Op-Ed: How the nuclear weapons taboo is fading
The next couple months are going to be interesting. We are going to begin to see a trend.
In the near future the world is being flooded with a wave of new technologies that allow new and exciting ways to go about warfare. Some of them seem rather tame and harmless, but others, while perhaps not quite so, if fully exploited could be deadly nonetheless.
The United States, as has been well-documented, is engaged in a massive weapons procurement program that can be described as nuclear warship building. While the weapons being purchased are not technically nuclear, the fact that they are being purchased is proof that these weapons are being acquired and are only a few years away from being used.
In other words, these weapons are being built and are not merely being purchased.
Of course, this begs the question, how long can we wait and what can we do to stop this insanity?
The current way of doing business is to continue to play one off the other. You buy a nuclear reactor, you buy a new fleet of aircraft carriers, you buy advanced drones, you buy a new array of tanks, you buy a new generation of missiles, you buy a new stealth bomber. And so forth.
So far, that cycle has worked pretty well for the United States as the nation has managed to purchase, and is continuing to purchase, hundreds of billions in weapons systems and materials. In fact, in the last five years that the US has spent on a weapons procurement program, it has spent about as much per year as Pakistan spent on Pakistan’s entire military budget last year.
But this is one of the great ironies of warfare that the United States’ desire to spend a trillion dollars on it means that it no longer spends any time on the other things that could have an even greater impact on the world – the things that could save us from ourselves.
The nuclear weapons taboo is fading
A few years ago, just a few years ago, while I was writing a book on nuclear weapons called Arms, a retired professor from the U.S. Air Force started calling me up and telling me to quit my book, stop my work with peace activists on nuclear disarmament and to stop my work with people who were trying to spread the word about nuclear issues. He told me to stop doing what I was doing and do something else