Nuclear Warning: Ryan White Interviews Dr. Helen Caldicot

By White, Ryan | Canadian Dimension, March-April 2006 | Go to article overview

Nuclear Warning: Ryan White Interviews Dr. Helen Caldicot


White, Ryan, Canadian Dimension


CD In your recent book, New Nuclear Danger: George W. Bush's Military-Industrial Complex, you state, "Never, in the almost three decades that I have been campaigning against the use of nuclear weapons and nuclear power have I felt that the world is in so much danger." What kind of risks are we currently facing?

HC The same risks that we faced during the Cold War, namely that Russia and America still target each other with thousands of hydrogen bombs on hair-trigger alert. Meaning that they are all on their missiles ready to go with the press of a button from either Putin or Bush, who get only three minutes of decision time to decide whether or not to blow up the world.

The increased danger from the time of the Cold War is this: No one knows those weapons are still there. Everyone thought that when the Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War ended that [Russia and the U.S.] would get rid of these weapons. They didn't; they're still there. The Russian early-warning system is currently in a state of degradation. They can't afford to keep it up, and the Russians are paranoid because they know that America still has a first-strike policy to fight and win a nuclear war against Russia. Canada is a part of [this] because you're a part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command [NORAD].

America is about to put weapons in space, which could initiate a nuclear war [and] America now has a policy to use small nuclear weapons on nations that are not nuclear nations--that's the first time in the history of the nuclear age. They are planning possibly to use them on Iran. [And] George W. Bush, et al., have destroyed almost every single arms-control treaty. So, we are in grave danger.

Greed and Testosterone

CD In New Nuclear Danger, you discuss the psychology of the arms race. What is the motivating force behind weapons proliferation? Is it as simple as greed, or is it something more complex?

HC There are many factors involved. Some of it is greed. For instance, Lockheed Martin is the largest manufacturer of weapons the world has ever seen, followed by Boeing, and they pretty well run the White House. Twenty to thirty people from the Bush Administration, when it was first elected, came from Lockheed Martin and Boeing. So, they determine the foreign policy of America to a large degree. They determine whether or not to fight wars--and wars are very good for business.

Then I think that there is the testosterone factor. There is a very small minority of men whose brains have a toxic reaction to testosterone, and I would say amongst those are Cheney and Rumsfeld, and I think it's those people that are totally inappropriate to be in control; they are sociopaths, in a way. They get to have power because they have a tremendous need for power.

CD With an issue like this, there is a tendency to focus upon the U.S. and see them as the sole source of the problem. As a result, many are less inclined to take a serious look at the role played by smaller nations like Canada. To what degree are administrations like the Canadian government involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the rise of militarism?

HC The Canadian government is totally complicit. At the moment there is a movement by six nations, including Brazil and others, to bring back non-proliferation and disarmament into the United Nations agenda. Those two issues were destroyed by [U.S. ambassador to the UN] John Bolton. Canada has just stepped down [and] I think I know why. I was told by very high-ranking Canadians that, if you don't go along with the Americans on nuclear war, missile defense, weaponization of space, and the like, they'll cut off your trade, they'll threaten you. He has been threatened and scared away. Well, the man has no courage. Canada, I believe, is a very courageous nation, and Canada has to be prepared to tighten its belt, and, if America threatens some of your exports, then so be it. …

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