Archive for the ‘Nuclear Proliferation’ Category

Preemptive strike against North Korea?

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

The nuclear ogre has been sleeping in his cave since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That’s a long time, so it’s no surprise that small minds like Trump have forgotten or purposely ignored how terribly destructive that nuclear ogre was. Of course, awakening the ogre is the kind of blustery threat Narcissus le Grand likes to make. This pathetic man believes that like-minded tyrants will bow down before him because he controls the mighty nuclear arsenal of the U.S. His restrained use of Tomahawks against Assad in retaliation for the Syrian despot’s use of sarin gas shows he’s not reluctant to end his isolationist policies and shoot off missiles. How far will he go?

My first criticism: U.S. leaders have NO business talking about preemptive strikes. Their cause must be geared to sanity in this insane nuclear world, setting an example for the rest of the nations and their leaders. Emboldened by Trump’s rhetoric perhaps, India is talking about preemptive strikes. Against Pakistan? Against other non-Hindu ethnic groups? Will Israel unleash the nuclear ogre on Iran—or vice versa? North Korea against South Korea? Right now North Korean missiles can’t reach the U.S. mainland, but that can change. They can easily reach Japan and South Korea, though. That ogre owes no allegiance to any nation and is indifferent about which one he gnaws on. His only goal when awake is to fill his maws with human beings.

I’m in agreement with Il Duce’s limited response toward Syria’s Assad with respect to the sarin gas attack. It followed seven years of frustrating attempts at a diplomatic solution complicated by Russia’s entry into the foray into the skirmish on the side of the Syrian despot. In 2013, we thought Assad got rid of his chemical weapons—obviously he didn’t. The attack on that little Syrian town was obviously his tactic for determining how far he could go, so the measured response was correct. Whether this will keep him from using such weapons again—I would have liked to see all his airfields destroyed for that reason—and it might drive the particulars back to the diplomatic table, no one can predict what Trump will do in the future. Will he shake his nuclear stick at Assad now? What will Russia, Iran, and the various terrorist groups do in response?

Tyrants like Trump aren’t known for their diplomacy. In Trump’s case, that’s ironic because he and his minions are often touting his skills using that infamous “Art of the Deal.” So far in his administration, he has only governed like a tyrant with his executive orders, the one move against Assad being a notable exception. Even the latter bypassed Congress, and those executive orders tend to get bogged down in the court system. There is no deal making whatsoever (so far his healthcare wheeling and dealing has flopped because he can’t get the factions in his own party together). You have to wonder if his definition of “deal” is as twisted as those “alternative facts” used in his tweets, in other words. There is no diplomacy in his deal making, only bluster and strong-arming, “talents” he developed in his very restricted and surreal business world that has little or no relevancy in international politics, or even politics in general.

Hence my second criticism: Trump (or any other president, for that matter) should be forced to appeal to diplomacy before going to war, especially nuclear war. The less likely diplomacy is used, the closer that Doomsday Clock approaches midnight. The Cuban Missile Crisis brought us to the brink of nuclear war; diplomacy brought us back. There was no pre-emptive strike against the Cuban missile installations. Instead, Kennedy waited for the Soviet Union to blink. The threat of retaliation and assured destruction, not a pre-emptive strike, solved that crisis, and that threat was iterated to Kruschev in no uncertain terms, an example of strong diplomacy, to be sure, but still diplomacy.

(more…)

Post-mortem of a speech to Congress…

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

In some dilating time machine or Mr. Trump’s parallel universe, ages have passed since he gave that speech to Congress. In real life, it was only a week ago—can you believe it? Everything he said is meaningless now, so dissecting that rambling rhetoric of a delusional man is anti-climactic. But let’s do it anyway because the president left the Twitter-sphere long enough to sound presidential and hide his narcissistic psychosis.

It’s curious that the media, after the president declared them to be the “enemy of the American people,” fell all over themselves to state that his “state of the union” (read: state of Trump’s parellel universe, that one that circulates among the dark energy and matter of his mind) set a new tone. Il Duce was even called presidential because he sounded presidential. But not for me—he’s not my president! He never will be my president, and isn’t the president of a majority of the American people.

