Friday, May 26, 2006

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ElBaradei: "Nuclear Feeds Nuclear."
Le Nouvel Observateur

Friday 26 May 2006

The IAEA director deems that the great powers must choose between renouncing nuclear weapons and accepting eventual proliferation.
The United States and the other powers refusing to renounce their nuclear arsenals thus encourage other countries to follow their example, and the world could soon have to face a multitude of countries endowed with nuclear weapons, Mohamed ElBaradei warned Thursday, May 26.

"Nuclear feeds nuclear. As long as certain countries continue to insist on the indispensable character of nuclear weapons for their security, other countries will want to procure them. It is impossible to escape this simple truth," declared the International Atomic Energy Agency's director general.


"We have reached a crossroads with regard to nuclear weapons. Either we begin to distance ourselves from a security based on nuclear weapons or we must resign ourselves to the prediction formulated by President (John F.) Kennedy in the 1960s of a world with 20-30 nuclear powers," continued the 2005 Nobel Peace Laureate, speaking before a group of International Relations students at Johns Hopkins University.

These statements take on a particular resonance in view of the crisis related to Iran's nuclear program. The United States demands that Iran renounce its nuclear ambitions. Washington suspects Teheran of seeking to endow itself with nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian program - which Iran denies.

Alternative System

Furthermore, ElBaradei emphasized that efforts aimed at controlling international technology and knowledge transfers were more and more complicated by the development of information techniques.

In the end, these efforts against nuclear proliferation "will only delay the inevitable," ElBaradei predicted.

He consequently invited the students who made up his audience to establish "an alternative system of collective security ... that eliminates the need for nuclear deterrence."

"Only when the nuclear powers have succeeded in no longer being dependent upon these weapons for their security will the threat of nuclear proliferation from other countries be significantly reduced," insisted ElBaradei.

He said he was himself incapable of presenting an alternative system.

Nonetheless, he added, if the international community intensified its efforts to improve living standards in developing countries, "the probability of a conflict will drop immediately."


Letters to the editor - Attack on Iran wouldn't end there
-THE NEW MEXICAN, May 29, 2006

What if the United States nuked Iran? Where could this "completely nuts" plan lead?
(1) A million Iranians are killed outright from 400 targeted blasts.
(2) Airborne radioactive particles and heavy fall-out contaminate neighboring countries and the world multiplying cancer rates, immune-deficiency diseases, and birth defects.
(3) Many millions more of the world's people hate America.
(4) Iran counter-attacks, sending its substantial army into Iraq.
(5) Disruption of oil supplies sends oil prices through the roof, plunging the world into economic chaos.
(6) Chaos provides the pretext for Bush to claim dictatorial rule, declare marshal law, continue spying on Americans, imprison without charge, torture, rape the Treasury, and shred the Constitution.
(7) Enormous U.S. financial debt to China comes home to roost when China, dependent on Iranian oil, retaliates by collapsing our economy.
(8) China and/or Russia, also dependent on Iranian oil, launch retaliatory nuclear strikes.
(9) Hostilities escalate to all-out nuclear war.
(10) Nuclear winter extinguishes life on Earth.

-Marilyn Gayle Hoff, El Prado

So, place your bets: At which stage will we pull out of the game? Pick a number between 0 and 10.
[-Editor. OK, full disclosure: my preference is "0."]

i tend to side with the opinions of a previous np review:

"Our efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons
have been successful largely where they have been least

"Toward Nuclear Sanity" - 2003
I think this shows why ElBaradei is the wrong man to run the IAEA. He has a terribly (deliberately?) flawed view of the nature of man and the nature of the world. He seems not to understand the reason for nuclear nonproliferation efforts and has the apparently naive view that the "genie could be put back in the bottle" and that people are basically good. Apparently he isn't a good student of history.
Annan and el Baradei are cut from the same cloth - both are worthless.
ElBaradei is just another tool of the UN who will do anything to damage US interests. Only the Democrats, who also will do anything to damage US interests, pay any attention to the UN. This is not to say that I approve of the Republicans either. The Democrats are corrupt socialists while the Republicans are corrupt capitalists. The only question is which evil do you side with.
Unfortunately, I have to agree with John here. I also agree with David on his statement about the inherent nature of man.

A final comment. I read with amazement "A History of Warfare," by the emminent British military historian, John Keegan. Not a single statement on the human frailties that are the root causes of all wars.
ElBaradei says that, as noted by the reporter, "he was himself incapable of presenting an alternative system."

But in the end, we have to ask, whether we're Republican or Democrat or neither, just how many of these damn things do we need? Ten thousand, as we had at the height of the Cold War? Or will the present few thousand do? Or will a few hundred be "sufficient" to the "task"? And, just what is the "task," anyway? We've used only two nuclear weapons on our enemies, in order to close out World War II: Can we imagine the horrible damage to civilization were we to use any, even one, today?

