NATO Summit July 11–12 2023: Aotearoa/New Zealand Must Speak Out Against Nuclear War: Nuclear Annihilation Dangers as War in Ukraine Continues

Pacific Ecologist magazine
10 min readSep 4, 2023

10 July 2023

Kia Ora Rt Honourable Prime Minister Chris Hipkins; copied to the Honourable Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs

The world needs to hear the voice of nuclear-free Aotearoa speaking out on clear and present dangers of nuclear war and nuclear weapons at NATO’s meeting in Lithuania on June 11–12. This is an update of a letter emailed to you on 22 June about increasing risks of nuclear war. My name is Kay Weir, I delivered this letter to Parliament early Friday afternoon 7 July on behalf of the Pacific Institute of Resource Management, based in Wellington, and four other people, representing concerned organizations.

Kay Weir, the Pacific Institute of Resource Management, Wellington www.pirm.org.nz

Laurie Ross, New Zealand Nuclear Free Peacemakers, Auckland laurie-ross@nuclearfreepeacemakers.org.nz

The Honourable Matt Robson, former Disarmament Minister, Auckland matt@mattrobson.co.nz

Liz Remmerswaal, World Beyond War, Hawkes Bay liz@worldbeyondwar.org

Rod Alley, Wellington, Member Disarmament and International Affairs Committee affiliated to the Aotearoa New Zealand Peace Foundation roderic.alley@vuw.ac.nz

Western allies gather next week for NATO’s summit on July 11–12, while the war in nearby Ukraine continues. There has never been a time when the world has been more seriously threatened with nuclear annihilation than now, as experts like Dr Helen Caldicott, Professor John Mearsheimer, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, and Professor Alfred de Zayas say.

A newspaper report of July 3 on NATO’s meeting says: “Around 40,000 troops are on standby from Estonia in the north down to Romania on the Black Sea. About 100 aircraft take to the skies in that territory each day, and a total of 27 warships are operating in the Baltic and Mediterranean seas. Those numbers are set to rise. Under its new plans, NATO aims to have up to 300,000 troops ready to move to its eastern flank within 30 days. NATO readies military plans to defend against bruised but unbowed Russia | AP News 3/7/2023

Nuclear annihilation can happen even accidentally in the confusion of such military exercises at this crisis time. Our country in the past has earned respect and admiration worldwide for speaking out against the dangers of our allies’ nuclear weapons experiments in the Pacific region, and against U.S. nuclear-powered ships in our ports. We have nuclear-free legislation and a Disarmament Minister, who appears to be poorly resourced.

Failing “counter-offensive”

IIn July, German newspaper Berliner Zeitung reported that Western leaders had “high hopes” for their military hardware deliveries given to Kiev. They assumed the battle gear would help Ukraine “achieve critical territorial gains.” But three weeks into Ukraine’s counter-offensive, Russian forces had wiped out “an entire range” of Leopard 2 tanks. Rapid, massive loss of Western military equipment “cost human lives and money,” the paper reported. In America Bloomberg has reported that Ukrainian officials said progress in the counteroffensive has halted. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the assault “is not an easy walk, echoing comments made by President Volodymyr Zelensky a day earlier .Zelensky acknowledged on Wednesday the counter-offensive is going “slower than desired” but vowed Ukrainian forces would fight on. “No matter how far we advance in our counter-offensive, we will not agree to a frozen conflict because that is a prospectless development for Ukraine,” he said. According to the Discord leaks and media reports, the U.S. did not believe Ukraine could regain much territory, yet Biden’s administration pushed for the violent counter-offensive anyway and rejected the idea of a ceasefire or peace talks. Western Officials Say Ukrainian Counteroffensive ‘Not Meeting Expectations’ — News From Antiwar.com

Preparing for nuclear war with nuclear capable fighters

Award-winning Italian author, Manlio Dinucci reported on June 3: “Nuclear War is on the Pentagon’s Drawing Board; it’s deploying Conventional dual-capable and nuclear fighters. The United States has begun a training programme for Ukraine’s Air Force to use F-16 fighters. Several European NATO countries participate: Denmark, Holland, Poland, Norway, Belgium, and Portugal. Other countries have offered to help with training. The same countries will supply Ukraine with F-16 fighters. They are conventional dual-capable and nuclear fighters. An F-16 aircraft was used in the new B61–12 nuclear bomb test firing, which the US already deploys in Italy, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Probably, the B61–12 bombs are also supplied by the USA to Poland: Polish F-16 fighters have been participating in NATO nuclear attack exercises since 2014.

