A NUCLEAR FREE WORLD OR A WORLD RIDDLED WITH NUCLEAR TERRORISM – ANALYSIS
A NUCLEAR FREE WORLD OR A WORLD RIDDLED WITH NUCLEAR TERRORISM – ANALYSIS Keshav Prasad Bhattarai Eurasia Review, February 17, 2013 www.eurasiareview.com/author/keshav-prasad-bhattarai/In January 2007 former secretaries of state Henry A. Kissinger and George P. Shultz, the former defensesecretary William J. Perry and the former chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sam Nunn — called for a world free of nuclear weapons. In the words of Ward Wilson (The New York Times January 13,2013), these ―four titans of American foreign policy‖ gave a ―new momentum to an idea that had movedfrom the sidelines of pacifist idealism to the center of foreign policy debate.‖Their appeal had come after North Korea ran its first nuclear test and Iran had refused to stop to enrichits weapon grade uranium. That time they observed, ―The world is now on the precipice of a new anddangerous nuclear era. Most alarmingly, the likelihood that non-state terrorists will get their hands onnuclear weaponry is increasing.‖ ―Apart from the terrorist threat,‖ they continued, ―unless urgent newactions are taken, the U.S. soon will be compelled to enter a new nuclear era that will be more precarious,psychologically disorienting, and economically even more costly than was Cold War deterrence.‖
After six years, what they had anticipated has become true. Amid heightened tension among major EastAsian powers, North Korea has tested its third nuclear test on Tuesday, February 12. According to NorthKorean Central News Agency (KCNA), ―The test was conducted in a safe and perfect way on a high levelwith the use of a smaller and light A-bomb unlike the previous ones, yet with great explosive power‖.Experts have agreed that the North Korean nuclear blast tested this time was significantly stronger thanthe earlier ones. More concerning to the policy makers and defense analyst was its miniaturized nature -that could give North Korea greater capacity to deploy such weapons in its missile system.The more sophisticated and powerful North Korean nuclear test was preceded by its impressive satellitelaunch. During that test, its National Defense Commission had boasted that the forthcoming nuclear testwas targeted against the United States. Obviously, it was not an empty claim. One week before the test,Bill Gertz giving reference to intelligence sources reported in The Washington Free Beacon, that the NorthKorean missiles ―can range Alaska and Hawaii and possibly the U.S. West Coast.‖According to Fox News North Korea adamantly has claimed that the main drive behind its nuclear programis the threat posed by United States against its security. If the United States maintains its hostilityagainst Pyongyang, it will continue its weapon programs with greater intensity, North Korea warned.Giving reference to South Korea’s Defense Ministry Andrei Lankov, a North Korean expert has stated inForeign Policy Magazine that the yield of the recent test was at some 6 to 7 kilotons – ―less than half theyield of the bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima in 1945‖ but to some analyst it was a 10 kilotondevice.It is widely believed that with its new KN-08 road mobile ICBM launcher – which China has supplied, NorthKorea can target its destination with the much-miniaturized but powerful nuclear weapons.Speaking with the reporters during his China visit in January 2011, former U.S. Defense Secretary RobertM. Gates had said that North Korea could be a direct threat to the United States in another five years orless. Within two years of Gates’ prediction, North Korea has come to make a direct warning to world’s lonesuper power - United States.In another story Gertz in The Washington Times ( December 5,2011) cited a new revelations from aclassified Capitol Hill intelligence briefing that was later made public in a letter to Defense SecretaryLeon E. Panetta. According to the revelation North Korea was moving ahead with ―building its first road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, an easily hidden weapon capable of hitting the United States‖.In a pre-nuclear world, a minor local crisis anywhere could lead into a great power rivalries and even greatwars. