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A new splurge on nuclear weapons marks the Hiroshims/Nagasaki anniversary

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the arms race isn’t over,  Independent Australia By Binoy Kampmark | 12 August 2020,  The twin bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945 are always moments that warrant a tick on the commemorative calendar.This has become fairly functional fare: those were the only occasions where atomic weapons were used on humans, mostly civilians. In the United States, the occasion has had to be regaled with a degree of necessary patriotic gush. No other country has ever used them in war.

Much ink and paper have been expended on the justifications, the salvations and the guiding considerations behind using these killers to conclude the Second World War. U.S. President Harry S. Truman either comes out a torn, anguished statesman who did what the thought best in a terrible situation, or a devilish huckster determined to score a success that would not merely knock out Japan but prevent the rise of Soviet (USSR) influence in East Asia.

The USSR was far from intimidated. For one, Soviet officials knew well in advance of the race for the weaponised atom between the Allies and Nazi Germany, and kept abreast of advances made by the U.S.-led Manhattan Project, the name given to the development of the world’s first atomic weapon. Despite the acclaimed secrecy of the project, regular gobbets of information were conveyed back to Moscow via a network of well-planted Soviet agents. ………..

The arms race that followed between the United States and USSR was horrendously costly, needless and indicative how the human species can have those shuddering moments when extinction might just be around the corner. Both sides attempted various methods of restraint through arms-control agreements but these made only modest efforts to empty their respective arsenals.

What international instruments from the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks I (SALT) to New START did was create employment for an industry that has never been threatened by termination: that of nuclear disarmament.

The nuclear club also expanded, though membership numbers were restricted, at times poorly, to an elite.  The international document doing so was the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs is not being ironic in describing the NPT ‘as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and an essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament’.

Roguish claims to master the nuclear option presented themselves in due course. South Africa, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea have all sought membership via back channels and duplicity.

Now, the 75th anniversary of the bombings has caused discomfort amongst the pundits and policy wonks. Is there a new arms race before us? Ishaan Tharoor, writing in The Washington Post, fears that might be the case. The Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and mutterings about not renewing the New START Treaty in 2021 are cited as possible incentives to avoid limiting arsenals.

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic, assistant editor of the Irish Times, is even more pessimistic…..

Cormaic rattles off the list of Trump’s destabilising treaty withdrawals, all doing their bit to foster the spirit of international insecurity. To the INF treaty already noted by Tharoor, he also adds Washington’s repudiation of the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and exiting from the Open Skies Treaty permitting state parties to conduct, according to the Arms Control Association, unarmed reconnaissance flights over each other’s territory on military forces and activities.

Not renewing New START or finding some successor could fire “the starting gun” on ‘a new arms race between the cold war’s protagonists’.

From the Russian perspective, encouragement for a splurge of spending, particularly in the field of tactical nuclear weaponry, abounds. ……..,14192

August 13, 2020 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war

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