Nuclear weapons – how to get rid of them

Nuclear disarmament is a problem which every now and then comes up in the political discussion – e.g. there was just a few days ago a piece about it in Hbl, signed by the foreign ministers of both Finland and Sweden, and among peace activists it is something like a permanent topic.

Considering how much damage one could do with nuclear weapons there are certainly VERY good reasons to think and discuss how to decrease the threat of nuclear war, perhaps even get rid of those weapons for good. The discussion seems (in my impression) mostly to move along that line that many small steps in the right direction will, eventually, SOMEHOW result in the abolition of those weapons. And it is this which I am unable to believe. Because, (a) is there anybody who can imagine that North Korea or Israel (both countries under threat) or the USA (where people are from school age onward educated to believe in American exceptionalism and the glory of being a really GREAT nation – also and especially in terms of military power) will voluntarily give up their nuclear weapons? This is HIGHLY improbable, especially for small nations who have acquired nuclear weapons with big effort, because (b) it has been demonstrated to the world, especially in the Middle East, that big nations are quite capable of invading and occupying other countries under pretences if the small country is unable to strike back in ways which really hurt, whereas the tiptoeing of the mighty USA in its dealings with North Korea is showing that nuclear deterrance really does work (as was also proven during the Cold War).

The way to avoid the expenses for the development und production of nuclear weapons has up to now been either to try and be simply uninteresting for the big powers (which has not saved e.g. African countries from becoming the prey of multinational enterprise – which in turn is supported by the military might of the Western World) or to seek protection under the ”nuclear umbrella” of some big power. And it is this idea of a nuclear umbrella which I intend to develop further. My suggestion would be to organize an international nuclear strike force which would retaliate against ANY nation which uses nuclear weapons first (and for aggressive purposes – if the USA would assemble an obvious invasion fleet before the coast of North Korea and North Korea would drop one of its few atom bombs on it, this might be considered a case of justified defence). The necessary nuclear weapons (plus the submarines from which to deploy them) one could try to get from Russia (which might be tempted to give some in return for substantial financial contributions to the upkeep of its forces, can also politically afford it, in contrast to most Western democracies), PERHAPS also from France, but certainly not from the USA. The crews to man the submarines would have to come from MANY nations and would have to be VERY CAREFULLY SCREENED to prevent that they misuse their power to threaten nations in undue ways.

The effect of such an international nuclear strike force (if one could be sure that it retaliates against REALLY ANY nuclear aggressor – a US force would e.g. never retaliate against Israel or Great Britain …) would be that small nations would suddenly have no reason to try and acquire own nuclear weapons (they are after all ALREADY under a nuclear umbrella). As a next step one could invite the existing nuclear powers to transfer more and more of their national nuclear systems to the international one (to shift the expenses from their national budgets onto the budget of the international force, to whose expenses very many nations would hopefully contribute, and also because they can afford it – any nuclear attacker will already be retaliated against by the international force). Once such shifts have gone on for a while, there may have developed a situation where nation states have only very few nuclear weapons, or none, while the international force has tremendous amounts of nuclear weapons. And in such a situation one can expect that the nation states might begin to feel uneasy (beginning to think what might happen if some people in that huge force get wrong ideas) , might also begin to think the upkeep of such a huge force unnecessarily expensive, so that the representatives of the nation states will do their best to shrink the international force to a size just and just sufficient to counteract the threat from the few remaining national nuclear weapons. By which altogether and in the course of quite some time a very far-going nuclear disarmament would have been achieved. – So far my idea, which will hopefully be followed by some discussion. And during the discussion one can then go further into some special points (such as, that very probably the USA will feel quite justified to follow the international submarines with US hunter-killer submarines for the purpose of letting the international submarines have ”accidents” …).

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