by Manlio Dinucci
While the West brags this week about having stopped the military nuclear development programme that Iran ended definitively in 1988, Manlio Dinucci reminds us that the production of nuclear weapons in the world has never ceased. So we’re being offered the celebration of a public relations victory to mask the nuclear reality.
- President Obama announces the victory of his diplomacy
Finally « diplomacy has opened a new path towards a safer world, towards a future in which we may be sure that the Iranian nuclear programme is a peaceful one, and that Iran is unable to build nuclear weapons. » : This is the good news that was announced, a month before Christmas, by President Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize – he has also just rendered the world a safer place by ordering the up-date of the hundreds of nuclear bombs that the United States maintains in Europe – the B61-11’s have been transformed into B61-12’s, which can be used as bunker-busters in the case of a nuclear first strike.
This is part of the Obama administration’s road map for keeping a grip on the United States’ nuclear supremacy. They dispose of about 2150 nuclear warheads already posted, in other words, ready for launching by missile or bomber, plus 2500 others in storage which can be activated rapidly. To this we must add more than 3000 others which have been retired but not dismantled, which means that they can still be re-used – in total, about 8000 nuclear warheads. Russia’s arsenal is of similar size, although they have fewer missiles ready for immediate launching – only about 1800.
The new Start treaty between the United States and Russia does not limit the number of operational nuclear warheads in either arsenal, only those which are ready for launching in strategic vectors with a range of more than 5500 kilometres – the ceiling is set at 1550 bombs for each side, but is in fact higher, because each heavy bomber is counted as a single warhead, even it is carrying twenty or more. And the treaty leaves open the possibilities for quantitative updates.
For this reason, the United States is in the process of setting up an anti-missile « shield » in Europe, officially in order to neutralise the possibility of an Iranian attack – impossible at present – but in reality to obtain a strategic advantage over Russia, which itself is already taking counter-measures.
Apart from those in the US arsenal, NATO disposes of about 300 French and 225 British warheads, almost all of which are ready for launching. Israel – which is the only nuclear power in the Near East and, unlike Iran, does not adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty – possesses, according to estimations, between 100 and 300 warheads, and produces enough plutonium to build between 10 and 15 bombs the size of the Nagasaki bomb per year – it also produces tritium, a radioactive gas used to build neutronic warheads, which cause less radioactive contamination, but are more lethal.
At the same time, the Asia/Pacific nuclear confrontation is expanding, a theatre in which the United States are increasing their military build-up. China possesses a nuclear arsenal estimated at about 250 warheads and about 60 intercontinental ballistic missiles. India possesses about 110 nuclear warheads, and Pakistan 120, while North Korea probably also has few. As well as the nine countries which already possess nuclear weapons, 40 others have at least the possibility to build them. In fact, there is no clear separation between civil and military use of nuclear energy, and reactors can be used to obtain the highly-enriched uranium and plutonium adapted to the construction of nuclear weapons. It has been calculated that there is an accumulation of such a quantity of these materials that it is now possible to build more than 100,000 nuclear weapons, and ever larger quantities are being produced – there exist more than 130 « civil » nuclear reactors which can produce the highly-enriched uranium which is adapted to the construction of nuclear weapons.
So here’s the world that has « become safer » because the 5 largest nuclear powers, plus Germany – which provided Israel with their nuclear attack submarines – have signed an agreement according to which « the Iranian nuclear programme will be exclusively a peaceful one ».
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