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of the Austria- Hungarian Empire in Sarajevo by a youngSerbian nationalist led to the First World War. Similarly, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan not only fueledthe bitter great power rivalry in post World War II period but it also played a catalytic role in helpingPakistan develop nuclear weapons with the clandestine support of the United States.A poor and developing country like North Korea or similar other smaller nations in pre nuclear world couldnot collect courage to challenge a big power like United States. Hence, this was helping to maintain somekind of global order but in a post nuclear world a small, poor and isolated country like North Korea couldchallenge the world’s largest economic and military power. North Korea with its third nuclear test(February 12, 2012) demonstrated this and has warned United States of America claiming that with its
third nuclear test it has acquired some capability of building a bomb that is small enough to be tipped on amissile that can hit any target in the United States.NUCLEAR TERRORISM, NUCLEAR MADNESS AND NUCLEAR PROLIFERATIONAs quoted by Kissinger, Shultz, Perry and Nunn (Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2007)Ronald Reagan - one of the most popular U.S. president termed nuclear weapon "totally irrational, totallyinhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization." Similarly, theyhave also quoted Rajiv Gandhi from his speech that he delivered to the U.N. General Assembly as the PrimeMinister of India on June 1988. In that speech, Gandhi said, "Nuclear war will not mean the death of ahundred million people. Or even a thousand million. It will mean the extinction of four thousand million: theend of life as we know it on our planet earth. We come to the United Nations to seek your support. We seekyour support to put a stop to this madness".Graham T. Allison in New York Times has written an alarming article entitled as ―North Korea’s Lesson:Nukes for Sale‖. As Allison concludes North Korea takes its nuclear program as a ―new cash crop . . . easierto market than plutonium . . . harder to detect and therefore easier to export‖. It is also simpler to builda bomb from it. With quotes from former secretary of defense Robert M. Gates, Allison further says thatas history shows North Koreans will ―sell anything they have to anybody who has the cash to buy it.‖Evidentially, there are many buyers. Hundreds of North Koreans are in Iran and in other Middle Eastcountries to work with nuclear projects. Reports say that they are also in Pakistan. Earlier Pakistan helpedNorth Korea develop its nuclear weapons program.New York Times further admits that Ayman al- Zawahiri – the successor of Osama bin Laden, ―has beenseeking nuclear weapons for more than a decade‖. Besides, the world’s leading daily discloses, ―there areIsrael’s enemies, including wealthy individuals in some Arab countries, who might buy a bomb for themilitant groups Hezbollah or Hamas‖. Allison, in his article has also quoted President Obama who has saidthat nuclear terrorism has been the single biggest threat to U.S. security and if terrorists explode anynuclear bomb in an American city in the near future, there lies a ―serious possibility that the core of theweapon will have come from North Korea‖.Technological advancement has made nuclear weapons smaller, cheaper easier to pack and transport.Moreover, countries with underdeveloped economy may find it lucrative to obtain a nuclear weapon toupkeep its security rather than maintain expensive conventional armed forces.During Cold War United States had manufactured the smallest and lightest nuclear warhead named W 54to be tipped in a heavy rifle and was deployed by the U.S. military in Europe against Soviet troops. Later in1994, National Defense Authorization Act prohibited to develop smaller nuclear weapons. However, in 2004the provision under 1994 Act was repelled.Wikipedia has described about ―backpack‖ bomb developed by Soviet Union. This consisted of three coffeecan sized aluminum canisters in a bag connected to make a single unit of bomb. Its detonator was justabout six inches long with 3-5 kiloton yield.
