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The united states should be prepared for nuclear warfare

Brian Martin's website The risk of nuclear war Unless nuclear weapons are totally eliminated, it is a virtual certainty that nuclear war will occur eventually. The likelihood of war in any given year may be small, but the cumulative effect of small probabilities can approach certainty. The likelihood is definitely not zero. For example, it is known that US policy-makers have seriously considered using nuclear weapons unilaterally on a number of occasions.

Two developments have increased the risk of nuclear war in recent years. First is the deployment of highly accurate strategic missile systems in the US and the Soviet Union, plus developments in anti-submarine warfare and communications and control systems.

This is increasing the chance that one of the superpowers will launch a 'first strike' in an attempt to destroy the opponent's nuclear inventory. Second is the spread of the capability to make nuclear weapons to more and more countries, fostered by the expansion of the nuclear power industry.

It seems likely that this nuclear proliferation will be aided at some stage by laser enrichment of uranium, a technique which will dramatically reduce the obstacles to obtaining nuclear weapons.

  1. Hence getting to the bottom of fears about nuclear war and about surviving nuclear war is potentially a liberating process for present-day social change purposes.
  2. The answers to such questions are not easy. Hence getting to the bottom of fears about nuclear war and about surviving nuclear war is potentially a liberating process for present-day social change purposes.
  3. Another aspect of personal survival is health care.

The question in such circumstances is not if nuclear war will occur, but when, what kind, and on what scale. The risk of nuclear war could be removed if all nuclear weapons were eliminated- total nuclear disarmament. How could this happen? I have argued elsewhere that convincing decision-makers or mobilising public opinion to influence decision-makers is insufficient, and that what is required is grassroots initiatives mobilising large numbers of people in activities that challenge or transform warlinked institutions and which create new institutions.

Indeed, any realistic assessment of the strength of the present peace movement, in terms of its ability to fundamentally affect arms races and their institutional bases, would have to admit its extreme weakness. The peace movement seems highly unlikely to bring about nuclear disarmament within the next few years, the united states should be prepared for nuclear warfare hence it should be prepared for the possibility of nuclear war.

Whether a nuclear war is limited or global, available evidence suggests that a large fraction of the world's population may be unaffected physically. In addition to the important physical effects of nuclear war there would be important indirect political effects. It seems very likely that there would be strong moves to maintain or establish authoritarian rule as a response to crises preceding or following nuclear war. Ever since Hiroshima, the threat of nuclear destruction has been used to prop up repressive institutions, under the pretext of defending against the 'enemy'.

Large segments of the population could be manipulated to support a repressive regime under the necessity to defend against further threats or to obtain revenge. A limited nuclear war might kill some hundreds of thousands or tens of millions of people, surely a major tragedy. But another tragedy could also result: The possibility of grassroots mobilisation for disarmament and peace would be greatly reduced even from its present levels. For such developments the people and the peace movements of the world are largely unprepared.

Preparedness for crisis situations As well as encouraging moves towards repressive rule, the political and social upheaval resulting from nuclear war could also provide major opportunities for rapid social change in progressive directions.

Several factors would operate here. This emotion could easily turn against established institutions. Historically, periods of economic or military crisis often have preceded revolutionary change, though not always with desirable results.

Crises provide opportunities for groups which are organised and able to take advantage of them.

In the case of nuclear war, present governments have made some arrangements to preserve their type of rule after a nuclear war. The primary objective of national security bureaucracies in the event of nuclear war is survival of the state apparatus.

This has two components: The health and welfare of the general population is a secondary consideration, mainly important in its effects on the two primary goals. This emphasis is reflected in preparations for the survival of key officials, for continuity of official decision-making apparatuses and communications, and for quelling 'civil disturbances'. In the absence of any significant countervailing force, a nuclear war will not be the end of war but the beginning of the age of many nuclear wars.

Although nuclear war may lead to mass revulsion, there will also be strong government and citizen pressures for retaliation, revenge, efforts to 'do better next time' and not to be caught unprepared. The rise of Nazism after World War I should point to the danger.

The same pattern is being and will be replayed prior to and during a nuclear war.

  • Peace movement planning has to be based on an open rather than a hidden agenda;
  • Only if the threat of institutional revolution in the event of nuclear war is also raised in the present is it likely that disarmament as a reform will seem to powerholders as the lesser of two evils;
  • It seems very likely that there would be strong moves to maintain or establish authoritarian rule as a response to crises preceding or following nuclear war;
  • For present campaigns, such plans would expose the antidemocratic basis behind war preparations and efforts to 'protect' the population;
  • Neither Moore nor Berger, however, deal with the possibility of nonviolent revolution.

It is not for lack of anything better to do that nuclear strategists have elaborated numerous scenarios for nuclear war, recovery and future wars.

