Obama and nuclear weapons

The proliferation of nuclear weapons is probably the most serious issue facing the world, with the potential for unimaginably horrific destruction and impairment of life. An American President is making progress, despite the inevitable setbacks, in the difficult and painstaking process of trying to stop proliferation and, ultimately, rid the world of the curse of nuclear weapons altogether.

Naturally, Obama’s critics and begrudgers are silent on the matter.

Author: Brendano

I am a 54-year-old freelance editor living in rural Ireland with my wife, Pauline; our 21-year-old daughter, Susanna (when she’s not away at university); and two terriers. Our son, Sean, died suddenly on 17 October 2010, aged 19.

38 thoughts on “Obama and nuclear weapons”

  1. That is really interesting, Brendano. We’ve just watched the news here, which clearly stated that China was prepared to stand against Iran. I can’t remember the exact words, but it was certainly an extremely positive comment indicating that China would work with the rest of the world to reduce the chance of rogue nations and terrorist groups accessing nuclear material.

  2. Thanks for that, Boadicea. I thought the report I saw on the Irish news was more positive as well … a matter of emphasis, I suppose.

    I think the important thing is that the superpower accepts that there is a problem that needs to be addressed in a pragmatic manner rather than through sabre-rattling, and is willing to pursue the issue.

  3. I am afraid the president is living in a fool’s paradise, or being deliberately disingenuous. I do not see any nation giving up its nuclear capability. The best we can hope for is that there will be a sustained effort to ensure that no new members are admitted to the club.

  4. zenrules, as I understand it, one aspect of Obama’s strategy is to prevent proliferation and the other is to reduce levels of weapons held by existing nuclear powers (as the USA and Russia have agreed to do) … leading at some point to a world free of nuclear weapons.

    It makes perfect sense to me. Future generations may look back at our time as being one of lunacy … having nuclear weapons is crazy, even if arguably necessary for certain states in the short to medium term.

  5. Non-proliferation, good. ‘rid the world of the curse of nuclear weapons altogether.’ Fat. Chance. How do you erase knowledge from the mind? So, the good-natured destroy all Nuclear weapons, then what? Oh, I don’t know, after not too long, say about next Tuesday, along comes some mad bastard with pots of money and a cause and ‘Poof,’ illusions shattered in a mushroom-cloud of shattered illusions.

  6. Yes, I see what he is trying to do, but when it comes down to who holds the last weapon, I can’t see either side giving it up. Human nature does not work that way! By the way, good to reacquaint with you.

  7. Bravo, that is pretty obvious.

    When this matter was discussed on MyT before, I said I thought that some form of world government might be a price worth paying (if one regards it as a price) for the eradication, and guaranteed continued freedom from, nuclear weapons.

  8. B, I think you can assume that the scenario you outline in #6 has occurred to Obama and his aides, and they are not idiots. What would you and the people on planet sensible do about nuclear weapons? If they are to continue to exist for centuries and millennia, the chances of catastrophe must be high.

    You never answered my questions on Sipu’s blog, incidentally (as to how the concept of human worth arises in a mechanistic model of humanity). They were serious questions … not piss-taking.

  9. A Nuclear Weapon is a big old smokescreen,

    They are easy to make and apart from the controlled material, relatively inexpensive too.

    What you should be worried about are the weapons they aren’t telling you about. The ones which cannot be easily tracked by spyplanes or satellites. The ones which can kill entire populations overnight or lay waste to whole continents. Nuclear, Biological and Chemical people and the nuclear is the most honest of the three.

    Guess what, the tellytubbies already have biological and chemical capability. Gimme a bag of almonds and a normal kitchen and we can cook up a subway killer in no time.

    Global gubmint my arse.

  10. I think that depends on its nature, ZR. It could be a loose, bottom-up arrangement but with certain top-down functions such as nuclear inspection.

  11. As far as I am concerned this meeting had nothing to do with ridding the world of nuclear weapons. No country is going to give them up – and it would be a nonsense for any to do so. It might be a ‘wonderful dream’ but the genie is out of the bottle and no one can put it back.

    I thought that the whole point of this meeting was to get governments around the world to ensure that nuclear material could not be accessed by terrorists. Since most countries are at risk of terrorist actions, it would seem eminently sensible for them to agree to set in place safeguards to do just that and to work together to prevent rogue states, such as Iran and N Korea, from developing nuclear weapons.

  12. boadicea :

    As far as I am concerned this meeting had nothing to do with ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

    None the less, that is Obama’s overall objective.

  13. Morning, Soutie. I vaguely remember hearing about a nuclear capability in SA … which I suppose was seen as a kind of rogue state at the time, as it continually defied UN resolutions.

  14. Brendano – it may be Obama’s overall objective, and, perhaps, it should be everybody’s objective.

    I’m far too much of a realist to think it will happen without world government – and that would only be achieved after WW3 and more millions dead than I’d like to contemplate.

