“A world without nukes would be the ultimate nightmare. We voluntarily disarm while the world's rogues and psychopaths develop nukes in secret.” Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post, 11/26/2010)
“A world without nukes would be the ultimate nightmare.” That’s a very strong statement which most people, I think, would strongly disagree with. I think most people hope, someday, to live in a nuclear weapon-free world. So what, exactly, is Krauthammer’s reason for making such a statement? Krauthammer’s a writer, and I’m a writer too. Writers write sentence by sentence, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a newspaper column or a book, so why does Krauthammer say that “A world without nukes would be an ultimate nightmare”?
Writers are also careful with the words they use. The words: “world”, “nukes”, “ultimate”, “nightmare” are packed with meaning and Krauthammer intends to pack a punch with them . . . to persuade his readers to follow his point of view, which is the establishment’s point of view. Writer’s, especially those, like Krauthammer, who are well paid to engage in social/political polemics on a regular basis, are likewise prone to misuse words in order to persuade those who disagree with their views. Their writings should always be read very carefully, with suspicion. For example, Krauthammer, here, equates a nuclear weapon-free world (many people’s hope/dream) with a nightmare. Worse yet: an “ultimate nightmare”.
The late (murdered) president John F. Kennedy once said:
“What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace - - the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living -- the kind that enables man and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children - - not merely peace for Americans by peace for all men and women - - not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.
I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all of the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by the wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations unborn.” John F. Kennedy, Commencement Speech at American University (06/10/1963)
I agree with Kennedy. And I find Krauthammer’s misuse of words regarding this subject repugnant. Krauthammer want’s to persuade his readers into believing that a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American (nuclear) weapons of war is our only hope/dream and tries to convince them, by a subtle equivocation of terms, that we are in mortal peril if we don’t have this Pax Americana. For Krauthammer, “a world without nukes” = “a world in which rogues and psychopaths develop nukes in secret”. But these two things, “a world without nukes” and “a world in which rogues and psychopaths develop nukes in secret are not the same, or equivalent.
Like Kennedy, I think it’s foolish—and very dangerous—for nations to arm for total nuclear war “in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all of the allied air forces in the Second World War ”. What does this—an end to the nuclear arms race and disarmament—have to do with “rogues and psychopaths developing nukes in secret”? Surely Krauthammer knows there will always be rogues and psychopaths—or sociopaths—amongst us . . . why does he tell us we invite disaster—an “ultimate nightmare scenario”—if we choose to scale back or even lay down our national nuclear offensive/defensive capabilities? Kennedy’s dream of a nuclear-free world wasn’t/isn’t a nightmare, Krauthammer’s dream of a world with nukes, with the US enforcing a new Pax Americana, taking out rogue nations and psychopathic dictators, is the real nightmare.
If we’re looking for rogues and psychopaths (better: sociopaths) the world, especially since 9/11, has indeed been threatened by them. Two names, in particular, come to mind here: Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney.
I, for one, hope for and dream of a nuclear-free future, one in which generations unborn can be free of the threat of nuclear annihilation. Krauthammer, apparently, does not.
And I’m not the only one either . . . far from it, there is a global resistance of nuclear weapons.