This week, President Obama took the unprecedented step of personally chairing a meeting of the United Nations Security Council. In an address to the General Assembly the day before, The President of the United States, with American power and influence on the decline around the world, declared yet again that, “No world order that elevates one nation… over another will succeed.”
It seems lost on the American President that he was not elected to create or perfect a world order, but to elevate the interests of the United States. He was not selected by a world assembly but by Americans, who extracted from him a sworn oath to defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign or domestic. That same Constitution calls the president the Chief Executive of the Untied States. Imagine if the chief executive of Wal-Mart attended an economic forum and suggested a willingness to make his company less successful in the interest of promoting the perceived success of his competitors. It is unlikely that he would remain CEO for long…
The real show, however, came as the President of America positioned himself, at least temporarily, as President of the World. What did he do from this lofty position? Well, addressing a council whose purpose it is to maintain the security of the world, in an age in which jihadi terrorists are at open war with the west, democratic uprisings are being crushed, a resurgent Russia intimidates and openly invades its neighbors, North Korea threatens nuclear war, and Iran kills Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan and threatens the extermination of Israel, Mr. Obama chose to launch an attack on — the existence of nuclear weapons. In short, the would-be king of all he surveys backed a resolution to end all actual security in the world.
Utopian dreams rarely have any connection to reality. The socialist ideal of transferring power and wealth from the few to the many is proven a delusion once one realizes that the method socialists use to accomplish this goal is powerful government, thus making the true reality of socialism the transfer of power and wealth from the few to the far fewer. It is the same with this pre-adolescent belief that a world without nuclear weapons would be a better or more peaceful one. In actuality, nuclear weapons have maintained the closest thing the world has ever known to global peace for over sixty years.
Imagine this world without nuclear weapons for a moment. The atomic bomb made it’s debut on the world stage in 1945. Had it not appeared, or even been delayed by one year, there would have been, according to the best estimates, 500,000 to a million more American dead in World War Two. Since large numbers rarely have meaning, the context to understand that number is that it is more than double, maybe quadruple the actual number of casualties America suffered. Similarly, there would have been perhaps as many as six-million Japanese deaths and the entire nation would have been obliterated by sky-darkening waves of B-29 attacks that incinerated every city on the islands.
Of course, that’s just Japan. With over twenty-million dead, a number that is genuinely uncomprehendible to the American mind since we have never lost more than two percent of that number of men in any war (perhaps a half again that if you count both sides of the civil war), the Soviet Union had a blood lust that was not easily satiated. To ensure they were never subjected to such destruction again, and to grow their brand of satellite socialism, they would likely have devoured all of Western Europe by the end of the 1940s. Despite what we might like to believe, it is unlikely that any force on Earth could have stopped them. Untold millions would have perished as the USSR marched west, and far more would have died in the purges and gulags and re-education camps that followed.
From there, the shape of the remainder of the history of the twentieth century bends beyond recognition. If the People’s Republic of China ever actually existed, you can be sure Taiwan would have been destroyed. It is unlikely an Israel would have ever come into being since the whole world would have been locked in an unwinnable war with the Soviets during that time, and the middle east would have become the scene of open confrontation between the two super powers for resources. Suffice to say that the relative peace and advancement of western society President Obama grew up in would simply not exist.
Does any of this mean that nuclear weapons are good? Of course not. Nuclear weapons are neither good or bad. They are simply things. Tools. They have no intrinsic moral quality, any more than the sword or the plowshare, both of which can be wielded to kill a man. Much of the reason we assume that there is something inherently evil about nuclear weapons is because the average American has no idea what they actually are, apart from what we have learned from Hollywood. Of course, in Hollywood, spaceships moving through a vacuum make loud noises, like passing airplanes… They aren’t known for their science. Hollywood has advanced so many untrue myths about nuclear weapons that we have come to look upon them as almost living things, bent on our destruction. That is simply not the case.
First, we have been told that nuclear war was the actual goal of the two super powers during the cold war. Of course, this is untrue. The one man in all of history that we know was willing to use the bomb in war, the only man who actually did, was Harry Truman. This same man rejected a war plan proposed by his leading general to use atomic weapons against our enemies in the Korean War only five years later. Nuclear weapons may have their place, but they are not to be used wantonly.
