Tuesday, August 02, 2005
"...we might not go out with a whimper after all.."
George Monbiot writes today in the Guardian about something few of us know about or want to know about - but which looks set to destroy us (unless, of course, bird-flu, global warming and the die-off from Peak Oil get us first).
George Monbiot's headline is The treaty wreckers
- In just a few months, Bush and Blair have destroyed global restraint on the development of nuclear weapons.
Ordinary members of the public are not expected actually to understand much about the "talks" going on about Iran's nuclear capability and North Korea's nuclear capability or the pacts and deals made by the US with both Pakistan and India. Media reports, such as they are, tend never to point out the obvious - that the playground bullies in the nuclear club condemn others for having the weapons they have themselves. If they were responsible instead of bullies, there might be some hope - but there are no prefects and no teachers on patrol. The UN nuclear watchdog, so vocal elsewhere, has no teeth to wonder why Britain is (according to George Monbiot and Robin Cook last week) replacing "our Trident nuclear weapons, without consulting parliament or informing the public."
- George Monbiot: "The non-proliferation treaty, of which the UK was a founding signatory, determines two things: that the non-nuclear powers should not acquire nuclear weapons, and that the nuclear powers should "pursue negotiations in good faith on ... general and complete disarmament". Blair has unilaterally decided to rip it up.
In America, Mr Bush wants to destroy the non-proliferation treaty too. May's summit in New York was supposed to strengthen it - but John Bolton refused even to allow the other nations to draw up an agenda for discussion.. Monbiot tells us that Mr Bush, yesterday nominated John Bolton to the post of US ambassador to the UN against the wishes of Congress by means of a "recess appointment" - ie he sneaked it in while everyone was on holiday.
He is now free to go ahead with research for a "robust nuclear earth penetrator" (RNEP)- which brings to mind not only one of the final scenes of the hugely enjoyable "The Incredibles" in which the "Underminer" uses a massive drill to wreak havoc upwards into the city- but also its wonderfully shock-haired maniac villain, boasting to an aghast Mr Incredible about his new weapon system, and bellowing, "Who needs super powers? NOW you respect me...because you are afraid."
It is Emperor Caligula and his Oderint dum metuant "let them hate as long as they fear". Monbiot tells us that the RNEP idea was conceived in 1991 as a means of dealing with Saddam Hussein's biological and chemical weapons.
- "Saddam is pacing his cell, but the Bushites, like the Japanese soldiers lost in Malaysia, march on. To pursue his war against the phantom of the phantom of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, Bush has destroyed the treaty that prevents the use of real ones.
Monbiot also spells out the American double standard.
- " ... You could sketch it out as a Venn diagram. If you have oil and aren't developing a bomb (Iraq) you get invaded. If you have oil and are developing a bomb (Iran) you get threatened with invasion, but it probably won't happen. If you don't have oil, but have the bomb, the US representative will fly to your country and open negotiations...
...The world could now be more vulnerable to the consequences of proliferation than it has been for 35 years. Thanks to Bush and Blair, we might not go out with a whimper after all....."
Orson Wells as the smiling Harry Lime in The Third Man is a prophetic villain. From his vantage point on top of the Riesenrad, the large Ferris wheel, he sees people appearing like ants, and says that insects are the sort of thing one crushes with one's shoe without giving them a moment's thought.
But we aren't living in a film and there's no one left to defeat these Harry Limes who think they are statesmen. Blair seems now completely off his head with power and there is no one able to take him away with his arms encased in a straight white jacket. He is surrounded by sycophants, those who love the smell of power, and those who want a stepping stone to their own status and power. So there is no one to remind him of his own frailty. (Well, Cherie had a go this week, at least but she was derided as "insensitive" by a member of the so-called Opposition, God help us.) It is an Emperor's Court.
We might just as well be living under Caligula. The globe is now being ruled by tyrannical madmen - but like Caligula, who wanted to be worshipped as a god, they profess god-given righteousness and their voices drip with sanctity. And, as George Monbiot reminds us, "Geoff Hoon...announced ...that Britain would be prepared to use small nukes in a pre-emptive strike against a non-nuclear state."
Small "nukes" still make a big bang. Crushing insects for politics. "This is the way the world ends"...said T.S.Eliot, but he was writing before the days of nuclear non-proliferation treaties and the insane proliferation of huge nuclear bombs. The horror of Hiroshima was exactly 60 years ago. Once again, no lessons learned.