Abolition of Nuclear Weapons’ Nobel Not So Noble

ICAN got the 2017 Peace Nobel for advocating the abolition of nuclear weapons. Fine. However, not that simple. The world faces a “nuclear crisis” from a “bruised ego”, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) warned in an apparent reference to what is often reductively described as “US-North Korea tensions” (because the entire planet should be concerned by North Korean histrionic ideology).

The nine nuclear weapons states objected. In particular, France, the US and the UK didn’t send their ambassadors to the prize ceremony, something which never happened before.

The case those so-called democracies make is that nuclear weapons enable dissuasion, and thus make war between great, and greatly reasonable, powers unimaginable. That’s an important point: I don’t know of a span of 62 years in the last 3,000 years without war between great powers somewhere. All the wars since 1945 have been anecdotes (although some civil wars killed up to 33% of the population, as in Cambodia).

So France, the USA and the UK are right: paradoxically, nuclear weapons save lives.

A campaign led by ICAN was launched to abolish nuclear weapons. ICAN, a coalition of hundreds of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Geneva-based group helped pave the way for the introduction of a UN treaty banning the weapons, which was signed this year.

While 122 countries backed the treaty in July, the talks were notably boycotted by the world’s nine known nuclear powers and the only Nato member to discuss it, the Netherlands, voted against. Australia has maintained a longstanding opposition to a nuclear weapons ban treaty. Russia, France, UK, USA opposed the treaty, China abstained.

The most Christian city of Nagasaki was spared not: the bomb was dropped over the cathedral. Two-thirds of the Christians in the region died. However, those 10,000 innocents didn’t die in vain: within 20 hours, Japan decide to surrender.

Only three countries, the fanatics in the Vatican, the so-called Holy See, Guyana (population less than 800,000) and Thailand (a military dictatorship) have so far ratified the treaty, which requires 50 ratifications to come into force (according to UN law).

I am also, of course for the abolition of nuclear weapons. However, first of all, even in the best of possible worlds, nuclear explosives should be at the ready, be it only to bust an interstellar asteroid, a hyperbolic comet, or god knows what else (this utterance does not mean I agree to the existence of god for the purpose of this essay).

The United Nations should have nuclear weapons at its disposal, in the present state of international politics, where nations would engage in significant wars at a distance (consider Syria, Yemen, Hezbollah, etc.). And who has nukes officially at the UN? The five permanent members, countries, which, historically, contributed more to civilization than to its opposite.


When the prize was attributed, a survivor of Hiroshima, Setsuko Thurlow, an 85-year-old survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and now a Canadian and ICAN campaigner talked. Ms Thurlow was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building at the time. She said that most of her classmates, who were in the same room, were burned alive. “Processions of ghostly figures shuffled by,” she said, as she received the prize. “Grotesquely wounded people, they were bleeding, burnt, blackened and swollen…This is unacceptable human suffering. No human being should ever experience what we experienced.”

I have myself nearly cried, reading the description of the suffering of little children at Hiroshima. However, probably more than twenty million children died in World War Two, a conflict that killed probably more than 100 million people (5% of humanity then). The Japanese, in particular, should be contrite: the Japanese political system, culture and general Zeitgeist was directly causative of World War Two. To this day, WWII war criminals are honored officially in Japan.

Japan killed at least in a rapport of twenty to one: for one Japanese killed, twenty non-Japanese were killed by the Japanese. Call that high efficiency. Most Japanese killed were Japanese soldiers who died from bad treatment in their own army! They died of disease, and, or, malnutrition. Officially, 3.1 million Japanese citizens died in World War Two, says the Japanese government (others say only 2.5 million).  Number of Japanese civilians killed? 550,000 to 800,000, including the victims of strategic bombing (Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, etc.)

