By John Hallam, May 22, 2020
Dear Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Defence Minister of Poland,
Dear Polish Parliamentarians to whom this letter is copied,
First of all forgive me for writing in English. English is my native language, but I am married for the last 37 years (since 1983) to a Polish Woman. I have visited Poland many times, especially to Krakow, a city that I very much love and which is a kind of second home to me. My wife is originally from Chorzow/Katowice, but she too spends much time in Krakow.
For the last 20 years I have spent my life working for nuclear disarmament as UN Nuclear Disarmament campaigner for People for Nuclear Disarmament and as co-convenor of the Abolition 2000 Working Group on Nuclear Risk Reduction.
I am writing about the possible stationing of US B-61 tactical nuclear weapons in Poland.
I simply cannot imagine a step more likely to increase, (increase not decrease) the risk, already much greater than it should be, of Poland becoming a radioactive wasteland, and in doing so triggering what would of course, be the apocalypse.
German politicians from Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition want to get rid of B-61 gravity bombs at Buchel, quite rightly, because they see those weapons very existence as provocative. It is absolutely not their intention to foist them on Poland. If as they rightly believe, the presence of those weapons in Germany threatens German security their presence in Poland will threaten Polish security.
It is pretty well certain that those weapons are already targeted by Russian Iskander missiles, themselves armed with 200-400Kt nuclear warheads. If there is any likelihood whatsoever that they might be loaded onto Germany’s now antique Tornado bombers and actually used, it is surely clear that their use would be pre-empted by those Iskander missiles. Large-scale use of the warheads with which Iskanders are thought to be tipped would devastate either Germany or Poland.
The use of nuclear weapons, whether against German or Polish targets, would constitute a tripwire for a global holocaust whose progress would hardly be possible to prevent. Every simulation game (war-game) played by the Pentagon or NATO ends the same way, with total global thermonuclear war in which much of the worlds population dies in a very short time. The way events are likely to progress is shown graphically in ‘Plan A’, a simulation done by Princeton University. It shows a global nuclear war commencing by the use of Iskander missiles against targets in Poland.
The German politicians who have urged the removal of US B61 tactical weapons from Germany, seem to be well aware of that risk and to have taken its consequences on board. Whatever the rights and wrongs of Russian policies, they understand that this is a risk that should not be taken by anyone. Therefore they want the weapons to be removed. According to the German politicians:
“If the Americans pull out their troops […] then they should take their nuclear weapons with them. Take them home, of course, and not to Poland, which would be a dramatic escalation in relations to Russia.”
The US ambassador to Poland has however, (May 15th) tweeted that if the weapons are removed from Germany they could be installed in Poland.
US Ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, suggested that in the event that Germany should attempt to “reduce its nuclear potential and weaken NATO”, “perhaps Poland, which pays its fair share, understands the risks and is on NATO’s Eastern Flank, could house the capabilities”. The possibility has been discussed since December 2015 by the then deputy defence minister and Poland’s current Ambassador to NATO, Tomasz Szatkowski. These discussions should cease.
The reasons that apply to Germany apply even more to Poland except that Poland is much closer both to Iskander and other intermediate range missiles in Kaliningrad, and much closer to Russia. If 20 B61 gravity bombs are a liability not an asset to German security, they are even more a liability to Polish security.
The stationing of those B-61 ‘gravity bombs’, presumably now with ‘smart’ guidance systems, would be ‘massively provocative’ – more provocative even than their current positions at Buchel, already God knows, provocative enough.
According to US analyst and former weapons inspector Scott Ritter,: ‘….Far from deterring a war with Russia, any deployment of nuclear weapons by the US on Polish soil only increases the likelihood of the very conflict NATO purports to seek to avoid.” https://www.rt.com/op-ed/489068-nato-nuclear-poland-russia/
Indeed so. The presence of B61 bombs in Poland would make every takeoff of a nuclear-capable fighter-bomber from Polish airfields into a potential existential threat to Russia to which it would be likely to respond accordingly – whether the plane were nuclear – armed or not. With devastating consequences.
In 1997, NATO members stated that:“they have no intention, no plan, and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new [NATO] members.” They incorporated that into the “Founding Act” that established relations between NATO and Russia.
The suggestion that US nuclear weapons could be stationed on Polish soil clearly violates that undertaking.
Russia has already said that: “….This would be a direct violation of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations between Russia and NATO, in which NATO undertook not to place nuclear weapons in the territory of new members of the North Atlantic Alliance, either at that moment or in the future…I doubt that these mechanisms will be implemented in practical terms,”
According to the same Russian diplomat, speaking in reaction to this suggestion, “We hope that Washington and Warsaw recognise the dangerous nature of such statements, which exacerbate an already difficult period of relations between Russia and NATO, and threaten the very basis of European security, weakened as a result of unilateral steps by the United States, first and foremost through their exit from the INF Treaty,”
“The US could make a real contribution to strengthening European security by returning American nuclear warheads to US territory. Russia did so a long time ago, returning all its nuclear weapons to its national territory,”
It is already bad enough, and dangerous enough, that there are ‘tactical’ US nuclear weapons in Germany.
Their presence is felt by most Germans as well as by advocates of arms control and nuclear risk reduction to be perilous. Far from enhancing German security they imperil it.
The solution is not, emphatically, to move the weapons to Poland where they will be so much closer to Russia and to Kaliningrad, but to eliminate them completely.
Placed in Poland they will be more of a tripwire for the apocalypse than they were even in Germany, and their use will commence the complete and utter destruction of not just Poland but the world.
People for Nuclear Disarmament/Human Survival Project
UN Nuclear Disarmament Campaigner
Co-Convenor, Abolition 2000 Nuclear Risk Reduction Working Group