What I heard was empty rhetoric reminiscent of Goebbels’s 1930’s propaganda in Germany—in other words, fascistic spin and appeal to populism playing on the fears of good Americans. His handlers, Bannon, Conway, and Miller, who take turns at the puppet strings—yes, he’s a marionette, even stringing himself along—carefully planned this atrocious display. If it was some crazy attempt to reach across the aisle, Dems won’t buy the snake oil from this charlatan, and didn’t—the thumbs-down from the Dem women in white were refreshing and evidence for their general mood—Trump the misogynist is women’s rights worst enemy. Narcissus the Wonderful shows no concern about women’s issues—we know he sees them only as objects—and on abortion, he’s as much a right-wing bigot as they come.

Let’s consider a few points. On trade, Trump might have sounded a wee bit like Sanders. There’s a huuuuge difference, though. Both men were born in Brooklyn, but the two are light years apart—Trump might actually live in one of those other multiverses where his marionette strings are tangled with those of general string theory. In particular, where Bernie was an earnest and honest champion for the working class, Il Duce doesn’t really give a rat’s ass about their plight—it’s all just show. He follows the time-tested fascist strategy of pretending to do so, of course—that’s how Franco, Hitler, and Mussolini came to power in the 1930s! U.S. workers should be wary about buying anything from this snake-oil salesman. Pay attention to his false promises at your own risk!

(more…)

Apocalypse redux…

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Redux = brought back, revived. We’re talking about the apocalypse again. Apocalypse is the event. While a dystopian society can cause it or be its aftermath, post-apocalyptic is reserved for the aftermath. There is a resurgence in these themes now. Everyone knows the reason: what’s happening in the U.S. right now as well as across the world has frightening parallels with 1930’s Germany, Italy, and Spain as well as with the darkest days of the Cold War. There’s nothing religious about this apocalypse.

Most dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic tales in the past were associated with the two world wars or the Communist threat. Brave New World was dystopian; Ape and Essence was post-apocalyptic. Even The Time Machine was post-apocalyptic. 1984 and Animal Farm were dystopian. Later sci-fi novels like Not This August were post-apocalyptic. Many classics can be found in these subgenres. Many soon-to-be classics like Wool are too. They all are warnings about what could happen. It’s common that interest in books and movies in these subgenres reflect troubled times in the world.

The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed the world. As that hand on the Doomsday Clock inches toward midnight, these sci-fi subgenres become more popular. Some readers ignore them, burying their heads in the sand by reading schmaltzy romances and fluffy adventures that avoid most serious themes of any type. Which group is right? Beats me. I just tell stories. If one of them comes out apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic, so be it. Almost all my stories have serious themes, though, but not all of them are in the aforementioned subgenres.

(more…)

Trump’s nukes…

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

With Il Duce Trump, there are many things to worry about, but none more serious than an arms race. Nukes were and are in every fascist’s wet dreams. Think of what the world would become if Hitler’s atomic program had gelled. Think of what the Cuban Missile Crisis might have become if Nikita’s shoe tantrum had led to nuclear Armageddon. Every time a two-bit fascist shakes the nuclear club, that Doomsday Clock approaches closer to midnight.

Trump argues we can build more and better bombs than anyone else. This crazy policy isn’t the dandy’s game of an old-fashioned duel between Burr and Hamilton with old pistols, yet our dandy Il Duce is challenging the rest of the world’s fascist leaders to a duel (and maybe anyone else he doesn’t like?), and everyone else in the world will be innocent bystanders for the duelists. Potential candidates for Il Duce’s wrath? Leaders of France, Great Britain, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia—have I left anyone out?—are either fascists like Trump waving this dueling pistol or potential fascists who will do the same if the world continues to turn to fascism. It’s like a game of musical chairs: round and round we go, and, when Berlioz’s “March to the Gallows” stops, someone will shoot the first missiles. Given Il Duce’s thin skin, the first one will probably be Trump.

