|World-renouned intellectual Noam Chomsky. (Photo: Andrew Rusk)|
Nuclear proliferation and climate change are subjects of acute concern in the current moment, driven into an all-out state of emergency by the new Trump administration. In this exclusive interview for Truthout, world-renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky discusses the media coverage of these two major issues, highlighting US tensions with Russia, Iran and North Korea, as well as discussing the recent US airstrike on Syria's Air Force base.
Daniel Falcone: What do you make of the distressing lack of discussion on climate change and nuclear proliferation in the mainstream media?
Noam Chomsky: If you want to learn something about nuclear weapons and why these issues are not being reported, take a look at the March 1 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, where there is an absolutely spectacular article by two real experts -- Hans M. Kristensen and Ted Postol from MIT. They discuss the new targeting systems that have been invented under the Obama Modernization Program that's now being escalated by Trump, and it's extremely dangerous. What they claim based on disclosed information is that the US missile systems have been improved by such a huge factor that they are now capable of instantly wiping out the Russian deterrent.
This is massive overkill and nuclear stability is gone, and of course, the Russians know this. What that implies is that if they ever feel a threat, they're just going to be compelled to launch a preemptive strike because otherwise they're dead, you know? And that means we're all dead. This is the most important news that's come out in I don't know how long.
The New York Times and other mainstream outlets followed through on their conventional habits of praising the US and Trump's latest strike of Syria but went on to lament that his foreign policy doctrine is improvisational. And, in some ways, based on the Cabinet appointments, it reminds me of Bush 43, where they select defenseless targets. Meanwhile they claim they're trying to fight terrorism and nuclear proliferation, but it seems like they're just enhancing it.
They certainly are not fighting nuclear proliferation. Well, if they want to fight nuclear proliferation, there are things they can do. Iran, which was never really an issue, could have been settled years ago. There's an interesting book by the former Brazilian ambassador Celso Amorim. In 2010, he initiated an effort along with Turkey to settle the whole Iran issue. Nobody outside of the United States takes it to be much of an issue.
Here, it's the worst threat in human history, but they made a deal with Iran for Iran to essentially give away its low enriched uranium to Turkey for storage, and in return, the Western powers (meaning the US) would provide them with ice tubs for their medical reactors. That basically would have ended it. It was immediately scratched by Obama and Clinton. And the main reason was they didn't want anybody else to be involved in it. We were supposed to run things, but we didn't say that. The ostensible reason was that Clinton was just on the verge of pressing for additional sanctions against Iran at the Security Council and didn't want it undermined, so that shows the attitude toward proliferation. And the same is happening with North Korea. [Recently] they announced more offensive actions against North Korea.
Naval missiles are going to raise the level of [danger], [but] is there a diplomatic option? Yes, there is. North Korea and China have proposed what sounds like a pretty sensible option that North Korea should end its development of nuclear weapons -- just no more, just keep it the way it is -- and in return, the US should stop carrying out hostile military maneuvers on the North Korean border -- nuclear capable B-52s and so on. The US immediately rejected it. And the press and everyone else said [little]….
This modernization program is a very clear example of how security doesn't matter. There is no gain in security but massive overkill of the adversary's deterrent capacity. The only consequence of it is to elicit the likelihood of a preemptive attack. And a preemptive attack leads to a nuclear winter world.
Please continue this interview here: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40319-noam-chomsky-us-is-the-most-dangerous-country-in-the-world