“Nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutually assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence among people and states. . .” – Pope Francis, in his letter to the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna (8-9 December 2014) participated in by 157 countries, including nuclear powers U.S and U.K
The world remembered the Anniversary of massive destruction- three days apart- ﬁrst in Hiroshima City and then Nagasaki City during WWII. Within the ﬁrst two-to-four months of of those B-29 (Superfortress) attacks, Wiki records that the acute effects of the atomic bombings killed some 166,000 people in Hiroshima and 80,000 in Nagasaki; roughly half of the deaths in each city occured on the ﬁrst day. During the following months, more died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries. In both cities, most of the dead were civilians.
The sad, solemn commemoration ceremonies that took place in Japan as shown on international TV were heart-rendering- to say the least- but for those that had seen death in its most terrible manifestatios (which happen only in war0, the memory of such deadly devastation justiﬁes the universal clamor; “DEAR GOD-PLEASE NEVER AGAIN!”
What the Holy Father really meant in his above- quoted letter (and reiterated in his Angelus prayer at St. Peter’s Square) is that a more COOPERATIVE/VOL-UNTARY/BROTHERLY attitude among the world’s nuclear powers to reduce the total numbers of (and to eventually eliminate) WMDs under their control would be a much more effective way to guarantee a greater degree of safe-ty from a global nuclear holocaust than the use of sanctions or forcible means to compel compliance (as in the case of the recent “Iran Deal”).
In our column , we welcomed the signing after years of difﬁcult negotiations- of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear build-up programs between that country and the Permanent Members of the U.N. Security council – the U.S., U.K., Russia, France, China plus Germany (P5+1) and the European Union.
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs)
Today, in the age of cyber-space technology and submarine-launched nuclear tactical missiles, with push-button triggers, all of mankind on our tiny planet Moth-er Earth and civilazation’s collective achievements since Adam and Eve have become especially vulnerable to the new WMDs.
McNamara reported back in 2006 that the U.S had deployed approximately 4,500 strategic offensive nuclear warheads which were on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched within 15 minutes. Russia had about 3,800 such WMDs and those of the U.K, France and China (while considerably fewer), numbered in the range of 200-400 each. India and Pakistan had probably less than 100 weapons each, a number which could also represent the potential of Japan and Iran. U.S intelligence estimated that North Korea had enough ﬁssionable materials for 2 to 8 bombs, which could also be the nuclear potential each of Israel, South Korea, and Taiwan.
International Cooperation vs. Minimalism
During the Cold War, the total number of nuclear weapons worldwide climbed to more than 50,000. Many, including hydrogen bombs, had explosive yields that were orders of magnitude higher than the bombs dropped on Japan. Seventy years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this gradualist approach has clearly failed, according to Hans Blix.
The War Must Never Be Fought
FVR was fortunate to read the insightful, personal account during WWII of former U.S Secretary of State George Shultz and the reason why he and some American veterans and some senior Filipi-nos like us (who experienced the horror of wars) are now helping push for a nuclear-free world.
George Shultz’s essay tittled “The war that must never be fought,” is from the book of the same title that he co-edited with former U.S Ambassador James Goodby- and published by the Hoover Foundation, Stanford University, California last June 2015. Secretary Shultz tells it straight:
We heard about Hiroshima and then Nagasaki while on the ship. . . When I saw the photographs of th“Some of us painted a somewhat different picture in 2011. In an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal on 07 March 2011, Wil-liamPerry, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, and I wrote: ‘As long as there has been war, there have been efforts to deter actions a nation considers threathening. Until fairly recently, deterrence meant building a military establishment capable of intimidating the adversary, defeating him or making his victory more costly than the projected gains . . .’
“Deterrence based on nuclear weapons has three elements:
• “It is importantly psychological, depending on calculations for which there is no historical experience. It is therefore precarious.
• “It is devastating. An unrestrained nuclear exchange between superpowers could destroy civilized life (as we know it) in days.
• “Mutual assured destruction raises enormous inhibitions against employing the weapons.”
THE THREE WORLD-RENOWED AUTHORITIES CITED ABOVE (POPE FRAN-CIS, GEORGE SHULTZ, HANS BLIX) ARE ALL TOGETHER IN THE SUPREMELY URGENT NEED TO BAN (AGAIN) NU-CLEAR PROLIFERATION AND TO ELIMINATE/ DISMANTLE EXISTING WMDs. TO RE-PLACE GRADUALISM WHICH HAS NOT WORKED, A MORE BROTHERLY, EMPATHETIC, HARMONIOUS. ETHICAL AND ENDURING SYSTEM OF NUCLEAR DEVELOPMENT (FOR PEACEFUL USES ONLY) SHOULD BE UNIVERSALLY ADOPTED TO INSURE HUMANKIND’S SURVIVABILITY.
ADD TO THE ABOVE AP-PEALS OF THESE INTELLEC-TUAL GIANTS THE HARD-HITTING EDITORIAL OF THE MANILA BULLETIN, THE PRESTIGIOUS PLATFORM OF THE NATIONAL FILIPINO CONSCIENCE, TITLED “NEV-ER AGAIN” (13 AUGUST).
THE YOUNG PEO-PLE OF THIS WORLD DESERVE NO LESS!!!
KAYA NATIN ITO!!!
By Fidel V. Ramos