Very clear and very present danger
The phrase ‘clear and present danger’ has a profound reverberation far graver than any political automaton of western imperialism will ever admit. To Atomic scientists it means mass extinction.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS) has a famous doomsday clock. It was established in 1947. As wars break out in various parts of the globe, or a country trades secrets of how to make a nuclear bomb, or a nation’s leader shifts weapons of mass destruction to the border of another nation, the clock’s hands are advanced towards midnight the threat of a nuclear holocaust being all too obvious.
In the past it was turned back when the threat of nuclear war receded. The hands were turned back when the Berlin Wall was toppled. The USSR’s President Gorbachev offered then promised to remove the wall on the understanding the west would not deploy nuclear missiles close to its borders.
The phrase he used was, ‘NATO would not advance one inch to the east.’ It was repeated in dispatches and diplomatic documents. He told President Reagan if that was agreed he was happy to let East and West German unite again – a remarkable, in fact, astonishing offer. Later, Reagan, a wily ‘B’ picture actor, on a visit to West Berlin, called on Russia in a famous speech to ‘take down that wall’ knowing full-well it was already a done deal, thus stealing the credit for himself, and western history books.
Accidents will happen
The clock is closest to doomsday since the early 1980s when there was a major war scare. That was when medium range Pershing ballistic missiles were deployed in western Europe pointing at the USSR. President Clinton had promised Gorbachev he would move missiles away from the Russian border, and then reneged on the promise. It was a verbal promise, admittedly, but how can you trust a nation that promises one thing and then does the opposite?
The hands of the clock were moved back from midnight, way back, when the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was signed and the old USSR dissolved. The grim right-wing dumbass President Dubelya Bush reversed all that optimism at the start of the millennium to show his dad he really was the tough son he could be proud of. His brother, Jeb Bush, a presidential candidate, follows assiduously in his family’s fateful footsteps.
The hands are back again close to midnight. One of the reasons is the deterioration in Russia-US relations, which is quite threatening. Nation after nation cranks up the rhetoric in imitation of the USA’s warmongering drumbeat. The other issue is environmental catastrophe, which wasn’t a problem the world understood back in the Eighties.
Whichever country the USA takes a dislike to this week is the new world threat. The international community follows suit. But no one seems to know exactly which countries make up the illusory ‘international community’ warmongering leaders keep referring to as on the side of democracy. It’s a phrase straight out of Orwell’s novel, 1984.
Who decides world order?
Threats to world order are, in short order, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, and at the time of writing, we are back with Russia again, our right-wing horsemen determined to rekindle the Cold War. It’s a wonder Scotland is not in there since its ambition to kick Trident out of its backyard has us classified as a pariah state by English politicians.
There is no concrete evidence Iran is, or has been, preparing uranium to create a nuclear arsenal, but there is all the evidence we need in speeches and written records that Iran is fearful of Israel’s aggression, and the knowledge Israel has its own nuclear bomb, yet refuses to sign any proliferation treaty. Recent negotiations between the USA and Iran to allow inspections of nuclear power plants in Iran lessens that anxiety a little … until the USA decides it is in its interest to cry wolf again.
This brings me to NATO. After the break-up of the Soviet Union there was no role, some said, no reason for the existence of NATO. NATO was supposed to protect Western Europe from the Russian killer hordes; people older than me will remember the ‘the commies are coming’ scares, reiterated in countless British newspapers, and symbolised in that 1956 black and white Hollywood movie about alien pods taking over people’s personalities, ‘The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.’
Where stands NATO now?
With the threat gone of hordes of Russian Cossacks on horseback galloping down Whitehall towards Number 10 Downing Street and on to Buckingham Palace, what happens to NATO? That was the moment Gorbachev, (whom I regard as the hero of the twentieth century) made that astonishing proposal. He offered to let Germany be unified and to join NATO, a hostile military alliance. NATO immediately advanced to the Russian border. Gorbachev was furious and disillusioned.
And where are we now? The Ukraine has happened now. The answer is to neutralise it. Incorporating it into NATO is a serious threat to Russia. No? Russia still the ‘Evil Empire’? President Putin knows his history.
Reverse the situation; try to imagine how the USA would react if a country planted nuclear weapons along its border – well, we don’t need to imagine it. The USA under President Kennedy brought the world to the brink of catastrophe when Cuba accepted Russian rockets having been the subject of countless military attacks from the USA to destabilise it, and to assassinate President Fidel Castro. (Amazingly he has outlived all his adversaries!)
Today ISIS in Syria is the latest ‘threat’ and the USA conducting wars by drones without any approval of the United Nations. But there is no international mechanism to restrain powerful nations. As President Obama keeps saying over Iran and any other state that irks America or threatens its interests ‘all options are open.’
The MAD hypothesis – mutual assured destruction.
Whoever has one man standing is the winner
The Doomsday Clock has been placed several minutes before “midnight” again – three minutes to midnight. Midnight means the human race, humankind, is done, finished, wiped out. That includes the flora and fauna that has done nothing to deserve extinction.
Warmongering politicians are the clear and present danger. They should be removed from power immediately. Their authority should be taken from them. So should we remove from office politicians who cast their fellow citizens as insurgents.
It is simplifying matters to assert John Major is an idiot likening Scotland’s democratic ambitions to nuclear annihilation, a ‘clear and present danger’. In reality it is much more complex. He tells us democracy has its limits.
In his case the British state cannot, will not, deal with change. It will resist change with all the weapons at its disposal. Scotland must be taught to remain subservient to England’s domestic and foreign policies.
We can stop spending billions on weapons of mass destruction and furnish the hospitals we keep complaining are underfunded, or even wipe out food banks.
Only those with a death wish will toss that opportunity away.
(This essay is in tandem with ‘The Folly of Nuclear War’ – http://wp.me/p4fd9j-8jc )