IN 1994 JIMMY CARTER WENT TO NORTH KOREA FOR PRESIDENT CLINTON TO STOP A THREATENED WAR OVER NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
Illuminations by Kathy Brahney
Nagasaki post U.S. atomic bomb - 1945
The news is bad. The news is frightening. North Korea threatens the U.S. by building a nuclear weapon. We are “locked and loaded” against them, as in a Times Herald 8-12-17 headline. This news is not new. As a sub-headline explained we’ve been so prepared since 1953. And they had begun developing a nuclear bomb in 1994, aided by Pakistan [our erstwhile allies in our Afghan wars.] They might now be actually able to mount one on a missile, after 23 years working on it. I wrote an op-ed on this in the Detroit News, 6-28-1994, “North Korea: U.S. displays a nuclear double standard.”
The North Koreans had withdrawn from the Non-Proliferation Treaty to make their own atom bombs. They and the rest of the Non-nukes nations had been waiting since 1968, the date of the treaty, for the U.S. and other nuclear weapon possessing nations to disarm and destroy their weapons [our part of the agreement]. That was 26 years past due then, and everyone’s still waiting almost 50 years later.
For the first time this year, we and the other 7 nations with established nuclear capability [Russia, China, U.K., France, Israel, Pakistan, and India] did not even attend the Non-Proliferation Treaty conference which has been regularly scheduled every 5 years since 1968. So at this recent United Nations meeting the rest of the world voted to make nuclear weapons illegal in international law. They’ve lost patience, and more will perhaps try to go it on their own, to join the elite club of those owning thermonuclear bombs.
If we don’t feel safe at this point with just North Korea’s aspirations, what will that future bring? The more nuclear nations the merrier? The bombastic rhetoric is escalating with both U.S. and N.K. leaders caught in a war of words. Most discouraging to me [believing neither wants mass destruction] is that both are promoting an arms race that will further tax their people, squandering their resources instead of giving citizens productive work to meet their real needs. And the U.S. has never faced countrywide famine as North Korea has.
In the words of former President Eisenhower, “This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."
Christ and the Holocaust - Chagall
I grew up in the Cold War, born 2 years after we exploded the only atomic bombs ever used in war. We’d won WWII, but we never had enough weapons. First there was the “Bomber Gap,” then there was the “Missile Gap.” A glossy annual report, “Soviet Military Power” published by our intelligence services, was regularly passed out to Congress and the media. The “madman” was then the Communist. The Soviet Union dissolved, but we’ve always had a new madman to fill the gap. Grandpa Kim Il Sung during the Korean War, the Ayatollah, the Sandinistas, Hezbollah, Osama bin Laden, Saddam, Assad, Kim Jong il, now Kim Jong Un, etc.. Be afraid, build more, and more deadly, weapons has been our mantra. Weapons are the way to win we believe, and being clearly the most weaponized, this is the pre-emptive message we send to the rest of the world.
s the dominant military power on earth, it is incumbent upon us to lead in disarmament. “Do as I say not as I do” will not work. We must be not afraid to disarm. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world if he lose his own soul.” With the great excess of nuclear firepower on our planet, to do otherwise does risk destruction like the world has never seen. Someone will make a mistake, which will cause certain climate change and global warming precipitously, and unimaginable suffering.
For Christians we are given assurance many times by Jesus, “Be not afraid.” We must be “wise as serpents and gentle as doves.” We have to learn that “those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” Matt. 26:52 We must not be afraid to love even our enemy; to do unto all others as we would have them do unto us.
We face a N. Korea shakedown threat engendered by both parties. The most definite effect: increase of our [and their] peoples’ onerous taxing investments for military industries. The U.S. has a perpetual “be afraid” budget. There is a constant fear-mongering, lobby marketing of our weapons of mass destruction [$100 billion now dedicated to their “modernization”]. We hear a constant counter-message to Jesus’ repeated admonition, “Be not afraid.” Can we not listen to His words, this Good News, and believe?
Illuminations by Kathy Brahney