“Vladimir Kozin, chief expert of Moscow Political-Military Studies Centre, declared, in an interview on Grandangolo TV programme, that there is a deep suspicion based on precise facts, that US nuclear weapons have also been deployed in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, or could be rapidly sent to their territories and also to that of Poland. These countries participate in the “Baltic air patrol,“ close to Russian territory, with dual conventional and nuclear capability aircraft. In addition, US strategic bombers, certified to carry nuclear weapons, are engaged in “exercises” over the Baltic Sea and other areas adjacent to Russian territory, After having unsuccessfully proposed negotiations to the USA and NATO to reduce risks of a nuclear conflict in Europe, Moscow is deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus in a position close to the US-NATO nuclear bases in Europe in agreement with Minsk.

To Grandangolo’s question: “Do the tactical nuclear weapons deployed by Russia in Belarus have a range beyond Poland and therefore constitute a deterrent to US nuclear weapons deployed in Italy and other European countries?” Vladimir Kozin replies: “Yes, Russian tactical nuclear weapons that will be deployed in Belarus and possibly in the Kaliningrad region and the Crimean Peninsula can achieve various military objectives in Poland, Italy and many other European NATO member countries.”

“US-NATO escalation against Russia brings Europe ever closer to the threshold of nuclear war. A curtain of silence on all this falls on the political-media complex, so as not to alarm European public opinion and prevent it from reacting. “ — Preparing to Wage a Nuclear War? Nuclear Attack F-16 Fighters to Ukraine — Global ResearchGlobal Research — Centre for Research on Globalization By Manlio Dinucci 3/6/2023

One of the dangers of the nuclear-capable fighters is that because the F16s can hold both conventional weapons as well as nuclear weapons, Russia will be unable to determine what kind of munitions the “Ukrainian” F-16s will actually be delivering to the war zone. So Russia must assume, they are carrying tactical nuclear bombs. The effect of such an attack would be devastating, hence Russia must consider attacking NATO air bases from which such planes are launched.

Nuclear war is terminal

For NATO to deploy nuclear capable F-16 fighters to Ukraine is extremely dangerous for the entire world’s security, especially when Ukraine is struggling and desperate in its “counter-offensive” against Russia. The war could have ended months ago, but the U.S. has refused to allow negotiations, instead flooding Ukraine with weapons, ensuring war continues and many more Ukranians die. The combination of NATO military exercises, alongside the war in Ukraine against Russia, makes this an especially dangerous time for global security. In the morass of ongoing events, even an error or miscalculation can occur bringing nuclear war to the entire world. Dr Paul Craig Roberts, former U.S. Treasury Secretary says: “Remember nuclear war is a terminal war. The expressed willingness of Finland, Sweden, Poland, and Romania to accept U.S. nuclear weapons in their countries, together with the ability of the US to launch against Russia from the Black and Baltic seas, greatly heightens anxiety in Russia. Unlike the Cold War period, in the 21st century Washington has worked overtime to destroy all trust. Consequently, one more false warning is all it takes to exterminate mankind. We are on the brink of nuclear war, and we do not have a John F Kennedy in the White House to stop it. Instead, we have insane neoconservatives committed to US hegemony at all cost.https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2022/12/12/a-hair-trigger-on-endgame/

NATO lacks moral authority: violates law — Professor Alfred de Zayas

While NATO is generally perceived in western countries as a positive force, in reality it has violated international law, repeatedly, attacking several countries, over decades, killing millions of people with impunity, without a mandate from the United Nations. Professor of international Law in Geneva, former UN Rapporteur on human rights, Alfred de Zayas explains: “NATO countries have committed crimes of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Not only does NATO lack moral authority, it also lacks credibility, as it has disseminated ‘fake new’ and false narratives in preparation for all its wars of aggression. As such it would be interesting to examine the possible application of the Nuremberg principles and the Nuremberg judgment to NATO. Article 9 of the London Agreement of 8 August 1945 laid down the statute of the Nuremberg Tribunal and established the legal concept of a “criminal organisation.” https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/12/05/the-united-nations-promise-of-peace-also-in-ukraine/

“To the extent that land, navy and air forces of NATO countries have engaged in activities contrary to the Statute of Rome, the International Court of Justice may have to investigate whether these countries and NATO have breached Articles 5, 6, 7, and 8 of the Statute.” Article 2 (4) of the Charter prohibits both the actual use of force, and the threat of its use. NATO’s strategy of encircling Russia, the parallel attempt by the US to encircle China, the 800 US military bases worldwide, these constitute a further menace to international peace and security for purposes of article 39 of the UN Charter. Hence, Russia and China undoubtedly have a legitimate security concern articulated repeatedly in the UN Security Council. Hitherto without success.” NATO countries arrogantly dismiss real, legitimate security concerns of Russia and China, which bring us to the present crisis.

Instead of abiding by international law and the United Nations Charter, as Professor de Zayas says, the U.S. has devised an undemocratic strategy called the “rules-based order” which drives it to attack countries with impunity. Lack of respect for human rights, the sovereignty of countries and international law puts the whole world in danger.

