Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State under President Nixon and Ford, had warned President G.W. Bush in late 2004, shortly after winning a second term in office, that the greatest threat to world peace in his second term would be the uncontrolled spread of nuclear materials throughout the world to build atomic weapons for rogue nations.
The resource is huge. Saferworld.org reported that there is enough of a glut of leftover plutonium around the world from Cold War stocks to civilian nuclear programs to make 80,000 nuclear weapons.
Bush did little to nothing about it in his second term. If anything, his policies of unilateralism disrupted efforts to curtail the spread of nuclear materials smuggled out of Russia. Rapprochement became a more belligerent policy of encroachment — such as a plan to place ABM missile batteries and tracking radar stations close to the European frontiers of Russia in eastern Poland and the Czech Republic to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles coming out of Iran that do not yet exist. Russia’s counter-belligerent response in August 2008, to punitively invade US ally Georgia in the Caucasus, put the Russians, a main source of smuggled plutonium, back on a “cold peace” stance if not, as some say, a new cold war stance against the US.
On Bush’s second term, North Korea became a nuclear power. We saw the rise of Iranian aspirations to build a civilian-cum-military atomic weapons program. Israel continues to stand on a mountain of an estimated 200 to 500 nuclear weapons. Syria apparently had secretly joined in the regional arms race with North Korea’s aid as the burned out shell of a nuclear reactor under construction bombed by the Israeli air force in September 2009 prove.
A currently right-wing Israeli coalition government of Netanyahu and Lieberman are somewhat encouraged by little to no political or strategic backlash coming from the previous Olmert government’s strike on the Syrian reactor. They must be asking themselves: Could a clandestine atomic weapon program in Iran bunker busted bombed by Israeli jets do as little damage to Israel’s prestige in the world during our watch?
Kissinger’s prophecy for the last four-years of Bush was more the kind people ignore, like a smoking habit that breeds a steady advance of cancer in the lungs that one cannot yet see or feel until it is too late.
You might say Bush policies delayed the “eruption” or the “appearance” of a nuclear proliferation tumor as an outright threat until the Obama administration took over.
More than once in the last four years of Bush, Gulf Arab states publicly considered sharing their scientific resources and petrol fortunes to build their own nuclear weapons program because hints of Iran’s nuclear ambitions sound ever more ominous if not yet categorically proven.
A regional cold war standoff between Iran, trying to catch up to the Israelis is not the only reason Gulf States and Syria might pursue the nuclear option. Will the new president ignore Israel’s possession of hundreds of nuclear tactical, strategic and even a few thermonuclear devices? Will they continue to be the biggest open secret — the 500-megaton Gorilla in the Middle East negotiation room? If Obama does remain politically aloof about Mogen David a-bombs, then Israel’s neighbors will be compelled to pursue their own programs unto future Armageddon in the 2010s or 2020s with Israel’s retaliatory response calling like final thunders in a flash of atomic light as the following biblical prophecy of Isaiah implies:
But your many enemies will become like fine dust, the ruthless hordes like blown chaff. Suddenly, in an instant, the Lord Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire. Then all the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel [symbolizing the Hebrew kingdom, situated in the currently disputed West Bank], that attack her and her fortress and besiege her, will be as it is with a dream. As when a thirsty man dreams that he is drinking, but he awakens faint, with thirst unquenched [is this an allusion to water running out in the Middle East being a cause for war?]. So will it be with all the hordes of all the nations that fight against Mount Zion.
Isaiah 29:5-8 (783-637 B.C.E.)
Henry Kissinger has lived a long life and perhaps will live long enough to see efforts embarked by President Barack Obama that could postpone or negate the apocalyptic words of Isaiah.
On 19 May 2009, President Obama met with Kissinger and another respected former Secretary of State George Schultz, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sam Nunn, and former Secretary of Defense William Perry to talk about nuclear weapons and nonproliferation. Alongside Kissinger, these former statesmen have been a bi-partisan — indeed Shultz has stressed they are a “non-partisan” — alliance of former Republican and Democrat Cold Warriors who have for years been reminding the world of something I have been writing about from a prophetic angle since 1986. An end to the Cold War did not put an end to the danger of a world ending thermonuclear war in the future.
President Obama is listening. The four publicly endorsed what he is doing, especially the constructive meetings he had with Russian President Medvedev during the G20 gathering in April on reducing the threat of Russian-sourced smuggled plutonium. Obama has pledged to begin the serious progress long overdue, perhaps launched just in time even, to make the dream of a nuclear weapons free world possible, before proliferation in the Middle East make’s Isaiah’s prophecy a reality.
(27 May 2009)