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[casi] Bush Jr.'s Nuclear Sabre-Rattling-The Rogue Elephant

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Assyrian News Watch
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Counterpunch [USA]
July 22, 2002

Bush Jr.'s Nuclear Sabre-Rattling
The Rogue Elephant

by Francis A Boyle

When George Bush Jr came to power in January of 2001, he proceeded to
implement foreign affairs and defense policies that were every bit as
radical, extreme and excessive as the Reagan/Bush administrations had
starting in January of 1981. To be sure, Bush Jr had no popular mandate to
do anything. Indeed, a majority of the American electorate had voted for
his corporate-cloned opponent.

Upon his installation, Bush Jr's "compassionate conservatism" quickly
revealed itself to be nothing more than reactionary Machiavellianism--as if
there had been any real doubt about this during the presidential election
campaign. Fascism with a friendly face. Even the Bush Jr cast of
Machiavellian characters were pretty much the same as the original
Reagan/Bush foreign affairs and defense "experts," many of whom were called
back into service and given promotions for international crimes they had
committed anywhere from ten to twenty years ago. It was deja vu all over
again, as Yogi Berra aptly put it.

International Legal Nihilism

In quick succession the world saw these Bush Jr Leaguers repudiate the
Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the International Criminal Court, the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), an international convention to
regulate the trade in small arms, a verification Protocol for the
Biological Weapons Convention, an international convention to regulate and
reduce smoking, the World Conference Against Racism, and the Anti-Ballistic
Missile Systems Treaty, inter alia. To date the Bush Jr Leaguers have not
found an international convention that they like. The only exception to
this rule was their shameless exploitation of the 11 September 2001 tragedy
in order to get the US House of Representatives to give Bush Jr so-called
"fast-track" trade negotiation authority so as to present the American
People and Congress with yet another non-amendable fait accompli on behalf
of American multinationals, corporations, banks, insurance companies, the
high-tech and biotech industries, Wall Street, etc. The epitome of
"globalization," American-style.

More ominously, once into office the Bush Jr Leaguers adopted an incredibly
belligerent posture towards the Peoples' Republic of China (PRC), publicly
identifying the PRC as America's foremost competitor/opponent into the 21st
Century. Then their needlessly pugnacious approach towards the downing of a
US spy plane in China with the death of a Chinese pilot only exacerbated
these already tense US/Chinese relations. Next the Bush Jr Leaguers decided
to sell high-tech weapons to Taiwan in violation of the USA/PRC Joint
Communique of 17 August 1982 that had been negotiated and concluded earlier
by the Reagan/Bush administration. Finally came Bush Jr's breathtaking
statement that the United States would defend Taiwan in the event of an
attack by the PRC irrespective of Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the
United States Constitution expressly reserving to Congress alone the right
to declare war. President Jimmy Carter had long ago terminated the
US-Taiwan self-defense treaty.

For twelve years the Constitution and the Rule of Law--whether domestic or
international--never deterred the Reagan/Bush administrations from pursuing
their internationally lawless and criminal policies around the world. The
same was true for the Clinton administration as well--invading Haiti;
bombing Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Serbia; the Lewinsky scandal, etc.
The Bush Jr administration has behaved no differently from its lineal
Machiavellian predecessors. Their bellicose handling of the 11 September
2001 tragedy was no exception to this general rule.

Jr's Withdrawal from the ABM Treaty

Then, as had been foreshadowed, whispered, hinted at and finally broadcast
over a period of several months, came the monumentally insane, horrendous,
and tragic announcement on 13 December 2001 by the Bush Jr administration
to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, effective within six months. Of course it
was sheer coincidence that the Pentagon released their self-styled Bin
Laden Video just as Bush Jr himself publicly announced his indefensible
decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty in order to pursue his
phantasmagorical National Missile Defense (NMD) Program, the lineal
successor to the Reagan/Bush Star Wars dream. Predictably, the Bin Laden
Video back-staged this major, pro-nuclear announcement. Once again the
terrible national tragedy of 11 September was shamelessly exploited in
order to justify a reckless decision that had already been made for other
reasons long before. Then on 25 January 2002, the Pentagon promptly
conducted a sea-based NMD test in gross violation of Article 5(I) of the
ABM Treaty without waiting for the required six months to expire, thus
driving a proverbial nail into the coffin of the ABM Treaty before its body
was even legally dead.

The Bush Jr withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, which was originally negotiated
by those well-known Machiavellian realpolitikers Richard Nixon and Henry
Kissinger, threatens the very existence of other seminal arms control
treaties and regimes such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and
the Biological Weapons Convention, which have similar withdrawal clauses.
The prospect of yet another round of the multilateral and destabilizing
nuclear arms race now stares humanity directly in the face, even as the
Bush Jr administration today prepares for the quick resumption of nuclear
testing at the Nevada test site in outright defiance of the CTBT regime and
NPT Article VI. The entire edifice of international agreements regulating,
reducing, and eliminating weapons of mass extermination (WME) has been
shaken to its very core. And now the Pentagon and the CIA are back into the
dirty business of researching, developing and testing biological weapons
and biological agents that are clearly prohibited by the Biological Weapons
Convention and its US domestic implementing legislation, the Biological
Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989.

The US first-strike nuclear strategy

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the impoverishment of Russia
leaving the United States as the world's "only superpower" or "hyperpower,"
we are getting to the point, if we are not there already, where only the
United States has the capability to launch an offensive first-strike
strategic nuclear weapons attack upon any adversary. For that precise
reason, deploying the so-called "national missile defense" (NMD) has become
a critical objective of the United States government. NMD is not really
needed to shoot down a stray missile from some so-called "rogue state."
Rather US NMD is essential for mopping up any residual Russian or Chinese
strategic nuclear weapons that might survive a US offensive first-strike
with strategic nuclear weapons systems.

