UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper CXLIV 2010, 7:00 p.m.

December 20,

Joseph Gerson, Empire and the Bomb: How the U.S. Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World (Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2007). [Thesis. In the post-WWII period U.S. foreign policy has relied on nuclear terrorism.] Acknowledgments. Family, Roger van Zwanenberg, AFSC, friends (xi-xii). Foreword by Walden Bello. Summary of book, with endorsement (xiii-xiv). Introduction. Deterrence is only one of five ways the U.S. has used its nuclear arsenal (1-3). Outline of book (3-7). Personal connections (8-10). Ch. 1: Deadly Connections: Empire and Nuclear Weapons. "Although it is not widely known beyond academia, the consensus today among informed scholars is that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unnecessary"; they were motivated by geostrategic interests (13; 11-14). A "sophisticated system of U.S. censorship" has rendered the topic of imperialism taboo and kept most Americans ignorant of their inheritance of Britain's imperial role (15; 14-20). In the aftermath of the Cold War, the U.S. has continued to invoke its nuclear arsenal to attain its political ends (20-25). A myth has deliberately been inculcated that deterrence was the sole purpose of nuclear weapons (25-27). In fact, they serve the purpose of intimidation, or terrorism, not deterrence (27-32). For the U.S., "[n]ear-absolute power has corrupted almost absolutely" (32; 32-37). "Richard Falk has written [in 1983] that 'The roots of first strike planning exist so deep as to suggest that even the posts of President and Secretary of State and Senator have become largely ornamental in relation to national security policy. Throwing 'the rascals' out, accordingly becomes a much more formidable task . . .' At a still deeper spiritual level, the embrace of total and nuclear war has institutionalized what Hannah Arendt described as the 'banality of evil'" (34). "[I]n 1996 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the use and threatened use of nuclear weapons violate international law" (35). "[The Pentagon's] Clinton era 'The Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence' commits the U.S. to maintaining 'a capability to create a fear of national extinction' in the minds of those it seeks to intimidate. Chomsky has described this doctrine, which continues to shape U.S. policy and practice, as among 'the most horrifying documents I've ever read.' It asserts that ". . . We have to have a national persona of irrationality with forces 'out of control' so we really terrify everybody'" (35-36; emphasis by Gerson). People have been used as guinea pigs (36-37). "[W]e need to ask if the U.S. has truly been a 'democracy' for the past 60 years. . . . What . . . are the meanings and consequences of the existence of a secret and ultimately all-powerful state within a state?" (37). Table of 40 instances of U.S. "nuclear blackmail" (3738). Ch. 2: First Nuclear Terrorism— Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "Contrary to the myths and the propaganda campaign, the bombings were terrorizing crimes against humanity" (39; 39-41). U.S. interests vis-à-vis the USSR were the principal motive for use of the bomb; the notion it was used to save American lives and end the war is a "governmentenforced myth" (42; 41-43). By the 1930s, the U.S. and Japan had become competitors for hegemony in east Asia; access to oil was the precipitating cause

of conflict (43-44). The myth about the bomb's rationale has been strenuously preserved (45-47). A number of additional factors were present (47-48). "Roosevelt opted for Churchill's vision of an anti-Soviet U.S.-British nuclear monopoly," and Truman adopted an aggressively anti-Russian approach under the influence of Averell Harriman, Edward Stettinius, and Churchill (49; 4851). As the U.S. grew confident it could defeat Japan without Soviet help, the race for East Asia began (51-53). Japanese leaders were convinced of the need to surrender (53-56). The successful Trinity test occurred on the eve of the Potsdam conference, where Truman and Churchill demanded Japan's unconditional surrender (56-59). Bombing of Hiroshima; accounts of victims by survivors (59-66). Truman's Genghis Khan-like message; Stalin understood (66). Nagasaki (67-70). The Japanese offered to surrender on Aug. 9, 1945, conditional upon maintaining the emperor (70-71). Stalin had to be threatened to prevent Soviet occupation of Hokkaido (71-72). Ch. 3: Postwar Asia—Targeting Korea and China. U.S. economic and political interests in Asia (73-76). In the 1950s the U.S. possessed and exerted a nuclear "imbalance of terror" in Asia (7679). In the Korean War and aftermath the U.S. was prepared to use nuclear weapons (79-84). The U.S. used nuclear blackmail to force China to back down in 1955 and 1958 (84-89). China's bomb (89-91). In a classic move of Realpolitik, the U.S. made China its tacit ally in the 1970s (91-92). Ch. 4: The Cuban Missile Crisis— Prestige, Credibility, and Power. In the standoff over Cuba, the U.S. and USSR were on the brink of a war that could have killed 200m people in the first hour and 500m overall (93-96). Background on Cuba (96-100). The Cuban crisis occurred because the USSR

