Time Again for a Nuclear Freeze, Followed by Reduction and Elimination

W.J. Astore

The bomb in “Beneath the Planet of the Apes.” Not our Alpha, but it could very well be our Omega

Coming of age in the 1970s, I had a real fear of nuclear Armageddon. Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD, guaranteed both the USA and USSR would be destroyed in the case of a “general” nuclear war (as opposed to a “limited” one). When Ronald Reagan was elected and started denouncing the Soviet Union as an “Evil Empire” while stationing Pershing II and Ground Launched Cruise Missiles in Europe in the early 1980s, a powerful movement calling for a “nuclear freeze” (no new nuclear weapons) helped to provide a measure of sanity. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, it seemed the world had stepped back from the brink of nuclear annihilation. Indeed, Barack Obama campaigned on eliminating nuclear weapons, supported by conservative voices like Henry Kissinger and George Schultz.

But you can’t keep a bad bomb down, apparently. Amazingly, nuclear weapons are back and in a big way. So-called nuclear modernization of America’s strategic triad may cost as much as $1.7 trillion over the next 30 years, notes Andrew Bacevich in his latest article for TomDispatch.com. Here’s an excerpt:

President Biden has left essentially untouched the core assumptions that justify the vast (and vastly well funded) national security apparatus created in the wake of World War II.  Central to those assumptions is the conviction that global power projection, rather than national defense per se, defines the U.S. military establishment’s core mission.  Washington’s insistence on asserting global primacy (typically expressed using euphemisms like “global leadership”) finds concrete expression in a determination to remain militarily dominant everywhere.   

So far at least, Biden shows no inclination to renounce, or even reassess, the practices that have evolved to pursue such global military dominion.  These include Pentagon expenditures easily exceeding those of any adversary or even plausible combination of adversaries; an arms industry that corrupts American politics and openly subverts democracy; a massive, essentially unusable nuclear strike force presently undergoing a comprehensive $1.7 trillion “modernization”; a network of hundreds of bases hosting U.S. troop contingents in dozens of countries around the world; and, of course, an inclination to use force unmatched by any nation with the possible exception of Israel.

Of course, “global military dominion” makes little sense if the world is a burnt out radioactive husk after a general nuclear strike. So why is America’s military pursuing a new generation of land-based ICBMs, new nuclear stealth bombers, and submarines (the most secure and survivable “leg” of the triad)? Money and jobs, I suppose, are always key factors. But there’s something deeper at work here, a sort of bizarre religion in which America’s death-dealers actually worship the bomb, as in the movie “Beneath the Planet of the Apes.” Here’s a relevant scene from that movie:

Worshiping at the altar of global destruction is about as black of a mass as I can imagine. The only course of action that makes any sense for the future of humanity is a nuclear freeze (no new nuclear weapons, warheads, and delivery systems) followed by reductions and culminating in elimination.

Meanwhile, let’s assume we save $1.7 trillion by not “modernizing” the triad. How about investing that money in America’s crumbling infrastructure? Why not build bridges and roads and high-speed rail and dams instead of planning on blowing them up and all of humanity with them?

To read all of Andrew Bacevich’s article, go to TomDispatch.com.

17 thoughts on “Time Again for a Nuclear Freeze, Followed by Reduction and Elimination

  1. American leadership is now and has been since the start of the Cold War a death cult. Just heard (Australian journalist) John Pilger mention that, in contrast, Chinese leadership is frankly more interested in doing business and raising its population out of centuries of poverty. Yet the U.S. propaganda machine depicts the Chinese primarily as military aggressors and offenders of humanitarian values. I can’t judge accurately, since I’m inside the bubble. Maybe Pilger can.

