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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 24 - 30  > Late US strategist’s ominous prediction on nuclear war
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2019 July 24 - 30 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Late US strategist’s ominous prediction on nuclear war

July 30, 2019

Akahata ‘current’ column

“My guess is that nuclear weapons will be used sometime in the next hundred years.” This ominous prediction was made by U.S. strategic theorist Herman Kahn (1922-1983). This statement, which regards the use of nuclear weapons as a possible option, is attracting fresh media attention after it was cited in new nuclear weapons guidelines adopted by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The document entitled “Nuclear Operations” was uploaded on the U.S. military’s webpage on June 11, but was soon deleted. The Federation of American Scientists downloaded it before its removal and published it on the FAS website.

The document quotes Kahn’s “sometime in the next hundred years” remark and stated, “[T]he use of a nuclear weapon will fundamentally change the scope of a battle and create conditions that affect how commanders will prevail in conflict.” The U.S. magazine Newsweek e-edition in its June 19 issue criticized the new guidelines for including merits of the use of nuclear weapons.

Steven Aftergood of the FAS pointed out that the document “is very much conceived as a war-fighting doctrine – not simply a deterrence doctrine”, according to the June 19 issue of the U.K. newspaper Guardian e-edition. Newsweek referred to the two major nuclear powers’ move to develop low-yield “usable” nuclear weapons and stated that it should remind many of what Kahn warned about.

Kahn is also known as the founder of the Hudson Institute. The conservative think-tank gave the 2013 Herman Kahn Award to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. At the award ceremony held in the U.S. in 2013, Abe in his acceptance speech said that "Japan should not be the weak link" in the regional and global security framework led by the U.S.

The Abe government has turned its back on the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty in line with the Trump administration which argues that the use of nuclear weapons should naturally be considered when the need arises. The Abe government’s attitude is unacceptable for a government of the only A-bombed nation in the world.
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