During and after a nuclear crisis or war, powerful interest groups will attempt to sway developments through management of the news, mobilisation of sympathetic groups, creating scapegoats, suppressing dissent, and using many other mechanisms familiar to us today.

If these developments are to be opposed, peace activists need to be prepared to act during nuclear crisis and nuclear war and afterwards. Preparation for nuclear war by the peace movement could increase the chances of success in struggles for social justice, especially in the poor countries, during a period of chaos in the rich countries resulting from nuclear war or nuclear crisis. Implications for the present But these possibilities provide relatively little consolation for the human disaster of nuclear war, and certainly would not justify any policy which significantly increased the risk of nuclear war.

It is in their implications for the present that peace movement activities relating to nuclear war must be assessed. It is my belief that preparation for nuclear war by the peace movement would reduce the chance of nuclear war by providing a visible threat to the otherwise unchallenged continuance of existing political institutions.

National decision-makers may wish to avoid nuclear war to save their own lives, but they have demonstrated a continued willingness to risk nuclear war, both in crises and confrontations and through the very existence of nuclear arsenals, the united states should be prepared for nuclear warfare the policies they have promoted and the institutions they have constructed and supported.

  • The infrastructure for resistance against repression should be planned in conjunction with the wider strategy for resistance;
  • Berger, Pyramids of Sacrifice;
  • Likewise, efforts to survive in present society while at the same time helping to achieve social change can benefit through understanding the individual and collective pitfalls, failures and disasters that can occur;
  • In the longer term aftermath of nuclear war - after the first few weeks and months - survival may still be difficult due to disease or lack of food or shelter, for example;
  • Coming to grips with the possibility of nuclear war and personal death must be developed in tandem with developing an anti-war strategy that takes into account the political reality of nuclear war, as has been discussed earlier;
  • Whether a nuclear war is limited or global, available evidence suggests that a large fraction of the world's population may be unaffected physically.

This institutionalised risk of nuclear war will seem less acceptable if one consequence of continued preparations for war were a major challenge to the complete system of political and economic power and privilege. Nuclear weapons states have refrained from nuclear war thus far not primarily because of their perception of the human disaster of nuclear war but because of the possible political consequences. A prepared peace movement the united states should be prepared for nuclear warfare ensure that such political consequences are as serious as possible.

There are a number of principles which seem appropriate for peace movement planning for nuclear crisis, nuclear war and its aftermath. Peace movement planning has to be based on an open rather than a hidden agenda. A full peace movement strategy must take into account supporters and sympathisers as well as opponents in working out how to take full advantage of the crisis.

But most important is the task of developing strategies, methods and organisational forms which are relevant both in the nuclear crisis, nuclear war and its aftermath, and for ongoing activities today. Just as peace group organisational structures should be designed to handle infiltrators, so these structures - and other aspects of efforts for peace - should be designed to operate in the event of nuclear war.

And, vice versa, the type of preparations for nuclear war decided upon should be compatible with current effectiveness. Only if the threat of institutional revolution in the event of nuclear war is also raised in the present is it likely that disarmament as a reform will seem to powerholders as the lesser of two evils. In spite of the attention I am giving here to preparing for nuclear war, and in spite of the optimism of some nonmilitarists for developments in the wake of massive social disaster or breakdown, [6] the prospects for a post-nuclear war world seem rather dismal to me.

Aside from the massive loss of life and continuing human suffering caused by nuclear war, moral barriers against the future use of nuclear weapons in war would be greatly reduced. We need the united states should be prepared for nuclear warfare remember the world outrage at terrorist bombings of civilian targets during the Spanish Civil War by Germany and Italy.

Not long after, such bombing became standard policy for the 'enlightened democracies'. This points to the need to be prepared to fully utilise the outrage and disruption of the first nuclear war.

Strategies for the peace movement It seems likely that the human spirit will not be crushed even by widespread nuclear war. But preparation for survival of nuclear war should not be an end in itself, but rather the stimulus to more effective efforts at prevention. It is in this light that the following suggestions should be considered.

Plans, infrastructure and methods for such repressive measures already exist in many countries, having been developed to defend the status quo against various citizen based initiatives.

The peace movement as well as the general population are not prepared for these contingencies, partly because nuclear war is seen as 'the end'. Yet if significant segments of the population were able to resist repression, to push for democratic initiatives and establish an alternative voice to that of the state in a nuclear emergency, the government and military would be much more reluctant to risk the occurrence of nuclear war.

Here’s How One Family Prepared for Nuclear War in 1954

When the population is prepared, a nuclear war becomes a threat to the government itself as well as to the population. Resistance to repression is important now as well as in a nuclear emergency, and hence preparation, training and strategising with this aim in mind serves a double purpose, and also links peace movement activities with other social movements. Resistance to repression is an enormous topic, and only a few ideas are offered here. Important principles include nonviolence, local autonomy, non-hierarchical structure, popular understanding and involvement, training, provision of infrastructure and use of methods for resistance as part of a wider programme for social change.

