26 March, 2014

GROUPS OF 8 AND 20 DISTRACT FROM HAGUE NUCLEAR SUMMIT


The schoolyard bullies have thrown Russia out of their little gang.

Seems like Russia doesn’t need to be worried about being ousted by the Richie Rich Club. Even the New Yorker says the G8 was a washout. Don’t cry for the G8: It was mostly a waste of time, says the venerable institution.

Of course these days if you get out of one Rich Man’s Club, there’s another one right around the corner to join. These are democratic days, and there are choices. The other club is even Bigger and Better—with 20 members and I’m sure flashier red leather sofas and Cartier watches on display.

The Group of 20, however, seems to have gotten infected by the Group of 8 exclusivity virus. Julie Bishop, of Australia, has apparently suggested Russia should be booted out of the next summit.

No, no, no, say the BRICS. You can’t make unilateral decisions like this, Australia, say the BRICS.

Russia’s of course a popular country (Mr Putin has been out and about shaking hands and drinking vodka with people for a few decades now) and popular countries immediately get statements of support from their buddies. As in:

BRICS countries extend statement of support for Russian participation in G20

Now with all this excitement about Russia being thrown in and out of these exclusive institutions and networks, it’s almost easy to forget that the most important thing happening at the moment is not Crimea and the Ukranian drama, but the Hague Nuclear Summit.

All these Groups of 8s and 20s are of course prime owners of thousands of megatons of radioactive fissionable materials which they have fashioned into weapons of war. In other words, you have in the Hague a club of the most radioactive and dangerous countries on the planet. Nuclear terrorism is definitely a worry for the world—and if you own the bulk of these missiles and bombs, you want to make sure attention is safely distracted from your own dirty radioactive historical usage record, and deposited firmly into some other drama.

So what exactly is nuclear security? Apparently for the Rich Man’s Club, nuclear security is keeping fissionable materials out of the hands of “terrorists” and presumably in the hands of “responsible people” (we’ll overlook those news reports of nuclear bunkers being guarded by tired and dispirited USA soldiers, for the moment. Not to mention that little matter of the counterfeit gambling chips at a casino which lost the Number 2 Nuclear Commander Tim Giardina his job.)

Seems the US is not the only one struggling with low morale and dispirited officers. This from the Daily Mail of the UK on 22 October 2013:
Twice this year alone, Air Force officers entrusted with the launch keys to nuclear-tipped missiles have been caught leaving open a blast door that is intended to help prevent a terrorist or other intruder from entering their underground command post.

Clearly something's wrong with the way nuclear material is guarded in the rich countries. And these folks are telling us they are responsible people we can trust to guard thousands of megatons of fissionable materials.

According to the New York Daily News:
Obama says he's more worried about the possibility of ‘nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan’ than Russian threat
The President says the Russians ‘don't pose the No. 1 national security threat to the United States,’ despite the Kremlin's land grab of Crimea.


Now its clearly a hypothetical risk the President is posing, and I really hope nothing happens to Manhattan since it is one of the coolest and most global cities of the world. Having done my graduate studies there, I have a special fondness for the Big Apple. But because the image of Manhattan being nuked has been put out into the world’s imagination, we have to ask:

Who on earth would have the capacity to do this?

Manhattan was attacked once—I was there on 125th street when the Twin Towers fell. The scope and scale of the attack was unimaginable, but it happened. For many people around the world, it is clear it couldn’t have occurred with the complicity of the Bush administration, who benefited enormously from the 60 billion in war funding that poured out of the treasury shortly thereafter.

The USA is also the only country in the world which has actually used excessive force far beyond what was needed to make an already exhausted Japanese Army surrender on the eve of the Second World War. The two atom bombs that fell on Japan caused human casualties of a few million(once you add in all those who died of cancer in subsequent years.)

For any observer who’s following for what’s been happening in the USA for the past 14 years, it is pretty clear the greatest threat to the US’s security comes from within the US itself. The military-industrial complex in the USA is itching to get its hands on the next installtment of trillions for a new war that will replace the Cold War (1950s-1980s to the Iran/Iraq wars to the WTC bombings/Iraq/Afganisthan decade (2001-2013).

It is clear that the vigilance towards nuclear security will have to be directed towards institutions based in the US itself. There has to be massive transparency and compliance of international monitoring of the US’s nuclear holdings. And there needs to be a giant civilian inquiry into how exactly these nuclear weapons are being held.

It is pretty clear to most people living in New York City that they live surrounded by aging nuclear power plants which are more at risk of leaks and malfunctions than quite frankly a terrorist attack. India Point being a prime example.

The USA needs to step back and take a reality check of what it possesses-and mostly it possesses a deadly stash of dangerous weapons that need to be properly monitored and disposed of. And it possesses nuclear plants that should be properly maintained and eventually shut down when the time is right, because these aging plants are too close to dense settlements of human population.

I’m sure that applies equally well to China and Russia as well, and other countries that operate and run nuclear power energy plants, and keep a nice stash of aging nuclear missiles in their basements. Which hmmm...seem to be the G8 countries. Funny that.

Now that we have that out of the way... lets go back to Russia, the Ukraine and the Crimea. Distractions are always such a good way to take attention away from the real issues.

No comments: