Want Iran not to have nukes? Then get rid of our own.

To understand my basic philosophy that underpins what I’m about to say, please read my post on love of neighbor.

Here’s something more:

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

–Mark 9:35

We Americans commonly think of ourselves as being first in the world. We are the sole remaining “superpower.” We are the richest country. Our workers are the most productive. God loves us the most. And so on. Regardless of our distorted self-image, America does possess great power, prestige, and wealth. Other countries look up to us as the big kid on the block.

For the past several decades, however, we have not been acting enough out of love of neighbor; instead, our motivation has been love of self. We have not been the servant of all; instead, we have expected service and obedience. We have not set the best example possible for other countries. Whether we are better or worse than they is irrelevant. We have not loved enough; we have not served enough. We have not lived up to our potential.

We may find countries like Iran distasteful in many ways; we may find them to be our juniors in wealth, achievement, and sophistication. If we practiced love of neighbor, however, we would deal with such countries by serving as an impeccable example of beneficence and rectitude. If we were good and right, however, we would not possess nuclear weapons.

There is no moral way to possess, much less use, a weapon that could annihilate a city. To kill and destroy on that scale is  an abomination; it’s unthinkable. Yet we possess thousands of nuclear-tipped missiles and even keep them targeted on cities, ready to go should the president so order.

Merely by possessing such weapons, we create fear in the world. If I may switch from Western spirituality to Eastern, that’s bad karma. One cannot create fear without paying a price. Moreover, since other countries look up to us as the big kid on the block, if we have nukes, then they want them, too.

I’m not a pacifist. Just as there needs to be a police force to take care of people doing bad stuff on a small scale, there needs to be a military–not necessarily our military–to stop people from doing bad stuff on a larger scale. But nukes can’t be used to do that; they can only be used to threaten other countries with complete destruction.

Oh, I know how a certain breed of right-winger feels about the matter. We’ve got to be tough! Have a huge military, carry a big stick–we’ve got to be number one! And God is on our side, so it’s all going to work out. If we don’t do that, the colors of the flag will run, and we’ll be–you know, like France or Sweden or something–not number one!

Again, I must return to the Bible quote. If we want to be a true number one, we must be last. We must serve. And just about the greatest thing we could do for the world right now is give up our nukes. That’s right. Dismantle them and use the fissile material in nuclear reactors (I’m not saying nuclear power is great, but we’ve got the plants…).

What would happen if we did this? Would Russia launch a strike against us and take us over? No. Would any other country start a war with us now if eschewed the awesome might of nuclear arms? No.

Would terrorists be more likely to attack us? No, less likely. It’s probably the single greatest thing we could do to prevent a “suitcase nuke” attack on American soil. If there’s anything the terrorists respect, it’s symbols, and it would be a big symbolic mismatch to set off the first terrorist nuke in a country without nuclear weapons (not that I wish this to happen to any country in our place).

Would we lose respect in the world? No, we would gain respect. Would our enemies fear our military less? No, inasmuch as they know we can’t use nukes anyway.

What would happen, however, is that the prestige of becoming a nuclear power would go down the toilet. If the hipster US doesn’t need nukes, then who really does?

At the end of the day, our species needs to evolve to the point where countries are not going to attack each other and kill large numbers of people in the process. The planet won’t permit that any more. We must choose now, collectively, as a species, to embrace love of neighbor as our MO. If the United States is really what it thinks it is–what it would like to be–then it should lead by giving up its dangerous toys.

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