Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 12, 2006

More Nukes

While bashing Iran over non-exiting nuclear weapons, the "Western" nuclear powers are starting a new nuclear arms race.

Today's Sunday Times reveals:

BRITAIN has been secretly designing a new nuclear warhead in conjunction with the Americans, provoking a legal row over the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The government has been pushing ahead with the programme while claiming that no decision has been made on a successor to Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent. Work on a new weapon by scientists at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston in Berkshire has been under way since Tony Blair was re-elected last May, and is now said to be ahead of similar US research.

Before, French President Chirac had French nukes reconfigured to:

launch a nuclear strike against any country that sponsors a terrorist attack against French interests.

The U.S., like the U.K is working on Reliable Replacement Warheads, which are new designed nuclear weapons, not refurbishments of really unreliable weapons. Will the old ones really get dismantled if these new ones come into service. The U.S. nuke lobby is planing a Modern Pit Facility able to produce as many new nuclear bomb kernels as at the high of the Cold War. Is that refurbishment?

By delivering know-how and nuclear fuel to India for civilian purpose, the U.S. will free Indian nuclear production capacity for military purpose. This will likely trigger a new arms race between India and Pakistan and also concerns the Chinese.

Japan has five tons of plutonium ready and could be a nuclear power in less than a year. As North Korea might have some nukes, a justification to build a Japanese nuclear force is easily available, though looking at some history one has to ask who is more right to fear whom.

All of the above will lower the threshold for others to join the "nuclear club". What is open here is the rational behind all these acts. I personally can understand North Korea and I could understand the rational of Iran, if it would decide to get nukes. As Iraq shows, both "axis-of-evil" countries are under threat.

But why are the U.K., France, the U.S. and India interested in more or better nukes at all? Sure a lot of companies will make a lot of money from the new weapons. But what is the real strategic rational?

Is there one?

Posted by b on March 12, 2006 at 11:43 UTC | Permalink


The USA certainly has a lot more nukes than it could possibly need for purposes of deterrence or defense. We just have to believe that we will use them only in the name of Truth Justice and the American Way.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 12 2006 11:45 utc | 1

Is there any plausible strategic reason other than that they plan to use them? - on non-nuclear states, of course. Any rationalmember of the "Axis of Evil" As van Creveld wrote

Wherever U.S forces go, nuclear weapons go with them or can be made to follow in short order. The world has witnessed how the United States attacked Iraq for, as it turned out, no reason at all. Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy..

I would not be surprised if nukes were used by the US and possibly Israel before this year is out.

Posted by: tgs | Mar 12 2006 17:46 utc | 2

tgs posted 12 March 2006 at 12:46:14 PM:

I would not be surprised if nukes were used by the US and possibly Israel before this year is out.

I presume you mean when the US learns that its conventional strike doesn't destroy the Iranian nuclear production facilities as intended and the Iranians withdraw from NPT and kick into high-gear on their nuclear weapons program. The Israeli strike only occurs after they've committed some savagery against the Palestinians following the Israeli election and Hamas (with tacit Iranian support) commits some equally horrific outrage.

Posted by: PrahaPartizan | Mar 12 2006 22:22 utc | 3

If American citizens knew how many DoD nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles we actually have, and are on hair-trigger alert aimed at every corner of the globe, and even a tenth of them would destroy all life on earth, and if you've ever seen a re-entry you would grok all this, there would be a civil war, and right now.

Wait, change the channel, American Idle is on!

So we'll all make our little barbs and quips on MOA, Mssr Billmon will remain comatose, the Bush Taliban will gyn up it's little attack strategy, until one morning we'll hear how Israel made a "surprise attack", even though US controls Iraq airspace that Israel had to fly through and back again, then whoa, the US has gotta invade Iran.

Who cares?! Barry Bonds is juicing!

Computer virus jumps to humans!

Dancing with the Stars is on!

What Iraq? What Afghanistan? What Iran?

We have always been at war with EurAsia.

Face it, we're f--ked, coming and going.

"A shrill trumpet-call had pierced the air. It was the bulletin! Victory! It always meant victory when a trumpet-call preceded the news. A sort of electric drill ran through the cafe. Even the waiters had started and pricked up their ears.

