Full Spectrum Dominance.


Perhaps we ought not to feel surprise at the attempt by the United States for ‘full spectrum dominance’.  Once upon a time the expansion of powerful states was taken for granted.  The Roman empire conquered nations near and far (including Britain) because they had developed a superior war machine, and in those days there was no talk of constraints that might be provided by international law.  In more recent times Napoleon was showered with praise (by the French!) on account of his successful military campaigns.  Our history is that of wars and expansion by conquering weaker neighbours, and the great conquerors of the past did not have to listen to dissident voices whispering that murder, pillage, and bringing back slaves in chains was wrong.  If Alexander had stayed at home, would he have ever been called Alexander the Great?


This natural tendency to take whatever your power enables you to take has come into question only in very recent times – a consideration forced upon us (perhaps reluctantly) by the invention of weapons so powerful that they can no longer be safely used.  War has become out of date, but the realisation has not yet dawned on modern contenders for Alexander’s soubriquet.  So while we can deplore today’s sole superpower’s attempts at global dominance, we can at least understand it.  The barbarians of the past thought in exactly the same way.


Such thoughts are generated by the new US doctrine for ‘Joint Nuclear Operations’, set out in draft form for consideration by US Defence Secretary Rumsfeld.  He has the awesome power to approve it as it stands.


The new doctrine breaks fresh and dangerous ground.  As if our existing militarised world bristling with Armageddon weapons were not enough, this draft takes a step further.  It advocates use of nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear adversary for the first time.  Part of the deal that has persuaded non-nuclear states to remain so, was the promise in the Non Proliferation Treaty that states possessing these ultimate weapons would never use them against a non-nuclear state.  The new idea is that in the (amazingly unlikely) event of the United States of America being threatened by a state possessing only conventional weapons, the US should feel free to use its nuclear arsenal.  This is the main argument, though of course the door is opened for the US to use nukes in a war of aggression, a pre-emptive war such as has occurred against Iraq.  The new doctrine clears the way for pre-emptive wars, and for domination, and for George Bush the Great.


The new concept involves reducing the power of nuclear weapons, so that they can be used to obliterate designated targets, rather than whole cities.  Nuclear weapons are no longer to be regarded as a deterrent, which has been long the excuse for them, but as a useful battlefield weapon.  Field commanders will be given permission to use nukes against factories or installations believed to house weapons of mass destruction.  So in future, in a world dominated by the sole superpower, the ‘intelligence’ of the kind that resulted in the invasion of Iraq will result in annihilation of suspected obstacles, after which it will of course be impossible to determine if there really were weapons of mass destruction or anything else in the targets.