It was halfway between midnight and dawn, and the moon had summoned me. As an ocean sailor who has navigated my lovely boat across the Wide Waters using just the stars and my sextant, I pay more attention to the sky than city-folk. And I also pay more attention to the Earth than sailor-folk.
At this very instant there are at least 150 blue water sailboats within 10 miles of me. Their crews sleep peacefully. They are not wondering, like I am, whether this lunar oddity will be the final one that humanity witnesses. For tonight’s full moon will be the last one that falls on a Friday the 13th until 2049. The question that troubles me is this: “Will the human project still exist in 35 years?” My concern is not just delusional pessimism. It is mushroom cloud terror.
I recently learned of potentially apocalyptic policy changes that the U.S. government has made to its nuclear war strategic planning. These radical and malevolent alterations were never debated by the people’s representatives in Congress. Nor were they revealed to the citizens themselves for community discussion. And op-ed columns did not appear in the mainstream press critiquing such lunatic fantasies. Instead, these Dr. Strangelove plans were made in secrecy - and for good reason - since any decent human being, who is not metastasized by their own lust for power, would never even consider such hideous war-planning.
During the Cold War, the government mindset was that nuclear weapons would only be used in retaliation should another party use them first. The operative phrase that defined this policy was Mutually Assured Destruction. The rationale was that since both the U.S. and the Soviet Union each possessed enough nukes to destroy each other many times over, neither nation would attempt a “first strike.” The aggressor in such a situation understood that the missiles they launched would result in a counter-attack that would vaporize their cities and convert their continent into a toxic moonscape.
During the 1980s, Ronald Reagan jeopardized this delicate and vital balance by promoting what he called the Star Wars missile defense system. This was an attempt to create a nuclear shield whereby sophisticated missiles could intercept any Soviet rockets headed for the USA. The consequences of such a project were obvious to the Russian military. It meant that the U.S. could launch a first strike and feel confident that most of the Soviet counter-attack would be destroyed by the Star Wars protective dome.
Fortunately, this ABM - or Anti-Ballistic Missile - system failed miserably, while still in its early test stage. The contractors behind the scheme had essentially conned Reagan with radioactive pie-in-the-sky deceptions. This failure meant that the Russian citizens could rest easier. The whole world should have been able to rest easier a few years later in 1989 when the entire Soviet Union collapsed. This was the PERFECT opportunity to dismantle and destroy every nuclear weapon on the planet.
But the arms makers were not about to let that happen. No matter how many million signatures soccer moms accumulated on disarmament petitions, the war profiteers would not surrender. Just because they were already grotesquely rich should not deter them from becoming obscenely rich.
A turning point in the attitude of the U.S. decision makers towards nuclear weapons was quietly marked in the Spring of 2006 when Foreign Affairs magazine published a crucial article entitled “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy.” This publication, which most Americans have never even heard of, is extremely influential in the halls of power - although in this case I might more appropriately term them “the bunkers of power.” The authors argued persuasively that both the Russians and Chinese had fallen far behind the U.S. in their ability to go mano-a-mano or missile-to-missile in a nuclear exchange.
In the eight years since that article appeared, the superiority gap has widened even more dramatically. To further jeopardize the fragile stalemate that had existed for decades, the Neo-conservatives, who designed the Bush II foreign policy and who are also prominent in the Obama White House, have bundled almost all of the former Soviet countries under the NATO banner. They lied and said that they did this to “spread democracy” when their true purpose was to position military installations in these countries, which are so geographically close to Russia. This further weakens the Kremlin’s ability to retaliate should a first-strike nuke attack be unleashed against them.
Amongst the complexities of the present crisis in the Ukraine, the American mainstream media never even mentions that Putin understands the extreme danger of having advanced ABM launchers in an adjoining country. Reverse the situation and imagine how the U.S. would react if Russia positioned such weapons in Vancouver and Toronto and Halifax.
To aggravate a dangerous situation even worse, the U.S. government is no longer even claiming that our nuclear armaments are for deterrence only. In the latest official statement on this, which is called the 2013 Nuclear Employment Strategy it clearly states:
“The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review established the Administration’s goal to set conditions that would allow the United States to safely adopt a policy of making deterrence of nuclear attack the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons. Although we cannot adopt such a policy today, the new guidance reiterates the intention to work towards that goal over time.”
But if we already have a significant advantage over the other nuclear powers, and if we have so many emergencies crying out for attention at home such as massive unemployment, decaying infrastructure and a decrepit electrical grid, certainly we would not waste money on more nuclear firepower. But in fact on Jan 8, 2014, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced what Reuters termed, “ambitious plans to upgrade U.S. nuclear weapons systems by modernizing weapons and building new submarines, missiles and bombers to deliver them.” Apparently our 7,700 nuclear weapons are not sufficient, but this additional hardware at a price tag of anywhere between 355 billion and one TRILLION dollars, will finally do the trick of keeping us secure.
