Missile Defence/Proliferation

The new US “Prompt Global Strike” programme – even if it plans to use “conventional” warheads – and systems like the X37 (a pilotless space plane, to stay up for nine months) will have discouraged actual and potential proliferators from signing anything serious at the NPT Review Conference. On the contrary, they will probably encourage them to maintain – even to increase – their nuclear capabilities, simply to secure better deterrence.

US Missile Defences have the same effect: the encouragement of proliferation: you need more weapons to get through the “anti-missile screen”

As Mr Gorbachev pointed out in the International Herald Tribune, on April 22nd, 2010, the world does not welcome what the Pentagon used to describe as “US Full Spectrum Military Dominance – Land, Sea, Air, and Space”, with “Cyber” probably now optimistically to be added. (US “offensive” uses of Cyber are currently under examination.)

The assumption still is that “non-proliferation” is a good thing: certainly proper control of plutonium and uranium would be. But the governments which today have nuclear weapons have all obtained them for very respectable reasons: always for deterrence. North Korea has long faced unfriendly American nuclear weapons; and Iran has faced unfriendly Israeli, and American, nuclear weapons. Britain – one of the earliest proliferators – set up its own Atomic Weapons Authority in 1945 because President Truman backed out of President Roosevelt’s commitment to Mr Churchill that cooperation on atomic weapons would continue post-war.

If Mr Obama can’t persuade Israeli Governments to disarm, despite US billion dollar military subsidies, and collaboration, and guarantees, why should any other Government disarm?

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