He’s so thin-skinned he’d like to censor SNL and ship Alec Baldwin off to Gitmo. Let’s hope he doesn’t confuse the nuclear codes with his Twitter account! Of course, most fascists are thin-skinned and raging paranoid hotheads, so that’s not surprising. What’s surprising to many of us and a large part of the world is that U.S. voters can elect a hot-headed fascist to be their president. Whatever popularity he has is beside the point. Hitler was popular. Stalin was popular. Castro was popular. Franco and Mussolini were popular. Putin is popular. Their attraction stemming from carefully cultivated cults of personality still exists in their respective countries. Once in Madrid I wasn’t almost trapped in a pro-Franco demonstration. Weeping crowds in Cuba over Castro’s ashes on tour is yet another example. People can love fascism…until it bites them in their butts.  Trump, if tweets are any indication, has enormous mandibles (made larger by his foot in his mouth, of course), so he will be biting us sooner than later (his cabinet is a big intolerable bite already).  The monster is loose and will soon be in the White House.

(more…)

Irish Stew #59…

Monday, January 9th, 2017

International

Classic Putin? His refusal to expel U.S. diplomats in response to Obama’s retaliation for Russian hacking and inviting the diplomats’ kids to a Christmas party made me wonder if a bare-chested Putin would ride in to the party on a reindeer sporting the rest of Santa’s costume. Even without the latter, Putin’s response makes Putin look like a PR genius (can I hire his PR people for my books?) and Obama look like a chump. McCain rightly states that Putin is a murdering thug, though, and certainly not on Santa’s “nice list,” so maybe Trump’s chump for SecState won’t be approved by the Senate. Trump is swimming in dangerous waters! No one likes Putin except Trump and the narcissistic despot himself.

I’ve been very careful to separate the sleazy practices at the DNC exposed by the Russian hackers from the criminal actions of the hackers and the man who commands them, Vladimir Putin. Obama is right to say that we should be on the same page about Putin’s nefarious attempts to undermine the American election, now established by U.S. intelligence leaders—Putin is the enemy here. But I’m not alone in wondering if Obama and other Dems would give a rat’s ass about this if it had been the RNC that was hacked, or if HRC had won. Those who would say HRC lost because of the hack in spite of the findings from the intelligence community, and the continue to blame the FBI director, should just move on. Trump won, figure out why, and never let it happen again. Moreover, let’s work our butts off to keep this psycho Il Duce from destroying the world!

The art of the deal? To many one-percenters, war is a business. Either Trump wants to pander to these ghouls, or he wants a piece of the action. The U.S. sells more arms to the rest of the world than any other country and, of course, the Pentagon still wants their new and improved toys too. People get rich off war. Il Duce Trump, not content with the endowment Nature gave him, wants to extend it by forging new swords to brandish internationally. “Let’s have another arms race,” he says, “because we’ll have bigger and better bombs.” (OK, I couldn’t find the direct quote, but that’s the idea!). We have a recipe for disaster on an international scale. At the very least, I can see international conflagrations occurring as more bodies, Americans and others, are poured into the maws of Mars. Insane!

National

What’s with deifying Elizabeth Warren? This faux-progressive is becoming Mother Teresa and Joan of Arc for all HRC’s liberal faux-progressives licking their wounds after the presidential election. I can imagine “liberal Catholics” (now there’s an oxymoron!) proposing her for sainthood. Just remember, ye true progressives across the land, she campaigned for HRC in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the primaries instead of Bernie Sanders. Remember that guy, the one who could have beaten Il Duce Trump? Warren and the rest of HRC’s sleaze-team got what they deserved. And Warren is part of that crowd! She just announced she will run in 2018. I’m hoping there’s a true Massachusetts progressive candidate who will run against this faux-progressive in the primary.

