Written By: - Date published: 7:55 am, February 8th, 2019 - 58 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, China, climate change, disaster, Donald Trump, Environment, Europe, International, Politics, Russia, sustainability, us politics, war, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
Mike Williams, who still is an astute judge of political events, used to get a bit of stick because he would say “I agree with Matthew” after Matthew Hooton offered up his opinions on Radio New Zealand’s political commentary slot.
To those naysayers about Mike all I can say is remember back to election night 2005 when I and quite a few others praised his astute handling of a campaign that led to Labour’s best third term election result since 1943.
And Matthew? He is a skilled practitioner of the dark arts of politics, with a pure world view along the lines of capitalism good, collectivism bad. But occasionally I agree with him 100 %. Like what he said in this tweet:
I can remember the time really well. Back in the 1980s the arms race and the threat of nuclear war were dominant subjects of conversation and thought. Think global warming but the end of days was a button press away when one or the other leader succumbed to bad data or stupidity and went all armageddon on us.
Life back then was dominated by the thought that a nuclear catastrophe may only be weeks away.
The concept that applied was called MAD, mutually assured destruction. Both super powers had amassed sufficiently large arsenals that if unleashed would have destroyed the world many times over. As David Lange said, all the super powers had done was refine an existing capacity to make the rubble bounce and bounce and bounce.
Thankfully one element of the madness, the prohibitive cost, meant that the arms race finished without the killing of billions of innocent humans. The USSR imploded under the financial strain and Michael Gorbachov signed a deal with Ronald Reagan known as the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty.
The treaty eliminated eliminated all land-based ballistic and cruise missiles and launchers with ranges of 500-5,500 km. The treaty did not cover air- or sea-launched missiles.
It was a big concession by the Soviet Union. They had to give up their land based missiles which were pointed in the main at Europe. On the other hand the US did not have to give up their US land based missiles as they were predominately long range, and as a lot of their arsenal was air and sea launched they were not really affected.
The treaty was a dream for the US of A. Only a mad man or an imbecile would think of changing it.
Fast forward to 2019. Donald Trump has decided that the Russians are in breach of the treaty, which is likely, but that the Americans should therefore withdraw from it.
This is crazy. You treat a breach of the treaty by tearing it up?
Gorbachov and former US Secretary of State George Shultz think the same. From the Hill:
Following Trump’s announcement, those who helped negotiate it have been defending its continued utility. Gorbachev and Reagan’s Secretary of State George Shultz both penned op-eds for The New York Times on Friday arguing for the preservation of the treaty.
“A new arms race has been announced,” the 87-year-old former Soviet leader warned.
“Now is not the time to build larger arsenals of nuclear weapons,” Shultz, 97, wrote in his op-ed. “Now is the time to rid the world of this threat. Leaving the treaty would be a huge step backward. We should fix it, not kill it.”
It may not help that China is not a signatory to the treaty. But China’s nuclear arsenal is rather modest and it has signed up to the Nuclear non proliferation treaty.
I am normally happy to accept that the stuff up theory applies rather than the conspiracy theory. But this one seems really clear.
Trump has kicked off a new arms race. And Putin is grinning from ear to ear. Trump is doing his bestie a big favour.
I’m glad I am not living in Europe. I am not so glad that I am living on a planet with a couple of mad men holding so much power.