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Barry
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submitted to opednews.com today

Post by Barry » April 15th, 2010, 4:58 pm

Survival


Since the Cold War is over, what is the greatest threat to the survival of humanity today?

Global Warming?

Pollution?

Resource depletion?

No; it’s still nuclear war.


The big forty-seven nation nuclear summit was last Tuesday. I spent two hours on YouTube that day, looking at videos of nuclear explosions. It wasn’t a pleasant thing to do. The whole time, my face was screwed up in a grimace, and I felt a painful queasiness in my chest. It’s what I felt I had to do, however, on that day, that particular day, and as I watched video after video of blossoming mushroom clouds, buildings burned then blown down, vehicles flashed into flame and bowled over, I kept thinking, “This is what we’re trying to prevent. This is what we’re trying to prevent. This is what we’re all working so hard to prevent.”

Now that the Cold War is over and there is no more MAD policy of mutually assured destruction hanging over all of our heads, the impetus of the threat has shifted to “rogue nations” acquiring nuclear weapons and delivery systems and a terrorist bomb, terrorists getting a hold of nuclear material and actually constructing a thermonuclear device, or just wrapping a conventional explosive in nuclear material and making a “dirty bomb.” Either one is a nightmare scenario.

Would they do it if they could, the terrorists?

I have no doubt in my mind that they would. The only reason they haven’t is because thus far they can’t.

“Rogue nations” are another story. North Korea, it’s now known, has the bomb. Though it seems China has contained them somehow, it’s not certain how long that will go on. Iran, it is assumed, wants the bomb. And it’s also assumed they are working to get it, though they claim they just want nuclear power for peaceful uses, energy and such.

The problem with nations like North Korea and Iran getting the bomb and the means to deliver it is that this threatens the stability of their regions. I’m not sure about North Korea, who they might want to lob a bomb at, other than South Korea, but of Iran it seems pretty clear. No doubt they would love to have the bomb to hold up against Israel, to say, “See? We’ve got it now, too.” But would they actually use it? I think that’s the problem. Nobody knows.

And so, that delicate balance that was struck during the Cold War, which was perturbed slightly by the end of the Cold War, is further perturbed by nations like Iran and North Korea acquiring the bomb. Towards the end of the Cold War the talk was of reduction of nuclear weapons, non-proliferation, reducing both the number of weapons and the number of nations having them rather than increasing those numbers. Since the end of the Cold War that situation has reversed. The numbers are on the rise. This is why the president of the United States has signed a new START reduction treaty with Russia. And it is why he called the forty-seven nation summit in Washington last Tuesday.

Terrorist groups like al Qeada would use nuclear weapons or “dirty bombs” if they could.

Nations like Iran and North Korea acquiring the bomb does destabilize their regions.

Adding to the number of nations having the bomb is the opposite of progress in the context of the nuclear question.

It’s the greatest threat to the survival of humanity today, twenty-one years after the end of the Cold War, as it has been since 1945, when the first nuclear weapon ever was produced.

I see the signing of the new START treaty and the summit in Washington last Tuesday as steps in the right direction. I can’t see Iran and North Korea having the bomb as anything but steps in the wrong direction.

One is a step forward.

The other is a step back.



Peace,
Barry

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Post by revolutionrabbit » April 15th, 2010, 6:20 pm

Good report, however i think you need to go deeper, it seems you see the situation clearly, yet your conclusions need a little more research.This recent show of the Obama administration, is a step in the right direction, but it's a bit of a false step, based on the same old world views and posturing.I'm not going to go into detail, because i don't have it at my finger tips, but for instance how many nuclear missiles does Israel have? What about India? and what about the commissions that oversee these countries and deterrents, and is it still based on anything but American hegemony? As we talk about the cold war, then we have people like Sara Palin that sees nothing but her own lust for power and greed, like some female devil talking about nuclear bombs like she has a clue, Obama was right about her not being an expert.Well duh!With insane people like Palin, who not only sounds retarded, but a total war monger, we seem to be going backwards.Even Reagan hated to look at pictures of nuclear explosions.And as far as terrorists, well, who are we talking about? They could have captured Osama if they wanted, instead it was all about war for middle east control of the resources.Or is it just the psychopathic insanity of the human race? The people that tell Obama what to do.On the other not so impossible side, maybe aliens have made sure we haven't blown ourselves to kingdom come....ha....kingdom come, what kingdom would that be? Oh, and how many nuclear bombs that almost were triggered have almost accidentally fallen on our heads, and then there is depleted uranium floating around, and on it goes where it stops nobody knows.American history read it and creep!Oh yeah some terrorist, like some American, like some teabagger, or wing nut for Jesus.Who is more terrible, the nut job Islamists or the nut job Christians?The farce.Oh thanks, you made my day, time for some poetry.

