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Dr Strangelove is Alive and Well


The Washington Post reports that one Charles Richard, the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (AKA Nuclear Strike Force) has just said:

There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state. . . The Pentagon must shift from a principal assumption that nuclear weapons’ use is nearly impossible to nuclear employment is a very real possibility”

It is fairly clear that the main target of this unhinged outburst is the new man in the White House. Biden will be considering what they call the “nuclear posture” and the Pentagon will want to apply as much direct and indirect pressure as possible to ensure that the US modernisation surge initiated by Obama continues unhindered. The positive moves on the START treaty will worry them. The generals will also be aware of the the new factor in the mix – the entry into force last month of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – and the possibility that Biden may take into account that blow to the global reputational status of nuclear weapons. And the Washington Post offers nothing to counter the claim about Russian and China aggression.

There are of course other audiences for this irresponsible bluster in the rival nuclear-armed states, including parallel generals with similarly dangerous delusions. This is how wars begin. Like the infantile macho face-to-face of prizefighters it is all about escalation after escalation until no-one knows how to put the brakes on and we are all in the ditch.

This is the essence of so-called deterrence doctrine. It is a permanently unstable stance on a slippery slope to catastrophe. It is the readiness to commit the most appalling war crimes. And for us mere voters in the governmental game, if you back a party or a candidate who approves the foul doctrine, you are playing your own little part for inhumanity.



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