Ukraine and the Danger of Nuclear War
EDITORIAL, 14 Aug 2023
Endless Arms for Ukraine
In the United States, the Biden administration has adopted the policy of sending many billions of dollars’ worth of advanced weapons to Ukraine, with the hope of weakening Russia, and in the hope of a Ukrainian victory.
An underlying motive can be found in the enormous profits made by the American weapons industry. In fact, the military-industrial complex (against which President Eisenhower warned in his famous Farewell Address) has complete control over both political parties. The latest yearly appropriation for military purposes was almost a trillion dollars.
The war in Ukraine has always been a proxy war between NATO and Russia, although it is being fought on Ukrainian soil, and although it involves great suffering for the Ukrainian people. The war is increasingly becoming a direct confrontation between Russia and the United States, both nuclear armed powers.
Russia’s president Putin has stated that if Russia’s existence as a nation is threatened, his government will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons. A full-scale nuclear war with thermonuclear weapons would obliterate civilization as we know it, together with much of the biosphere.
This is the existential danger that we are facing, and U.S. President Biden’s policies are pushing us towards the edge of the cliff.
Political Irresponsibility in the United States
It is shocking to think that in the coming 2024 presidential elections, the leading Republican candidate is Donald Trump, who is being tried for a large number of serious crimes, while the leading candidate for the Democratic Party is Joe Biden, who, in addition to his very serious policy errors, is far too old to serve another four years. Sadly, what happens in the United States has a very large effect on the remainder of the world.
One can only hope that other Democrats will challenge Biden’s bid for the presidential nomination.
The Continuity of Life Is Sacred
In 1985, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War received the Nobel Peace Prize. IPPNW had been founded in 1980 by six physicians, three from the Soviet Union and three from the United States. Today, the organization has wide membership among the world’s physicians. Professor Bernard Lowen of the Harvard School of Public Health, one of the founders of IPPNW, said in a recent speech:
“…No public health hazard ever faced by humankind equals the threat of nuclear war. Never before has man possessed the destructive resources to make this planet uninhabitable… Modern medicine has nothing to offer, not even a token benefit, in the event of nuclear war…
“We are but transient passengers on this planet Earth. It does not belong to us. We are not free to doom generations yet unborn. We are not at liberty to erase humanity’s past or dim its future. Social systems do not endure for eternity. Only life can lay claim to uninterrupted continuity. This continuity is sacred.”
Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, emphasized the same point in one of his speeches:
“I feel”, he said, “that the question may justifiably be put to the leading nuclear powers: by what right do they decide the fate of humanity? From Scandinavia to Latin America, from Europe and Africa to the Far East, the destiny of every man and woman is affected by their actions. No one can expect to escape from the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear war on the fragile structure of this planet. …
“No ideological confrontation can be allowed to jeopardize the future of humanity. Nothing less is at stake: today’s decisions affect not only the present; they also put at risk succeeding generations. Like supreme arbiters, with our disputes of the moment, we threaten to cut off the future and to extinguish the lives of innocent millions yet unborn. There can be no greater arrogance. At the same time, the lives of all those who lived before us may be rendered meaningless; for we have the power to dissolve in a conflict of hours or minutes the entire work of civilization, with all the brilliant cultural heritage of humankind. …
“In a nuclear age, decisions affecting war and peace cannot be left to military strategists or even to governments. They are indeed the responsibility of every man and woman. And it is therefore the responsibility of all of us… to break the cycle of mistrust and insecurity and to respond to humanity’s yearning for peace.”
Nuclear Weapons Are Criminal! Every War Is a Crime!
War was always madness, always immoral, always the cause of unspeakable suffering, economic waste and widespread destruction, and always a source of poverty, hate, barbarism and endless cycles of revenge and counter-revenge. It has always been a crime for soldiers to kill people, just as it is a crime for murderers in civil society to kill people. No flag has ever been wide enough to cover up atrocities.
But today, the development of all-destroying nuclear weapons has put war completely beyond the bounds of sanity and elementary humanity.
Can we not rid ourselves of both nuclear weapons and the institution of war itself? We must act quickly and resolutely before everything that we love in our beautiful world is reduced to radioactive ashes.
John Scales Avery, Ph.D., who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent books are Information Theory and Evolution and Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf). Website: https://www.johnavery.info/
Tags: NATO, Nuclear war, Proxy War, Russia, USA, Ukraine
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 14 Aug 2023.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Ukraine and the Danger of Nuclear War, is included. Thank you.
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