No, we can't "put the genie back into the bottle," at least not completely, but we need to ask ourselves, as keeper of the bottle, what will prevent any of these terrible weapons from being used, ever again? Does anyone seriously propose using nukes pre-emptively, thereby killing the village in order to save it? And will the damage stay contained, and not spread to our own shores?

-These are the tough questions for this Memorial Day weekend.
The issues you bring up are certainly serious and to be considered but have nothing to do with the statements by El Baradei.Preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon should be a high priority by the IAEA and the UN, since we know what they would do with it/them. Iran is violating its own treaty agreements. Elminating our nuclear weapons would only encourage Iran and surely El Baradei knows that.
So, David: We're scared that actions we might take in our own self-interest--reducing the incredible number of nukes in our stockpile by, say, an order of magnitude--might embolden Iran? (Notice that such a theoretical move would not amount to elimination of our stockpile, but rather a reduction, leaving us with hundreds, rather than thousands of nukes.) And would we then be left *naked*, bereft of any capability to obliterate them ten times over? (Besides, are you so absolutely *sure* you "know" what Iran would do with a nuke? What about Pakistan: Do you "know" what they might do with a nuke? Or Israel...?)

Stop and think about what you're saying, because it makes no sense.
My comments have nothing to do with reducing the number of nukes by the US. It is the irrationality and declared intentions of Iran that concern me regardless of whether we have nukes or not. I thought El Baradei was talking about getting rid of all nukes not the number. And I don't think the US depends on nukes for its security these days. I think we have shown incredible restraint over the past 60 years. I guess it is possible that Iran is a "paper-tiger" but given what we've seen from radical Islam, I don't think we can wait and see. That combined with the incredible corruption in the UN and lack of its will power to enforce its actions presents a big problem for the US.
So, here we have it, Dave. You think "we have shown incredible restraint in the last 60 years." So that means you REALLY THINK WE JUST MIGHT have been justified in nuking somebody. Who? The Russians? And might they have responded with nukes of their own? Or would they THEN have shown restraint, and not returned the "favor"?

You now "don't think we can wait and see" whether we should pre-emptively nuke the Iranians? Wow, Dave, your mind is one scary place, and the scariest part is, I don't think you are alone in these United States of America.

-Hoo, boy! God help us!
I guess you don't get it. You have tried to place me in a box of your definition. Of course I think we should have shown restraint and our having the weapons and having actually used them once, put us in a strong position. That is what Los Alamos has been about for the last 1/2 century. Do you think that the head of Iran will show restraint with nukes given that he doesn't believe the holocaust ever happened? Does anyone believe that if we got rid of our weapons that Iran would stop its effort to destroy those around it including us? No one said we should preemptively "nuke" the Iranians. Where do you get these bizarre ideas? But if the UN and EU and us sit back and wait, we will pay for it dearly. That is what happened in WWII and millions paid with their lives.
I gotta go with Brad here. Iran knows that Israeli nuclear forces would be used in retaliation to an attack by Iran.

An article discussing the ability to deter Iran appeared in NTI's news letter last week:
Dear K:

Thanks for the link to this article on Mutually Assured Destruction, by Paul Starobin. His analysis is deep and wide in its historical perspective. Even though Kissinger is, to me personally, a detestable character, a quote of his sticks out as wise counsel, nevertheless:

"The greatest danger of war seems to me not to be in the deliberate actions of wicked men, but in the inability of harassed men to manage events that have run away with them."
Just trying to interject a bit of sanity. In the past few years there have been revelations about the cuban missle crisis, and it sends shivers up my spine to know how close we came to a nuclear exchange between the USSR and the US.
The "bring it on" type of macho BS is all fine and dandy at the bar on a Saturday night, but when dealing with situations that may result in the death and suffering of millions, a more cautious policy is in order.
To the original post: I choose zero.

I don't think even the current administration would have the guts to use a nuke in a preemptive strike. Yeah, there is a bunch of bluster, but a conventional strike would be the result.

As to how many we need, the Project on Nuclear Issues hosted a forum at LANL a couple of years back where a knowledgeable person said that our only real need for a large force remains Russia.

A few nukes can deter (or obliterate) any other potential foe.
Even a conventional invasion of Iran--like the current abject failure of Iraq, which went OK for two weeks--would likely be a real serious problem for our collapsing Empire. For example, where will we get enough National Guardsmen and -women to do the fifth tour? And then, after the bloody invasion, what will we do about the insurgents--in this case, 95% of the Iranian population (Shia), rather than the fractionated Iraqis (60% Shia, 25% Sunni, 15% Kurd)?

As before, we need someone in power in DC who can think beyond the opening move. We have no Grand Masters anymore, just Mental Midgets.
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