Flirting with Global Thermonuclear War

He went to fight wars for his country and his king
Of his honor and his glory, the people would sing

Ooh, what a lucky man he was
Ooh, what a lucky man he was

A bullet had found him, his blood ran as he cried
No money could save him, so he laid down and he died

Ooh, what a lucky man he was

— Emerson, Lake and Palmer, “Lucky Man” from their album “Emerson, Lake and Palmer”, released in UK November 20, 1971

Nowhere is it clearer that there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats than on the issue of nuclear weapons.  They are leading us toward global, thermonuclear war by their statements and actions.

Many of our prominent politicians, including presidents, can’t even pronounce the word “nuclear.”  President Jimmy Carter, often identified as a nuclear engineer, pronounced it “Nookyoolar,” as did President George W. Bush.

All of our modern presidents pretend to care about the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, which requires nations to dismantle such weapons, and they all produce new nuclear weapons in defiance of it.  Al Jazeera recently reported:

President Barack Obama’s plans to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years could cost taxpayers nearly $1 trillion, according to a new study that suggests the project’s long-term price tag will far outpace available Pentagon estimates.

The fact that we have fewer than we had when they were at their peak is only because the numbers then were a product of madness.

About 25 years ago I interviewed nuclear physicist Ted Taylor for Physicians for Social Responsibility.  Taylor had made nuclear warheads for the government and told me he looked up at the tote board one day and saw that we had 33,000, enough to destroy civilizations, were they to exist, on all the known planets.  He turned against nukes and never worked on another one, devoting his life to opposing them.

We had 33,000, he told me, for only one reason — profit.  Nuclear weapons are extremely profitable, there are a great many steps that go into making one.  But the thing that keeps the defense contractors (hereafter “Nuclear Mafia”) interested in them is the associated launch and delivery vehicles.

Although nuclear warheads themselves provide lucrative profits to corporations, the big money is in the strategic bombers, ICBMs and nuclear submarines which deliver them.  Without the bombs, these launch and delivery vehicles could not be “justified.”  That is primarily why we keep making new bombs.

It’s all a game in the most corrupt government on earth.  But it’s a risky game, putting billions of lives in danger around the globe.  There is absolutely no reason to make nuclear weapons.

Decades ago, when I asked Admiral Gene LaRocque if we had enough nuclear weapons for our defense, his face went red with anger and he shot back: “You cannot defend someone with a nuclear weapon.”  LaRocque had commanded nuclear forces, and knew very well what he was saying.

I’ve interviewed a great many retired admirals and generals, nuclear physicists who made the bombs and State Department officials who negotiated major arms control treaties involving nuclear weapons (these people know the most about them).  Every one of them admitted that the weapons are made for profit, not for defense.

But the American people are lied to by our presidents and Members of Congress, because the Nuclear Mafia donates lavishly to political campaigns, using our tax dollars (they deny this, as lying has become routine for them).

In addition to using our tax dollars to finance the elections, major weapons makers also use our tax dollars to advertise on TV, brainwashing the masses.  After all, it’s not like TV viewers are going to go out and buy their own strategic submarine with nuclear missiles, so why else do they do this?  Nuclear Mafia giant Northrop Grumman even boasts of its TV ads on its website.

It’s difficult to imagine how a government can become more corrupt than our own.  But the situation is worse even than this.

Propaganda is manufactured with which to “justify” these weapons that endanger the survival of modern civilization.

It is not possible to simply make nuclear weapons, rolling them off the assembly lines by the thousands, as the Nuclear Mafia would like.  First, there needs to be a boogie man conjured up to instill fear into the hearts of the public.

Currently that would be Russian President Putin.  He is pushed and prodded by US actions such as the violent overthrow of the elected Ukrainian government, being surrounded by Star Wars, the ABM system promoted by President Reagan, a NATO buildup in former Soviet Republics and Warsaw Pact nations, and other belligerence.

It appears that politicians across the political spectrum have all caved to this philosophy of creating an enemy with which to justify more nuclear weapons and associated launch and delivery vehicles.

At a California fundraiser last year, Hillary Clinton reportedly compared Putin to Adolf Hitler. At a meeting earlier this year with London Mayor Boris Johnson, he said she faulted European leaders for being “too wimpy” about challenging Putin.

In the most recent Republican presidential debate, candidate Carly Fiorina said:

Having met Vladimir Putin, I wouldn’t talk to him at all. We’ve talked way too much to him. What I would do immediately, I would begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet, I would begin rebuilding the missile defense program in Poland, I would also conduct military exercises in the Baltic states, I’d probably send a few thousand more troops to Germany. Vladimir Putin would get the message.

Bernie Sanders, in a TV interview with FOX news host Bill O’Reilly, said: “The entire world has got to stand up to Putin. We’ve got to deal with sanctions, we’ve got to deal with freezing assets.”  In the same interview, he declared: “You’ve got to totally isolate them politically. You’ve got to totally isolate them economically… You freeze assets that the Russian government has all over the world… International corporations have huge investments in Russia, you could pull them out…”

Candidate Jeb Bush stated: “Ultimately I think to deal with Putin you need to deal from strength,” agreeing with other major candidates for president, including Donald Trump, that “defense” spending must be increased.

The problem with this combination of not talking with Putin and making hostile gestures toward him, is that it increasingly convinces the Russians and Chinese (who also have sabers being rattled at them, such as President Obama’s “Asian pivot”), that the USA plans to attack them at some point in time.

The Star Wars system (now called “missile defense” in the corporate media) alone frightens the Russians and Chinese.  Strategic weapons experts say that if the Russians were building an ABM system like this on our borders, we would certainly blow it up, seeing it as a component of a first strike nuclear attack.

In fact, the Chinese and Russians have said over the past decade that they may have to begin to produce more nuclear weapons with which to overwhelm the ABM system.  Although this makes the world a more dangerous place, it is exactly what the Nuclear Mafia wants.  Should the Russians and Chinese begin to make more nuclear warheads, the Nuclear Mafia can say we must respond by making more profitable ICBMs, strategic bombers and strategic nuclear submarines.

It is a game the Nuclear Mafia played for decades during the Cold War, and they think they can get away with it again.  It can gain them hundreds of billions, or even trillions of dollars in time, and these corporations will do anything to achieve this goal.

As for any attempt to conquer Russia, Putin himself says:

Nobody should have any illusion about the possibility of gaining military superiority over Russia. We will never allow this to happen.

Hitler was the last to attempt to conquer Russia, and it turned out to be his Waterloo.

Our presidents and Congress are now puppets of the Nuclear Mafia, dependent on their campaign funding to get elected, and their influences over the mainstream press that can ruin politicians who don’t play the game as directed.

The only chance the public has is if they can somehow be educated around the corporate media propaganda and take control of their government.  Step one is an informed public—nothing rational will happen until the majority of citizens understand what’s happening.

Jack Balkwill is an activist in Virginia. He can be reached at Read other articles by Jack.