July 1990 (vol. 6, #5)
1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9, Tucson AZ 85716 c
1990 J Orient
``The present Soviet reality gives Americans some cause for concern,'' writes Alexei Pushkov in the July 8-15, 1990, issue of Moscow News. ``To begin with, few Americans believe the official Soviet figures concerning the country's defence budget. The figures are put into doubt even by the Soviet press. Besides, the way the Soviet defence budget is drawn up is still a secret....
``The general instability inside the USSR only aggravates Americans' concern....The thought of civil war in a country which has at its disposal thousands of nuclear warheads is indeed terrifying.''
The Soviets themselves are possibly even more concerned. Troubled by rising levels of crime, thefts of conventional weapons, accidents and personnel problems within the military, the Soviet government is moving to ``consolidate its control over its estimated 33,000 nuclear warheads'' (Wall Street J 6/22/90). Nuclear warheads are being moved out of the Baltic states and volatile southern republics into areas believed to be more stable politically. If the Soviet Union were to break up into independent republics, Kazakhstan, with its large Moslem population, could become one of the world's most potent nuclear powers. It is the site of two SS-18 bases.
``Whose fingers are on the button?'' asked Bruce G. Blair, a Brookings Institution researcher, commenting on the security of the codes used for launching and arming nuclear weapons.
``There is no nation more menacing than the one undergoing civil war,'' stated Guiseppe Sacco, editor of the European Journal of International Affairs, at the recent meeting of the Committee for the Free World. He referred to Roman history at the time of Pompey, and to the fact that Britain was never more feared and respected than in the time of Cromwell.
The breakup of the Soviet Empire could add overnight to the number of powers equipped with nuclear and ballistic missile technology. But even without such an occurrence, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction continues.
India is planning to acquire a second nuclear submarine from the Soviet Union. The first such submarine (named Chakra) was the type equipped with sea-launched cruise missiles, which can carry nuclear warheads. (The Chakra was leased for training purposes and was not armed with nuclear weapons.) The second submarine will be sold rather than leased, and restrictions against use in combat have been lifted. If the Indian Navy doubles in size, it will be a major regional power capable of projecting an ``extra-regional presence,'' according to Admiral J. Nadkarni, its Chief of Staff (Moscow News 7/8-15/90).
In 1989, India launched a two-stage ballistic missile (the Agni) on a flight of 1,500 miles. The missile utilizes space-launch technology provided by France and the Soviet Union. India is building several missile testing sites. It has refused to be part of the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and openly tested a nuclear device in 1974.
Pakistan refuses to allow international controls on its uranium-enrichment program. Former leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto reportedly said that Pakistanis would be willing to ``eat grass,'' if necessary, to counter India's nuclear capability. Pakistan claims to have tested a short-range missile and plans to develop a missile with a 375-mile range.
The lead article in the August, 1990, Scientific American also describes other missiles under development in 14 nations, and the means by which technology reaches users for whom it was not intended. It also explains how the missiles might be used to devastating effect, even without nuclear technology. A Soviet Scud B missile (designed to carry either a nuclear, conventional, or chemical warhead) that released 1,200 pounds of chemical agent VX from a height of 4,000 feet could kill half the people in a strip 0.3 mile wide and 2.5 miles long.
Although an increasingly unstable
world situation would seem to make an ever more persuasive case
for homeland defense, Scientific American writers Janne Nolan
and Albert Wheelon recommend only ``confidence and security building
measures'' to ``ease suspicions.'' While counseling that ``realism
need not be a pretext for fatalism,'' they give little reason
for optimism about the success of their proposals: ``the US should
recognize the waning of its influence on the global arms race.''
Shelter on Tour
About 1.5 million people in the Northeastern US will have the opportunity this summer and fall to see and touch the mobile steel shelter that was displayed at the last annual meeting of DDP. Steve Alley, founder of the New England Civil Defense Association (NECDA), has planned an extensive tour, with the support of the local, state, and national American Legion. Benjamin Berry Post 50 in Unity, ME, was the first American Legion Post to add hardware to rhetoric in support of civil defense. The shelter was at the Twelve Oaks Fair in Lincoln, ME, July 19-22 and will be at the Bangor State Fair July 26-Aug 5. NECDA and the American Legion will be cosponsoring the exhibit at the Allentown Fair, Aug 27-Sept 3. In Allentown, High Frontier will have a display next to the shelter and will show the films Spaceship Experimental(the SSX) and One Incoming, written by Tom Clancy the film whose screening was scuttled at the White House, purportedly because it wasn't produced by the bureaucracy.