From No Nukes California
Beyond Obama’s ‘Nuclear Security’ Hokus POTUS
By James Heddle
April 6. 2016
[ First published on Counterpunch.org ]
‘Nuclear Security’ – The Quintessential Oxymoron?
It ended, with no apparent sense of irony, on April Fools’ Day. Obama’s much-heralded ‘Nuclear Security Summit’ came to a close on April 1st in Washington, D.C., having drawn representatives from about 50 countries…minus Russia, which declined to attend citing a “shortage of mutual cooperation” and the exclusion of some of its allies from the invitation list.
Compared to the lofty vision outlined in Obama’s famous 2009 Prague speech of a ‘world without nuclear weapons,’ the POTUS conference marked a sad measure of how far short of his stated intentions his actual accomplishments have fallen.
To be fair, by no means all of that failure can be said to be Obama’s fault. There are many counter-forces.
There’s a global system that profits handsomely from the combined nuclear energy-weapons-waste economy.
There’s a worldwide elite whose members derive much power and privilege from it.
There’s the domestic ‘deep state’ system of the ‘defense and security’ industry with its revolving door to government, which is heavily invested in the permanent war economy.
Then there are the people the President has chosen to surround himself with, some of whom disagree with him and work to undermine his stated policies.
It remains to be seen if the controversial ‘Iran Deal’ will stand as a signature accomplishment of Obama’s tenure. But the facts remain that, despite his boasts that he has ‘reduced’ the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the actual cuts amount to a mere 5% – from 4,950 operational nuclear warheads to 4,700, according to the Federation of American Scientists. As former Defense Secretary William Perry points out, that’s more than enough to destroy the world many times over.
And, as Perry and other former U.S. officials disapprovingly observe, Obama’s plan to spend over $1 trillion to ‘upgrade’ America’s stockpile of nuclear bombs and their delivery systems not only makes their use more likely, but has also triggered a New Arms Race.
Finally, the President’s ‘all of the above’ energy policy treats nuclear energy generation as ‘clean,’ ignoring the massive carbon footprint of the atomic fuel chain that makes uranium essentially a fossil fuel. It also gives massive funding and support to developing a new generation of nuclear reactors, as well as marketing existing U.S. designs world-wide to such clients as warring Arab oil states. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/middle-east/2015-05-25/nuclear-power-people
12 Unspeakable Realities
Those who advocate for nuclear energy as a response to climate change, or for new nuclear weapons in pursuit of ‘national security,’ must ignore or deny an overwhelming burden of facts from the history and legacy of these nuclear technologies so far.
Here are just a few: