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(DV) Petersen: The Inalienable Right to Self Defense -- Balancing the Power







The Inalienable Right to Self Defense:

Balancing the Power
by Kim Petersen
February 27, 2006

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“Do you know that you are one of the few predator species that preys even on itself?”


-- Squire Trelane addressing the human crew of the starship Enterprise, “The Squire of Gothos,” Star Trek


Imperialists continue to unleash lethal violence as a means to achieve covetous ends. The slaughter of fellow humans hardly seems to dint the wealth and power lusts of plutocrats -- lusts driven by a ravenous capitalist system and fueled by greed to control precious oil. For this reason, American-British imperialism and the racist sidekick ideology of Zionism have extended their malevolent tentacles throughout the Middle East where so much of world’s remaining oil is situated.


The United States regime colludes with several dictatorial regimes in the Middle East -- among which are Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Middle Eastern regimes outside imperialistic control are subjected to unrelenting outside interference. Hence, Lebanese society is threatened once again, and reckless propaganda is directed at US government-identified enemy states such as Iran and Syria. Accusations and war pretexts are rife. Iraq was mendaciously accused of and attacked on the pretext of having weapons-of-mass-destruction (WMD).


The US-UK aggression of Iraq has bathed that country in the blood of over a hundred thousand civilians [1], and has witnessed the brutal and sadistic imprisonment of thousands of Iraqis, the greatest part of who are innocent civilians. [2] It was an invasion made easier by insidious sanctions that impoverished, disarmed, and killed Iraqis to wrest state control from the president Saddam Hussein.


The posturing by US regime officials against the defensive requirements of non-hostile states is hypocritical rhetoric. The US state is the major arms proliferator on the planet. [3] The US is the only state to have used nuclear weapons against a foe -- something it monstrously did against civilian targets in an otherwise crushed Japan. It contravenes agreements aimed at reining in weaponization. [4] It selectively reacts to or ignores the attainment of nuclear weaponization by client states. [5] US business concerns contributed to the development of WMD by the Hussein regime, but the US government stood by while its nuclear-armed terrorist ally, the illegitimate state of Israel, destroyed Iraq’s Osirak reactor. 


Given the current foreboding state of affairs in the world, it is fundamentally flawed logic and morality for progressives to denounce the menaced countries over their alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. Progressives should instead focus the thrust of their remonstration at the nuclear-armed states and their military belligerency that fillips the need for a nuclear deterrent. Progressivism is about equality and peace. While multilateral disarmament must be a foremost priority, in lieu of attaining this aim, progressives should be defending Iran’s legitimate right to an effective self-defense. The Cold War evinces that nuclear weapons have indeed served as a deterrent. In the aftermath of World War II, the international community remained poised for another outbreak of war because of tensions drummed up between the two reigning military superpowers of the US and USSR. Both sides had nuclear arsenals targeted on each other, but faced with mutual self-destruction a détente prevailed. It is also arguably the possession of nuclear weapons by both India and Pakistan that has prevented the outbreak of a fourth war between the two nations since being carved out of the British empire.  


Ergo, progressives should acknowledge Iran’s right to acquire nuclear weapons in a self-defense capacity. It may well be that Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons prevents a war. It may well be that it is Iran’s lack of a formidable deterrent that will lead to war and the deaths of thousands upon thousands of people.  


The mounting threats of an attack on Iran are based in supremacist military geo-strategic considerations and Iran’s vast reserves of oil. Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that Iran does not require nuclear weapons, but he stood firm on Iran’s legitimate and legal right to use peaceful nuclear technology as permitted under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). [6] Even if Iran should acquire nuclear weapons, there is no reason to suppose that it would use them for anything other than legitimate self-defense. Certainly there is nothing compelling to suggest that Iran would be likelier -- and indeed the modern historical record suggests contrariwise -- to use such weapons than its pugnacious US provocateur. Iran is the victim of imperialism and has not been demonstrated to be a threat to any other country.


The US regime does not promise to refrain from the use of nuclear weapons against Iran. Consequently, it is the possession of nuclear weapons by Iran that will prevent the use of nuclear weapons against itself. The cases of northern Korea and Iraq provide the most compelling examples. The belief that northern Korea possesses nuclear weapons (along with its lack of copious oil) has witnessed the US entering into multilateral quid pro quo negotiations on shutting down a heavy water nuclear program in North Korea. If the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein had had a nuclear deterrent, then most assuredly the US and UK militaries would have hesitated before aggressing Iraq. With his demise a foregone conclusion, there would have been little to prevent a man such as Hussein from using nuclear weapons.  