Healthcare. Mitch McConnell says the first item on the agenda for the new Congress is to end the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare. McConnell, Ryan, and others in the GOP are already talking about slashing Medicare and Social Security, and Medicaid is on the way out. Do the American people really want to turn back the clock to when health insurance meant insurance that you would die young? When insurance companies dropped you as soon as you contracted something serious? When millions of people’s insurance reduced to emergency visits to ERs?

(more…)

Nuclear hypocrisy…

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in Mr. Obama’s trip to Hiroshima? Or, at least the irony? OK, as a guy who wordsmiths full-time now, what the president said is both ironic and hypocritical. His basic message was that everyone has to work toward a nuke-free world. No apology for dropping the bomb (more on this later), but that message was clear. It was hypocritical because the U.S. isn’t doing that, and it’s ironic if Mr. Obama really knows he’s being hypocritical.

The nuclear powers of the world—and they include Israel—don’t want others to join that exclusive club. Their nukes allow them to strut and posture instead of walking softly, and to wave a very big stick to the rest of the world. If you assume that their arrogance is accompanied by restraint, that’s OK, but that’s quite an assumption. The Cold War avoided nuclear Armageddon only because the sticks of the two parties guaranteed a no-win situation—both the U.S. and U.S.S.R. would have been destroyed.

That was a precarious situation, as the Cuban Missile Crisis showed. While that balancing act still continues with a shriveled Russia taking the place of the U.S.S.R., there are other states who can shake the stick—Israel, in spite of denials, has nukes, and that psychotic despot in North Korea is starving his people so he can shake that stick too. Iran was going down that road. It’s not clear that a détente between two theocracies in the Middle East, Iran and Israel, would be a good thing—Israel has shown some restraint, but Iran is unpredictable.

The Iran/Israel case also reflects U.S. hypocrisy. Jump on Iran for the good of peace in the Middle East? What about jumping on Israel? They’re both theocracies, and the current leaders of Israel often seem just as conservative as the Ayatollahs. There’s probably a guilt trip lurking in the background here. The predominantly Christian West, sitting between Judaism and Islam historically for the most part, would just toss a coin—again from the religious point of view—if it weren’t for guilt about the Holocaust.

Of course, I’m even wrong treating the Jewish Holocaust as unique. The Armenian Holocaust occurred earlier (World War One era, not World War Two–Germany just incurred the wrath of the Turks by calling it a holocaust) and others have occurred too—Cambodia and Yugoslavia, to name a few. Even the U.S. interned presumed enemies, Japanese-Americans during World War Two. All this was terrible; none of it is unique because human beings do terrible things to other human beings en masse on a regular basis.

(more…)

Irish Stew #43…

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

[Note from Steve: Lots of news to comment on, mostly of the political sort, both national and international.  Cherry pick what you like.  You won’t see comments like this anywhere else—I don’t have anyone telling me what I can or can’t write.  Caveat emptor.  Supportive or angry comments are always welcome if PG-13, though—no foul language, please.]

Item. Iran deal.  Remember when JFK ran for president and was attacked because people thought his religion would make him the slave of the Vatican?  Sen. Chuck Schumer is now actually committing that sin.  He’s letting Netanyahu tell him how to vote on the Iran deal.  Anyone with this kind of allegiance to a foreign power should lose their citizenship.  In his case, it probably won’t happen, but he should at the very least recuse himself because he’s letting his religion bias his decisions.  I’ll say it again: Israel is a theocracy.  Recent events with fanatical Jews in Israel show the country has as many fanatics as Iran; and Netanyahu panders to his conservative base (sound familiar?), the Orthodox Jews, who are the Ayatollahs and fanatics of their faith.  Letting religion dictate politics has no business in a multicultural and secular world.  Religion has no business in political decisions, period.

Schumer’s feeble argument as he tries to weasel out of this one?  He has a problem with the deal because Iran could have the bomb in ten years.  Huh?  Israel has the bomb now!  The atomic imbalance in the Middle East with its ensuing threat of nuclear Armageddon already exists because of Israel.  Is Schumer such an idiot that he thinks Netanyahu won’t turn Teheran into nuclear glass if he thinks they’re about to wage nuclear war against Israel?  We have to learn to let all the factions in the Middle East duke it out and NOT get involved in these ethnic, religious squabbles.

