Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump does have a policy on the use of nuclear weapons, even though the corporate media has made it appear that he is naïve when it comes to the use of and proliferation of nuclear weapons. During the first presidential election debate with his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, Trump said he would reverse a policy on the use of nuclear weapons that every U.S. president since Harry S Truman has maintained. The policy is that the United States reserves the right to conduct a «first strike» nuclear attack if it or any of its allies are threatened by non-nuclear military aggression. Trump said, «…I would certainly not do first strike. I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over».
That statement by Trump sets him apart from every previous American president since the end of World War II. Even Barack Obama, who was obscenely awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his «efforts» to curtail nuclear weapons proliferation, favors the U.S. first strike prerogative. Mrs. Clinton undoubtedly will also maintain America’s first strike posture.
Clinton countered Trump’s belief that China should be responsible for keeping North Korea in check on nuclear weapons possession and use. Clinton let it be known that she not only will maintain the U.S. first strike option but will ensure that the nuclear use option continues for America’s «nuclear umbrella» over Japan and South Korea. Clinton said, «Words matter when you run for president. And they really matter when you are president. And I want to reassure our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere that we have mutual defense treaties and we will honor them».
In their third debate, Mrs. Clinton hammered Trump for suggesting that her opponent was “very cavalier, even casual” concerning nuclear proliferation and his suggestion that South Korea, Japan, Germany, and Saudi Arabia should obtain their own nuclear weapons and fend for their own defense in a world where there are now nine nuclear armed countries: United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea.
Mrs. Clinton and her supporters in the corporate media and non-profit think tanks accused Trump of playing with nuclear fire by suggesting that countries in addition to the «nuclear nine» should have their own nuclear weapons and worry about their own defense. However, Obama, Mrs. Clinton’s husband Bill Clinton, the two presidents George Bush, Ronald Reagan, and others have known, for quite some time, that nations, in addition to the nuclear nine have their own covert nuclear weapons programs, some of which have extremely short turnaround times to manufacture a deliverable nuclear weapon from «peaceful» nuclear material stockpiles.
In fact, the United States has permitted certain nations to acquire nuclear weapons as the result of other considerations. For example, the United States never raised one objection with Pakistan over its covert nuclear weapons development program run by the notorious scientist A. Q. Khan.
An April 30, 1980, formerly Secret code word memorandum from the Special Assistant for Nuclear Proliferation Intelligence to the Director of Central Intelligence, who, at the time was Admiral Stansfield Turner, states «the recently reported belief within the Pakistani government that the U.S. is reconciled to a Pakistani nuclear weapons capability . . . could have had the effect of reinforcing Pakistani resolve to move ahead with its nuclear weapons program». The memo added, «Efforts to complete construction of the enrichment plant at Kahuta for production of weapons-usable uranium have not slackened». U.S. acquiescence to Pakistan obtaining nuclear weapons was the result of Pakistan’s agreement with Washington to allow its soil to be used for waging a war by CIA-armed Muslim jihadists against Afghan government and Soviet military forces in Afghanistan.
Former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers said that in 1986, when the Dutch intelligence service discovered that A. Q. Khan was stealing nuclear secrets while employed by URENCO in Almelo, Netherlands, the CIA pressured the Dutch to back off arresting the Pakistani nuclear scientist on at least two occasions.
Neither did the United States attempt to dissuade Iraq from developing a nuclear weapons capability since it served as a regional counterweight to America’s number one enemy in the Middle East, Iran. The CIA was content in 1980 to permit Israel to deal with the Iraqi nuclear weapons program. And deal with it Israel did when, in 1981, its Air Force attacked the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak, located in the suburbs southeast of Baghdad. Although the Reagan administration gave Israel a green light to attack the Osirak facility, it had no problem with Israel’s own nuclear weapons stockpiling. The CIA and U.S. National Security Council reported in 1974 that «Israel has neither signed nor ratified the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty], and a nuclear weapons potential exists in the unsafeguarded output of the French-supplied Dimona reactor.” In fact, in 1974 the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations were well-aware that Israel possessed some 200 nuclear weapons.
By 1979, South Africa and Taiwan had joined the list of countries actively trying to obtain nuclear weapons. Cold War politics by the United States resulted in Washington allowing South Africa and Taiwan jointly, and with the assistance of Israel, to obtain nuclear weapons.
