fighting the lack of good ideas

nuclear proliferation

First of all, I don’t think the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons is a bad thing. Nuclear power is nearly fool-proof, runs a long time on very little fuel, and is cheap to maintain. There are potential issues with disposing of the waste from the plants, and if a catastrophe does occur, it could be very messy (like Chernobyl in ’86).

However, just because a country is benefiting from the realtively cheap and clean form of energy generation that nuclear fuels provide does not mean that it should engage in weapons production. Especially if that country is known to be allied with terrorists. The only reason I like the United States having nuclear weapons is to use them as a deterrent to other nations from using any such weapons they may acquire. I’m not especially thrilled that such destructive power can be unleashed by any nation – or in the current international arena, by anyone with enough money to buy one.

There is a line in the movie The Peacemaker where Nicole Kidman’s character says, “it’s not the man who has 9 warheads that scares me – it’s the man who only has one”. Nations like the US, Russia, the UK, Israel, France, Germany, India, and even China aren’t likely threats to use their nuclear arsenal. The very fact they have relatively large reserves of such weapons indicates their retisence to use them.

On the other hand, a terrorist organization, like Al Qaida, or a terror-sponsoring nation such as Iran could very well intend to use whatever meager arsenal they accumulate. Similar to the Secret Service’s inability to stop a truly dedicated single assassin, stopping nations who have publicly said they don’t like their neighbors, or even the west in general, and claim they will use such devices to impact those other countries, is very difficult, and can only be done before such tools have been built.

I personally think the United States made a mistake when we attacked Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power and give the people of Iraq the opportunity to be free: we left his neighbors alone. While we were in the area, and especially if we had massed more troops in preparation, we could’ve easily wiped out Iran’s and Syria’s homicidal leaders. In recent weeks, Iran’s president has openly said their goal is to develop nuclear weapons to use against Israel and their allies. Sitting around and waiting for this to happen is not in our – or the world’s – best interest.

The United States has been a bastion of freedom and liberty for over 200 years, never leaping into war early, or without provocation. However, in a post-Cold War era, there has been increasingly a need to keep tabs on so-called rogue nations and their leaders. In the 80’s we supported Saddam in his war againt Iran. In hindsight, it was a bad idea, since we had to go in and clean him out from his maniacal dictatorship to be responsible citizens in a ‘global economy’. Homicidal leaders, supporters of terrorism, and otherwise ‘evil’ men and women need to be removed from places of power.

I am sure there are such people in the United States and other western countries, but so far our populaces have been able to keep them out of blatantly destructive positions of power as a general rule. Unfortunately, we have turned a blind eye to the rise of oppressive regimes in other parts of the world in the name of keeping our economy running smoothly, or maintaining the ‘peace’. Men like Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il, Mohamar Qadaffi, Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, and many others have been allowed to continue their oppressive dictatorhips because it is ‘too much effort’ to stop them.

During the years of economic sanctions on Iraq, Saddam still made out like a bandit. In a totalitarian environment, those in power will do anything they can to stay in power – from taking bribes to starving their people to killing any dissidents. Such leaders are dangerous not just to their people and nations, but to others as well. How much economic and personal hardship has the dictatorship of Fidel Castro caused in Cuba? Or the senseless violence and repression under Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders? Pol Pot was responsible for the deaths of millions of his citizens.

As a Christian, I acknowledge that all forms of authority have been ordained by God for some purpose. However, evil rulers are not exempt from responsibility for what they do. In Exodus we are shown the example of Pharoah who was given many opportunities to repent – or at least capitulate – but who hardened himself against God and His people. God used many wicked nations to bring judgement on His chosen race of Israel for their disobedience to His laws. In the New Testament, King Herod was consumed by worms on his throne for not giving glory to God for what He had allowed him to accomplish.

I disagree with those who consider the United States to be God’s new chosen land. Under the New Covenant all who have been truly saved are members of God’s Kingdom – regardless of where they reside in this life. However, I also hold that those with power and influence should use that power to accomplish good whenever they can. I believe we have accomplished a great deal of good in Iraq by removing Saddam from power. I belive we did a great deal of good in Afghanistan by removing the Taliban from power. And I belive we can do a great deal more good in convincing other distasteful leaders to renounce their current ways of doing business.

With God’s help, I hope those leaders can be removed from power peacefully, or have their hearts changed by a work of Christ in their lives. However, if such cannot be accomplished, I think that peace-loving countries like the United States and like-minded allies have a responsibility to act on the behalf of those cannot – or will not – act for themselves.

Whether that always needs to be done with military action is up for debate, but something should, can, and must be done about these maniacal individuals. With their current political climates and leaders, countries like Iran, North Korea, Syria, and the Sudan should not be entrusted with the capacity to use nuclear weapons. Programs to build those – or, indeed any type of weapon of mass destruction – need to be opposed by the international community. But if the community is too afraid to do it, they must be opposed by those who aren’t afraid to do what is right.

I pray that God will convert men like Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But if He won’t, I pray He will give the community of freedom- and peace-loving nations in the world the guts to stand up to him.