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CAN WE HAVE MORE ' TREASON SUMMITS' , PLEASE?

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 WED 18 JULY 2018

PEOPLE FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
HUMAN SURVIVAL PROJECT

CAN WE HAVE MORE ' TREASON SUMMITS' , PLEASE?

THE PUTIN/TRUMP SUMMIT HAD ISSUES INFINITELY MORE IMPORTANT THAT WHO DID OR DIDNT HELP TRUMP WIN OFFICE. ISSUES ON WHICH HUMAN SURVIVAL MIGHT DEPEND.
THESE ISSUES DEMAND FOLLOWUP AND FURTHER SUMMITS.
There is much to criticize President Trump for, spanning the gamut from racism to misogyny. There is also much to criticize President Putin for, spanning the gamut from undemocratic practices to running a kleptocracy to human rights.

The Helsinki Summit deserves none of this criticism. It might be criticized for what it failed to discuss, but in the event it did discuss one item that has evoked existential anxiety ever since 1945, and on which human survival and the survival of what we call civilization may yet depend, namely nuclear weapons.

Had Trump done, as many critics are saying he should have done, the summit would have been over before it even began, and a golden opportunity to remove planetary obliteration from the global agenda would have been gone. One may argue that not enough was made of this opportunity: One may not argue that the opportunity should not have been created or taken. A US-Russia nuclear war, closer now than at any time since 1953, would kill most humans in roughly 90 minutes and leave those who had not been vaporized to freeze in the dark of a nuclear winter.

The significance of a few Russian bots on Facebook, whose final effect on an election outcome we are not even sure of, or even some of Putins actual crimes against humanity pales into complete insignificance in the light of a meeting that could have taken the prospect of global annihilation off the worlds agenda.

Trump was right to say prior to the summit that his 'dream' outcome for the meeting could be peace and the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. To want that is far from 'treason'. Or if it IS 'treason' we need more of it.

As it was, Putin and Trump did say some somewhat helpful if not very revolutionary things about nuclear weapons in their joint press-conference which are reproduced below:

Putin:
“As major nuclear powers, we bear special responsibility for maintaining international security. It’s vital — and we mentioned this during the negotiations — it’s crucial that we fine-tune the dialogue on strategic stability and global security and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

We submitted our American colleagues a note with a number of specific suggestions. We believe it necessary to work together further to interact on the disarmament agenda, military and technical co-operation. This includes the extension of the strategic offensive arms limitation treaty. It’s a dangerous situation with the global American antimissile defense system. It’s the implementation issues with the INF treaty. And, of course, the agenda of non-placement of weapons in space.”

Trump
“...But our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed, as of about four hours ago. I really believe that. Nothing would be easier politically than to refuse to meet, to refuse to engage, but that would not accomplish anything.

As President, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics, or the media, or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct.”

“….Constructive dialogue between the United States and Russia affords the opportunity to open new pathways toward peace and stability in our world. I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics. As President, I will always put what is best for America and what is best for the American people.”

“….We also discussed one of the most critical challenges facing humanity: nuclear proliferation. I provided an update on my meeting last month with Chairman Kim on the denuclearization of North Korea and after today, I am very sure that President Putin and Russia want very much to end that problem. Going to work with us and I appreciate that commitment.”

It rather looks, to use Trumps words, as if some critics of the summit are 'risking peace in the pursuit of politics'.

If to take a political risk in the pursuit of peace is 'treason', please let us have more of it – a lot lot more of it – and please let us have systematic follow-through.

Trump remarked that:
“Today’s meeting is only the beginning of a longer process but we have taken the first steps toward a brighter future and one with a strong dialogue and a lot of thought.”

Trump in addition at one point (not in the transcript) remarked that the US had 'made mistakes' in its relationship with Russia. Trump is merely saying it like it is (and only says a tenth of it). He has been damned for 'treason' for saying this. Please lets have more of this kind of 'treason' otherwise known as honesty!

On the matter of nuclear weapons in particular, this is very much to the point. What is required are more 'treason summits', and the deeper our 'treason' to the forces of planetary destruction, the better. There needs to be:

--A planned series of meetings in which matters of nuclear strategic stability are uppermost and in which discussions of electoral interference are off-limits.
--A series of lower-echelon meetings away from immediate public gaze in which nuclear risk reduction, lowering operational readiness of nuclear weapon systems, no-first-use agreements, improved military to military communication, and the implementation of the joint data exchange facility first agreed on in 1998 are not just discussed but implemented
--The creation of a joint task force on the complete abolition of US and Russian nuclear arsenals.

'Treason' of this kind could just save humans and human civilization from nuclear destruction.

The prescriptions of some of Trump's critics on the other hand may just take us over the brink into the abyss.

John Hallam
Nuclear Disarmament Campaigner
People for Nuclear Disarmament
Human Survival Project
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 July 2018 16:14