Will states acquire nuclear weapons to deter regime change by US?

From world superpower to world abuser of power, under the Obama administration.


America’s senseless pursuit of regime change has destroyed lives and ruined nations in the Middle East and Africa. Drawing lesson from what had happened to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, countries blacklisted by Pentagon will now go nuclear like North Korea and Pakistan to prevent US from toppling their governments.

In 2011, Christian Science Monitor published an important article on lessons learned from US’ illegal war against Libya. Entitled “A troubling lesson from Libya: Don’t give up nukes”, the implication is that if a state gives up nukes, it risks being invaded by the US.[1]

In 2003, Muammar Gaddafi agreed to dismantle its fledgling nuclear program in exchange for diplomatic recognition and integration into the global political economy. However, in 2011 he was murdered and his country violently destroyed when the US aggressively pursued regime change.

In 1981, Israel destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor. In 2003, US invaded Iraq and killed Saddam Hussein in another pursuit of violent regime change.

In 2007, Israel destroyed Syria’s Al Kibar nuclear reactor.  In 2011/2012, on the heels of its Libyan regime change operation, US began to work with Saudi Arabia//Qatar/Turkey to conduct regime change in Syria.

This begs the question. Would US have been so eager to invade these countries if they had nuclear weapons?

General Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, disclosed that in 2001 the Pentagon actually had a list of seven countries targeted for regime change: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.[2]  He was perplexed that none of them were linked to al Qaeda or Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Now with several of the targets already checked off the list, some of the remaining countries may be compelled to seek the ultimate deterrent against regime change. In fact, North Korea cited Libya and Iraq as prime examples of why Pyongyang would never give up its nukes.

It is also a twist of irony that after Gaddafi gave up his nuclear program and Tripoli was cited as a model for Iran and North Korea to follow for nuclear disarmament, now it is a model for nuclear armament.

As Doug Bandow argued in The National Interest, US “regime change” foreign policy would now have the unintended consequence of provoking states to seek nukes as a security guarantee, since “no foreign state, no matter how close it might appear to be to Washington at any point in time, can feel secure from a future attempt at regime change.”[4]

Indeed, Turkey may be another state feeling those sentiments.  Lauded as a NATO ally for decades, after the recent coup attempt, Ankara could seek the nuclear path to deter future regime change.[5]

As Reza Sanati observed in the Christian Science Monitor, US treatment of Libya and Pakistan differed greatly due to presence of nuclear weapons.  Tripoli dismantled its nuclear program and halted support for terrorism in return for western benefits, but it was still attacked. In contrast, nuclear-armed Pakistan hid the world’s most-wanted terrorist Bin Laden for roughly a decade, supported jihadi groups aiding the Taliban, yet suffered no consequences and still enjoys US economic and military aid.

As Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn) told CNN last week: “There’s an American imprint on every civilian life lost in Yemen.” US supplies the bombs, the jetfighters, refuels them midair, and provides intelligence and targeting assistance for the Saudis.”

This also begs the question how serious is US in countering ISIS when it supports the Saudis and their Wahhabism.

As Fareed Zakaria exposed in a clip from CNN, the former Imam of Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mosque stated “We have the same beliefs as ISIS.  We share their ideology, but we express it in a more refined way.” [1]

There is also an American imprint on many civilian lives lost in the various countries US has targeted for regime change—Iraq, Libya, Syria. As such, in order to avoid similar fates as failed states and to protect their children, more countries now may indeed seek the nuclear option as the ultimate deterrent against regime change.

Full article: Will states acquire nuclear weapons to deter regime change by US? (Asia Times)

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