" Europe abandons, Asia undertakes"
By Pierre-Marie Gallois
In Western Europe, it would seem that it is not known how to get rid of the nuclear weapon and even, more generally, of the energy of atomic origin. In the other place, in the world and more especially in the countries of the Pacific Asia zone, this is the opposite concern, which undertakes. These various attitudes meet, certainly, specific interests.
1. Exploitation of nuclear energy
In the West, the USA always seemed have wanted to keep the monopoly of applications of substance's disintegration. They knew that it was going to be a factor of independence, even the rivalries, not only as to the energy used in the industrial field, but, mainly, in all that dealing with the defense. Who owns the atom, once "militarized" it gives him a power of national intimidation, which, without excepting the unions and the collective protection, allows him to lack all this.
On the other hand, the countries having significant power resources of fossil origin, mainly the petroleum and the natural gas, have seen in the energy of nuclear origin a serious competitor, capable to lessen their role as main supplier countries, which is the origin of their unique fortune and sometimes their natural wealth. Therefore, they started secretly a campaign to limit the recourse to the " civil " nuclear, forcing to show the dangers that could present the appropriate installations and also, with the "militarization" of the atom, its distribution.
During the half of the century, which has just ended, the industrial power, especially the northern western hemisphere have used these two forms of energy. It will be completely differently with the accelerated development of big countries from the Pacific Asia zone, the States with billions of human lives being simultaneously greedy to the energy and basing their security on a power of intimidation of the mutually owned atom. The experts estimate that from now on until 2050 the general consumption of energy is going to grow until then it will become 3 times more significant than it is not at the beginning of a new century. The part of the nuclear is about 15 % at present. But, in order to limit the catastrophes created by the greenhouse effect, it would be doubtlessly necessary at least to double the world ability of energy production, beginning with the disintegration of the substance, and to reduce the production of fossil resources, such as the petroleum, the gas, and mainly the coal. In view of their growth and population, the countries of the Pacific Asia are going to be better off even more widely thanks to the atom. For example, China began to import petroleum in 1993. It intends to influence its sovereignty on the ensemble of the Chinese Sea, in order to be able to use the deposits, which are at a certain distance from their coast. Except these gigantic hydro-electrical works and the fossil resources, from which they hope to take a share, they will increase their area of nuclear stations. Japan studies itself an installation capable to function at 100 % with MOX (oxide of uranium and recycled plutonium).
In addition, the recent decisions of the USA, which are inspired, for sure, from the idea that the nuclear distribution was inevitable, can do nothing but induce these big authorities emerging from the Pacific Ocean zone to further engage in the nuclear adventure. At the same time, for economic-industrial reason and for the political-military intentions. It is also known how close are, scientifically and technically, these two uses of the atom. So, to refuse the Agreement prohibiting any nuclear test, agreement, that Washington wished to impose to the world, it obviously means to open the way to new candidates in possession of the nuclear weapon. Or again it is still an incitement to the "horizontal" distribution. At last, to decide the development of an anti-missile ballistics system, returning to the Agreement of 1972 deleting the general shield that contains the mutual intimidation, comes back to encourage the "vertical" distribution in the already supplied countries.
Especially concerned, China is going to try to be neutralized by saturation, which means to increase the number of its nuclear machines, the device which Washington is going to develop in order to protect, not only the New World, but also Taiwan and Japan, and even Korea.
2. About probable use of the nuclear weapon
It seems that a new distribution of the relations of forces is preparing, Pacific Asia - and its "back country " - coming on change, if not of the whole Atlantic world, at least of Europe, head of the bridge of the USA on " a large island of the world ": " African Eurasia", according to the statement of Mackinder. As Europe, or rather the countries which form in general, the geographical Europe (Turkey being a candidate to be a member of the Union) fascinated by the size effect, captivated by the power of Empires or large political association, each of these countries refuse the sovereignty in order to surrender themselves one day to a superior authority - which will be their emanation - but which is difficult to be recognized what it should be. This is a phenomenon, that the History has never offered any precedent.
An antinomy appears immediately between this long and uncertain approach and the political and strategic significance of the nuclear armament. It is generally admitted more than half of the century, that they have such an authority of annihilation that there is no political stake, which could be in correspondence with large risks, which involve their possible use. Or it would be rather better, in the extreme, that the existence of a menaced nation would be referred to in his alive works, that its human and material goods miss or bear losses almost not returnable, in order that, before such perspectives the attacker, being afraid of a desperate gesture, refuses to reach such objectives and also in order that the authority of intimidation of this armament comes true.
These are exclusive situations so, that the role which can be given to the nuclear armament is simultaneously limited and - by way of exception - decisive. However, anyway they can nothing but be of service to a sovereign nation, whose population, which was united during centuries of difficulties and shared success, is completely in agreement with the State. A state, which could by way of exception and always - be in charge to decide the independence or slavery, and even the life or the death of its people, at least the survival in the independence or to prolong it in inexpressible suffering. Therefore, in order to be afraid of, it is necessary that these weapons of mass destruction concern the vital interest of the people. In these terms, so well excessively that it was kept for the resolute means of a coalition for the system of a collective defense. During the period of 1949 -1960, the USA have granted itself the mission to protect all the countries of the Atlantic Alliance, the Western Europe being also a member, since, during all these years, the federal territory was practically outside of an attempt of air Soviet weapons, these not being able to strike the USA without being detected much earlier before over-flying them. The geography gave a favorable strategic asymmetry, since, in exchange, beginning with the American bases of Europe and of the Northern Africa, the American Air Army was keeping more easily under threat the main centers of the adversary.
