Ridding Russia – and the world – of nuclear weapons should be the ultimate endgame goal of a hoped-for Ukrainian victory
EnviroReporter.com’s War & Peace Plan
On January 25, U.S. President Joe Biden spoke from the White House with his defense secretary and Secretary of State by his side.
“There is no offensive threat to Russia… If Russian troops return to Russia, where they belong, this war would be over today.”
But, does anyone really think Putin will ever be contained, hiding behind his menacing nuclear arsenal while his fourth-rate “army” rapes, murders, loots and utterly destroys eastern Ukraine?
Of course not. And should Putin be defeated, there must be justice for his war crimes, not blithely waving goodbye and assuming we’re all good now. More, much more, must be exacted from Russia and the global community when the war ends.
Simply put, a NATO-backed Ukrainian victory should lead immediately to multilateral agreements among the U.S., Russia, China and all nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals once and for all.
If that sounds impossible consider what would have been considered impossible exactly a year ago: Aggressor Russia is getting crushed by Ukraine with the West’s backing. In the age of the improbable, the impossible can happen.
Russian Army traffic jam on the Road to Nowhere
There’s a way that can salvage from the rubble of this horrible war, which has all the makings of World War III, something good for humanity even after all the violence and bloodshed. World War II’s horrors led to the creation of the state of Israel and the United Nations. This war, if survived, can see a much safer world – a world free of nuclear weapons.
Many folks aren’t aware of the fact that nuclear armed countries that are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are already, on paper at least, obligated to completely eliminate their nuclear arsenals. Article VI of the NPT states, “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
But instead, the U.S. and Russia are rebuilding their arsenals with plans for more deadly, enhanced weapons that have launched a new arms race. Non-nuclear states’ frustration with the failure of the NPT resulted in the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was approved in 2017 with the support of 122 nations. The TPNW entered into force in 2021, but has been shunned by nuclear-armed states who refuse to let go of these immoral, humanity-destroying weapons making the world more dangerous by the day. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists just moved the hand of their Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds before midnight, the closest it’s ever been in The Bulletin’s 76-year history.
Nuclear weapons are also a cornerstone environmental issue because no other manmade monstrosity can ruin so much so fast so permanently more than a nuclear war. That’s of course in addition to the toxic legacy of nuclear weapons production, testing, and waste. Nuclear weapons are also the one threat to humanity’s existence that can be realistically controlled and eliminated entirely.
Russia should never be able to hold the world hostage again with its nuclear armaments, nor should any other nation. And they won’t if this post-Ukraine war objective is made and fulfilled. It will sadly be written in blood because so many thousands of brave Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have died in Putin’s war. This will make this international war international in the post-war making of peace.
Destruction of Russian BMP-3 IFV by Ukrainian troops in Mariupol per Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine
Not doing anything is not an option for Biden, NATO or the world.
A verifiable, timebound agreement to eliminate nuclear arsenals should be imposed by the victors should Ukraine defeat Russia. The many billions of dollars saved by nuclear-armed states dismantling their arsenals in an orderly fashion will provide the foundation for rebuilding Ukraine, while not letting Russia off the hook for its economic devastation and war crimes.
Failing to quickly aspire to a comprehensive disarmament plan plays into the hands of Putin and his right-wing supporters in the United States who already have claimed we’ve helped Ukraine too much. Even some leftist anti-nukers are willing to choke U.S. arming of Ukraine for fear of Putin pushing the button.
With the world at 90 seconds to midnight on a date with Armageddon, anything short of nuclear abolition isn’t enough. Of course, getting rid of nukes won’t solve global warming but the fight to save the planet is already lost if we don’t eliminate all nukes when we have the chance.
Is it realistic to expect countries like North Korea and Israel to give up their nukes? No more so than expecting we can continue on our current path in a world with thousands of nuclear weapons and millions of militant meatheads and not destroy ourselves sooner or later, with sooner looking more probable at the moment. Abolishing nuclear weapons may be an arduous enterprise, but we should die trying because the nuclear genie is out of the bottle and odds are we can’t stuff it back in before we blow ourselves apart, irradiating the planet as it descends into ‘nuclear winter.’
Ukraine gave up its own nukes when the Soviet Union dissolved yet is being pummeled by an enemy propped up by those very nukes. Nukes are the weapon of choice for despots deploying rapists, murderers and terrorists to despoil a country they’ve invaded. Eliminating them would therefore make the world safer from conventional war as well as nuclear war.
Nukes and Bolts
The annual costs in America to maintain our nuclear arsenal was $76.62 billion in 2022. Our entire military support of Ukraine was less than a third of that at $24.5 billion in aid given between January 24 and November 20, 2022, according to the German think tank Kiel Institute for the World Economy. And we’re planning on spending another $1.7 trillion over the next 30 years to rebuild our entire arsenal.
Increasing promises of advanced weaponry for Ukraine, from tanks to jets and replacement munitions, must be delivered as quickly as possible to stop the Russians in their latest brutal attempt to take meager parts of eastern Ukraine as has been widely reported.
For their efforts as of February 15, the death toll of Russian soldiers is an astounding 140,460, according to the Ukrainian military. That’s over twice as many men killed in one year than America lost in ten years in the Vietnam War. Russian’s population is less than half that of the U.S. meaning that Putin is losing soldiers at a rate of 48 to 1 compared to the U.S.’s Vietnam losses.
Russia has also lost half of its entire tank force in Ukraine and that’s before the armada of vastly superior American, German and British tanks arrive in the coming weeks and months. There are already more than 2,000 German Leopard tanks in Europe and soon Norway, Poland and Spain are going to send enough of these spry and bristling behemoths to form two Ukrainian tank battalions of about 35 Leopards each.
