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Periscope up for world peace
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-09-27 10:45:25
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I was somehow surprised, pleased and sad on the same time when I read the latest announcement from the British labour government and Prime Minister Gordon Brown. I have to admit I think Gordon Brown is the worst ever choice to lead the historic Labour Party. Anyway, the latest announcement from Gordon Brown’s government says that they are going to cut the UK’s fleet of Trident missile-carrying submarines from four to three. On the same time the British PM suggests a renewed treaty to halt the spread of nuclear weapons and a serious reduction of existing stockpiles.

Perhaps it all sounds a little too much like PR before the up-coming British elections, but hopefully it might be a beginning for something that should have been done at least a decade earlier. I know that many will smile at the thought of reducing the four Trident submarines to three, but it is a magnificent decision.

Let’s start with the submarines. I’m not an expert and perhaps my best information comes from Hollywood, but I know that at this moment there are six countries with nuclear missile-carrying submarines: USA, UK, Russia, France, China and India – six countries with the sneakiest, most offensive and most dangerous weapon in human history. There is no missile umbrella or any other defence system that is equally effective. Apart from working as a defence, the submarines themselves are totally offensive weapons. Remember that even nuclear missiles have been called a defensive weapon, while submarines are purely offensive. They are there to attack and harm and conquer and the damage they can do is unbelievable as history has taught us.

During World War II Nazi submarines destroyed hundreds of ships that only carried supplies, and there were cases when the Nazi or Japanese navy hit hospital boats and ships carrying refugees. Not that the allies were innocent, they did their share of damage, but submarines are sneaky and blindly offensive and make no discrimination on who they kill. So in that sense Gordon Brown’s decision is more than welcome, and reducing the number from four to three is magnificent. Please don’t look at it as just a number; see it as one less way to destroy the world.  

The second part of the announcement is equally serious. Ironically the person who started the discussion of reducing the world’s nuclear arsenal, and actually did something about it, was Ronald Reagan. After him nothing really happened, nobody even bothered to adhere to the signed agreements on reducing nuclear weapons.  Actually George W. Bush probably increased the American arsenal, adding a small word and thinking this will make a difference or make them less dangerous, they called them nuclear enriched weapons. Mind you, the fact that I mention George W. Bush doesn’t mean that Bill Clinton was innocent. The kids that died and will die from leukaemia in Yugoslavia over the next few decades are the best witnesses to this.

George W. Bush used every excuse to rebuild the nuclear “enriched” arsenal, and of course the rest of the world followed him; it was terrorism, it was Saddam’s WOD, and it is now Iran. Actually Iran wants to build a nuclear – or better a nuclear “enriched” arsenal – reminding everybody that even Israel has the nuclear capability and most likely the missiles, without anybody saying anything. On the contrary, Israel’s nuclear arsenal is the most openly spread secret in the world! Pakistan has a nuclear weapons capability and most likely North Korea is not far behind. And who knows how many others?

So something must happen and the treaties and agreements are already there, signed by everybody. The only thing they have to do is continue what they started two and a half decades ago. Perhaps that’s what Gordon Brown is trying to remind everybody of now: the blueprint is there, just follow it. Let’s hope that Barack Obama will follow Gordon Brown’s example and then Putin, Sarkozy, and why not the Chinese. After all, the Chinese Government has shown a surprising environmental awareness lately.


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Emanuel Paparella2009-09-27 14:17:50
On the building of the United Nations in New York one reads those famous words by the prophet Isaiah (2:4): “And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.” They sound a bit hypocritical but nevertheless, if that is the trend nowadays one can only applaud an encourage it, but let us not be too sanguine and naïve in this matter. Were it not for the devastating power of nuclear submarines prowling in the Indian ocean and the Arabian sea, right now there would be defensive constructions of intercontinental nuclear missiles in Poland and the Check Republic by the US to defend against any future attack from a nuclear powered Iran. That plan was shelved not exactly to turn swords into plowshares, and the theocracy in Iran knows it only too well and therefore remains obsessed with nuclear weapons, the idols they worship with the rest of the Western world.

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