How the West ended up in this dreadful situation

Highly regarded Professor John Mearsheimer reported in June 2023: “The Ukraine war is an enormous disaster, unlikely to end anytime soon and when it does, the result will not be a lasting peace…. “Conventional wisdom about the war’s origins is that Putin launched an unprovoked attack on 24 February 2022, motivated by his grand plan to create a greater Russia. Ukraine, it is said, was the first country he intended to conquer and annex, but not the last. As I have said on numerous occasions, there is no evidence to support this line of argument, and indeed there is considerable evidence that directly contradicts it.

While there is no question Russia invaded Ukraine, the ultimate cause of the war was the West’s decision — and here we are talking mainly about the United States — to make Ukraine a Western bulwark on Russia’s border. The key element in that strategy was bringing Ukraine into NATO, a move that not only Putin, but the entire Russian foreign policy establishment, saw as an existential threat that had to be eliminated. It is often forgotten that numerous American and European policymakers and strategists opposed NATO expansion from the start because they understood the Russians would see it as a threat, and that the policy would eventually lead to disaster. The list of opponents includes George Kennan, both President Clinton’s Secretary of Defense, William Perry, and his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Shalikashvili, Paul Nitze, Robert Gates, Robert McNamara, Richard Pipes, and Jack Matlock, just to name a few. At the NATO summit in Bucharest In April 2008, both French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposed President George W. Bush’s plan to bring Ukraine into the alliance. Merkel later said her opposition was based on her belief Putin would interpret it as a “declaration of war.”

“Of course, opponents of NATO expansion were correct, but they lost the fight and NATO marched eastward, which eventually provoked the Russians to launch a preventive war. Had the United States and its allies not moved to bring Ukraine into NATO in April 2008, or had they been willing to accommodate Moscow’s security concerns after the Ukraine crisis broke out in February 2014, there probably would be no war in Ukraine today and its borders would look like they did when it gained its independence in 1991. The West made a colossal blunder, which it and many others are not done paying for. The Darkness Ahead: Where The Ukraine War Is Headed Professor John Mearsheimer 24/6/2023 https://mearsheimer.substack.com/p/the-darkness-ahead-where-the-ukraine

Consequences of even ‘limited’ nuclear war

In August 2022, Australian scientist Tilman Ruff, published an article, pointing out that even a “limited” nuclear war would lead to ice age conditions that would starve billions. Ice age conditions after even “limited” nuclear war would starve billions — Pearls and Irritations (johnmenadue.com)

Excerpt: “Even a nuclear war in which less than 3% of the world’s 12,705 nuclear weapons were exploded would decimate crop production and result in widespread starvation. For the first time, the study provides detailed estimates of impacts from various feasible scenarios for nuclear war on major food sources in every country… “In a nuclear war, bombs targeted on cities and industrial areas would start firestorms, injecting large amounts of soot into the upper atmosphere, which would spread globally and rapidly cool the planet,” the researchers explain. The cooling even for a “limited” nuclear war in one region would abruptly plummet global temperatures to those last seen during the coldest period of the last ice age 20,000 years ago. The resultant cooling, drying and darkening persist for over a decade.

NATO courting the prime minister

Considering Aotearoa-New Zealand’s nuclear-free policy and credentials it’s vital for our country to speak out publicly in the world against clear, present dangers of nuclear annihilation which can happen even accidentally in times of crisis. Our country has earned respect and admiration worldwide for speaking out against the dangers of our allies’ nuclear weapons experiments in the Pacific region, and against US nuclear-powered ships in our ports. NATO strongly opposes the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which Aotearoa/NZ has ratified and endorsed. To collaborate closely with NATO and be silent about its aggressive activities that now greatly threaten world security, would surely betray our legacy and nuclear-free legislation in the 1987 Nuclear Free Zone Arms Control and Disarmament Act.

America is the only country in the world to have used nuclear weapons deliberately on civilians in 1945, when Japan was already defeated and could not threaten America. America used nuclear weapons not once but twice on defenceless Japanese civilians, days apart with catastrophic consequences. We urge you as Prime Minister to speak out against the imminent nuclear dangers that threaten the entire world’s security. It appears that NATO’s invitation to you as Prime Minister of Aotearoa, is courting our country with its high moral reputation, to enhance its own credibility. We cannot let the world down now.

Kay Weir, the Pacific Institute of Resource Management, Wellington pirmeditor@gmail.com www.pirm.org.nz www.pacificecologist.org

Laurie Ross, New Zealand Nuclear Free Peacemakers, Auckland laurie-ross@nuclearfreepeacemakers.org.nz

The Honourable Matt Robson, former Disarmament Minister, Auckland matt@mattrobson.co.nz

Liz Remmerswaal, World Beyond War, Hawkes Bay liz@worldbeyondwar.org

Rod Alley, Wellington, Member Disarmament and International Affairs Committee affiliated to the Aotearoa New Zealand Peace Foundation roderic.alley@vuw.ac.nz

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