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The big bomb questions

24 April 2015 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Rightly the debate over a way to end the Iranian nuclear (bomb?) crisis is now the number one issue in Western foreign policy. Compared with that the partial civil war in Ukraine seems to be trivial, one that could be solved in a week if only the West would make it clear that Ukrainian membership of NATO is not a possibility.

Also compared with that the struggle to defeat ISIS/to topple Assad of Syria/ to defeat the Houthis in Yemen is less than consequential. These three problems if not solved can be contained. None of them threatens the world.

But nuclear bombs? One nuclear bomb going off would bring the world figuratively to its knees. A large part of the world would be fear-ridden that there would be a second, and a third, and a fourth……. The mighty taboo against using them, in place since their use on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the Americans, would be broken asunder.

We could then all too easily imagine them being used by Pakistan against India or vice versa. By China against Japan. By Russia against China or the US or vice versa. By Israel against Iran.  By North Korea against the South. The Iranian “bomb” negotiations are critical for the world. Success will work to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and their possible use.

Perhaps only one in a million of the world’s people, if that, is aware of how successful the fight against proliferation has been so far- only 4 new nuclear bomb powers outside the permanent big five members of the Security Council.

On a number of occasions countries have played with fire only to self-quench. Libya under Muammar al-Gaddafi who voluntarily handed over to the US and UK its bomb-making facilities, South Africa, Sweden, Iraq, South Korea, Argentina and Brazil (although Brazil still has a nuclear enrichment programme far larger than Iran’s but one that is tolerated by the US).  But the most dangerous of all was West Germany.

Only 13 years after its defeat in World War 2 the West German leadership was intent on building a bomb. If it had gone ahead, the Soviet Union undoubtedly would have taken pre-emptive action and destroyed Germany for the second time in a generation.

Despite the reassurance provided by the creation of NATO and the Marshall plan the German leadership installed by the victorious allies argued that the US commitment to defend West Germany from a Soviet-led attack was questionable. Chancellor Konrad Adenauer declared that he opposed a situation where “America is a fortress for itself, because that would mean we would be outside that fortress.” In July 1956 he wrote to US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles that “Europe, including Germany, has lost its confidence in the US’s reliability”. A few months later Adenauer vowed to acquire the “most modern weapons for Germany”. In April 1958 Germany signed an agreement with Italy and France for the development of a secret nuclear bomb-making program. Washington and London eventually discovered it and under pressure the three of them officially ended their accord. But secretly Germany continued to plan for a bomb.

Thinking himself clever, President John Kennedy proposed the creation of a multilateral force (MLF) to integrate national nuclear arsenals under a single command within NATO. Part of the motivation was to satiate Germany’s appetite for nuclear weapons. But West Germany looked at it in another way. After endorsing the MLF proposal Adenauer stated ,“We must arrange within NATO so that a decision can be taken to use atomic weapons before the US president is heard from”.

The Soviet Union was alarmed. It worried that a US veto over the use of MLF nuclear weapons might fail. It also thought that Germany would obtain from its participation in the MLF the knowledge to develop its own nuclear weapons. Soviet President Nikita Krushchev told Kennedy that the MLF would be a “crack” in nonproliferation efforts and “once such a crack exists there will be found fingers which will find their way to the control panels of these weapons”.

Khrushchev’s successor, Alexei Kosygin, warned that the Soviet Union would be “forced to take all measures which it would consider necessary for securing peace in Europe” in the event that West Germany “got access to nuclear weapons” in any form. It was very understandable. Hitler’s troops only a few years before had devastated Russia.

 

Perhaps only one in a million of the world’s people, if that, is aware  of how successful the fight against proliferation has been so far- only 4  new nuclear bomb powers outside the permanent big five members of the  Security Council.
 
 
The Soviet Union was alarmed. It worried that a US veto over the use of  MLF nuclear weapons might fail. She also thought that Germany would  obtain from its participation in the MLF the knowledge to develop its  own nuclear weapons.
 



Washington got the message and turned away from its MLF proposal. At the same time it brought extreme pressure to stop Germany’s urge to proliferate. Under the more pacific chancellor, Willy Brandt, Germany signed the new-born Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty in November 1969.

Germany had been stopped in its tracks. So must be Iran if indeed its intention is to build a bomb. Halting nuclear proliferation and avoiding nuclear war must be the world’s number one concern.
 

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Order Gifts to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Vegetables, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Sending Money,Online Books, Delivery Service, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop Sri Lanka

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