Big-5 Statement On Avoiding Nuclear War Is Sheer Humbug. Ignore It

by R Jagannathan - Jan 4, 2022 06:11 AM
Big-5 Statement On Avoiding Nuclear War Is Sheer Humbug. Ignore ItFive major nuclear powers pledge to avoid nuclear war.
Snapshot
  • The veto-wielding states have it within their power to stop encouraging war among their client states and allies.

    That they are not doing so tells us more about their real intentions than humbug statements about avoiding nuclear war.

The world’s five major nuclear powers, have released a joint statement on avoiding nuclear war that is largely pious humbug.

The common statement (read here), issued by the US, China, Russia, Britain and France, the five veto-wielding powers of the United Nations Security Council, made two major points.

The first part of the statement is old hat. It says: “We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” Have we not known that since the start of the Cold War after the Second World War? So, what was the need to say this again, unless the US, Russia and China again believe that their global conflicts will push them towards pulling the nuclear trigger somewhere?

If this is so, should they not be talking more among themselves to prevent matters from worsening? How will issuing virtue-signalling statements make any difference to the underlying antagonisms? That the US and NATO are still talking of economic sanctions against Russia if it invades Ukraine tells us that neither side is doing much to prevent a confrontation that could slide into the nuclear arena. Nor have the US and China reached any kind of understanding on how they should make the world a more peaceful place, when China wants to replace Hegemon No 1 with aggressive action (Hongkong, South China Sea, Ladakh, etc), and the US is busy licking its wounds, both those acquired in battle-field defeats (Afghanistan, etc), and those which were self-inflicted (internal race wars, Right-Left ideological warfare, etc).

The next sentence in the joint statement is even more meaningless. “As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons — for as long as they continue to exist — should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war."

This part of the joint statement should be read between the lines for what it does not say openly.

One, it implies that the Big Five veto-wielders will not give up nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future, and, two, they don’t believe what they have said. If they truly believe that nuclear power “should serve only defensive purposes, deter aggression and prevent war”, isn’t this good reason to allow more states — at least the democratic ones — to have nuclear weapons? If nuclear weapons are the only way to prevent real war, why not allow more states to have them instead of saying only the Big Five are legitimately nuclear powers?

However, the ground reality is that nuclear power does not deter war or near war or war by other means. Nuclear power only deters nuclear war; it does not deter nuclear powers from indulging in other forms of warfare. Pakistan uses terrorism as a substitute for actual war; China uses nuclear power to expand its territories through salami-slicing and bullying tactics all around its periphery; Russia uses nuclear power as a shield to wage conventional war on some of its western neighbours. And all nuclear states are sponsors of bigger or smaller wars among non-nuclear states.

It is time the Big Five got off their high horses and start doing something real to bring down the cold war-like climate of mistrust between themselves. China sees no need to do anything beyond following a two-faced policy of deceit and covert aggression; the US seems to think Russia is the real enemy, when it does not have the stomach to confront China. The dhimmi states of the European Union cannot bring themselves to do anything beyond bleating incoherently about democracy and economic sanctions.

The veto-wielding states have it within their power to stop encouraging war among their client states and allies. That they are not doing so tells us more about their real intentions than humbug statements about avoiding nuclear war. The real issue is an unsettled power equation between the US and China, and the inability of the European Union to understand what they should do to maintain sanity outside their own territories. If we add Chinese irresponsibility to US self-doubt to European cowardice and self-centredness, what we have is a recipe for conflicts and war, not peace.

Jagannathan is Editorial Director, Swarajya. He tweets at @TheJaggi.
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Comments
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.
Advertisement

Latest Articles

    Artboard 4Created with Sketch.