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The Real Threat: British Nukes?

Posted By Mark D. Tooley On April 14, 2010 @ 12:03 am In FrontPage | 21 Comments

British churches, suffering from shrinking attendance, membership and influence, want to further diminish their nation’s influence by urging its nuclear disarmament.

The pathway to international peace is for Great Britain first to place all its nukes under international control and then to abolish nukes altogether, according to “Now Is  the Time,” an anti-nuke campaign by the Churches of England, Scotland and Wales, plus the British Methodists, Quakers, Baptists, and Reformed, along with parts of the Catholic Bishops’ conferences of England, Wales and Scotland.

“The Church of Scotland has long held the conviction that nuclear weapons serve no useful purpose for humanity,” the Moderator of the once formidable Church of Scotland recently disclaimed.  “We and others in the Christian family have led the way in challenging the morality of nuclear weapons. Our human calling is to choose life over death and the alleviation of poverty over nuclear weapons.”

In verbiage straight out of the 1980’s era nuclear freeze campaigns, the Scottish church moderator posits that dollars funding nukes equals dollars taken from starving children.  In fact, then as now, nuclear weapons are generally less expensive than their conventional alternatives.   The American nuclear umbrella protected Western Europe from Soviet aggression partly because the U.S. and NATO were unwilling to sustain conventional forces equal to the mammoth Red Army’s.

Religious Left anti-nuclear slogans pretend that all military expenditures further impoverish the already destitute. But the total military expenditures of all Western democracies, even at the Cold War’s height, were a fraction of total wealth, and never came close to equaling the equivalent expenditures of the Soviet Union and other totalitarian adversaries.  The pose that military defense harms the poor ignores that a sufficient military posture helps to ensure peace and freedom for all.  How can the value of such a gift be minimized?

Oddly, the Religious Left, despite its claimed spiritual interests, tends to focus exclusively on material benefits.  An unrestricted welfare state is for it always more important than more ethereal goals such as liberty.  “The time to scrap nuclear arsenals is now,” the Scottish church moderator insisted.  “At a time when voters are asking difficult questions about the best use of tax revenues for the benefit of the maximum number of citizens we have to consider the financial implications as well as the moral. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is an opportunity to make that difference and to save lives for generations to come.”

“Now Is the Time” from the British churches, along with similar disarmament campaigns from the international Religious Left, is focused on the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference next month in New York.   Although purportedly concerned about non-proliferation, the Religious Left naturally is never very concerned about rogue regimes like Iran’s or North Korea’s procuring nukes.  Instead, its focus is always on disarming the United States or Great Britain.  Ostensibly, disarmed Western democracies will serve as irresistible moral examples to radical Islamist clerics and North Korean apparatchiks, along with other tyrannies that believe nukes, justifiably, will expand their sinister global influence.

Of course, the Religious Left fails to distinguish morally between Western democracies seeking to defend their people and deter war and tyrannical rogue regimes focused exclusively on perpetuating their villainy.  If anything, the Religious Left believes the democratic West is morally inferior to its adversaries.  But more profoundly, the Religious Left neglects the traditions of its own professed faith by pretending that human nature is perfectible and that justice can be achieved through simple good will.   The Religious Left is not interested that nuclear armed Western democracies have in fact deterred countless wars while upholding the freedoms of their own peoples and spreading those freedoms internationally.  And the Religious Left will never understand that a disarmed West, particularly a pacifist United States, would only open a cavernous power vacuum that far more sinister powers would lustily attempt to fill, creating ever greater dangers to peace and liberty for all.

In short, the Religious Left and its well intentioned fellow travelers focus on the world as they wish rather than a world as it is.  “We believe that the use or threat of use of weapons of mass destruction is immoral,” proclaimed Welsh church prelates last month.  “We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to seize the opportunity to put in place a new legally binding verifiable and universal agreement to eliminate all nuclear weapons.”

The Welsh churchmen acknowledged the “spread and increasing accessibility of nuclear technology and the threat that this poses to our security.”  But naturally, they did not name any rogue states or describe why “our security” should even be a Christian concern, since the Religious Left prefers to denigrate “security” as an idol that true people of faith renounce in favor of trust and harmony.   These churchmen said they were “encouraged” by reductions in the American and Russian nuclear arsenals.  But how did the U.S. and the old Soviet Union move away from nuclear confrontation?  Was it by following the Religious Left’s demand for American unilateral disarmament or was it instead by American resolution until the Soviet Union collapsed and neither nation had any major strategic interest in overwhelming the other?  The Religious Left prefers not to answer this question.

“Most Christians believe that economic, social and political action is the best way to build positive relationships with countries that are perceived as a threat, in a world where peace, justice and security go hand in hand,” enthuses the Archbishop of Wales.  But the Cold War would not have ended so relatively peacefully had the United States relied strictly on “economic, social and political action.”  The Welsh Archbishop concludes:  “We cannot continue to threaten other countries by our possession of nuclear weapons, and at the same time denounce theirs.”

Who in the world today loses sleep because Great Britain has nukes, besides the Welsh Archbishop and a few other similarly wooly minded British clerics?  Spiritually and politically mature church prelates theoretically might offer helpful moral counsel on nuclear weapons. But more often than not, the more outspoken clerics in Britain and elsewhere merely echo the morally numb Religious Left in treating all nations as morally indistinguishable from naughty children in a sand box.


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