The full Japanese cabinet met on 14:30 on August 9, hours after the Nagasaki bombing. The cabinet spent the day debating surrender. War minister Anami told the cabinet that, under torture, a captured American Mustang fighter pilot had told his interrogators that the United States possessed 100 atom bombs and that Tokyo and Kyoto would be bombed “in the next few days”. The pilot, Marcus McDilda, was lying. McDilda, who had been shot down off the coast of Japan two days after the Hiroshima bombing, told his interrogators what he thought they wanted to hear to end the torture. The lie caused him to be classified as a VIP prisoner, probably saving him from beheading. In truth, the United States would not have had the third bomb ready for use until August 19, with a fourth in September 1945 and then approximately three a month thereafter. The third bomb would have probably been used against Sapporo, to demonstrate America’s ability to deliver the weapon all over Japan.

Following a second meeting, Prime Minister Suzuki and foreign minister Tōgō met the Emperor, and proposed an impromptu conference which started just before midnight on the night of August 9–10. Japan’s inability to defend itself was pondered. No consensus emerged. At around 02:00 (August 10), Suzuki finally addressed Emperor Hirohito, asking him to decide. The Emperor stated:

“I have given serious thought to the situation prevailing at home and abroad and have concluded that continuing the war can only mean destruction for the nation and prolongation of bloodshed and cruelty in the world. I cannot bear to see my innocent people suffer any longer. …

I was told by those advocating a continuation of hostilities that by June new divisions would be in place in fortified positions [at Kujūkuri Beach, east of Tokyo] ready for the invader when he sought to land. It is now August and the fortifications still have not been completed. …

There are those who say the key to national survival lies in a decisive battle in the homeland. The experiences of the past, however, show that there has always been a discrepancy between plans and performance. I do not believe that the discrepancy in the case of Kujūkuri can be rectified. Since this is also the shape of things, how can we repel the invaders? [Hirohito then made some specific reference to the increased destructiveness of the atomic bomb.]

“It goes without saying that it is unbearable for me to see the brave and loyal fighting men of Japan disarmed. It is equally unbearable that others who have rendered me devoted service should now be punished as instigators of the war. Nevertheless, the time has come to bear the unbearable. …

I swallow my tears and give my sanction to the proposal to accept the Allied proclamation on the basis outlined by the Foreign Minister.”

Japanese society, and Hirohito himself was culprit of World War Two. Hiroshima and Nagasaki cured it: within four days of the sun of satan rising over Hiroshima, Japan had decided to capitulate, and nuclear explosions were the main reason.

ICAN should learn history.

Beatrice Fihn, leader of ICAN referred to increasing tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development. “Nuclear weapons do not prevent conflicts. They caused this conflict”.

She is dissembling and lying: enveloping a lie into a truth, to help swallow it.  

The problem of war is vast. It’s related to our increasing powers. Nuclear weapons are just an aspect. To prevent war, one needs truth. When ICAN lies, it helps war. Truthiness helps war. At all sorts of scale.

Patrice Ayme’




Tags: , ,

8 Responses to “Abolition of Nuclear Weapons’ Nobel Not So Noble”

  1. SDM Says:

    The US has yet to invade or attack any nuclear power. Hence those who seek nuclear weapons have at least one good reason.


  2. purasuchikku Says:

    Schoolboy textbook interpretation of what marked the beginning of the end (or the end of the beginning?) of Western (US) moral supremacy. Color me disappointed.

    Really, the US was well aware (Japanese diplomatic cables were systematically decrypted) that by June 1945, following the fall of Okinawa, the Japanese intended to seek peace, sending ambassadors to Stalin (Captain Hindsight would laugh at that one) and other neutral countries to broker negotiations. This diplomatic effort was too little, too late: half of the Supreme Council members were still hardcore f****wits bent on the “victory or death” strategy and hindered the pro-peace endeavors of Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo and the Emperor (yes).

    More importantly, the news that the Japanese were reaching out to Stalin was counterproductive in a context of intense struggle between the US and the USSR in shaping the post-war world. After the death of Roosevelt, who had apparently managed to conciliate with Uncle Jo at Yalta, Truman took a much more hardened stance towards the Soviet Union and sought to impose his (childish) views by force. When New Mexico reported in with the success of Trinity, Truman was reportedly ecstatic, and the decision to use the bomb was surely taken in his mind that very day.