Item. GOP stupidity.  Stupidity’s a chronic disease in Washington these days—or maybe it’s a requirement to be a pol?  During the GOP debate in Cleveland (this could have occurred in a Dem debate too), someone said (was it that sourpuss Rand Paul who looked like he needed a Nazi uniform?) that Iran and ISIS were the same thing.  This is a chronic and common misunderstanding among the general population.  Many people lump all Islamic terrorists together, but they’re not all the same.

(more…)

The Iranian-U.S. accord…

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Israel won’t like it.  The U.S. Congress won’t like it.  It’s not perfect.  But what do we have to lose?  There will be naysayers—many congressional Democrats and Republicans will fall in line behind Netanyahu.  There is a worry that ending the conventional arms embargo will lead to new saber rattling on the part of Iran.  Maybe they can do more than rattle sabers against ISIS, right now the biggest danger in the Middle East—the Iraqis and U.S.-led coalition’s efforts are anemic.

Israel has been a destabilizing influence in the Middle East since its rebirth, but everyone should remember that Israel has nukes, so they have nothing to say in this matter—not even a right to express an opinion.  Besides, Israel is just another theocracy and prone to its own saber rattling—Netanyahu has already threatened that they’ll just have to go their own way (many Israelis don’t agree with that opinion, by the way).  The continued construction on the West Bank and resistance to a Palestinian state doesn’t add to their popularity.

(more…)

Neocolonialism in the 21st century…

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

You’d think the world is beyond colonialism.  The break-up of the British, German, and Japanese empires after WW II, and the break-up of the Soviet Union in the 90s, were all historically significant and geographically painful in the sense that these break-ups left bitter memories among the populations affected.  Fighting in Northern Island, Yugoslavia, and lingering skirmishes in the Middle East and Africa can all be traced back to serious mistakes made in creating or carving up old colonies.  After three centuries where colonial land- and power-grabbing countries tried to dominate their colonies and swallow up smaller nations, you’d think human beings would have learned that colonies are a bad idea.

Historically, the Brits were the worst offenders.  The famous adage, “The sun never sets on the British Empire,” pretty much describes what went on.  Prince William’s current trip to New Zealand and Australia aside, the Malvinas represented the Brits last stand in the 20th century (I use Argentina’s name) and still might become a problem for the Brits in the 21st.  The British Commonwealth countries might give a wink and a nod to the monarchy, but they mostly ignore the British government.

(more…)

Irish Stew #28…

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Item: Russia IS only a regional power.  The Russians weren’t happy with Obama’s statement.  Tough!  If Putin had a brain aneurysm somewhere in that KGB mind, he would have blown it (that would probably be a good thing for the future of the human race).  He talks tough to the West; we should talk tough back.  The Russian newscaster stated that Russia can turn the U.S. into nuclear slag.  That works both ways.  But let’s tone that down a bit, boys.  The Russian mafia—Putin is its godfather—can’t oppress and scam the Russian people anymore if they’re nuclear ash.  Monsanto, Exxon-Mobil, and Wall Street can’t transfer wealth from the middle class to themselves anymore (shall we call it raping the middle class?) if they’re radioactive waste floating in Earth’s atmosphere.

Yes, Russia IS only a regional power, a two-continent-wide bully picking on smaller countries and shaking its neo-colonial big stick at all of Western Europe.  They’ve always been that way, from the Tsars to Putin.  Their country-grabbing after World War II was worse than anything Hitler accomplished if you add non-Jewish Russians murdered by Stalin to Stalin’s many Jewish pogroms.  The difference between Hitler and Stalin?  The latter dictator survived World War II.  Putin is the son of Stalin.  He survived the breakup of the Soviet Union and is now out for revenge.

(more…)