Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — Many, including myself, have been left dumbfounded by the news. Others are angry over the announcement, and everyone is concerned. The United States is to spend a trillion dollars over the next 30 years to modernize its nuclear arsenal.
Just when we thought the Cold War was over and the world would start moving towards global denuclearization, along comes this bit of news to give us yet another cause for concern, feeding our worries about the United States’ already dangerous practice of trying to impose like-minded and submissive governments around the globe through the use of force.
The announcement of these militaristic intentions alone must be prompting reactions in other countries, where, in a hypothetical world war, the country with the world’s most powerful military network would deal a deadly blow.
The people of the United States themselves must be rather angry, for, when the public deficit continues to grow year after year and the country hasn’t yet managed to pull itself out of its economic recession, the wisest use of such money would be the creation of jobs and the financing of more inclusive social policies that can take off some of the pressure felt at home, where unemployment is almost seven percent (over eight percent among Latinos), thousands of families have lost their homes and many problems, such as health care, are still unaddressed.
Internationally, the news must have felt like a bucket of cold water, particularly to those who, for decades, have been calling for an end to the arms race and for the reduction and definitive elimination of the world’s nuclear arsenal, conscious of the dangers that the mere possession of weapons of mass destruction entails.
It is unbelievable that a president who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, without yet having earned it, should destine enormous sums of money to the modernization of the country’s nuclear arsenal, sums similar to those destined to this end by President Ronald Reagan during the Cold War, when the United States was involved in an arms race with the Soviet Union.
Thus far, I have referred only to the political and military repercussions of these decisions. If we now shift our focus to an ethical and moral terrain, we would have to ask why the government of the United States, which trumpets its defense of democracy and human rights for all to hear, doesn’t devote part of what it spends on its military to promote the development of poor countries. Why are so many resources used to destabilize and forcibly change governments only because they do not bow down to US policy?
During the UN General Assembly of 1980, all developed countries undertook to devote 0.7 percent of their Gross Domestic Product to a development aid fund, but only four countries in northern Europe have kept their promise. In the meantime, millions of people, particularly children, die of hunger and from preventable and curable diseases every year.
In theory, the Cold War ended when the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union disintegrated. Why continue with the arms race, then, when there are so many problems of a non-military nature still to overcome?
The global crisis of the capitalist system affects all of us in one way or another and demands intelligent economic policies. If huge military spending is the plan, I cannot help but wonder what future is in store for the world.