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Post by Barry » April 15th, 2010, 6:50 pm

I appreciate your input on this, Rabbit.

On the point of Israeli nuclear weapons, it seems to me Israel would have been invaded and removed from existence by an Arab coalition long ago but for their nuclear weapons.

On the point of Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons, India and Pakistan have been at each others throats for a long time, that's why they both have joined the nuclear club, so they can continue to rattle sabers levelly at each other.

As for American hegemony and some of the other things you mentioned in your reply, consider your sources.

Peace,
Barry

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Post by revolutionrabbit » April 15th, 2010, 8:04 pm

hmm...sources? is hegemony not in your vocabulary?

ah right American military bases all over the planet, like you know America has been at one war or another since its conception.

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Post by mnaz » April 15th, 2010, 8:47 pm

I suppose one could also argue that Iran not having the bomb might actually work in effect to destabilize the region too, by the absence of any real check on Western aggression and, yes, hegemony (puppet regimes, energy wars and strategic bases anyone?) which, for all the talk of "bringing democracy" and "beating the terrorists" seems to actually further radicalize the area.

As for the "invaded and removed from existence long ago by the Arab coalition" remark-- Israel of course was invaded several times long ago, and the last time or perhaps even the last two times coming after Israel got nukes. Those invasions were countered using conventional military means. Perhaps I'm naive, but I think the conflict is in quite a different mode now than it was up to 35+ years ago-- more specifically a Palestinian- Israeli conflict versus the initial Arab-Israeli conflict, but the politicians don't seem to approach it this way. Ahmedinejad the Idiot set peace prospects back possibly decades or more with his dumbass "wipe them off the map" comments. Quite a few scholars translate his rant as expressing a wish that Israel's hardline government (not the whole of Israel) fade from existence, but of course the damage is done.

Hamas too is a major stumbling block to peace prospects, both in their intermittent patterns of radical provocation, and in their charter itself (regarding Israel's lack of a right to exist). But the wild card X-factor to me has always been to what extent hard-line Israeli and Western policy works to enable and empower these radical elements. If Israel had refrained from aggressive settlement building prior to final Oslo Accords resolution for example; might trouble have been avoided? Or is that "naive?" And what effect has previous US hegemony (the Shah and the SAVAK), and recent/current aggressive US militarism (the US deployed its military on both sides of Iran in 2001-03) had in the area? Impossible to know for sure. But these things all have an effect on the larger picture of geopolitical tensions.

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Post by saw » April 16th, 2010, 8:57 am

all of the comments have validity, as so much is impossible to predict,
ie, where are the greatest threats ? For me, it really becomes a mute point, interesting to talk about, impossible to be sure of.

For instance, are we focusing too much on one country or another, when there are apparently 84 missing Russian nuclear suitcase bombs out there somewhere.

In it's simplest analysis, War is a business. Do you ever wonder if the guys that are making billions off of armaments, might say....stir things up a bit here and there.

As long as the U.S. or anyone else insists upon occupying or fucking in any way with other countries business, there will be a waiting list to join the resistance and try to blow us up...recruiting is easy under these conditions

there are some scholars that believe we would be safer apologizing for our intrusions around the world, and offer to pay reparations for all the damage we've done

once again though, I think we waste time with complex strategies that continue to ignore these other factors that keep getting swept under the carpet

in any case, a healthy discussion on a poetry/ writing site...or anywhere else can't be a bad thing......it's impossible to live in a political vacuum
If you do not change your direction
you may end up where you are heading

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Post by mnaz » April 16th, 2010, 1:50 pm

This is not to minimize the potential threats represented by said "rogue nations," nor their human rights abuses, which do exist. But we tend to take a "monolithic evil (of others) in a vacuum" POV regarding some of these concerns, with little or no consideration given to how our own actions affect (or have affected) things. Some would argue, "so what?"-- we're the lone superpower, and we have noble motives, or a superior moral footing based on our stated ethics of democratic freedom, and if we make some mistakes along the way, that's too bad; we still have manifest destiny.

That's all well and good, except too often it seems these noble motives are shown to be secondary and not primary. For example, I don't think deceiving the world about "threat levels" from rogue nations and proceeding to invade and occupy them and prop up various sketchy US-friendly puppet regimes, for what later prove to be largely (if not entirely) imperial/corporate-driven reasons, is going to win too many hearts and minds worldwide in the long run, IMO.