The trumpet-call had let loose an enormous volume of noise. Already an excited voice was gabbling from the telescreen, but even as it started it was almost drowned by a roar of cheering from outside. The news had run round the streets like magic. He could hear just enough of what was issuing from the telescreen to realize that it had all happened, as he had foreseen; a vast seaborne armada had secretly assembled a sudden blow in the enemy's rear, the white arrow tearing across the tail of the black. Fragments of triumphant phrases pushed themselves through the din: 'Vast strategic manoeuvre -- perfect co-ordination -- utter rout -- half a million prisoners -- complete demoralization -- control of the whole of Iran -- bring the war within measurable distance of its end victory -- greatest victory in human history -- victory, victory, victory!'"

Posted by: PingPing | Mar 13 2006 3:08 utc | 4


You sound pissed, and despondent.

Still, that does not mean it is your place to judge billmon, or me, or anyone else with whom you are discussing here. Perhaps you find it to be no work at all to sort things out and figure out what is actually occurring in the world. Perhaps you are already enlightened. But I imagine you know that any understanding you have was gained from your own efforts, and from some community that fed your spirit, even if only briefly.

So I'm asking you to be aware enough to remember that we all have to teach ourselves here, and it does not help any of us to be accused of "barbs and quips" or "comatose" when the accusation is not linked to some specific comment or exchange. This community thrives on contributing by disagreeing.

So, tell me something I don't know.

Posted by: citizen | Mar 13 2006 4:22 utc | 5

Arms Control? What is arms control?

The NSC's Sesame Street Generation

nearly a dozen thirtysomething aides, breastfed on "Sesame Street" and babysat by "The Brady Bunch," are now shaping those strategies in unexpected ways as senior advisers at the National Security Council, the White House's powerful inner chamber of foreign policy aides with routine access to Bush.
"We all built careers in the post-Cold War world," said Meghan O'Sullivan, who at 36 is the deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan. "You have to think about what are the defining features of the age we live in. For me, that's American primacy, globalization, terrorism and WMD, which is why we do what we do. This wasn't applicable during the Cold War."
"I often hear about arms control from the old-timers, but it's so different now. It's about all the places we don't have embassies now and it's very rare, it seems, that [Congress] is lobbying the executive branch to engage. Most of the times it's isolate, how can we isolate a country even more?" said Allen
Heritage foundation kids ruling the world ...

Posted by: b | Mar 13 2006 18:20 utc | 6

Scary link, b. Not so much for their ages [because plenty of folks their age are far more prudent], but for their naivete and chutzpah in thinking they do not need to learn much if anything from the past. They create their own reality at our peril.

As you know, Those of us, young and old, who do learn from the past are condemned to watch others repeat it.

Posted by: gylangirl | Mar 15 2006 2:39 utc | 7

Some folks call it "repeating the past", others see it as a nostalgic yearning for an era of clear-cut values and morals.

And when a woman was raped, she didn't go and report it, as it must have been at least partially her fault. Priests who got caught abusing children were quetly packed off to a mission station in the jungles of Africa somewhere, where nobody would complain.

And there were no uppity minorities wanting equal access to education, housing and bus seats, no uppity women demanding reproductive rights or uppity non-Christians to challenge the constitutionality of government sponsored and funded displays of religion.

Wasn't it really easier back then?

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 15 2006 6:50 utc | 8

Bwaahhhhhhh - Putin is screwing King George again:
Citing Safety Issue, Russia Offers India Uranium for Fuel

India is to receive uranium from Russia to run two atomic power plants that have struggled to find fuel since the United States stopped supplies more than three decades ago, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

Moscow's decision to supply the plants, at Tarapur, came nearly two weeks after New Delhi and Washington sealed a landmark deal that aims to give India access to nuclear equipment and fuel from the United States, and eventually from other nuclear nations.

Russia, a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, nations that control nuclear trade, is not supposed to supply fuel to countries, like India, that have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Five years ago, the United States opposed a similar move by Russia. But now that Washington has agreed to abandon longtime prohibitions on nuclear sales to India, "we think that deals to supply that fuel should move forward on the basis of the joint initiative, on the basis of steps that India will take," said a State Department spokesman, Adam Ereli.

No matter if Bush`s india deal will be voted down in Congress (likely I think), Putin will use this precedent to get into fullblown nuke business with India.

Posted by: b | Mar 15 2006 6:52 utc | 9

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