The successful deployment of NMD will finally provide the United States
with what it has always sought: the capacity to launch a successful
offensive first-strike strategic nuclear attack, coupled with the
capability to neutralize a Russian and/or Chinese retaliatory nuclear
attack. At that point, the United States will proceed to use this
capability to enforce its Hegemonial Will upon the rest of the world.
Strategic nuclear "thinkers" such as Harvard's Thomas Schelling call this
doctrine "compellance" as opposed to "deterrence." With NMD the world will
become dominated by this US "compellance" strategy.

Honest nuclear war-mongering

Consequently, it should come as no surprise that the historically covert
intent of America's nuclear "deterrence policy" should now come to light
through almost off-the-cuff remarks such as those by the omnipresent US
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz appearing in the 9 January 2002
edition of the New York Times:

"We're looking at a transformation of our deterrence posture from an almost
exclusive emphasis on offensive nuclear forces to a force that includes
defenses as well as offenses, that includes conventional strike
capabilities as well as nuclear strike capabilities, and includes a much
reduced level of nuclear strike capability," the deputy secretary of
defense, Paul D Wolfowitz, said. [Emphasis added.]

Well at least he was honest about it.

Wolfowitz admitted that the current US practice of so-called nuclear
"deterrence" is in fact really based upon "an almost exclusive emphasis on
offensive nuclear forces." To reiterate, since this deserves emphasis: The
US Deputy Secretary of Defense has publicly admitted and conceded that
"almost" all US nuclear forces are really "offensive" and not really
"defenses." That Statement could be taken to the International Court of
Justice and filed against the United States government as an Admission
Against Interest, Wolfowitz acting within the scope of his official duties.
Of course the Peace Movement and informed American public knew this was
true all along. Nonetheless, it should be regarded as an ominous sign of
the times that the Pentagon has become so brazen that it is publicly
admitting US nuclear criminality to the entire world. The arrogance of the

A Nuremberg crime against peace

Then, writing in the March 10, 2002 edition of the Los Angeles Times,
defense analyst William Arkin revealed the leaked contents of the Bush Jr
administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that it had just transmitted
to Congress on January 8. The Bush Jr administration has ordered the
Pentagon to draw up war plans for the first-use of nuclear weapons against
seven states: the so-called "axis of evil"--Iran, Iraq, and North Korea;
Libya and Syria; Russia and China, which are nuclear armed. This component
of the Bush Jr NPR incorporates the Clinton administration's 1997 nuclear
war-fighting plans against so-called "rogue states" set forth in
Presidential Decision Directive 60. These warmed-over nuclear war plans
targeting these five non-nuclear states expressly violate the so-called
"negative security assurances" given by the United States as an express
condition for the renewal and indefinite extension of the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by all of its non-nuclear weapons states
parties in 1995.

In this regard, Article 6 of the 1945 Nuremberg Charter provides in
relevant part as follows:

"The following acts, or any of them, are crimes coming within the
jurisdiction of the Tribunal for which there shall be individual
responsibility: "(a) Crimes against peace: namely, planning, preparation,
initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of
international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a
common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;
"... "Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the
formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of
the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons
in execution of such plan." [Emphasis added.]

To the same effect is the Sixth Principle of the Principles of
International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and
in the Judgment of the Tribunal, which were adopted by the International
Law Commission of the United Nations in 1950:

"PRINCIPLE VI "The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes
under international law: "(a) Crimes against peace: "(i) Planning,
preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in
violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; "(ii)
Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any
of the acts mentioned under (i)." [Emphasis added.]

Notice that both of these elemental sources of public international law
clearly provide that the "planning" or "preparation" of a war in violation
of international "assurances" such as the aforementioned US negative
security assurance constitutes a Nuremberg Crime against Peace. Such is the
Bush Jr NPR!

The Rogue Elephant of international law and politics

Equally reprehensible from a legal perspective were the NPR's call for the
Pentagon to draft nuclear war-fighting plans for first nuclear strikes (1)
against alleged nuclear/chemical/biological "materials" or "facilities";
(2) "against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack"; and (3) "in the
event of surprising military developments," whatever that means. According
to the NPR, the Pentagon must also draw up nuclear war-fighting plans to
intervene with nuclear weapons in wars (1) between China and Taiwan; (2)
between Israel and the Arab states; (3) between North Korea and South
Korea; and (4) between Israel and Iraq. It is obvious upon whose side the
United States will actually plan to intervene with the first-use nuclear
weapons. And quite ominously, today the Bush Jr administration accelerates
its plans for launching an apocalyptic military aggression against Iraq,
deliberately raising the spectre of a US first-strike nuclear attack upon
that long-suffering country and its people.

The Bush Jr administration is making it crystal clear to all its chosen
adversaries around the world that it is fully prepared to cross the
threshold of actually using nuclear weapons that has prevailed since the US
criminal bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Yet more proof of the
fact that the United States government has officially abandoned
"deterrence" for "compellance" in order to rule the future world of the
Third Millenium. The Bush Jr administration has obviously become a "threat
to the peace" within the meaning of UN Charter article 39. It must be
countermanded by the UN Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the UN
Charter. In the event of a US veto of such "enforcement action" by the
Security Council, then the UN General Assembly must deal with the Bush Jr
administration by invoking its Uniting for Peace Resolution of 1950.

There very well could be some itty-bitty "rogue states" lurking out there
somewhere in the Third World. But today the United States government has
become the sole "rogue elephant" of international law and politics. For the
good of all humanity, America must be restrained. Time is of the essence!

Francis A. Boyle, Professor of Law, University of Illinois, is author of
Foundations of World Order, Duke University Press, and The Criminality of
Nuclear Deterrence, Clarity Press. He can be reached at:

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