Which brings me to an obvious question: What is this REALLY all about? When the Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War ended, I can understand keeping NATO in existence for a few years to make sure that Russia did not have some secret aggressive strategy planned. But it has been 25 years now. Why does NATO even still exist?
I believe that it lingers because it is a more subtle way to impose American hegemony on the rest of the planet. And to save anyone the trouble of racing to the dictionary to look up the H word, let me phrase it more simply – the U.S. wants to rule the World. The average American does not want to do so, but those in power seem to salivate for that sort of control. They use the phrases “American Exceptionalism” and the “Indispensible People” and “Spreading Democracy” as camouflage for the most blatant and vicious acts of aggression. The last 50 years of world history have been dominated by the U.S. corporate and military interests imposing their will on the rest of the planet. Check out William Blum’s book, ROGUE STATE, for a shockingly detailed inventory of this cavalcade of evil. If sacks of money wouldn’t do the trick, then in would come the assassins and then the bombers and now the drones.
But let me return to the question I asked two paragraphs ago. “What is this REALLY all about?” Any honest observer, who pays attention to American deeds rather than to its rhetoric, can clearly see that the U.S. is essentially an out-of-control imperialist bully. As hideous as that is, it is not shocking. That’s because the history of “civilization” is a record of one vicious tyrant after another ascending to power and conquering other lands and populations. As disgusting as that is, at least there was a motive, since it involved the theft of land or resources or slaves. But to launch an all out nuclear attack where there would be no “spoils of war” is what I refer to as EBC Syndrome. Those initials stand for Evil Beyond Comprehension. Let me delve into this malignant pathology more deeply:
· Show me the enemy! Neither Russia nor China has declared war against the U.S. - nor have they indicated an aggressive posture towards America. On the contrary, they both have shown a total willingness to peacefully co-exist with the West. This is the perfect historical opportunity to ELIMINATE the threat of nuclear annihilation from the planet. But by increasing and upgrading its already obese stockpile of these weapons, Washington is forcing these other countries to do the same. They are practically demanding a new Arms Race. As an example of this, look around the web and you will discover that hypersonic delivery systems that travel at 10 times the speed of sound are now being developed.
· Describe a nuclear “victory.” Perhaps our “leaders,” or what I prefer to call The Malignant Overlords, are trapped in some time bubble where they imagine that modern nuclear war will resemble Hiroshima. They seem to think that a few weeks after the attack it will be safe to return to the incinerated areas. It’s as if they have visions of Halliburton and KBR and Bechtel trucks caravanning East to build a new Eurasian-America. Ah, yes - Disney Siberia! But the current nuclear warheads are so much stronger and more devastating. Any scientist, who has studied their impacts, concludes that with the poisoned water and radioactive soil, human life will be impossible there for a VERY long time.
· Let’s destroy ourselves. Given the insanity of attacking “non-enemies” and killing them all and rendering their lands uninhabitable, what is the possible motivation? All I can come up with is that maybe these monsters are willing to convert half the planet’s land mass into a lifeless lava field because it will eliminate any threats to their power. But if they are Machiavellian enough to plot such diabolical lunacy, how can their think tanks not anticipate the wider consequences? Spend an hour reading the research that Steven Starr summarizes at his website, www.nucleardarkness.org, and it will be obvious that only the cockroaches are winners in a nuclear war. Firestorms would become so immense that a blanket of smoke would enshroud the planet in darkness, thus eliminating any food growing since freezing temperatures would occur every day for years. Everyone who didn’t have their skin peeled off their body or who didn’t die of radiation poisoning would die of starvation.
· The core reality. In my opinion what is really driving this aberrant suicidal behavior is this: A relatively small group of men, who already have too much wealth and too much power, are insatiably lusting after even more wealth and greater power. Their behavior is psychotic and pathological and genocidal. We must stop electing and appointing them. We must start institutionalizing them.
After watching that Friday the 13th full moon descend behind the mountain to the west of me, I remained on AVENTURA’s deck, searching for an insight that I sensed was lurking just beneath the surface of my reason. And then it gently eased up into my consciousness. Here is that message:
I believe that there are only two ways in which humanity can actually destroy itself. One is Nuclear Annihilation and the other is through Catastrophic Climate Change. But if governments could sincerely embrace the One Human Family concept, and eradicate all nuclear weapons from Earth, we could then dedicate the immense financial resources spent on them, to a global crusade to minimize the onrushing climate change tsunami. Such a worldwide campaign to change the human paradigm in an overwhelmingly positive manner might ripple out and create a much wider renaissance.
People might start valuing co-operation more than competition. Neighbors might cherish diversity instead of fearing it. Friendship and family and community might become more desired than “stuff.” And to make such a movement a little less abstract and a little more tangible, allow me to suggest a name for it. Let’s call it THE REVERSING COURSE INITIATIVE.