May 2002

We Need the Bomb

The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, in force since 1970,
became obsolete overnight in 2002.
It's time for Brazil to wake up and join the nuclear weapons club.
As a sovereign country, Brazil does not need any authorization
to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Ricardo C. Amaral

On March 10, 2002, The New York Times had a front page article outlining the new American nuclear weapons strategy. The Times reported that the American government is in the process of "a broad overhaul of American nuclear policy; a secret Pentagon report calls for developing new nuclear weapons that would be better suited for striking targets in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Libya."

The New York Times obtained a full copy of the report. It calls for the development of new earth-penetrating nuclear weapons to destroy heavily fortified underground bunkers, including those that are used to store chemical and biological weapons. It argues that the United States may need to resume nuclear testing.

One of the most sensitive portions of the report is a secret discussion of contingencies in which the United States might need to use its "nuclear strike capabilities" against a foe. ...The Bush administration seems to see a new role for nuclear weapons against the `Axis of Evil' and other problem states....

Among Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Libya none has nuclear weapons... "Significantly, all of them have signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Washington has promised that it will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states that have signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty unless those countries attack the United States or its allies "in alliance with a nuclear weapon state."

Remember, the United States is the only country in history to use nuclear weapons against another country. President Truman unleashed atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki— killing over 100,000 people with one shot. Personally, I never understood why it was necessary for the US to drop the second atomic bomb in Nagasaki, since they had shown to the Japanese the power of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Declassified government documents in the U. S. show that John F. Kennedy considered a pre-emptive atomic weapon strike against the Russians in East Germany in 1961. Richard M. Nixon also suggested to his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, the possibility of using atomic weapons in Vietnam. Today, the Bush administration is suggesting to the world that in the future the US will use nuclear weapons on pre-emptive nuclear strikes. The US government will treat, in the future, the use of nuclear weapons as just one more instrument or tool that it has available in its arsenal.

The entire world knows that the US means business when it comes to using arms of mass destruction. We all know that when the US government implies that it will use nuclear weapons, you can count on it. I would like to make just one more point on this subject: the US never used atomic weapons against a white/Caucasian state including the Russian Evil Empire and Nazi Germany, but the US used the atomic bomb against another race—Japan a yellow/oriental state.

If race again becomes a major factor in the consideration of where the US will drop an atomic bomb, then matters will become more complicated in the war against Islam—the range of race in Islam and the Muslim world is as wide as in the human race because it includes white, black and yellow people.

Last Resort No More

Since the attack on Nagasaki in 1945, there has been an international understanding that the ultimate weapons of terror (nuclear weapons) would remain weapons of last resort, as they were up to now. There was also an understanding that a nuclear weapons country would never use such a weapon against a non-nuclear weapons country.

Since the break up of the Soviet Union in 1989, the world became a much more dangerous place in terms of the proliferation of nuclear weapon states—the Soviet Union split into various nuclear weapon states. The other problem is that since the 1960's, many other states became nuclear weapon states such as France, China, South Africa, Israel, India and Pakistan.

These are some of the states that have been reported in the press as the new states that have been able to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities since 1960. How about the states which we don't know! The nuclear weapons genie is out of the bottle, and the current US change in policy and strategy reflects that fact. The US is adapting its policies and strategies to be able to handle the new nuclear weapons reality around the world.

Information released by the US State Department regarding this subject indicates that the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT) was concluded in 1968 and became effective in 1970. Fear of nuclear weapons proliferation in the 1960's motivated 187 countries to sign that treaty. Only India, Israel, Pakistan and Cuba remain outside that treaty.

The significance of the NPT lies in the fact the five nuclear-weapon States defined in the Treaty—that is, the USA, the Russian Federation, Great Britain, France and China—are not permitted to transfer their nuclear weapons and that all other States Parties (the so-called non-nuclear-weapon States) are allowed neither to receive the transfer of these—thus gaining control of nuclear weapons—nor to develop nuclear weapons themselves. I am not going to bore you, the reader, with further details of this Treaty since the Treaty has become obsolete!

The idea of a country's sovereignty was developed in Europe over the last 400 years. It is a concept closely associated with the rise of the nation-state system from the ashes of the feudalism system of the Middle Ages. Jean Jacques Rousseau in his major work The Social Contract gave us the idea that sovereignty resides in the people (one of the earliest expressions of democratic thought and ideas) rather than with the monarchy.

Sovereignty implies the concept of power, both internal and external: internal sovereignty is the ability of the nation-state to demand obedience to the laws of the nation-state within its borders; external sovereignty governs the relations between nation-states, and implies the premise that these states are theoretically equal under international law.

Modern international law recognizes the concept of nonintervention. The concept of nonintervention has been codified over the years in many treaties and international agreements. Nonintervention means that sovereign states have the right to be free from interference by others in their domestic affairs. This concept is part of the United Nations Charter.