Only after the fall of South Africa’s apartheid government, did South Africa formally abandon its nuclear weapons program. However, Taiwan did not. South Africa only «formally» abandoned its nuclear weapons program because there is a belief that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors who, in 1990 and 1991, visited the Pelindaba nuclear weapons facility and the state-owned Armaments Corporation of South Africa (ARMSCOR) Advena nuclear facility near Pretoria were tricked into believing that South Africa’s nuclear weapons had all been dismantled by the outgoing apartheid regime. There is some intelligence that South African nuclear devices, material, and equipment were sold to «private investors» who resold the material to North Korea, Pakistan, Libya, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and, possibly, other nuclear «bidders».
Moreover, the Indian media has reported that A. Q. Khan’s nuclear weapons technology sales to Saudi Arabia were suppressed by the CIA in order that the Saudis not be «offended».
In the early 1980s, as Pakistan was rushing to acquire nuclear weapons, South Korea quietly embarked on its own secret nuclear weapons program. In 2004, it was revealed that Seoul had maintained a secret uranium enrichment production program at South Korean research facilities since the 1980s and that the program involved enriching uranium and producing weapons-grade plutonium. Canada investigated charges that one of the Candu nuclear reactors it sold to South Korea was involved in the clandestine weapons program.
The world was not told that the radiation disaster at the Japanese Fukushima nuclear power complex in 2011, following the Tohoku earthquake, was compounded by the fact that the Fukushima facility served as the focal point of Japan’s «quick turnaround» nuclear weapons program. That program began in 1968 when Prime Minister Eisaku Sato’s government re-defined its peaceful nuclear power policy and commitment to non-proliferation by amending it to grant Japan the option of pursuing nuclear weapons if the U.S. nuclear umbrella was ever seen as unreliable. In 1994, long before Trump indicated that he would allow Japan to fend for itself in the nuclear weapons arena, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono revealed the existence of a secret 1969 Foreign Ministry document that urged Japan to maintain the capability to develop nuclear weapons at short notice. In 2005, then-Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso reportedly told Vice President Dick Cheney in Washington that “India, Pakistan, and the DPRK all have nuclear weapons. If the DPRK continues to develop nuclear weapons, Japan must also arm itself with nuclear weapons.” In 2006, former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone floated the notion of Japan acquiring its own nuclear weapons. Nakasone was referring to something that was already a «fait accompli».
Japan’s short-notice nuclear weapons shelf components-to-warhead window is now estimated at being in terms of hours, instead of days. Japan reportedly has the capability to assemble nuclear weapons in 18 hours. That is in marked contrast to its previous assemblage time frame of 40 hours. Current-generation Japanese missiles, with nuclear warheads, can be programmed to target the largest inland Chinese cities, as well as Chinese naval bases along the coast.
In 2007, former German Defense Minister Rupert Scholz said Germany should become a nuclear power. Although Germany announced in 2000 that it would phase out the use of nuclear reactors for energy production, there are reports that some reactors will remain on line to produce nuclear weapons grade uranium and plutonium. German chancellor Angela Merkel has stated, «. . . As long as there are nuclear weapons in the world, we need to have these capabilities».
President Obama recently met with the «progressive world’s» sweetheart, Burma’s First Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, at the ASEAN summit in Laos. It is doubtful that Obama, «Mr. Non-Proliferation,» brought up Burma’s own covert nuclear weapons program.
There are other ratifying nations of the NPT that are known to have secretly pursued nuclear weapons acquisition and they include Germany, Brazil, Argentina, and Turkey. Obama, the «non-proliferation hero» signed «civil» nuclear technology sharing agreements with India and the United Arab Emirates, and was talking with the Saudis about a similar agreement as «compensation» for the «P5+1» nuclear agreement with the Saudis’ arch-rival, Iran. As seen with other countries, «civil» can be transformed to «military» in short order. Mrs. Clinton helped negotiate the Indian and UAE agreements while serving as Secretary of State. As shown from the operations of her and her husband’s Clinton Foundation, India, the UAE, and the Saudis have seen a nice nuclear return-on-investment for their generous contributions to the Clinton family’s coffers. Trump’s comments about allowing those who now enjoy America’s nuclear umbrella to go on their own is absolutely an option because many of America’s allies and partners already have their own secret nuclear weapons capabilities.
By Wayne Madsen
Re-Posted from Strategic Culture on-line journal www.strategic-culture.org.