Hammer of the Hawks

Nukes are here to stay! Arch-conservative, carrion-chomping columnist Charles Krauthammer says efforts to end proliferation are dead. Jeff Koopersmith offers his own deterrent to today's silliness from the "Hammer of the Hawks."

The Krauthawk Speaks...April 18, 2008 – Lugano (apj.us) – If you think Charles Krauthammer has a problem because he looks like a hawk, you might want to peer into his brain for confirmation.

Today he has declared, in the Washington Post, The era of nonproliferation is over.”

Gee, Chuck, I hate to tell you this – but that era never existed!

What did exist was a period of time – between America’s solo development of nuclear weapons and today – when only those nations that were smartest, wealthiest, largest, or most allied to the USA could get their hands on am atomic device.

Krauthammer, who is ever eager to be a proper hawk, attempts to convince his reader that he knows, even though no one else does, that North Korea tested a nuclear weapon successfully. The truth? Many think that Pyongyang did not test such a weapon – but created a big enough explosion to sell that fantasy.

Next, he skips right from North Korea to Iran.

Hmmm, I wonder – why he failed to mention China, Pakistan, or India in the mix? Does Krauthammer think that China was our ally when she joined the nuclear club? Can we truly count on India and, more notably, Pakistan not to turn its weapons against us or our allies in the future?

What is more tragic is that Krauthammer thinks that Russia and China are not rogue states – nor is Pakistan, I suppose. Many countries in the Islamic orbit and most Muslims think Israel is a rogue state. What does this prove?

Thus, it is odd that he claims we kept nuclear weapons away from rascal nations, but that inevitably this strategy would and has broken down. The truth? It broke down almost fifty years ago – so what is Krauthammer whining about today?

Oh, right: he wants more warlike action, like the true hawk he is.

Krauthammer tells us that “everyone says” Iran must be stopped from going nuclear.

That isn’t true. Anyone with a brain knows that it’s only a matter of time before Sudan goes nuclear as well, and New Zealand, and Switzerland. The fact is that nuclear technology and the tech to load nukes on missiles is old hat. Most nations that could put their minds to it could put those weapons and delivery systems together in a few years or less.

Krauthammer bemoans that fact that something he calls “the international community” will do zilch to halt proliferation.


First, there is no such thing as an international community.

Second, he doesn’t tell you why we have to stop Iran. He merely says “we must.”

Krauthammer, after thinking about this for ten minutes, decided there are only four ways to deal with these rogues – which I assume includes Russia, China, Pakistan and maybe even India. Or does rogue, to Krauthammer, mean any nation that doesn’t agree with George W. Bush and his boss Cheney?

His four ways are, get this:

  1. Preemptive military strikes – Get them before they get us.
  2. Deterrence – Give them a reason to stop trying to get us – a reward or stick.
  3. Missile defense – Stop them while they are trying to get us.
  4. Regime Change – Stop them by killing their leadership.

Guess which one Krauthammer chooses?

Well, preemption is out for him. He uses Iraq as an example for some reason although there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein has anything approaching nuclear weapons and had trouble hiding his slingshots.

Next he claims that Libya went for nuclear disarmament after it saw Saddam hanging by his neck until dead.

He writes, “A collateral effect of the Iraq war was Libya's nuclear disarmament.”

Gee, I wasn’t aware that Libya had a nuclear arsenal to disarm. To let you in on something – they didn’t. This “collateral impact” was nothing more than a slick move to make George W. Bush and his dimwit diplo-moll Condi Rice look effective. Getting Mr. Gaddafi to “disarm” had about the same impact as might getting Bermuda to give up its nuclear arsenal.

Anyway, for Krauthammer – preemption is out.

He claims deterrence “worked in the two-player Cold War.” Of course, that is a myth as well. The Cold War was more of a dangerous stage play, produced and directed by the USSR and the USA to keep their populations in line. By the way, China was also a participant in the Cold War – but Krauthammer – in the true Olympic spirit – does not mention Beijing or Peking. No one on any side even once seriously considered using nuclear weapons unless the other side fired first.

