The Russian agreement to the U.S.-initiated agreement to cut their strategic nuclear forces by two-thirds is astounding, given that this is playing directly into U.S. plans for global supremacy. For one thing, the U.S. is not going to actually destroy but only shelve the above cuts, at any time able to retrieve them from storage. The Russian nuclear military regime, on the other hand, is in shambles. Retrieval for them will be more difficult. At the same time, the Russians are actually requesting U.S. assistance to rationalize their nuclear regime, providing the U.S. with important intelligence data, such as the stored missile site.
But even worse, the basic motive of the U.S. in initiating these strategic missile cuts is to improve the effectiveness of their anti- ballistic missile defences, radically reducing the number of targets comprising a Russian attack on the U.S. Given the U.S. basic counterforce strategy, we are moving into a time when mutual assured destruction between the two major nuclear powers is becoming an American monopoly, altering the mutual to the unilateral. Do the Russians really believe that the land-based missile defences being constructed in Alaska and the new Northern Command are directed to an attack by Iraq?
The only possible rationale for the Russian position is that they are confident they can develop a variety of penetrating aids for their strategic missiles which will distract, confuse and overcome U.S. missile defences. We would then be entering a new dynamic of the nuclear arms race between anti-missiles and anti anti-missiles. Given the disarray of the Russian nuclear regime and their general economic problems, the latter may be a vain hope.
Thus we are left to conclude that the Russian position is inexplicable. They had the opportunity to tie strategic missile reductions in exchange for the U.S. to uphold the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Could it just have been the mighty U.S. dollar that denied them this option? For example, we know they desperately require assistance to clean up their vast nuclear reserves consisting of huge amounts of radioactive waste, large numbers of tactical weapons and stockpiles of weapons grade nuclear materials comprising an open invitation for accidents or acts of malice of one kind or another. Also we are witnessing an increasing U.S. presence in the former Soviet republics that surround Russia, at some future time representing a direct threat. And finally, we cannot understand Russia’s lack of response at being identified as one of the seven enemy states to be targeted with nuclear weapons in the U.S. 2002 Nuclear Posture Review, let alone the existing U.S. Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), a nuclear hit list against Russian targets of value. And surely they are aware of the U.S. first disarming strike policy.
Putin can still recoup a major diplomatic victory by supporting the forthcoming Space Preservation Treaty. Both Russia and China have expressed their opposition to the U.S. abrogation of the Anti- Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty of 1972. Together Canada, Russia and China could have a very positive impact on the success of the Treaty. The Space Preservation Treaty, initiated by Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), is being circulated to every nation state leader. It can be immediately signed and sent to the U.N. Secretary General’s office as Treaty Depositary, and ratified quickly.
The Space Preservation Treaty is an international companion to legislation introduced by Kucinich in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 3616, the Space Preservation Act of 2002, in January, 2002. Both the Treaty and the bill ban all space-based weapons and the use of weapons designed to destroy any object in space that is in orbit. It also immediately terminates research, development, testing, manufacturing, and deployment of all space- based weapons, but does not prohibit space exploration, R&D, testing, production, manufacturing and deployment of any civil, commercial or defense activities in space that are not related to space-based weapons, thus reserving space for the benefit of all living things on our small planet. This Treaty will also be verifiable. It requires that an outer space peacekeeping agency be established to monitor and enforce the ban.
The momentum of getting this Treaty supported and passed into law has begun, and this ban on space-based weapons can become reality in 2002. This world treaty will fill the legal void left by the abrogation of the ABM Treaty. It will replace the ABM Treaty. With the support of Canada, Russia and China a large majority of members of the United Nations would likely sign on to the Treaty, as most nation-state leaders have already expressed support for preserving space for weapons-free peaceful, cooperative purposes. The European Union (with the exception of Britain) are likely signatories. isolating the United States and exposing its unilateralism and contempt for the rest of the world is, in itself, a lofty goal. A possible change in the balance of power in the U.S. Congress at the end of 2002 and a strong contender for a president in 2004 devoted to strength through peace rather than the reverse, who could establish this Treaty as Universal Law and save the world from an inevitable nuclear catastrophe.
In conclusion, the Space Preservation Treaty is one of the most important initiatives of our time! It is truly worthy of our support. Let us all begin by moving Canada to be an early signatory.
For detailed information on the Space Preservation Treaty, contact the Institute for Cooperation in Space (ICIS) at www.peaceinspace.com, c/o Dr. Carol Rosin : e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-641-1999 (in the U.S.) or Alfred Webre JD MEd at email@example.com or call 604-733-8134 (in Canada).
*F.H. Knelman received his doctorate in Engineering at the Imperial College of Science, University of London, U.K. He has enjoyed a long teaching career, having taught Liberal Studies of Science, York University, 1962-1967 and Director and Full Professor of Science & Human Affairs, Concordia University, 1967-1987. Dr. Knelman also taught Peace Studies at the Grindstone Island Peace School, Santa Barbara College, Langara College and Simon Fraser University. As well, he taught Environmental Studies at UC Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz and the University of Victoria. He is the author of over 500 articles, papers and studies on the subjects of common security, environment, energy and the social relations of science and technology, as well as many technical papers and numerous keynote addresses.
Among his books are 1984 and All That, Wadsworth Publishing; Nuclear Energy: The Unforgiving Technology, Hurtig Publishers (1975); Anti-Nation: Transition to Sustainability, Mosaic Press (1979); Reagan, God and the Bomb, Prometheus Books (1985); America, God and the Bomb: The Legacy of Ronald Reagan, New Star Books (1987) and Every Life is a Story: The Social Relations of Science, Peace and Ecology, Black Rose Books (1999).
He is the recipient of many awards, among which are the World Wildlife Fund Prize, 1967, the World Federalists Peace Essay Prize (1970), the White Owl Conservation Prize (1972 – as Canada’s outstanding environmentalist), the Ben Gurion University Medal of Merit, 1983, the United Nations Association Special Achievement Award (Montreal) and a special award for meritorious service to the cause of common security by the Canadian Peace Research and Education Association in 1987. Dr. Knelman was awarded the Queen’s 1992 Commemorative Medal and, in 1994 the World Federalists of Canada “World Peace Prize.” In 1996 he was awarded the Environmental Lifetime Achievement Award by The Skies Above Foundation. He is also a lifetime member of the 500 Club of Rome.
Professor Knelman has a long history of involvement in environmental issues, spanning some forty years. He is associated with the founding of the earliest environmental Non-Government Organizations (ENGOs) in Canada, as well as being the founder of Scientists for Social Responsibility, Canada’s first scientific group concerned with environmental issues (1964). He is currently Vice- President and Founding Director of the Whistler Foundation for a Sustainable Environment. Dr. Knelman was attached to the Science Council of Canada on a major energy conservation study (Background Study #33). He is on the Advisory Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Santa Barbara, CA and past Editor of The Health Guardian, a Journal of Alternative Medicine.
Dr. Knelman has conducted extensive research in energy/environment policy. He has been the keynote speaker at some twenty-five national and international conferences on these themes. In 1981 he was the special adviser on energy/environment to the State of California and an early consultant to the Federal Department of Environment, Ottawa, in the 1970’s. He was one of forty scientists in the world invited to a parallel conference at the U.N. Conference on the Human Environment, Stockholm, 1972. He co-authored a Nobel Prize Winner Declaration submitted to the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio.
Dr. Knelman is a founding member of the Canadian Peace and Education Association and writes a regular monthly column, “Our Nuclear Age” for the Vancouver-based journal “Outlook” and is a frequent contributor to several other journals.