The Nuclear Issue
All mystical spiritual traditions know that
the world is unity, fundamentally connected, but I first encountered
this idea studying quantum physics in college. Matter is like
waves on the ocean; each form is individual, but each arises from
the same ocean. In this case, the ocean is energy, and matter
is a peak of energy, albeit, a very dense peak.
Everyone has heard of Einstein's equation that
E=MC2. The speed of light is very large, so a small amount of
mass equals a very large amount of energy. A bottle of Boont
Amber, my favorite local beer, weighs 21 ounces. If this mass
converted to energy, the blast yield would be equal to 13 megatons
of TNT, equal to a cube measuring 200 yard per side. Fortunately,
beer is very stable.
Quantum theory started in the early 1900's,
and by the late 30's it was known that some elements are unstable,
or radioactive, and would break apart (fission) into smaller elements,
releasing energy in the process. These fissions could be triggered
to create a chain reaction, releasing very large amounts of energy.
The fear that the Germans were working on this type of weapon
stimulated a massive US investment to make sure we got there first.
On August 6th, 1945, the world was shown that
the US had won the race; we vaporized the city of Hiroshima with
a single uranium bomb. This device yielded 15 kilotons, the energy
equivalent of 3/4 of a gram of mass. Three days later we repeated
the demonstration with a plutonium bomb, ending World War 2.
In the game of world domination, we had the biggest stick, and
it was a game changer. The US structured the postwar world to
our advantage, and everyone had to agree.
Once it was know that nuclear weapons were
possible, it was just a matter of time before other countries
joined the "nuclear club". Russia was first in 1949,
and the Cold War arms race lasted for decades. Mutual Assured
Destruction became the strategy because, for the first time, an
all out war could not be won. The massive forces unleashed in
a nuclear war meant everyone lost no matter who started it. Thus
a weapon derived from a physics of unity guaranteed a unity outcome.
The deterrent to domination was access to nuclear weapons. The
threat of nuclear attack has been the driving force to create
Britain wanted to remain an independent world
power, but the US refused to share nuclear designs, so Britain
designed their own, first tested in 1952. France joined the club
in 1960. Israel has never acknowledged having nuclear weapons,
but their research program started in the late 1940's, and after
the Six Days War in 1967, they developed and tested weapons in
the early 70's. China first tested in 1967, which prompted India,
engaged in border wars with China, to develop nuclear weapons
in 1974. In response, Pakistan, engaged in border conflicts with
India, began their program, first tested in 1998. Pakistan, unlike
most other nations, decided to sell their designs to anyone.
This helped nuclear programs in Libya, Iran, and North Korea.
After the 1979 Iranian revolution against the
US imposed Shah, the US shifted support to Saddam Hussein in Iraq,
and urged an 8 year war against Iran, which ended in a stalemate
in 1988. In 1990, the US destroyed the Iraqi military in a matter
of weeks, which alarmed the Iranians, prompting them to get serious
about their nuclear program in order to avoid a similar fate.
The recent nuclear agreement with Iran has stalled their program
short of actual weapons. When President Bush included North Korea
in the "Axis Of Evil" in 2002, North Korea began their
serious nuclear development, resulting in tests in 2006.
Nine countries have demonstrated their nuclear
capacity, yet 72 years after the first detonation, no other country
has actually used nuclear weapons. Simply having them has been
sufficient deterrence, which drives a desire by other nations
to develop these devices for their national security. We talk
about "rogue" nations having nuclear capability, but
the history of American intervention around the globe understandably
makes other countries nervous about the US. We may have to live
with some nuclear armed crazies in the world. After all, we now
have a crazy in charge of American nuclear forces, and we expect
everyone to accept that.