    The bomb would abruptly end the war on a high note, without lengthy negotiations and a bloody invasion from the South. It would deter Soviet views on a Japan invasion (an unjustified fear, as there is no way the depleted Soviet navy would have gathered the necessary means for attacking Hokkaido), and put the US in a position of strength at the table in Potsdam. And indeed, it did. But in this display of God-like might, the US sacrificed the legitimacy of its new found posture of Fighter for Freedom and the Greater Human Good (TM).

    Unforgiveness, ruthlessness, lack of empathy, all are common traits found in so-called Great Conquerors and remembered military figures. Ancient empires, Timur, Crusaders, Saladin, Napoleon, even First World War generals on both sides, they fitted the old Sun Tzu mould, the end justifies the means etc… But in what was perceived in the West as a coming of age for Humanity, the advent of Modern Times and the emergence of Man as a unique entity, those barbaric times were thought irrelevant, stored in history books for edification. The grotesque horrors of the Second World War busted the bubble, but still, as long as they could be pinned down on “Nazi insanity” and “Oriental cruelty”, we (civilized Europeans and God-chosen Americans) could cope and try to preserve a moral cornerstone. The decision to annihilate whole cities at the push of a button put a decisive end to this sorry excuse.

    Of course, pragmatists will say, why not use a tool when you have it? Killing 300,000 people in an instant is surely better than having 800,000 killed over 6 months, it is more EFFICIENT. Let’s just put aside other insignificant variables (civilians or not, military value of target, proportionate response…), Occam’s razor is your friend. Seeing the world, history, human relationships in terms of efficiency is Modernity’s curse to Reality, and unfortunately, it comes with a price: the way you see is also the way you see yourself – a machine.

    “Morality needs Intelligence” maybe, but it works both ways. Failing that, you become the monster you are fighting. Having the bomb in your arsenal is moral, as long as you are not the only one to have it (Leo Szilard or Klaus Fuchs would have made great Nobel Peace Price recipients). Using it on a defenseless population with no sense of emergency is not.


    • Gmax Says:

      Patrice mentioned in past that 20,000 people were dying each day the war was going on. So the bombs killed 10 days worth of war.

      You forget Japan was busy killing half of China everyday.

      Landing in Japan were not going to happen for a very long time, US high command expected a million dead to start with. Japan would have starved to death too.

      Also a bit of excess in the defense of democracy is no real excess.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      How does one lose moral superiority by saving millions of lives versus the alternative?
      This is a serious question. I have an essay ready to go, to answer you. I thought it was fair to ask you the question first. It was not a matter of killing 800,000. In 6 months, but at least 3, and probably 15… Yes 15 MILLIONS.
      Right, efficiency, at the limit is moral. The Mores is what survives. The Japan military pluto attacks of the 1930s, unfortunately following SATANIC Germany were not… efficient.


    • EugenR Says:

      It’s needed to say, that Japan still occupied most of East Asia including big parts of China. Japan under pretext of defending Asia from the European imperialism implemented it’s own imperialistic policy, using unprecedented atrocities against the local population. Do not forget also Japan’s aliance with the Nazi Germany a horrible crime by itself. If the US would have atomic bombs to drop on Berlin at 1942, most of the victims of WWII would be saved, and Stalin and his decendents, who were not much better than him, would not occupy half of Europe for half century.


      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        Excellent point, Eugen. Actually the FRENCH, starting in January 1938, had decided to ATOM BOMB Nazi Germany. They launched the project which became the manhattan Project 3 years later, using Irene Curie’s discovery of the fission nuclear chain reaction.
        So the French themselves with their human rights obsession viewed atom bombing the out of control fascists a humanitarian gesture, which it is, unfortunately.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Purasuchikku: 2,500+ words answer essay to you has been posted:


What do you think? Please join the debate! The simplest questions are often the deepest!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: