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  • Aaron Jamal

The Fierce Urgency of US Denuclearization

Photo Credit: Castle Bravo


The United States, according to Samir Amin, has, along with its lieutenants the European Union and Japan, transformed imperialism into a collective imperialism. Since the destruction of the Soviet Union and the imperial response to African decolonization, this collective imperialism has aimed to establish unquestioned military control over the whole Earth. In order to accomplish this, this triad defends, with a viciousness, its exclusive control over five monopolies. These monopolies include 1) mass communication systems, 2) monetary and financial systems, 3) technological superiority, 4) exclusive access to rare natural resources and finally, 5) weapons of mass destruction. The final of these five monopolies is the focus of this essay.

Weapons of mass destruction have their beginning long before the 2003 destruction of the Iraqi nation-state at the hands of the Bush II government. The British planned to use open germ warfare against indigenous peoples in Pittsburgh, PA in 1763. The Second World War saw entire cities destroyed by aerial bombardment. The war on Vietnam resulted in the systematic destruction, over generations, of Vietnamese peoples who were targeted by chemical defoliants and, in 1972, the US Air Force seeded clouds to prolong the monsoon season in Vietnam in an attempt to drown the communists that were using the Ho Chi Minh trail.

Of course, nuclear weapons are the most notorious form of WMDs; the sheer monstrosity of Nagasaki and Hiroshima loom large to this day. At the same time, hardly any attention is paid to the nuclear colonialism perpetrated against indigenous peoples in the southwest US. In 1954, the United States secretly tested a new high-yield thermonuclear weapon in the Bikini Atoll. This bomb was 1,000 times more powerful than either weapon that obliterated the two Japanese cities mentioned above. The fallout affected the entire globe in the weeks and months after its detonation, and Indigenous peoples in and near the Marshall Islands suffer from cancers and birth defects that linger to this day.

Soon after the US obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the USSR began to develop their nuclear capability. The Cuban Missile Crisis and the prevention of nuclear warfare by the communists of the third world forced President John F. Kennedy to announce a unilateral nuclear weapon test moratorium in 1963. This speech led to the Limited Test Ban treaty. This set the framework for the next 50 years of nuclear weapons negotiations, summarized in the image below.

On February 5th of 2021, the New Start treaty will expire, leaving open the possibility of a renewed nuclear arms race in the 21st century. This is a distinct possibility that Republican Senate leadership was already planning for:

“The United States has begun to modernize its nuclear triad, which is made up of airplanes carrying nuclear bombs or cruise missiles; submarines carrying ballistic missiles; and land-based ballistic missiles housed in silos. DOD is developing new delivery systems for all three legs of the triad, as all of the current delivery options were designed before the end of the Cold War. Fully supporting these programs and keeping the triad intact is critical to U.S. national security. China and Russia are well ahead of the U.S. in their modernization programs.”

US Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman Roy Blunt is clear: US military doctrine is predicated on the ultimate threat of nuclear weapons erasing geographies from the globe.

The collective imperialism, led by the United States, wastes no time in demonizing other countries that try to assert an independent path. This strategy includes open military attacks (like the strike against Iran just one year ago) & political interventions (recently defeated by revolutionary movements in Bolivia) that seek to destroy not just states, but whole nations and societies that dare to chart a path alternative to the dictates of Washington. Iran & Bolivia are not rogue states, and neither one of them has administered nuclear destruction. In fact, the principal rogue state in the equation has and continues to be the United States, with its blatant disregard of international treaties and wanton destruction of nations and peoples around the world.

We need a mass US based movement against imperialism and nuclear war. This movement cannot resign itself to empty slogans or meaningless peace signs. This social force must be a movement of revolutionary organizations that build a base at scale and aim to transform all of US society. In order to break the imperialist grip on the five monopolies, we need permanent independent political organizations. These organizations must be able to take over state governments across the US, principally in the US southeast and southwest. If we want to abolish the potential for nuclear armageddon, we need those revolutionaries in solidarity with the people of the world to take over the governing institutions of US society.

Come February 5th, we will be closer to nuclear war than at any other point in the last half century. The newly inaugurated Biden Administration must prioritize denuclearization, not nuclear modernization. The clock is ticking and time is of the essence.

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