Friday, July 14, 2017

The US's "Realism" on Nuclear Weapons Is More Like Tunnel Vision

So vital to question existing stories that we are conditioned and indoctrinated into believing as absolute truth. We humans have choices to mindfully explore and make conscious what the stories are that guide our thinking and actions and if they are rooted in that which harms or helps us individually and collectively. Certainly the cultural stories which are rooted in fear, ignorance, greed, and pitting certain groups of humans against an "Other" cause the most violence, oppression, devastation, and suffering in our nation and worldwide. My ongoing prayer is that more and more of us will open to embracing a fearless moral inventory of ourselves and our belief systems, that we will actively seek in an ongoing way to lift the veils of our illusions and ignorance (we all have them), that we will learn how to follow the money and how to discern carefully who we seek as resources and teachers, and that we will live increasingly aligned with values rooted in evolving and deepening conscious awareness and the wisdom of our higher Selves. Within us and through all of life is the Sacred. May we remember what we have forgotten and deepen our capacity to choose truth, courage, kindness, compassion, peace, and love. This is not a sissy, stupid, ridiculous, utopian vision. It is the only one that gives humankind and other life on the planet the possibility of awakening, healing, and potentially thriving. - Molly

Mutually assured destruction is not realism; it's a suicidal standoff, with the certainty that eventually something's going to give. (Photo: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Follow)

The United States boycotted the U.N. negotiations to ban -- everywhere across Planet Earth -- nuclear weapons. So did eight other countries. Guess which ones?
The international debate over this historic treaty, which became reality a week ago by a margin of 122 to 1, revealed how deeply split the nations of the world are -- not by borders or language or religion or political ideology or control of wealth, but by possession of nuclear weapons and the accompanying belief in their absolute necessity for national security, despite the absolute insecurity they inflict on the whole planet.
Armed equals scared. (And scared equals profitable.)
The nine nations in question, of course, are the nuclear-armed ones: the US, Russia, China, Great Britain, France, India, Pakistan, Israel and . . . what was that other one? Oh yeah, North Korea. Bizarrely, these countries and their short-sighted "interests" are all on the same side, even though each one's possession of nuclear weapons justifies the others' possession of nuclear weapons.
None of these countries took part in the discussion of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, even to oppose it, seeming to indicate that a nuke-free world isn't anywhere in their vision.
As Robert Dodge of Physicians for Social Responsibility wrote: "They have remained oblivious and hostage themselves to this mythological deterrence argument that has been the principal driver of the arms race since its inception, including the current new arms race initiated by the United States with a proposal to spend $1 trillion in the next three decades to rebuild our nuclear arsenals."
Among the nations -- the rest of the planet -- that did participate in the creation of the treaty, the single vote against it was cast by the Netherlands, which, coincidentally, has stored US nuclear weapons on its territory since the Cold War era, to the befuddlement even of its own leaders. ("I think they are an absolutely pointless part of a tradition in military thinking," former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers has said.)
The treaty reads, in part: ". . .each State Party that owns, possesses or controls nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices shall immediately remove them from operational status and destroy them, as soon as possible . . ."
This is serious. I have no doubt that something historic has happened: A wish, a hope, a determination the size of humanity itself has found international language. "Prolonged applause broke out as the president of the negotiating conference, Costa Rican ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez, gaveled through the landmark accord," according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. "'We have managed to sow the first seeds of a world free of nuclear weapons,' she said."
But nonetheless, I feel a sense of cynicism and hopelessness activated as well. Does this treaty sow any real  seeds, that is to say, does it put nuclear disarmament into motion in the real world, or are her words just another pretty metaphor? And are metaphors all we get?
Nikki Haley, the Trump administration's U.N. ambassador, said last March, according to CNN, as she announced that the US would boycott the talks, that as a mom and daughter, "There is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons."
How nice.
"But," she said, "we have to be realistic."
In years gone by, the diplomat's finger would then have pointed to the Russians (or the Soviets) or the Chinese. But Haley said: "Is there anyone that believes that North Korea would agree to a ban on nuclear weapons?"
So this is the "realism" that is presently justifying the US's grip on its nearly 7,000 nuclear weapons, along with its trillion-dollar modernization program: tiny North Korea, our enemy du jour, which, as we all know, just tested a ballistic missile and is portrayed in the US media as a wildly irrational little nation with a world-conquest agenda and no legitimate concern about its own security. So, sorry Mom, sorry kids, we have no choice.
The point being, any enemy will do. The realism Haley was summoning was economic and political in nature far more than it had anything to do with real national security -- which would have to acknowledge the legitimacy of a planetary concern about nuclear war and honor previous treaty commitments to work toward disarmament. Mutually Assured Destruction is not realism; it's a suicidal standoff, with the certainty that eventually something's going to give.

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