defendants' reference to international law as a reason for their actions. In 1996, the International Court of Justice ruled that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is generally illegal. The military, it seems, sees nothing wrong with threatening the instant death of millions of people through the use of its nuclear weapons. Some might argue that the issue is more complex. But I would say that it is that simple - these five brave protestors were attempting to shed light on the thoroughly illegal and immoral possession of nuclear weapons by the United States.

Principle VII of the Nuremberg Principles states, "Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law."

To be silent in the face of the grave threat of nuclear weapons makes one complicit in the consequences of their use. These five courageous peace leaders in the Disarm Now Plowshares group are guilty of nothing more than trying to uphold international law. In my book, that's not a crime; it's an ideal to which we should all aspire.

For more in depth coverage of this issue, visit the Disarm Now Plowshares blog.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...