The reasons for non-violence are many, and include the futility of armed struggle in modern industrial society, [8] the broader base of support obtained through non-violent struggle, the lower level of suffering, the opportunity for everyone to participate, the reduction of secrecy and of centralised control of activities, and the provision of a basis for a nonviolent society.

Non-violent means of resistance include strikes, work-ins, sit-ins, rallies, boycotts, refusals to obey orders, going slow on the job, migration and many others. Non-violent resistance must be more than a collection of techniques, however, and should be part of a wider strategy and unified around aims such as defending civil liberties. Non-military methods have been demonstrated in resistance to military coups in a number of well documented examples.

Even in a nuclear crisis without nuclear war, local autonomy in resistance is desirable because dominant communications channels are likely to be controlled by the state and official resistance leaders are likely to be either arrested, coopted, or infiltrated and subverted. Local autonomy in resistance to repression also can be linked with local structures for self-sufficiency and self-government.

  1. For example, if a limited nuclear war occurred in the Middle East or Europe, the popular upsurge of opinion may support worker or citizen intervention in nuclear weapons production facilities.
  2. This means knowing how to undertake the nuts and bolts of disarmament, and having experience in approaching sympathetic workers or members of the military to gain their help in disarming or converting the facility.
  3. Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, 1972. Resistance to repression is important now as well as in a nuclear emergency, and hence preparation, training and strategising with this aim in mind serves a double purpose, and also links peace movement activities with other social movements.

Non-hierarchical structures are essential to resistance to repression for similar reasons to those for local autonomy: Hierarchical structures are prime targets for infiltration or for destruction through arrest of leaders. Nonhierarchical structures are also compatible with initiatives for self-managed economic and political structures.

  • Report of the Secretary-General;
  • Preparation for a nuclear crisis suggests that these campaigns should be extended by disseminating as widely as possible information about technical aspects of bombs, military bases and military organisational structures so that popular activity to disarm and convert military facilities becomes a possibility in the right circumstances;
  • Crises provide opportunities for groups which are organised and able to take advantage of them;
  • Third World justice struggles are a continuing threat to these institutions;
  • It is not for lack of anything better to do that nuclear strategists have elaborated numerous scenarios for nuclear war, recovery and future wars;
  • The question in such circumstances is not if nuclear war will occur, but when, what kind, and on what scale.

Local autonomy and non-hierarchical structures must be coupled with popular understanding and involvement in the plans for resistance. A significant fraction of the population needs to understand the reasons for resisting, to be ready to take the responsibility to act, and to grasp the essentials of non-military methods and their relation to the goals to be obtained.

They also need to be involved in decision-making in all these matters. This need not mean a large organisation specifically geared for resistance to repression. More reasonably, it will involve active interest and involvement by a few individuals who introduce the ideas and methods in groups in which they are already involved, such as unions, workplaces, schools, churches and local communities. A minimal level of formal organisation plus a maximum level of popular involvement in resistance activities are also desirable to prevent the resistance becoming too cautious or dogmatic by being dependent on particular leaders or experts.

This is especially the case in preparing for nuclear war, in which flexibility and spontaneity by informed and aware groups of people are at a premium, since the experts are likely to be wrong and the long-standing leaders out of touch. Beyond understanding strategies and methods for resistance against repression, it is important to train for resistance.

For example, factory workers can practise disabling their equipment with minimal damage and responding to occupation, radio station employees can stage simulated 'resistance broadcasts', computer operators and programmers can practise disabling or reprogramming computer systems, community groups can practise removing street signs and house numbers and hiding 'dissidents', organising food distribution and so forth.

In many cases such training can be part of a current social action campaign; in all cases issues of wider strategy should be kept in mind. For such exercises there is a growing body of experienced people and literature on non-violent action training. For example, it would be useful to have plans for an 'underground' press producing newsletters and leaflets and for distributing them. Initially this might be no more than an inventory of manual typewriters and manual printing equipment.

The infrastructure for resistance against repression should be planned in conjunction with the wider strategy for resistance.

For example, the underground press might be designed as a backup or supplement to the established press, which in some cases would be part of the resistance, or would only cooperate under duress and, if prepared, inefficiently with a repressive regime. If resistance to repression were only seen as something that might be needed in the event of a nuclear war, it would not have much appeal the united states should be prepared for nuclear warfare would be a rather negative exercise.

Therefore it is important to integrate planning and training for such resistance with current campaigns against repression or for social reform, when possible. Because the principles underlying social action campaigns and preparation against repression are similar, this should not be too difficult. Again, integrating these activities as part of a wider vision and programme for social change is important.