Sunday :: Sep 10, 2006

Lessons of 9/11/1945

by soccerdad

Professor William Marina takes us back to another 9/11, that of 1945. Obscure by comparison, there may be valuable lessons there none the less.

It was then that

retiring Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson sent a top-secret, eight-page, Memorandum to President Harry S. Truman, exploring the implications for the future of the Atomic Bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki only a month earlier.

Stimson, a conservative Republican, realized that the use of the atomic bombs on Japan had changed everything.

...Stimson argued that any attempt to use the bomb to change Russian behavior would only be resented and counterproductive. He suggested instead, that the US share the technology with the Soviets.

“I believe that the change in attitude toward the individual in Russia will come slowly and gradually and I am satisfied that we should not delay our approach to Russia in the matter of the atomic bomb until that process has been completed.... Furthermore, I believe that this long process of change in Russia is more likely to be expedited by the closer relationship in the matter of the atomic bomb which I suggest and the trust and confidence that I believe would be inspired by the method of approach which I have outlined.”
Stimson reasoned the Russians would at once pursue obtaining such a bomb for themselves. It was not a secret, as Americans were for years led to believe, but an industrial technology being explored before the War, and which the Soviets would obtain in, say, four to twenty, years.

In a reference to the US "having this weapon rather ostentatiously on our hip," Stimson noted, "their suspicions and their distrust of our purposes and motives will increase. It will inspire them to greater efforts in an all out effort to solve the problem."

In the memo itself Stimson wrote:

Accordingly, unless the Soviets are voluntarily invited into the partnership upon a basis of cooperation and trust,we are going to maintain the Anglo-Saxon bloc over against the Soviet in the possession this weapon. Such a condition will almost certainly stimulate feverish activity on the part of the Soviet toward the development of this bomb in what will be in effect be a secret armament race of a rather desperate character

And later:

Whether Russia gets control of the necessary secrets of production in a minimum of say four years or a maximum of twenty years is not nearly as important to the world and civilization as to make sure that when they do get it they are willing and cooperative partners among the peace loving nations of the world.

So are we doomed to make the same mistakes with Iran that we may have made with Russia in 1945. I think it is obvious to anyone that countries in fear of their safety will usually not just prostrate themselves to their rivals but do what ever it takes to secure their safety from outside forces. One simplistic leasson to be learned here is that given the choice between cooperation and seizing the moment to try an attain dominance, the US will choose the latter. It takes much less courage to be afraid and then respond to that fear in a primal way. The situation with Iran is further complicated by the quest for control over the natural resources of the region. To gain control over the resources, mainly gas and oil, not only secures a supply for your own country but gives you great economic and geopolitical power over the other major players in the region, i.e. Iran and by association China.

So I would say that the likelihood that someone with the courage to stand up and propose a path in the Middle East similar to that of Stimson in 1945 towards Russia, is very small and the likelihood that such a path would be followed in any case is exactly zero.

The quest for power is what drives this administration and many before it. It will be this quest for power that will ultimately cause the downfall of this country and put the future of much of humanity in jeopardy.

soccerdad :: 5:15 AM :: Comments (10) :: Digg It!