It is estimated that Russia today has some 2,000 smaller tactical nuclear weapons and United States hassome 500 more. The number of such weapons with China and other nuclear weapon countries is not known.But when Soviet Union was disintegrated, large number of those smaller nuclear weapons could havedislocated or stolen from its stores and some people anywhere might have kept them secretly and possiblyare trying to find some buyers. The way nuclear weapons technology has proliferated from U.S. to SovietUnion and from China and Western Europe to Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Syria and some othercountries , there are sufficient evidences to tell a different and terrible picture.On the other hand, experts say that Nuclear weapons have become much cheaper than a fighter aircraft,patrol boat and a tank.Retired Major General of US Army William Burns says that the history of Cold War is a nuclear historycentered on the strategic preparedness of U.S. and Soviet against each other. In Western Europe U.S. andNATO forces had remarkable strategic disadvantages in the presence of huge conventional forces of theSoviet Union. On this backdrop, United States developed some tactical nuclear weapons that could be usedas the battlefield weapons.According to Paul Schulte U.S. and NATO have taken ―nuclear weapons simultaneously as a tool ofdeterrence, defense and denial‖. Smaller and lighter battlefield nuclear weapons were a part of this policythat gave NATO a tactical maneuverability. It also helped them to bring battle to the battlefield than toextend it to cities, industries, hospitals, educational institutions, farmlands and other vital infrastructuresthat could paralyze the country for months.Moreover, even there are some reports about a very small compact portable bomb that could be carried in asuitcase. Wikipedia has even mentioned about ―backpack nuke, mini nuke and pocket nuke‖. Such nuclearweapon weigh some 10 kg but with an explosion capacity of 10-20 tons.NUCLEAR MYTHS AND NUCLEAR RACEWard Wilson in his thought provoking analysis has challenged the traditional myths about nuclearweapons with hard evidences. He has elaborated five such myths including Japan’s surrender inWorld War II and decisive mass destructive nature of these weapons.Wilson has similarly rejected the much discussed and commonly accepted – theory of nucleardeterrence and its contribution on retaining long peace in world history.The last, important point Wilson critically explained is the myth of nuclear irreversibility. Headmits that no technology is ever disinvented, however every new day it has to prove itsusefulness. Since the time the world has invented nuclear weapon, it is living with a great irony-- atechnology that has demanded billions of investments in its development but no one from thattime ―has found an occasion to use them in over 67 years‖. With larger number of advancednuclear weapons, countries have become more vulnerable and another huge sum of money isneeded to update the weapon technology and keep them safe.
South Korea immediately after the North Korean nuclear test has not only gone into a heightenedstate of alert. According to international media sources, it has unveiled a new missile capable tohit any target in the North. South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson has admitted that thenew weapon is extremely destructive, powerful against any kind of attack from its adversary.Besides, it is amply clear that countries like Japan and South Korea have capability to makenuclear weapons within few days, if they think it necessary for them.According to The Washington Free Beacon, China on the other hand, as a part of its majornuclear force build up, is developing rail based strategic long-range missile trains. Quoting PhilipKarber, a former U.S. arms control official, Bill Gertz in The Washington Free Beacon mentionsthat ―The combination of mobile-road/rail ICBMs with [multiple, independently-targetablereentry vehicles] deployed in underground tunnel complexes produces compounded entropy overtime‖.Former head of Russian strategic nuclear forces, retired Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, during a visit toWashington had disclosed the Chinese rail basing of nuclear missiles resembling to the SovietUnion’s SS-24 rail-mobile nuclear missile force, the only such rail based ICBM in the world, Gertzelaborated.When a technology is invented and used, it becomes a global property. Laws may limit itsproduction, reproduction, use or reuse. In many countries laws do not govern them and at timeseven in laws abiding countries laws and state policies and laws are ignored, spoilt or connived bythe people at the highest echelons of power and as a result of this even the most dangeroustechnology has been clandestinely transferred, sold or are pirated. In addition, when people whoare involved in technology development and maintaining its secrecy either for their conscience orfor their greed, betray the nation and the organization they are entrusted with, laws fail to work.This has largely worked with the proliferation of nuclear weapons.Two great works have eloquently explained how nuclear knowledge are systematically stolen ortransferred. Adrian Levy and Catherine Scot – Clark, the two brilliant investigative journalists intheir acclaimed book - Deception have presented a graphic account of Pakistan’s nuclear theft andits worldwide expansion. The other is by Richard Rhodes – The Making of the Atom Bomb, thatelucidates its invention and its racing journey from United States to other major powers.On January 31, Marc Goodman in Time magazine has presented a news story with series ofevidences describing how criminals and terrorists are attempting to strike U.S. Pentagon andCapitol by using a remote controlled aircraft commonly known as drone. The aircraft aimed atPentagon was filled with plastic explosives. Goodman further says, ―Drones are no longer the soledomain of military, and just as with many new technologies, they can easily fall into the wronghands‖. He says that ―criminals and terrorists needn’t even own or buy a drone; they can merelyhack and hijack somebody else’s.‖
