The United States is a serial nuclear aggressor whose veneer of supposed virtue is a thin and increasingly transparent disguise for moral bankruptcy.
More than 60 years ago, American military chiefs were closer than previously known to dropping atomic bombs on China over a relatively minor crisis with the renegade territory of Taiwan. The new revelations came from veteran whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg who worked as a nuclear weapons strategist at the Rand Corporation and at the Pentagon during the 1950s and 60s.
Ellsberg was the source of the famous Pentagon Papers which he leaked 50 years ago exposing the official U.S. lies about its criminal involvement in the Vietnam War during the 1960s and 70s.
Now at the age of 90, Daniel Ellsberg has dropped another media bombshell – that the Pentagon was ready to attack China and its major cities with nuclear weapons in 1958. The details were published by the New York Times. But it is perturbing that the shocking revelations barely caused a ripple in the U.S. media. There were no editorials condemning the plan which indicates a complacency among the U.S. media bordering on acquiescence towards such criminal action. This complacency is deeply alarming given the present dangers of war stemming from Washington’s provocations towards China and Russia.
It seems incredible that such a monstrous crime in 1958 was being considered fresh from the memory of the horror perpetrated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese cities razed by two U.S. atomic bombs in August 1945 causing the deaths of at least 200,000 mainly civilians. If the Americans had gone ahead with the plan some 13 years later to attack China the death toll would have been in the millions.
Ellsberg, who could face prosecution under the U.S. Espionage Act similar to contemporary whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, said he was motivated to make his latest revelations because of the imminent risk of war from escalating tensions between China and the United States over Taiwan and other issues. Six decades on, it is notable how the same tensions exist. This is because Washington continues to meddle in China’s internal sovereign affairs, making Taiwan a pawn in its imperialist game. It is the U.S. that is stoking the hostility by reneging on its One China policy which has up to now nominally recognized Beijing’s territorial claim to Taiwan.
In 1958, before the One China policy was adopted in 1979, the U.S. sided with Taiwan in China’s civil war between the Communists and Nationalists led by Chiang kai-shek whose forces fled to the island after their defeat on the mainland in 1949. Rather than accepting the outcome of the civil war, the U.S. continued to support Chiang and his Kuomintang regime. Taiwan became a renegade island territory which has existed in large part due to American military support. This is part of the “strategic ambiguity” adopted by Washington even though since 1979 the United States officially recognizes Beijing’s authority over Taiwan. “Strategic duplicity” would be a more accurate term.
Successive American administrations under Obama, Trump and now Biden have moved significantly to undermine the One China policy and to show increasing support for Taiwan’s would-be declaration of independence. If such a move were to take place, China has vowed to use military force to assert control over the territory. That would no doubt lead to war with the United States. Pentagon chiefs have already said in recent months that a war could happen within five years. And from the way relations are rapidly deteriorating between Washington and Beijing – the latest provocation due to Biden’s insinuation this week that the Covid-19 pandemic may have originated from a Chinese virology laboratory in Wuhan – it is not hard to envisage how tensions could erupt into a full-blown war.
Ellsberg’s concern is that the willingness by Washington to use nuclear weapons in 1958 against China is still extant today. That should be a concern for the whole world. Unlike in 1958, China is now a formidable nuclear power and there is no doubt it would retaliate leading to a nuclear conflagration. Nevertheless, there is a delusion among some American planners that they can win from a pre-emptive strike. The United States is alone among major nuclear powers in not explicitly renounced a first-strike policy.
What is also perplexing is the United States is the only county to have used nuclear weapons of mass destruction in war yet it continues to officially justify that blatant crime as a necessary means to end the Pacific War against Japan. The sense of entitlement and impunity is appalling.
Furthermore, the willingness in 1958 to use nuclear weapons against China was not the only time such an abominable plan was drawn up. There have been several occasions, including:
- In 1949, Washington formulated Operation Dropshot which planned to drop 300 atomic weapons on 100 cities and towns across the Soviet Union. This was rationalized as a response in the event that the Soviet Union expanded its allegiance among Western European and Asian nations.
- In 1950 and 1953, the administrations of Harry Truman and Ike Eisenhower warned of using nuclear weapons against China over the latter’s support for North Korea in the civil war against American-backed South Korea.
- In 1961, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff advocated a pre-emptive nuclear attack against the Soviet Union, but they were stood down by President John F Kennedy who was abhorred by the idea. Kennedy went on to implement a landmark arms control treaty with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev which many researchers believe led to his assassination by the CIA in 1963.
The propensity by the United States for the use of nuclear weapons can be seen as a form of blackmail and state terrorism against the rest of the world. It has used such weapons without apology, it has explicitly threatened to use such weapons on several occasions, and it continues to tacitly threaten to use these weapons at any time of its choosing. That, in short, is state terrorism.
It no doubt gives the American rulers some pause for thought that China or Russia could retaliate with devastating force. But what is reprehensible and uniquely criminal is the reckless way in which American rulers continue to push the dynamics for war despite their sanctimonious lecturing about upholding “the rules-based international order”.
This week, the Biden administration announced it was not rejoining the Open Skies Treaty which the previous Trump administration walked away from. That is at least the third arms-control treaty that the U.S. has unilaterally ditched – the ABM, the INF and now the OST. Again, the United States is gravely undermining global security based on provocative and baseless claims against Russia and China.
When Biden meets President Putin next month in Geneva, the former is said by U.S. media to be going to raise several concerns with the Russian leader. Such conceited reporting implies a grossly misplaced sense of moral authority. The reality is, however, that Putin will have a lot more genuine and urgent concerns to raise about the American side and its assault on global security.
The fact is the United States is a serial nuclear aggressor whose veneer of supposed virtue is a thin and increasingly transparent disguise for moral bankruptcy. It is the preeminent threat to world peace.