Scott Horton Interviews Jonathan Schell

Scott Horton, April 05, 2008

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Jonathan Schell, author of The Fate of the Earth, and The Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger and visiting lecturer at Yale University, discusses the case against nuclear weapons, the destructive power and military obsolescence of America and Russia’s nuclear arsenals, the treaties the U.S. government has signed promising to dismantle our nukes, the administration’s war against the non-proliferation regime, missile “defense” in Eastern Europe and the first strike option, NATO expansion, the arguments that nukes are good for preventing war among great powers or that North Korea or terrorists could “hold us all hostage” if our governments ceased to hold nukes, nuclear winter, the end of the age of empire, what needs to be done to get going on abolition and Hillary Clinton’s belligerence.

MP3 here. (40:36)

Jonathan Schell is the author of The Fate of the Earth, and The Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger. He is the Harold Willens Peace Fellow at The Nation Institute and a visiting lecturer at Yale University.

Update: Your host’s reference to Hillary Clinton’s denunciation of Barack Obama’s refusal to endorse Harry Truman’s nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was mistaken. I was thinking of this, but that (otherwise wonderful) author was apparently thinking of the time last summer when Clinton denounced Obama for promising not to attack our ally Pakistan with nuclear weapons, “just in time” for the 62nd anniversary of those horrible war crimes against the Japanese.

Sincere apologies to my guest and audience.

5 Responses to “Jonathan Schell”

  1. According to Dr Bob Bowman, former chief of US Air Force Missile Defense, missile defense is the missing link to a First Strike. Dr Bob Bowman thinks missiles in Poland will be very useful to shoot down any surviving Russian missiles after a First Strike. Therefore the Russians will implement Launch On Warning. The terrible consequences of a mistake will be caused by the stupid Pentagon. Dr Bob Bowman agrees that the Pentagon (McCain?) will get disarming first-strike capability by 2011/12. Acc. to former Trident missile engineer Bob Aldridge-www.plrc.org-the US Navy can track and destroy all enemy subs simultaneously. The main danger is Russian Launch On Warning because of US First-Strike Capability. Please read Keir Lieber and Daryl Press, “The Rice of US Nuclear Primacy”, 2006 March/April issue of Foreign Affairs. By 2011/12 the Pentagon will have achieved that the Russians have no choice but Launch On Warning. “Bloody fools in the Pentagon”, as Brigadier Harbottle stated.

  2. Our own State Department was selling nuclear secrets to the ATC and AIPAC and nothing is done about that. Israel has scretly build nukes which you are not supposed to talk about and Pakistan, China, and North Korea all have the bomb thanks to US corporations including the DOD.

    But there is only one nuclear country is not subject to inspections and that’s Israel. No big shock there.

    The Russian oligarchs were sneaking radio active material into the UK and tried to blame that on Putin. But I agree with Raimondo on that one. However just what the hell were the Oligarchs doing smuggling polonium into the UK?

    The US negotiated (bought off) with Japan to allow nuclear subs in to the Sea of Japan in exchange for shifting (the very unpopular rapists troops) US troops in Okinawa to Guam. Japan was hping for a seat on the UNSC but didn’t get it.

    Russia should recognize the Independence of the Lakota nation and sell them a nuclear bomb for a dollar. See how the US likes that .

  3. But there is only one nuclear country is not subject to inspections and that’s Israel. No big shock there.

    Don’t forget India and Pakistan.

    And China and North Korea got their nukes from the US? How’s that?

  4. I would agree that nuclear arsenals should be pared down, but aren’t nukes the thing that prevented the ‘Cold War’ from becoming a ‘Hot War?’ Personally, I love the idea that any war between major powers is as much of a risk for our leaders as it is for the common man. Thank you, nuclear weapons! Furthermore, if Iran had a nuke, would we really have to worry about the U.S. starting a war with them? If Taiwan had a nuke, couldn’t they be as independent as they wish, and thumb their nose at China with nothing to fear? And on and on… Knock on wood, but on the whole it seems like nuclear weapons have been a great boon to humanity. When I hear people say they want to get rid of nukes, it reminds me of the Catholic Church banning stilletos and crossbows because they put the noblemen in full armor at risk on the battlefield along with the peasants, or the old calvarymen lamenting the advent of trench warfare. Let’s go back to the good old days of running eachother through with swords!

  5. “Don’t forget India and Pakistan.

    And China and North Korea got their nukes from the US? How’s that?”

    Yes well the tension between Pakistan and India has been fostered by the West since the ambiguios partician. However, India, Pakistan, China, and North Korea all announce and admit that they have nukes. All of them but North Korea (who is completelysanctioned, and was created after the US invasion of Korea (the same year the CIA tied up China with the 1951 Tibet revolt) are subject to inspections although Pakistan tried for a long time to avoid it.

    The difference is that Israel has its nukes in secret and even though the whole world knows about it they still deny it. (LBJ was in on passing secrets to Israel). Because of their neocon worth bold faced denial infront of overwhelming evidence, Israel is not subject to inspections.

    And they tossed the wistle blower, who took pictures of their warheads, Vannu in jail for 11 years and then re-arrested him six month after he was released on house arrest.

    Israel was also the first country in the world to use DU (1973 Yom Kippor War).
    Anyway I dobt nukes could ever be used again. The world does not accept the level of racism that it did when the US nuked Japan twice. You just can’t blow up civilian cities. In a war between nuclear countries neither could use its nukes. They are an environmental disaster, and would result in world wide condemnation. We have not yet quite reached the level of craziness yet to allow a nuke for nuke war. The US could easily say if you use your nuke we will use our thousands and your country will be completely erased.

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