In the same story, Goodman has also reported about Narco traders in Columbia using remotecontrolled drug smuggling submarines - carrying hundreds of kilos of cocaine some 1600kilometers away without refueling. In Brazil, in 2009 and 2012, criminals used mini helicopters anddrones over a Brazilian prison to deliver things like cell phones and drugs to the prisoners.The message is more than clear. Terrorists and criminals can hijack or find a drone, fit it withguns, bombs and even miniaturized nuclear weapons and hit their targets anywhere in the world.A NUCLEAR FREE WORLD IS URGENTLY NEEDED AND IS POSSIBLE TOOIn spite of those mentioned above,a nuclear free world is not distant and an imaginary rhetoric. It iscritically urgent and is achievable.According to Joseph S. Nye Jr. - the former U.S. Assistance Secretary of Defense and the Chairman ofNational Intelligence Council - ―a megaton nuclear explosion can create temperatures of 100 million degreeCelsius – four to five times the temperature in the centre of the sun.‖ Today a missile can carry 100 timesmore explosive power than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on 1945 and they have capability toend everything of human civilizations.In 1945, no other country than United States had any nuclear bombs and even with United States theywere only three. However, in the beginning of 1990s, only United States and Soviet Union had more than65,000 nuclear weapons.Nye has quoted from a letter written by Soviet leader Khrushchev to U.S. President John F. Kennedyduring Cuban Missile crisis in which he had written ―Be careful as we both tug at the ends of the rope inwhich we have tied the knot of war.‖That time they were two but now there are many with the knots of war in their hands. Moreover, the knotsof a nuclear war might reach at the hands of some non-state actors or terrorists and some weak andfailing nuclear weapon countries can be an attractive target for such horrible transfer. Indubitably, there are bright signs too. The world has achieved unbelievable success in reducing nuclearweapons. U.S. and Russia in the last 20 years have cut down some 40,000 nuclear weapons from theirarsenals. Thousands of others are waiting for their dismantlement. If the United States and Russia werefurther ready to reduce their nuclear weapons with an ultimate aim of eliminating it - it would certainlyencourage rest of the nuclear power country – that have some 1000 nuclear weapons, follow the same. Thiswill create tremendous moral as well as public pressures against the countries that are openly orclandestinely are developing it.One thing is clear, nuclear weapons are considered as immoral weapons. Therefore, it has not been usedsince 1945.Look at the evidences. United States and Soviet Union accepted their humiliating defeat in their war inAfghanistan and Vietnam, withdrew their forces from there, but did not use nuclear bombs. Soviet Union
admitted to return its missiles from Cuba and America did not go to Hungary when Soviet Union invaded it.There were some unwritten treaties – might be they were questionable on some moral ground, but for thelarger interest of the humanity, they were prepared to make some compromises rather than use theseimmoral weapons. When the world was preparing for a graceful farewell to 20th Century, Dr. Mahbub ul Haq one of thegreatest Pakistani scholar with global recognition enthused the world follow a new path. In his one of themost thought provoking book - Reflections on Human Development he gave a new interpretation to securityas follows: ―Security of people, not just territory. Security of individuals, not just of nations. Security through development, not through arms. Security of all people everywhere – in their homes, in their jobs, in their streets, in their communities, in their environment.‖In the same book, he asked some questions to the leaders of Third World countries as follows: ―Why do they insist on spending two or three times as much on arms as on education and health of their people? Why do they have 20 times more soldiers than doctors? How can they find resources for air-conditioned jeeps for their military generals when they lack even windowless schoolrooms for their children?‖ Unfortunately, Dr Haq is living no more. He could not see the 21st Century, but how he has defined security and what questions he has asked to the third world leaders has opened new horizon for a 21st Century world. The questions he asked to third world leaders have become relevant to all global leaders from Barrack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping to Manmohan Singh, Asif Ali Zardari and Kim Jong un. If Obama, Jinping, Putin and Singh have, courage to ask those questions with other countries and have courage to answer them to their fellow citizens it will be a grand step toward a nuclear free world. firstname.lastname@example.org