  15. Brendano,

    Nuclear research was/is a necessary evil. The bomb was a by product of it and to be perfectly honest is not worth the horror you heap upon it. The beauty of nukes is, we know pretty much where all of them are and when they move. Eventually they will rust away and I believe our grandkids will need to be reminded what they were.

    The research which brought the bomb gave us chemotherapy, x-ray machines, clean power generation, long life food, powerful telescopes, glow in the dark watches, hyper accurate timepieces, pest resistant crops, and a whole host of pother stuff.

    It is widely agreed by the boffins, that in the not too distant future fission drive will facilitate hyperspacial travel and allow our descendants to colonise other planets, personally I reckon each home will have its own fission generator and land fills/air polution will be a funny story told to kids.

  16. Ferret, the beneficial spin-offs from nuclear weapons research are not the issue. The issue is the potential for people to be killed in their millions instantaneously and for radiation to ruin the lives of those in other parts of the world and, through birth defects, in future generations.

  17. Oh Brendano,

    Nukes are a dying technology. O Bammy is enjoying some political facetime but that is all. Every civilised nation is pig sick of nukes. They are expensive to maintain, they will never be used and must be kept under constant guard in case the nutters get their hands on the weapons grade material. Also we are forced to allow ‘officials’ of other nations access to opur facilities to inspect what and when they like. Everyone wants rid of the bomb its a ball and chain and damned near frickin useless to anyone but a fanatic.

    As a means of area denial and mass destruction they are so retro, what is the point of killing off an entire enemy if you cannot use his resources once he is gone?

    WMDs have come a very long way.

    Why not sneak in an organism to a water system, programmed to sterilise only the Irish? (for example) totaly untraceable and guarantees the eradication of an entire nation inside two generations. Or an air dispersed chemical agent which is odourless, tasteles and invisible but renders land infertile?

    We’ve had those buggers for decades, you would not believe the shit genetic research has allowed man to invent. Smart virusses which can lay dormant until triggered and can be programmed to kill individuals, families or entire ethnic groups.

    No evidence, no fingerprints, no trace.

  18. Ferret, there may well be other potential horrors (some of yours are new to me). The destructive potential of nuclear weapons has been seen and remains a fact that can’t be wished away, as your references to nutters and fanatics indicate. And some nations are more civilized and stable than others.

    Obviously we will not agree on this.

  19. Brendano,

    Obviously. I have seen a far bigger picture, you it appears still point in marvel and wonder at the horseless carriage.

    I would bet a pound to a pinch of poo that there will be no more nukes by the time our grandkids get to vote. Whether Obammy claims responsibility or not.

  20. The most important thing is to stop any of this technology getting into the hands of those nutters who are quite happy to wipe themselves out as long as they wipe out a lot of non-nutters – like me.

  21. And that is, Ferret, why I believe that countries like Pakistan and China will climb on board.

    Add to the equation the concerns of the real world-power-brokers, the multi-nationals, who would hate to see their markets (profits) disappear in a mushroom omelette. They will do their best to see that the ‘legitimate’ owners of these WMDs keep them away from rogue ‘any ones’.

  22. Can you imagine President-in-waiting, Julius Malema having his finger anywhere near a nuclear button. For that act alone De Klerk deserved a decade’s worth of Nobel Peace Prizes.

    I cant get too excited about the nuclear weapons debate. But I do think that while they can never be eliminated, reducing numbers has to be a good thing. It makes the macho men feel marginally less macho.

  23. Never say never, kids.
    In the 1950s no one could ever have imagined the US and USSR would have agreed to cutting nuclear weapons by 30%. Now the USSR is no more and an agreement has been made between the US and Russia.
    When I visited South Africa in 1984, I would have sworn that apartheid would never be abolished during my lifetime. Guess what?
    And that’s only the beginning of a list of “that will never happen”s that I’ve foolishly predicted. Truth is we never can predict what will happen in two or three years much less 10 or 20 years. And we seem to be singularly bad at predicting what the “better for everyone” would be.
    Truth is: Nuclear weaponry is not good, for anyone or anything.
    I support Obama on this one. And Brendano.

  24. Thanks for that, Jaime (and Bearsy). You’re right … it’s amazing what can be achieved. Look at Northern Ireland … far from perfect, but a hell of a lot better than it was. The problem seemed utterly intractable 20 years ago.

    I think there’s a lot to be optimistic about. Most people do mean well, and do wish for peace and prosperity for themselves and their children. Some people, though, seem to wallow in pessimism, fatalism and misanthropy of one sort or another. I can’t say I understand that mindset.

  25. No nukes
    Universal health care
    Peace in the middle east
    Honest bankers
    Democracy in Afghanistan
    Full employment

    be nice if he kept one foot on the ground, occasionally.

  26. LW, we had full employment here a few years ago. The economy was wrecked by dishonest bankers and property developers (so much for unfettered capitalism). ‘Honest bankers’ looks the most difficult item in your list.

    If Obama doesn’t try to give leadership on these issues, who will? There’s only one superpower.

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