I was asked this question: Why should Russia be nuclear-armed?
Sounds silly? No. many of those who have nukes wonder why their power should be neutralized by others.. India and Pakistan, Iran and Israel, Kim Jong-Un the rocketman and Donald Trump the madman have been asking this question against each other. Power of genocide blocks the urge for genocide.
I am no admirer of Putin, nor was a fan of Berzhnev, Gorbachev or Stalin. However, that doesn’t stop me from thanking our good fortune that Russians (Soviets or otherwise) developed a powerful counterthreat for American nuclear threat to the world. The US government had never been hesitant to use the latest weapon they had against the weakest people. Imagine napalming famished Vietnamese peasants. They did it, several times. Eight million tons of Bombs were dropped on a narrow stretch of coastal land called Vietnam – at least twice the number of damage caused all over the world in WWII. It just so happened that they had a just ruthless and cruel adversary in the Soviet Union – which, when you look back, was not a bad thing.
Let us concede that the first nuke was dropped in Hiroshima to speed up the surrender of Japan and save American lives. It was a trade-off – life of nearly a hundred thousand Japanes civilians (‘Yellow” and expendable) and an equal number of radiation injuries against a few hundred American (White, and hence precious) lives – if at all. That, on hindsight, was not the real reason, though. The first ‘dry’ test had failed; it was time to try out a live test. Hiroshima was the live test.
Japan took some time to realize the horror of what had befallen them, and would surely have surrendered when that realization dawned. Truman and his cronies were pleasantly surprised at the outcome; they wanted to try it again to make sure. Hence the heavier punch on Nagasaki. Much is made of Japanese belief in their racial superiority and their stout unwillingness to surrender, and that Truman did give them time to surrender – and dropped the nuke the day after!
Right from the day the so-called pioneers landed, most Americans were a trigger-happy lot. Have weapons, would shoot to kill. During Cuban crisis, John F Kennedy, the President of Peace, threatened to use nukes. Khrushchev too had nukes, probably more powerful ones of that time, but he relented. That was not the last time America threatened to nuke a far-away sovereign nation. Today you have a stupid, but hopelessly belligerent, President at the helm. There are people – even pastors – who gloat that Trump is the second Truman; he has the ‘guts’ to use nuclear weapons.
If Americans did not carry out their threat to use their nuclear weapons in Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq or Iran – it was because, thank goodness, Russians had the murderous toy as well. If Trump did not dare to use even conventional weapons against North Korea as the two Bushes did in Iraq and the drunken brat did it in Afghanistan and Iraq to plunge the world into an endless brutal state of war, it was because the slighly less mad man in Pyongyong keeps gloating that he has the nuke and the missiles to reach the bully’s home turf. Trump can’t, of course, ignore that North Korea has a guardian angel in China, another benignly nuclear-armed giant and that if push came to shove, Putin is not the one to back out. If Trump boasts credit for the expected talks with Kim Jong Un, he is lying; it is that it was Xi Jingpin who drew the line for both. Jong-Un went to meet Xi Jingping and went home with a basketful of assurances.
Is it safe for any nation on the globe to be nuclear-armed? Gosh, no. Any time an idiot lights the fuse, this planet could go up in smoke in a couple of days. That said, as long as the irresponsible gun-trotting global bully does not dismantle its stockpile, every responsible nation in the world should stock a certain safe number of the same payload. So happens that Russia, with a head start (after the bully) at the race for the genocidal weapon is second in the run on the steeple chase, and there are others right behind the Russians. That makes for the equilibrium, a regrettably desirable state of affairs.