attempted to forestall U.S. use of overwhelming 17:1 nuclear superiority (100-02). Kennedy, inexperienced and reckless (102-06), was "obsessed with Cuba" (107; 107-10). The popular version of events depicts reckless Russians faced down by courageous Americans (110-13). The Kennedy administration did not believe the missiles in Cuba altered the balance of power (113-16). But domestic political considerations required a response (11719). The USSR backed down after Robert F. Kennedy conveyed an off-the-record concession to withdraw U.S. missiles from Turkey (119-22). Subsequent revelations showed that the risk of nuclear war was much greater than most understood; the U.S. military was not fully under control (122-28). The dangerous legacy of the crisis (128-29). Ch. 5: Vietnam: Failures of Nuclear Diplomacy. Nixon and Kissinger "repeatedly threatened North Vietnam with nuclear weapons" (130). "Operation Vulture" was a plan to help the French before Dien Bien Phu by using in Indochina by using three atomic bombs (133-35). Geneva Accords (135-37). Kennedy attempted to limit U.S. involvement and was disenchanted with the conflict (137-41). The Pentagon pressured Johnson to expand the war (141-44). The Gulf of Tonkin incident never occurred (144-45). Escalation (145-48). The U.S. threatened to use nuclear weapons at Khe Sanh (148-53). Nixon's Vietnam policy (153-57). Operation Duck Hook in the fall of 1969 included 29 days of Defcon 1 readiness and a secret nuclear threat against the USSR (157-62). Nixon blamed the peace movement (162-63). Nuclear weapons considered during the peace negotiations (163-66). Ch. 6: The Middle East: Monopolizing "The Prize." The U.S. considers the Middle East "the geopolitical center of the struggle for world power" (167). Oil

is central (168-69). By mid-1950s the U.S. had established a special relationship with Saudi Arabia, negotiated a Tripartite Agreement with Britain and France, integrated Greece and Turkey into NATO, devised bilateral agreements involving Iraq, Pakistan, and Iran, and worked with Big Oil and Israel (169-72). The 1956 Suez Crisis advanced U.S. dominance (173-78). The U.S. invoked nuclear weapons when intervening in the Lebanese civil war in 1958 (178-83). The Six-Day War ended with a U.S. nuclear threat against the USSR (183-95). A nuclear threat shielded Jordan's "Black September" attack on the PLO in 1970 (195-97). With Nixon too distraught to be consulted, Kissinger convened an NSC meeting that invoked a nuclear threat to protect Israel in the October 1973 war (197-203). During the Carter administration the U.S. moved to deploy nuclear-armed cruise missiles, doubled the number of warheads targeting the USSR, and proclaimed the Carter Doctrine (protect access to the Persian Gulf "by any means necessary") (203-06). Ch. 7: Nukes and the New World Order—What We Say Goes. The end of the Cold War actually increased the chances of nuclear war, though it did lessen the chances of a global cataclysm (207-09). Nuclear dimensions of the 1990-1991 Gulf War included an explicit threat to respond to chemical weapons with tactical nuclear weapons (211-18). Clinton remained committed to nuclear blackmail (218-20). Aggressive counter proliferation policy is designed to maintain U.S. hegemony (220-22). Nuclear doctrine demonstrated U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons (223-24). The U.S. view of international negotiations on nuclear matters is cynical (224). The aim: "full spectrum dominance" (225). Carter defuses North Korean crisis in 1994 (225-32). Confrontation with China in 1996 (232-

36). Clinton threatened Libya with nuclear attack in 1996 (236-39). Ch. 8: "Romance of Ruthlessness"— Seven Minutes to Midnight. In the early 21st century the risk of nuclear war has increased (240-41). Neoconservatism (241-44). The Nuclear Posture Review in December 2001 emphasized nuclear first strike capabilities and urged the development of more usable nuclear weapons and preparations for resumption of testing (244). In 2005 the Pentagon released and then rescinded its "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations," which emphasized the unpredictability of when the U.S. would use nuclear weapons (245-46). The 2002 National Security Statement (246-48). The U.S.'s priority with respect to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was "to preserve the existing hierarchy of nuclear terrorism" (248; 248-50). In the Iraq war, the U.S. threatened nuclear war (250-53). With respect to North Korea, the Bush administration chose confrontation (254-62). Ch. 9: Abolition or Annihilation. Humanity faces an "existential plight" (263; 263-64). The injustice of U.S. nuclear dominance ensures that proliferation will occur if there is not abolition (265-67). A review of arms control agreements (267-71). The revitalization of abolition movements, in which the Japanese movement is central, especially Gensuikyo, and which has enlisted many of the national security élite, e.g. Paul Nitze (271-85). Exhortation (285-90). Notes. 38 pp. Selected Bibliography. 184 books. About the Author. Joseph Gerson is Director of Programs of the American Friends Service Committee in New England and the editor of The Deadly Connection: Nuclear War & U.S.

Interventions (1986), the coeditor of The Sun Never Sets: Confronting the Network of Foreign U.S. Military Bases (1991) and the author of With Hiroshima Eyes: Atomic War, Nuclear Extortion, and Moral Imagination (1995) and The Politics and Geopolitics of "Missile Defenses" (2001). [Additional information. Joseph Gerson has been involved in peace and justice movements since the mid-1960s. He holds an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service (1968) and completed a Ph.D. in Politics and International Security Studies at the Union Institute and College in 1995. He was a Vietnamera draft resister, and worked at the War Resisters' International in London and Brussels. He helped launch the nuclear freeze movement in the 1980s. In recent

years his antiwar work has focused on Iraq, North Korea, and Iran. He has lectured internationally and at more than 70 American colleges and universities. He helped launch the "No U.S. Bases" network, which includes more than 100 organizations in 40 countries. He lives in Cambridge, MA. Videos of his talks are available on YouTube.] [Critique. Empire and the Bomb convincingly makes an appalling argument: that in the post-WWII period U.S. foreign policy has relied on nuclear terrorism. Empire and the Bomb is welldocumented and presents clear conclusions in an lucid, workmanlike style that, given the horror of his subject matter, possesses a terse and sometimes eloquent sobriety.]