German Army Leopard 2 tank – U.S. Army Europe photo
More advanced weapons systems are also arriving in theater advancing the once unthought of goal of Ukraine actually defeating Russia in war.
Forging a nuclear weapons free world out of the ashes of the Ukraine war can become a reality because the military reality is such that the West can make it so. If Putin can be stopped and removed from power before he tries to destroy the planet with nuclear weapons, the might of the West’s military vis-à-vis Ukrainian and NATO forces is such that Russia would have no choice.
The Russian people’s responsibility to overthrow Putin and his band of oligarchs and war criminals can’t be shirked or this war will end as badly as World War II – only for the Russians this time.
Unlike Adolf Hitler who cultivated an evil German culture targeting the Jews for years before he started World War II, Putin has no real ideological hold on the Russian people to exhort them to slaughter themselves fighting their fellow Slavs.
The best Putin and his state-sponsored propogandists can do is accuse the West, especially the United States, of being homosexual societies united by our collective Satanism.
According to the ceaseless drumbeat of dimwitted declarations of Russian talking heads on TV, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish and lost family in the Holocaust, is actually a Nazi and frontline Ukrainian troops are fighting alongside NATO soldiers who are cannibals.
Vladimir Solovyov receiving the Order of Honour from Vladimir Putin, 2013 by Kremlin ru
Yes, Russian propaganda is just as bad as its military. Putin’s prime apologist appearing nightly on state-run TV is Vladimir Solovyov whose frothy displays rival Fox’s traitorous Tucker Carlson in their hatefulness.
In January, Solovyov said that “life is overrated” and told his audience, especially the hundreds of thousands of men scooped up in Putin’s mobilization dragnet to be sent to the frontlines in Ukraine, “Why be afraid of what is inevitable? We’ll go to heaven.”
“Destroyed must be the government quarters of Kyiv and Odessa, Berlin and London, of Paris and Washington,” bellowed Solovyov January 27. “All those who dared to revive Nazism and turn their satanic faces towards our sacred motherland.”
The Russian people are being primed for Armageddon. The crude villanization of the West may have worked before fall of the Soviet Union and the advent of the Internet and cell phones, but it doesn’t work now. And especially now when this terribly stupid idea to invade Ukraine has gone so awry in catastrophic ways just beginning to impact the average Russian.
Many Russians are ready enough to stop this war now that they’ve taken up arms and are willing to die to make Russia free. The Free Russia Legion is a Ukrainian troop detachment made up solely of Russians under Ukrainian officers. They are fighting and dying along with other volunteers in Ukraine’s International Legion which is also composed of Americans, Britons, Belarusians, Georgians and others. They say they will continue fighting until they kick the “orcs,” as they call Russian soldiers, out of Ukraine and then overthrow Putin’s regime.
Z means WAR ON UKRAINE on sign south of Moscow
There is a path after Putin, no matter how bad the war gets, and it’s already really bad as the mortality numbers bear out. Those stunning numbers aren’t the only ones that matter. The amount of money saved by shelving nuclear weapons could power a new Marshall Plan for rebuilding Ukraine. Early estimates range up to $750 billion to rebuild Ukraine’s physical infrastructure.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons estimates that the world’s nuclear-armed states spend $113.26 billion every year on their nuclear weapons systems. Wasted money like that can’t be ignored especially when it’s spent on an uncontrollable obsolete technology. Nukes may be obsolete but they have become Putin’s last trump card.
But world leaders and policymakers won’t, unfortunately, make any move toward dismantling the nuclear status quo without vigorous, unrelenting public demand. A resurgent anti-nuke movement in the West has shown increasing support across the country for the end to America’s increasingly expensive nuclear weapons industrial complex.
Back from the Brink, a grassroots coalition of individuals, organizations and elected officials is calling for verifiable nuclear weapons abolition agreements, no first-use pledges, ending Presidential sole authority to launch nuclear attacks, removal of hair-trigger alert status and canceling the $1.2 trillion replacement of “the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal with enhanced weapons.”
So far, 434 organizations, 329 U.S. elected officials, 66 municipalities and counties, and 7 state legislative bodies are on board with Back from the Brink.
Refugees from Ukraine in Kraków by Silar
“People might say, why are you wading into this policy? This is a federal issue,” says Amanda Fritz, when she was a Portland, Oregon city commissioner on the group’s website. “But we all know that if there is a nuclear strike, it’s going to be against a city, and therefore it is absolutely of great concern to us as the city of Portland. And we want to be in solidarity and on record with cities all over the country and all over the world to make sure our voices are heard.”
The U.S. State Department told Congress in late January that Russia had failed to comply with the only nuclear agreement we still have with it, the New START agreement renewed in 2021.
“Russia’s refusal to facilitate inspection activities prevents the United States from exercising important rights under the treaty and threatens the viability of U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control,” said the State Department in a statement January 31. “Russia has also failed to comply with the New START treaty obligation to convene a session of the bilateral consultative commission in accordance with the treaty-mandated timeline.”
Russia won’t play nuclear ball. It’s time for its nuclear ball to be taken away, along with all nukes worldwide so this will never happen again.
Presidents Biden and Zelenskyy in Kiev Ukraine 20 February 2023 – U.S. White House
The active ingredient to make this plan happen is courage. President Biden showed that kind of courage February 20 by going to Kiev, Ukraine, to stand in solidarity with President Zelenskyy. Now is the time to be even bolder in the pursuit of permanent peace.
The Ukraine war – arguably World War III in the making- has been horrible so far. It will be more horrible still. But from these ashes of bloody victory can come a nuclear weapons-free world with a bold step back from the doomsday brink. It’s up to us to speak out and demand it.