Credit: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
(GUERRA E PAZ -Versão em português)
“It is still three minutes to midnight Date: January 26, 2016”
2016 Doomsday Clock Statement Science and Security Board Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

“(…)world leaders continue to fail to focus their efforts and the world’s attention on reducing the extreme danger posed by nuclear weapons and climate change. When we call these dangers existential, that is exactly what we mean: They threaten the very existence of civilization (…)”

On High Alert: The Threat of World War

Frederico Carvalho

In his farewell address to the American people, in the year 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower, remarked that the existence of “an immense military establishment and a large arms industry (was) new in the American experience”.He added that the US “(spent) on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations”. He stressed the need to “comprehend (,,,) the grave implications” of that reality in the very structure of American society, adding that “in the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist”. An overwhelming control of the media by the dominant interest circles that is particularly effective in the majority of the more powerful states, prevents the common citizen from correctly acknowledging the magnitude of the dangers that hover over mankind’s future as the world experiences a new arms race.The military-industrial complex itself is a powerful driving force as it thrives naturally on an environment of permanent conflict by selling its products to friends and foes with a clear conscience. The most profitable investments require however the identification of a powerful enemy. In today’s multipolar world the old unipower ― the USA, the self-proclaimed indispensable, exceptional nation ― cannot prosper without a convenient enemy.

The world’s top 5 military spenders in 2015 are the USA, China, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and Russia, The military expenditure of the USA in 2015 was four fold that of China. The ratio of per capita expenditures exceeded 17 to 1.

A major concern is the fact that the military expenditures of the top 5 countries have increased substantially in the last few years. At the same time conventional and non-conventional weapons are object of continued upgrading and development. Weapons of mass destruction chemical, biological and nuclear included. The current US atomic revitalization program is estimated to cost up to $1 trillion over three decades or 1 million millions US dollars.This is a flat contradiction of the obligation stipulated in Article VI of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty of which the US is a signatory state, namely, that Each party “undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control”. One can judge the seriousness of the situation by the fact that a main pillar of the “atomic revitalization program” is the development and testing of smarter atom bombs of great precision, smaller and stealthier. This will in fact lower dangerously the so-called “nuclear threshold”, that is, the circumstances under which it is “acceptable” to employ nuclear weapons in a possible war theater or even against non-military targets. This “build-it-smaller” approach” echoes favorably in high political and military circles in the USA who “think about the unthinkable”. The consideration of a preemptive nuclear strike at a supposed enemy power is tied to the belief that a nuclear war can be won. This is a misconception that shapes the stance of some neoconservative politicians on the use of nuclear weapons.“What is the purpose of nuclear weapons if they cannot be used?”, they ask. At the core of the unofficially called Wolfowitz Doctrine, penned in 1992 by the then Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz, is the consideration of the necessity for the USA to “suppress potential threats from other nations and prevent any other nation from rising to superpower status”. Since the end of World War II, and the establishment of NATO, facts show that the US is bent on constraining the rise of “hostile powers”. Apparently any country with an independent foreign policy is a likely candidate to the category of “hostile power”. When the attention is directed towards a “hostile power” that possesses a credible nuclear deterrent capability as is the case of the Peoples Republic of China or the Russian Federation, the threat of a deliberate or accidental nuclear incident that can lead to the very extinction of life on the planet, becomes a reason for serious concern.

Recent developments on the world stage do not alleviate the alarm of all peace loving inhabitants of the Earth. The policy of encirclement by military means of the main “hostile powers”,in the definition of the leading American financial, industrial and political leading circles, has been taking place at an increasing pace.At the same time the stage is set for the creation of conditions that justify aggressive actions in the name of the defense of freedom and democracy, including the demonization of once embraced dictators, and the staging of false flag attacks.The world is going through a period of regional wars leading to the massive destruction of material structures and heavy losses of human lives, the creation of failed states and chaos that is a fertile ground for terrorism.

All peace loving men and women have a duty to organize collectively to defend a viable future for our generation and the generations to come where peace, prosperity, human rights, democracy and justice prevail over the hegemonic objectives of any single power.

March 19, 2016

Frederico Carvalho is chair of the Board of Directors of OTC, the Portuguese Organization of Scientific Workers, and Vice-President of the Executive Council of the World Federation of Scientific Workers