The deterrence Krauthammer speaks of is the end of world as the rich and powerful like it. The deterrence, as always, was money. That is what it always is.

Yet deterrence will not work against Iran he claims. Why? Because Iran has a millenarian leadership.

No. That does not mean that Iranian leaders are milliners or like to wear hats. It means they are sort of principled.

Millenarianism – and I just can’t believe you know this already –' is a belief by a social, religious, or political movement that a major change in society will or should occur after which all things will be better, worse, or about the same.

Krauthammer goes on to describe two tactics where deterrence might work.

First – scare the bejeezus out of everyone else in Iran so they stop the so-called millenarians. He suggests the best way to do this is to threaten death and destruction through war. Gee, I think Mr. Bush and everyone else in his Administration has been doing this for years.

Second – the up-until-now almost secret “missile defense.” While this does not work against giants like the Soviets, he offers, it can be extremely effective when used “in conjunction with deterrence.”

Ah, so it’s like a mixture – a blended product, kinda like floor cleaner and whipped topping! I see. First threaten them, then show them we can shoot down their missiles anyway – so why bother. Yes, the old doable double whammy!

Why hasn’t the Pentagon thought of that?

Well, maybe they have – and maybe Krauthammer – as usual – is their stalking horse. Or maybe that wingnut Cheney thought this up!

Krauthammer supposes – just for the “sake of argument,” mind you. – a two-tiered system, even though both tiers are flawed – one by a 90% accuracy rate. He offers that Iran would think hard before launching 20 nukes knowing that the most likely scenario would have only two hitting their targets. Of course, this analysis is mathematically simplified – but why bother? Besides, mo one yet knows how accurate a missile defense system is. Maybe it would be only 89% accurate.

Krauthammer sweetens the Iranian choice by offering that America or Israel (Israel?) would launch a “retaliatory counterattack” (that is his redundancy, not mine) and “reduce [Iran] to a cinder” (one gets the tangible sense that ol' Kraut was drooling with joy over the possibility). In fact, he called Iran “the world’s first Islamic Republic.”

Mr. Krauthammer then really goes over the cliff this time suggesting we could simply scrap the missile defense system and just employ “terrorists” to destroy Iran’s leadership.

I imagine that is his discussion of option number four – Regime Change. He infers this would work – hiring terrorists to murder the Iranian leadership – but only if our plot was “a hermetically secret, perfectly executed, multiple-site attack [that] would cause terrible, but not existential, destruction. The retaliatory destruction, on the other hand, would be existential,” he adds. By existential Krauthammer means – melt Iran.

I guess we now have our answer.

We go with a missile defense system and horrifying threats – and, hey, the meaner the better!

This, Krauthammer claims is the best course. “Total safety comes only from regime change,” Krauthammer writes.

Mr Krauthammer ends his piece theatrically: “It's time to take our heads out of the sand and deal with it.”

I agree.

But he didn’t mention the fifth way – and the most effective of all: let us invent a weapon that is even more ghastly than the nuclear warhead. Then we’ll be able to hold ‘em all off for another few decades.

In place of that, the only thing I might suggest is to talk with our enemies and see what’s really bothering them. Maybe they want everyone to give up their nuclear weapons so they feel safer.

Perhaps they need jobs and don’t agree with “global economics.”

It is clear that Mr Krauthammer believes that Iran and their ally (well, not really, but kraut wants you to think they are) Al Qaeda are prepared to fight a religious war. I hate to tell him this, but it is impossible to stop them if it is truly their God that is paving their way or that they believe this is so.

Under Krauthammer’s crippled theories we might has well just kill them all now.


Jeff Koopersmith is a political consultant, opinion research authority, policy analyst, and self-described "renegade lobbyist." He lives in Philadelphia, Washington and Geneva.

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