What does possession of nuclear weapons signify? This possession signifies political power such as permanent member status on the United Nations Security Council. There is a relationship that suggests the more nuclear warheads a state has, the greater the military power a state wields. Therefore, a nuclear-armed state should come under less threat from its enemies. The attack on the disarmed husk of Iraq could only communicate to disaffected US-labeled enemies that their self-preservation would be predicated on their ability to defend themselves by inflicting heavy casualties on their attackers. In this context, it became clear that achieving the nuclear option is the best bet. To invade a nuclear-armed country would be to send masses of troops on a one-way tour-of-duty. Some duty that would be.


In the 24th century, the importance of achieving weapons parity was abundantly clear. In the Star Trek episode “A Private Little War,” Captain James Kirk of the Federation starship Enterprise engaged in a heated exchange with his chief physician Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. Federation enemies, the Klingons, had been discovered to be arming one combative tribe against another peaceable tribe. The disagreement was over Kirk’s decision to arm the peaceable tribe.


Kirk: Do you remember the twentieth century Brush Wars on the Asian continent? Two giant powers involved, much like the Klingons and ourselves. Neither side felt like they could pull out.


Bones: Yes, I remember. It went on bloody year after bloody year.


Kirk: What would you have suggested? That one side arm its friends with an overpowering weapon? Mankind would never have lived to travel space if they had. No. The only solution is what happened back then: balance of power.


Bones: And if the Klingons give their side even more?


Kirk: Then we arm our side with exactly that much more. A balance of power -- the trickiest, most difficult, dirtiest game of them all, but the only one that preserves both sides.


If the nuclear powers are concerned about nuclear proliferation then they should abide by the provisions of the NPT which declare complete nuclear disarmament to be the goal. It is only through their own adherence to international agreements that the nuclear powers gain the credibility to protest the violations of other NPT signatories. 


A world without weapons is of course preferable. But in the scenario where one side produces weapons and aims them at another side, sound logic demands the development of equally effective weaponry in a self-defense capacity. In his essay “Pacifism and the War,” George Orwell wrote, “Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other.” It is, after all, the possession of nuclear weapons by the one side that spurs the need for the other side to possess the same weapons. The right to self-defense is inalienable. Ideally, one state would be prevented from ever attacking another non-threatening state. However, in the eventuality of the imminent use of violence by a rogue superpower against an otherwise outgunned, non-aggressive, and non-threatening state, the threatened state must be permitted the decency to defend itself equitably. In the case of possible nuclear war, the nuclear deterrent factor might prevent the wanton spilling of blood. Humanity would be the beneficiary. 


Kim Petersen, Co-Editor of Dissident Voice, lives in the traditional Mi'kmaq homeland colonially designated Nova Scotia, Canada. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org.



[1] Les Roberts, Riyadh Lafta, Richard Garfield, Jamal Khudhairi, Gilbert Burnham, “Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey,” The Lancet, 29 October 2004.


[2] The measured uncowing of the ICRC has more-or-less ended up in the Memory Hole. Red Cross Details Iraqi Prisoner ‘Torture’,” The Smoking Gun, 10 May 2004; AP, “Red Cross: Iraq abuse ‘tantamount to torture’,” MSNBC News, 11 May 2004.

[3] The US militated against controls on firearms and non-military rifles. Rachel Stohl, “
United States Weakens Outcome of UN Small Arms and Light Weapons Conference, Arms Control Association, September 2001; Muqtedar Kahn, “Washington’s Nuclear Policy: Moral Clarity or Double Standards? CounterPunch, 10 January 2003.

[4] Fact Sheet, “ABM Treaty Fact Sheet,” U.S. Department of State, 13 December 2001. The US unilaterally decides to pull out from a missile treaty. Mark Drolette, “Spaced Cowboy’s Space Cowboys,” Scoop, 2 June 2005. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov threatens retaliation against the US military pursuit of space-based weapons. AP, “Russia promises to act if weapons put in space,” smh, 3 June 2005. Russia is seeking a UN General Assembly Resolution to try and block US space weaponization aspirations.Russia To Submit UN Resolution On Weapons Ban In Outer Space,” Space War, 26 May 2005.  

[5] The Zionist state of Israel is reportedly armed with at least 200 nuclear warheads and yet Washington fiercely opposes other countries in the region attaining nuclear weapon capability. John Steinbach, “
Nuke Nation: Israel’s weapons of mass destruction,” Covert Action Quarterly, April-June 2001.

[6] Redorbit News, “
President Ahmadinezhad Says Iran Not Interested in Acquiring Nuclear Weapons,” Information Clearing House, 14 January 2006. 


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