The second lie is that nuclear weapons release giant sums of radioactive fallout. To use even one of them would destroy the environment and give millions of people cancer. This is complete folly. For proof, one need only look to actual history. The most nuked spot on earth is, far and away, the desert of Nevada. The United States detonated over 1,021 individual nuclear devices in the Silver State in the second half of the twentieth century. Over a thousand. Sixty-five short miles away lives American’s playground city of Las Vegas. There are no three-eyed fish or giant city-eating lizards there, unless you’re into that sort of thing, in which case talk to the floor manager at Caesars… While it is true that nuclear weapons produce radioactive waste, it is only when they are detonated at ground level or below that those particles bind with the surrounding matter and create the kind of fallout we have all been raised to fear. In other words, deadly fallout is not a by-product of nuclear weapons themselves, but of certain uses of nuclear weapons (or certain types that are certainly not indicative of the whole). Nuclear weapons can be used just as surely without creating that sort of fallout, as was the case in Japan.
The third lie is that nuclear weapons are city killers. While it is true that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were largely destroyed, they were not really cities by our common definitions. Japan basically went from the feudal age, to the industrial revolution, to World War Two in the blink of an eye. These cities were constructed of wood that resembled paper. While nuclear weapons are indeed devastating, the average bomb in the US arsenal would only actually destroy a few square miles in a modern city. More, since the fifties, when so-called super-bombs were tested in the South Pacific, nuclear weapons have actually been getting smaller in physical size and in yield. They are getting weaker, not stronger. The reason is so that we won’t destroy cities. Modern nuclear weapons were actually designed to do the largest amount of damage to the smallest space possible, and our delivery systems have gotten so advanced that they can place these weapons within a few meters of the desired target. The point of the current crop of nuclear weapons is not to kill cities, but to kill hardened military targets in instantaneous strikes. Are they still horrifyingly powerful? Certainly, but their use would not look like a Terminator movie.
The last lie is that the bombs can somehow destroy all life on earth. At the peak, there were perhaps sixty-thousand nuclear weapons in existence. Now there are likely less than half of that number. America alone tested over a thousand of them on our own soil, sixty-five miles from one of our own cities. Sixty-thousand weapons could have done unthinkable damage to the cities of the world if so aimed, but it is inconceivable that they might have killed even a tenth of the world’s population. Again, horrifying in its own right, but hardly what people perceive.
With all of that said, a single nuclear weapon, or a series of them, used on hardened targets, or on the caves over Afghanistan, far from urban populations would be no more evil than the use of any other weapon. Still, we don’t use them for those purposes, even though it would likely save the lives of our soldiers, to avoid even the accusation of seeking to use them to dominate the world. What we do use them for is to prevent giant, industrialized, advanced societies from attacking one another and starting actual world wars. Throughout all of human history, excluding the sixty years since the nuclear bomb was created, the dominate powers of the world have always waged war on one another at the cost of countless lives and treasure. The two great wars of the twentieth century taught us that, because of advances in technology, those wars now had the power to destroy lives in the tens and possibly hundreds of millions, but that knowledge alone did nothing to alter the fundamentals of human nature, economies, tyrannies, or politics that caused wars. War is no longer sustainable, but it never-the-less still exists. The reason they are not fought between the large powers, the reason they cannot be, is that the nuclear weapon makes them unwinnable. For that reason, the major powers, America, Britain, France, Russia, and China do well to maintain their weapons. They do no harm, and yet they do great, great good. They have already saved perhaps hundreds of millions of lives, and even if one is one day used surreptitiously by a terrorist organization to kill tens of thousands of people, they still will have been a net gain to society of a thousand times that number of lives saved. Why then would the President of the United States, the country that has, armed with these devices, kept so great a peace for so long, seek to eliminate them? Does he believe the lie that disarmament of the great powers, who cannot afford to use the weapons because their own advanced societies could not withstand their use, would quail the ambitions of rouge states with nothing to lose? Or is it simply that his personal utopian dreams and astounding ego need the satisfaction of either uniting this world in his own skewed image, or destroying it because it is not worthy of his beautiful leadership? Either way, this CEO is destroying his company’s success, and the very real possibility exists that people are going to die trying to validate his false notions or faulty ego. Nothing less than the peace of the world is at stake.