Nuclear Rough Beast Slouches Towards Bethlehem

But 127 nations say No!

Posted Jun 20, 2016

Wikimedia upload by Dawson
Source: Wikimedia upload by Dawson

From June 6 to June 16, 2016, NATO conducted a military exercise called Anakonda 2016 near the Polish town of Chelmno. The stated purpose of the event was to train, exercise and integrate Polish military forces in a joint multinational environment, where the circumstances of war included cyber-warfare, conventional attacks, and weapons of mass destruction. This exercise involved more than 31,000 participants from 24 nations, including Albania, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Interestingly, Chelmno is the site of the first Nazi concentration camp to become operational. It used carbon monoxide to kill more than 300,000 Jews from the Lodz ghetto as well as an estimated 5,000 Gypsies who were merely shot.

It is not far from Chelmno to Russia. One would to drive or fly across Belarus, about 16 hours by auto or seven hours by plane to Moscow. NATO is deploying other forces along the lines from the Baltics in the north to the Black Sea in the South. The name “Anakonda” refers to the development of the whole line, and it probably meant to be frightening to the Russians. An “anaconda snake” is a constrictor. If you google anaconda images you will see huge snakes that can swallow a cow. It appears that NATO is developing a constricting set of military bases and forces along Russia’s western boundary. 

The NATO buildup is clearly in response to many direct actions by Russia, including the 2014 annexation of Crimea, support of hostilities in Eastern Ukraine, and Russia’s continuing support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. There have been distressingly close aerial buzzing of U.S. ships and planes by both Russia and China in recent weeks, rather like teasing an anaconda.

Russia is also constructing military bases along its Western front, and modernizing its military forces. In addition there have been “modernization” of nuclear weapons and delivery systems by most of the nuclear nations (U.S., UK, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, Israel, and China) while it is now estimated that North Korea has approximately 20 fission bombs. Of particular concern is that many of the weapons developments include miniaturization and portability. Russia is said to be developing submarine drones of materials that would evade conventional sonar and could target port cities. Pakistan is explicitly developing low yield field weapons with dispersed control systems, meaning that a battlefield commander could make the choice to use them. Pakistan has explicitly stated that they will use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. The US and UK are poised to develop and deploy more Trident submarines with highly accurate multiple warhead missiles, as well as cruise missiles such as the Long Range Standoff Missile which is not only accurate but has dial-a-yield capabilities. On February 13, 2016, Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev said, “We have slid into the times of a new Cold War.”

William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet, wrote his famous poem The Second Coming in 1919, just after World War I. He describes "A shape with lion body and the head of a man" slouching towards Bethlehem, "while all about it wind shadows of the indignant desert birds." As the northern nations slouch toward extinction, there is a hopeful development in the rest of the world. The Open Ended Working Group of the United Nations now has 127 countries that have signed onto a bill that would make nuclear weapons not only illegal but also stigmatized. Chemical and biological weapons are illegal, as are land-mines. Why not nuclear weapons? Because at the start of the United Nations, in 1945, the victors of World War II (China, France, Russia, U.K. and U.S.) created the Security Council, and gave themselves a permanent ability to veto all UN resolutions of any sort. These five also quickly developed their own nuclear weapons, and allowed a legal loophole that permits the worst weapons of mass destruction to remain legal and operational.

Let’s do the math. There are 193 nations represented by the UN. Of these, nine have nuclear weapons. NATO comprises three nuclear weapons states (U.S., U.K. and France) and 25 other states rely on the “nuclear umbrella” although many of them have prohibited nuclear weapons on their own land. NATO has 28 nations, but no nuclear weapons of its own. NATO uses nuclear weapons that belong to the U.S., U.K., and France. Three countries have made nuclear agreements with the US: Japan, South Korea, Australia. Richard Lennane, an Australian, and leader of the Geneva Nuclear Disarmament Initiative, calls those three the “weasel states.” 28 + 3 = 31 NATO and “umbrella” states. Add the other six nuclear states, and we get 37 countries that develop, deploy, or rely on nuclear weapons. Nine of those countries could effectively throw the entire planet into a nuclear famine, nuclear winter, or even end all life on earth.

But wait! Finally the remaining 159 nations are starting to notice that they have no real say in their own futures. The entire continents of Central and South America, including all 33 nations, have been a nuclear free zone since the Treaty of Tlatelolco came into full force in 2002. Yet from Patagonia to Mexico, the people, animals, and plants are vulnerable to the machinations of mostly old men in the North. Now 127 countries are using their power within the United Nations  to ban all nuclear weapons, and this movement is developing rapidly. The Open Ended Working Group of the UN is meeting in Vienna in August and again in October in New York, in 2016,hoping to increase the numbers of countries that protest the utter lack of democracy that could extinguish life. There are only 32 nations to go, to have a consensus that nuclear weapons are a ridiculous and suicidal means for nations to settle disagreements. Right now, the treaty is called the Humanitarian Initiative or the Vienna Treaty. For more information about this important development, go to reachingcriticalwill.org or ippnw.org

Perhaps these 127 nations and their peoples and other living entities are nothing more than indignant desert birds, and the nine bully states will shove them away before they are all collateral damage. But perhaps sanity will emerge.