Since 1960, and the book of general Maxwell Taylor " The Uncertain Trumpet " testifying, it would not be unconditionally any more that the atom could be swung for the benefit of the European allies but, only if certain favorable circumstances appeared as united - without however that they were determined - one of them, however, was the exhibition to the attacks of the USSR by an American expeditionary group and the risk, which had to be taken in order to destroy it. When, a dozen of years later, the precision of missiles having considerably increased and, therefore, the destruction energy reduced since there was no need to compensate the distance of shooting, the Soviet people would be able to neutralize the forces of the NATO located in Europe completely sparing the territorial zones occupied by the units of the USA. The problem seems to be put in order to know what would be the response of Washington? Fortunately, the Kremlin has perfectly understood the madness of such an enterprise and the Perestroika /Reorganization/ has just come in time to promote the disarmament and destruction of these precise weapons, so was the famous SS 20.
This retreat has as a topic to prove the boundaries that the policy assumes to nuclear arms. They are feared only in extreme cases, when the life of a nation is involved. Therefore, they also can be considered as something like assurance against the almost unimaginable thing.
3. Refusal of the French elite to assume a nuclear national strategy.
So, since a large part of countries, which make up the geographical Europe seem to have decided to join into a more spacious ensemble assimilating a continent into a state, the nuclear weapons and even the notion of defense, has, in reality, lost any significance for them, at least for a long period, of uncertain term.
Having refused to the granting the national sovereignty, there is no such over-national sovereignty in Europe - and it will not exist for a long time - direct emanation of a deep popular desire and, which is also capable to assume the awful responsibility to decide about the peace and the war. Especially, if the perspective of such a destructive war that it makes the adversary to negotiate is to appear.
The example of France, in this respect, is significant. The previous political previous approaches, the Agreement of Maastricht and the European agreements, which came after that have led France to the refusal. The 27-th of November 1991, although the country has been consulted, although the Parliaments have decided, coming to a true act of duty violation, Mr. Roland Dumas on behalf of Mr. François Mitterrand, has made the following declaration to the national Assembly: " We took, for Maastricht a part of a fundamental modification to a over-national unit ... France is to put the bases of a over-national unit". Since then, it would be logically to begin, stage by stage, by proper refusals to the sovereignty: To point out the legislative and the Regulations of the European Commission, to subject the right of France to the European right, the economy to the central Bank, the armies to the command of the NATO (Iraq, Somalia, Balkan) to cancel the boundaries - and to not have to defend them - to refuse gradually to the energy independence, and naturally, to the nuclear dissuasion, which can not be the defensive means of a province, the future France province of Europe wanted by Paris... and Bonn / Berlin. Falling into the trap of Washington, which was looking for forcing to sign the Agreement of interdiction of any nuclear experiment, and also keeping soar about the efficiency of methods of "simulation", France tried to refuse completely to these tests, to dismantle the appropriate installations, to disperse the teams of experts in order to make irreversible the capitulation. When it left its Center of tests in the Pacific Ocean, the USA invested more than a billion of dollars in order to make modern the center of Nevada. Today, certainly, Washington refuses to apply this Agreement. And, doubtlessly, for good reason. In the quarter journal " Strategic Review " (winter, 2000), John Train has written: " Our nuclear weapons were planned to last about twenty years. Over this term the decline begins. The radioactive elements of nuclear warheads worsen and, it happening, they damage the chemical or metallurgical characteristics of other components of the weapon. The non-nuclear components also worsen. Unfortunately, the planners and the experts have no any precise ideas yet about the negative effects of this degradation, and about the reliability, and even the safety of the nuclear warheads. Before, we have developed new arms to replace the former ones. Now, we restore the superannuated components. However, this method is not reliable as we can not know if the new components are precisely the same as the former ones. In other words, only the tests allow us to know if the deformed arms are always reliable. In a secret report, a former Secretary of the Defense has indicated that almost half of the tried weapons are "out of work". It is difficult to suppose that the scientific community of the USA has turned to be unable to realize an item of a completely reliable simulation. Moreover, that Washington had all the interest in the general confirmation of the Agreement of interdiction of any nuclear test. It contributed to the policy of "horizontal" and "vertical" non-distributions. The remarkable Agreement will be thus unapplied for a nation that wants to remain the master of her destiny. It is not any more the case of France. However, the disputable idea of the " French-German pair" imposes the refusal. The Germany not being able to have access to the " Club of nations ", which are in a nuclear way, economically supplied, never supposes that a partner, as easily dominated as France is, keeps the privilege to store the weapons of sovereignty of political and strategic independence. Also therefore it was convenient to cede and join its ideas. And with hurry. Neither Bade Wurtemberg in Europe, nor the transatlantic Oregon, do have the nuclear lightning. There is no more energy independence. Why the France of the V-th Republic, the France of refusal, would make an exception?