I heard the other day that the US spends more on its military than all other nations combined. That's insane! Unacceptable. Even if the world were to come together and agree that global human rights need to be elevated to the world's top priority and pursued strictly by military means, the US cannot continue to do this task (or 85-90% of it) by itself, unilaterally, nor is it necessarily so spotlessly "morally qualified" to do such a task, given its own uneven track record in this arena. I disagree with the all-out military approach to such a task, at least as we've seen it lately, but hypothetically, even if the world were in full consensus that a large-scale, sustained military campaign is ultimately the only way to curtail oppression and usher in a "more enlightened" era, then the world at least had better damn well participate accordingly, share more of the burden proportionally in both blood and (disappearing) treasure.

And terrorism? Terrorism is fluid. It operates in mobile cells globally. I'm not sure how far we get by trying to throw conventional military forces at the problem, invading and occupying countries to "defeat the terrorists," at staggering costs. Go after the cells instead.

Perhaps I'm a bit off-the-main-topic with some of this, so apologies for that in advance.

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Post by Barry » April 16th, 2010, 5:18 pm

The opinion presented was that nuclear war (weapons) is (are) the greatest threat to the survival of humanity, still to this day, sixty-five years after the first one was ever produced.

The term "rogue nations" is in quotation marks to show the author does not buy in to the rhetoric, only uses it because it is broadly familiar, and to illustrate that nuclear weapons have once again began to proliferate rather than be reduced.

Terrorists are mentioned precisely because of missing Russian nukes and nuclear material. Terrorists are why this if a concern to humanity as a whole. A "suitcase bomb" or "dirty bomb" could be detonated anywhere, in any city, say, Amsterdam.

These are not the author's political opinions regarding either terrorists, "rogue nations," or America. They are his human ones.

All discussion is welcomed and appreciated.

Peace,
Barry

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Post by Arcadia » April 18th, 2010, 11:07 pm

Survival


Since the Cold War is over, what is the greatest threat to the survival of humanity today?

Global Warming?

Pollution?

Resource depletion?

No; it’s still nuclear war.


interesting to listen that!, from this side of the world (despite our president last week´s concern ) I guess is not on the top of the list for most of us, at least now. Maybe it´s our ancestral we are too-far-away-feeling (by the way, historically proved as already false) or other vision-reality-needs. Maybe it should be a massive concern, I don´t know... And about the meeting, I tangential heard that USA and Russia (oficially) "resignaron" their 30%... and Israel´s caso was untouched. I wondered: what can you seriously may expect for the rest of the countries?? :). But I´m not a specialist in the theme.

gracias for sharing your vision, Barry!

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Post by hester_prynne » April 19th, 2010, 3:04 pm

Good op-ed piece Barry. I tend to think these bombs are the biggest danger too.
To me they represent a state of mind that needs to be addressed. I mean it's not the bombs really it's the people creating them to use against people who don't do what they say, or don't believe what they believe. It's the inability to co-habitate peacefully on this planet that needs to be addressed.
I kinda think/hope that this is where Obama is coming from.

HP 8)
"I am a victim of society, and, an entertainer"........DW

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Barry
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Post by Barry » April 23rd, 2010, 2:42 pm

Thanks, Arcadia and HP. They accepted it. It's up right now.

Peace,
Barry

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Post by mnaz » April 23rd, 2010, 5:15 pm

Sorry for the political parsing of some of your remarks and various tangents, Barry. Although getting at the politics and terminology (and psychologies) of it all, cutting through as much "official" bullshit as possible, also seems a human way to move forward.

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Post by Barry » April 23rd, 2010, 6:12 pm

I absolutely agree, Marc. Your comments were not at all unwelcome. Clearly there are broad differences of opinion as regards American "hegemony" abroad as well as the presence of nukes in Israel. My own opinion is that these differences mainly relate to whatever side of the fence one is on, which is why I continually strive with all my might to straddle whatever fence I come upon. On the right, this is called "wishy-washy." On the left, I don't know what it's called, "refusing to take a stand"? Either way, I have no problem with it. For eleven years now I have known myself to be a man in the middle; I refuse to take sides; rather, I take the third side, which is what peace always does. For the third side is what peace always is. This is my own personal method of cutting through the "bullshit." That's why the piece was not about the goodness of nukes in some hands and the badness of nukes in others but was about the badness of nukes, period.

Peace,
Barry

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Post by Steve Plonk » April 23rd, 2010, 11:19 pm

In order to keep the world calm,
We need to ban the "effin" bomb...
Lately, even the president's been
having these dreams. He was right to
sign the new "start" treaty.
Hey, it gives the world a new start.
So let's wake up to being stewards of
our earth... Because we have been so
enlisted by the Almighty. Someone has
got to get a plan to stop N. Korea and Iran...
They are a wrench in the works of the world.

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