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  2. pilger, like his consociate aussie, julian assange, has never shied from speaking truth to power. both he and assange should be revered for their unprecedented journalistic veracity, honour, and deeply-drilled investigations.

    throughout our benighted ‘devolution’ courageous people like pilger, assange, chelsea manning, snowden, MLK, robert fiske, and so many other fearless provacateurs, are either shut down or shot down. we are a flawed species. perhaps we may look forward to a sanguine anticipation of anentiodromia wherein the US’s esurient military excesses will result in such overreach that the entire ’empire-of-exceptionalism’ will collapse.

    may china continue to prevail. every infrastructural project they have invested in, here in the philippines, has been hugely advantageous to filipinos. all the US does in our offshore waters is send warships and aircraft carriers to the south china sea to intimidate us. the chinese never threaten nor proscribe our fishermen from access to their traditional fishing grounds in the south china sea, including the spratly islands. the western MSM are egregious, unapologetic prevaricators in their attacks on china. don’t be deluded by their mendacity.

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    1. Correction: “may communist china continue to prevail” – amazing how over a billion indentured servants love and defend their enslavement under this monstrous one-party fascist dictatorship that Stalin could only dream of trading their “freedoms” for a bowl of rice and discounted bus ticket all paid with Alipay who then get to celebrate Alibaba’s $Billion Singles’ Day shopping extravaganza every year!

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  3. Very ironic that George Schultz is calling for a nuclear weapons ban. At the Reykjavik conference between Ronald Raygun and Gorbachev, Gorbachev offered to eliminate all Soviet nuclear weapons if the U.S.A would do so also. George Schultz advised Reagan to refuse the offer. At that time, China, India, Pakistan were just starting their nuclear weapons programs. They may have ceased if the two major players had eliminated their nuclear weapons.
    The one man who may have advised differently, which would have begun the elimination of nuclear weapons is calling for the same now. Too late, the ‘horse is out of the barn’!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In my 8th-grade Lit class, about 50 years ago, we read a book called, “A Canticle for Leibowitz,” by Walter M. Miller. For those not familiar with this esoteric novel, it’s a post-apocalyptic story in which most life on Earth is gone due to a nuclear war, leaving only a few isolated pockets of humans who have to rebuild civilization from scratch. As the stages of the chronicle unfold, society progresses to a Middle Ages-type level, then evolves more and more, until….anyone want to guess the end?

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  5. I remember reading that, Denise. Interesting book, though I was disappointed in the ending, which I only vaguely recall since I read it about 40 years ago. Doesn’t a new “savior” appear on the back of a mutant, or something like that? Even as a Catholic, I found it farfetched, but maybe that was the point. It’s all about faith, and God truly works in mysterious ways. Forgive me if my memory misleads here …

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    1. There was indeed a sacred mutant at the end, but…..she did not save the world. There was another Armageddon. The implication was, if I remember correctly, that nuclear destruction had happened repeatedly on Earth, in multi-thousand-year cycles. Even more depressing a thought now than it was in eighth grade.

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  6. My mind still staggers at the sheer amount of money we’re throwing away on weapons and wars. And a trillion plus for new nukes? America is truly a mad/MAD society with a “strange love” for the bomb.

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    1. I haven’t a mind that is good at calculating the amount of destruction today’s combined nuclear arsenals from the Atomic Powers will actually create. But it seems to my meager understanding that any further creation of these monsters of mass destruction will only be good for obliterating what has already been destroyed. So, what’s the point in spending enormous sums to just rearrange rubble?

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      1. Bouncing the rubble! But for good, high-paying, jobs in the nuclear weapons and related industries! Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye, as the Armageddon posters of my era said.

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  7. I remember that Carl Sagan said that only a relatively small number of nuclear explosions of the magnitude currently produced by weapons designed to obliterate cities would cause nuclear winter, and it would be game over. I believe there’s been some argument with his figures, but I don’t doubt for a minute that he was, and is, correct.

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  8. Our Firefighter’s are our last line of Defense baby so I’d hate to see them wasted in those Radioactive Hell-fires, but then again the lucky ones would be the first to go in the Nuclear Flash, and vaporized out of existence. Hell we’d probably turn the Deserts into Grotesque Glass Sculptures for any future Alien Civilizations to Visit and to contemplate Mankinds finale demise…Earth & Venus will be true Sister Planets. Silver Linings!

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