For a political community to be sovereign, it must meet some specific criteria; it must have the following qualities: 1) territory, 2) population, 3) effective rule over that territory and population, and 4) recognition of the other nation-states.


Brazil needs nuclear weapons to protect its claim of absolute sovereignty over its territory and population. Today, the more a state has the capability to use violence at will, the greater is its contempt for sovereignty, that is, for the sovereignty of other states. We can see all over the world this contempt for sovereignty and international law.

There is one fact which is obvious for any one who is not brain dead—you can't count on your allies to come to your rescue when your country is under attack—unless there is some ulterior motive for the assistance, such as your country is a major oil producing country.

A recent example brings this point to our attention and also can serve as a guide to the future, as to why any country shouldn't rely on old allies to come forward and put everything on the line to help them when they are under attack by a foreign power. When the US attacked Serbia and destroyed that country's entire infrastructure, Russia, a long time ally of Serbia, did not came to its rescue. Instead the Russians barked a few times on behalf of Serbia, then they rolled over and played dead. These events also highlighted to the world how far Russia has declined and how they lost all their clout and weight in international affairs.

If you don't understand that many parts of what is considered international law and treaties have been trashed lately, then you have been living in La-La land. For example, in May 2002, the United States decided to renounce formally any involvement in a treaty creating an international criminal court and has officially "unsigned" the document signed by the Clinton administration. As reported in The New York Times on May 5, 2002, "in doing so the US simultaneously "unsigned" the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a 1969 pact that outlines the obligations of nations to obey other international treaties. Article 18 of the Vienna Convention requires signatory nations like the United States to refrain from taking steps to undermine treaties they signed, even if they do not ratify them."

US Bad Example

I was surprised to find out how simple the process is to repudiate a treaty which a country has signed. How easy it was for the United States to withdraw from the International Criminal Court Treaty—the Bush administration officials just notified the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on May 6, 2002 that the United States was withdrawing from the International Criminal Court Treaty.

The United States, as one of the leading countries in the world, set the example to everyone how simple and easy it is to "unsign a treaty" which is no longer wanted by that country. The United States actions make it clear to the world that treaties are made to be broken and that treaties just have a certain useful purpose. After any treaty ends its useful life it becomes obsolete and has to be scrapped—as in the case of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty.

In another example of worthless treaties, the United States and the Soviet Union signed treaties in the past decades in which they agreed to stop research and production of chemical and biological weapons. Neither country honored any of these treaties, and both countries continued in a clandestine way the development of new chemical and biological weapons.

By definition, any sovereign country must have the right to produce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons if that country so desires for their national defense. If countries are not allowed to produce these modern weapons to protect themselves, then we can't consider these countries as having actual sovereignty. These countries should receive a new class rating in a new international sovereignty rating system; they should be classified as a third rate class of countries with a semi-sovereignty status.

The world has changed drastically in a very short period of time. Today we live in a much more dangerous world, and many of the old international rules have changed since September 11, 2001.

Brazil and the Bomb

Without nuclear weapons Brazil will never be taken seriously by the major countries of the world. India or Pakistan will be considered ahead of Brazil to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. They will not even bother considering Brazil, without a Brazilian nuclear weapons capability.

As a sovereign country, Brazil does not need authorization from any other country if it decides to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons for defense purposes. If there is any obstacle, such a treaty, it is easy to "unsign" such a document.

Which country should help Brazil develop such weapons? The answer is very simple. France should help Brazil. You might be asking yourself: what connection there is between France and Brazil, and why should France be interested in helping Brazil?

The French had a major impact on Brazilian culture since 1555 when Villegaignon established a French colony in Brazil close to where Rio de Janeiro is located. The greatest French influence on Brazilian culture came as a result of the French Revolution. José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, the architect of Brazilian independence from Portugal, was studying in Paris at the Royal School of Mines in the years 1790-1792. José Bonifácio had direct exposure during this period to the best intellectual minds of that time who were having a major impact on the events of the French Revolution.

In 1808, when Napoleon's army invaded Portugal, the Portuguese Royal Family moved to Brazil and they stayed in Brazil until 1821. This move by the Portuguese Royal Family had a very positive impact on Brazil. In 1823, the Andrada brothers (José Bonifácio, Martim Francisco and Antônio Carlos), with their leadership, had a major impact on the Constituent Assembly.

They guided the proceedings of the process of framing the first Brazilian Constitution. This Constitution was effective December 13, 1823. They used as a model the French Constitution of 1816, which is also referred to as the "Lamartine Constitution".

French culture had a major impact on Brazilian culture; to this day many Brazilian company executives know Paris much better than they know New York City, and they can speak French and not English. The Brazilian legal and judicial system is based on Roman law and the Napoleonic Code. The French should once more reaffirm their close ties to Brazil by helping Brazil on its new nuclear weapons development endeavor!

Ricardo C. Amaral, a frequent contributor to Brazzil, is an author and economist. He can be reached at 

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