Did India just launch a new ballistic missile? A launch, by the way, which received very little
international attention and concern and from a country that is a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
And was it me or did North Korea just attempt to launch a new missile which they claimed was for peaceful purposes but the USA and other countries of the global North suggested was for military purposes? Did you notice how it appeared that the USA was preparing for
war and they certainly took the step of shutting off aid? Oh, and while I am at it, what about Iran, which is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but is under economic and terrorist assault from the USA and Israel for allegedly intending to create
The hypocrisy around missiles and nuclear weapons is frightening. India and Pakistan have both been allowed into the club of nuclear powers and at the same time permitted to not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel, by the way, is another such nuclear
power (that has not signed the Treaty). So, these countries can play nuclear Russian roulette, yet the USA sits back, acting as if everything is normal. This, despite the fact – at least with India – that the ramifications of their missile launch could heighten tensions with nuclear-armed China.
As someone on the Left, it gets a bit tiring pointing out the self-serving hypocrisy of the US empire. Yet it is not only a necessity, but something that needs to be accompanied by constructive, anti-militarist and anti-imperialist actions. Unfortunately when countries such
as India, Pakistan and Israel get away with either flaunting their nuclear capability or offering implied threats (as does Israel, which refuses to acknowledge its possession of nuclear weapons), there are important ramifications.
The first is that it actually ends up in the interests of non-nuclear powers to secure nuclear weapons (and the delivery systems necessary in order to make them operational). Each time the USA or its allies threaten countries that may or may not possess nuclear weapons
or the intent to build them, they actually create an amazing incentive for said countries to create them.
The second ramification is the obvious danger that the weapons will be used. Each time India and Pakistan find themselves on the brink of conflict, the world stops breathing for a moment. A nuclear mistake between these two countries will allow little time to be corrected. The capitols of both countries could find themselves turned to dust in the aftermath of a nuclear exchange. The impact on the rest of the world, of course, is
unknowable, though radiation clouds plus further climate change is most likely.
The conclusion from this is the further need for a galvanized and re-directed anti-war movement. The USA is in no position to suggest that other countries step back from the brink when it is the USA that is capable of wiping out the world several times over. Therefore, genuine disarmament needs to become a real mass issue, as it has at various points in the last 40+ years.
It is also the case that anti-war activists must push for steps against states that fail to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, such as India, Pakistan and Israel. If the USA wishes to suggest that nuclear weapons and delivery systems in the hands of the Iranian theocracy are unacceptable, why is this not the case with India, which has a crypto-fascist Hindu
political movement that worships nuclear weapons (and has been in power), or Pakistan which has a military that is nearly out of control and has regional aspirations for hegemony? And, needless to say, what about Israel, the sole nuclear power in the Middle East, with more than one hundred nuclear weapons and which occupies territory not its own? The only way this situation changes is with a mass movement that insists political figures and governments act with some degree of consistency. I know that is asking a lot.
The irony of all of this is something that sections of the US military seem to understand: the allies of the US today can find themselves in a contentious relationship with the USA tomorrow. Any power that worships nuclear weapons or feels that its very existence is so threatened that nuclear weapons are the only answer is a power that can very easily push the button. And let the consequences be damned.
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member, Bill Fletcher, Jr., is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfricaForum and co-author of Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward
Social Justice (University of California Press), which examines the crisis of organized labor in the USA.