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Nuclear-Weapon States Aren’t Created Equal

America with the bomb poses no threat to world peace. Ditto Britain and Israel. Iran is another story.

For the past 67 years, the United States has been criticized for being the only country to drop atomic bombs on another sovereign nation. But while the anniversaries of Hiroshima (Aug. 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9, 1945) rarely pass without comment or controversy, another crucial date is completely ignored: Aug. 29.

Between July 16, 1945, the day the U.S. tested the first atomic device in New Mexico and realized that it actually worked, and Aug. 29, 1949—when the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb—the U.S. held a nuclear monopoly.

No country has ever held a greater strategic advantage over the rest of the world—not Rome under Caesar, France under Napoleon, or Germany under Hitler. Yet between 1945 and 1949, America’s friends and enemies lost very little sleep. Why not? Because the idea of the U.S. using its great advantage to take over the world with nuclear bombs was ludicrous to all but the most irrational minds.

Instead, the U.S. spent the late 1940s focusing on other things. It upgraded its consumer economy, rebuilt its former enemies with the Marshall Plan, and actually downgraded its military.

Meanwhile, the Soviet Union took control over all of Eastern Europe and provoked a confrontation with the West when it broke all previous agreements and denied the U.S. access to Berlin. The Chinese Communist Party defeated the Nationalists and Mao Zedong declared the People’s Republic on Oct. 1, 1949. And Kim Il Sung began his preparations to drive his North Korean army across the 38th parallel. Clearly a nuclear U.S. didn’t seem to frighten its enemies from doing whatever they desired.

Similarly, in today’s greatest danger zone—the Middle East—it has been widely speculated that Israel has had a nuclear monopoly over all of its sworn enemies for perhaps half a century. In that same period, much larger Arab armies (the combined militaries of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq, with help from the Saudis) have threatened Israel’s very existence in 1967 and again in 1973. That doesn’t include the continued terror attacks across Israel’s borders since the United Nations partitioned the territory in 1948, or the missile attacks now coming from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon. Israel’s response, like that of the U.S., has always been a strong defense with conventional weapons.

Few people lost a wink of sleep over the American nuclear monopoly in the 1940s—and when the Saudis or Syrians or Egyptians have turned off their lights over the past half-century, the last worry on their minds has been being blown to bits by an Israeli nuclear bomb.

In spite of a world-wide chorus of detractors accusing Israel of everything from apartheid to genocide, the sound mind understands that this nation, the only stable democracy in the Middle East, is also one its few rational actors.

Israel has never threatened the existence of its neighbors or threatened to wipe another country off the map. It has never slaughtered its own population. It has never held large “Death to (fill in the country) rallies” in its public squares. In fact, Israel’s public demonstrations have consisted of peace rallies, musical concerts, gay-pride rallies and public mourning of its victims of terror.

More to the point—when its very existence has been threatened, Israel has never resorted to its real or imagined nuclear arsenal.

So as the debate continues this August on how to contain an Iran run by a totalitarian theocracy, the world also notes that the regime in Tehran doesn’t just threaten its opponents but has repeatedly acted on those threats—taking over embassies (1979-81), killing hundreds of American Marines in Lebanon (1983) and Jews in Argentina (1992 and 1994), killing even more Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan (2003 to the present), and killing its own citizens who dared to protest a fraudulent presidential election (2009).

Iran’s response to sanctions? It turns up the speed of its nuclear accelerators, test-fires its rockets and raises the volume of its threats.

The plain truth is that people don’t lose sleep over nuclear weapons in the hands of rational actors. A British bomb? No one says boo. But people rightly grow anxious when the irrational mind with greater and greater global ambitions takes control of this deadly weaponry. And this anxiety increases further when those irrational minds have proven time and again their determination to create havoc.

As the world heads toward some sort of confrontation with an Iran bent on gaining the technology that can destroy millions of lives instantly, it ponders what to do. Those who sit by will be the loudest to criticize those who will act. They will also be as relieved as everyone else when that threat disappears.


Warren Kozak

August 27, 2012

Related link – http://tinyurl.com/9xfl44k


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