There is perhaps no greater division of sensitivities and loyalties than that of opinion over the role of Western Europe and North America in world affairs since the end of World War II. Some people think it is devoid of value in application, while others believe it is open to manipulation and may insist that the way the West applies is necessarily (always) good. They will admit that somewhere in Idaho a traffic light is out of order, but the United States is the honest mediator always and everywhere, and necessarily good to the world. Wondering about it, as mentioned earlier in this space, can be career limiting…
We’ll get to Oppenheimer’s film, The Science and Policy of Nuclear Weapons below.
One has to read only from news reports, commentaries, and what might be considered “objective” or “factual,” to get an idea of how subtly and insidiously spread ideological solidarity with Washington has been. Naturally, any attempts to impugn this blind faith and total acquiescence are dismissed as misinformation, misinformation, and/or directed by “dead ideologies.” It’s as if only “realists” and “rationalists” and heirs of the European Enlightenment have been given an education worth anything, and anyone who disagrees is, well, mistaken and hates the West, progress and 57 different kinds… You don’t have to be a postcolonial theorist to agree that the European Enlightenment and supposed Eurocentrism need to be kept under the microscope.
Ideological solidarity with the West (Atlantic society, more broadly) is heavily influenced by the intellectually awkward “end of ideology” metaphor pushed by Francis Fukuyama at the end of the Cold War. It is worth reminding ourselves of Fukuyama’s main argument: the end of the Cold War was the sign of “No End point For the ideological development of mankind and the popularization of Western liberal democracy as The ultimate form of human government(My emphasis.)
In other words, humans do not need, or have room for, further intellectual “evolution” because liberal democracy refers to the “ultimate form” of human government. One consequence of this certainty is that no one is supposed to look behind the screens to find out who and why the puppets are being manipulated to tell the stories that they do. While Fukuyama has expressed his “exhaustion” from having to discuss his original thesis over and over again, it remains a firm favorite with Right wing and among lazy liberals. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Fukuyama received positive responses from some Marxists, who acknowledged the way liberal capitalism has taken hold and has taken hold everywhere. It’s like when you acknowledge something, but disagree whether it’s good or bad. Or we accept that the United States built and maintained the post-war liberal international economic order, but we can’t decide whether it’s good or bad, or we get bogged down by the logic of economics, and thus by material gain, regardless of human cost.
But the end of the ideology thesis was “Fudge startEndpoint ideologists would likely frown on the fact that it was Strobe Talbot, darling of the US liberal establishment and former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (at the time NATO bombed the former Yugoslavia) who called this “bullshit,” adding that: “In one wistful respect, there is nothing new in Fukuyama’s malignant nonsense. In the bad old days of Stalin and Brezhnev, too many Americans were too preoccupied with the threat of communism to properly deal with Third World problems (overpopulation, backwardness, sectarian strife), as well as First World scourges like drugs and homelessness.”
For what it’s worth, Fukuyama’s thesis wasn’t entirely new. It was merely a reorganization of earlier discussions (in the 1950s) about the convergence of capitalism and communism…
What does all this have to do with Oppenheimer’s movie? a lot. I haven’t seen the movie. This is not a review. It’s simply one of the thoughts running through my head in anticipation of the movie. It might be a good movie. Christopher Nolan is a fine filmmaker (not in the league of Tarkovsky, Bergman, Ray or Kurosawa, among others) and the movie has an excellent cast. However, there are a priori issues that can be discussed. Unless, of course, the reader believes that there are no conflicting ideas at the end of ideology, that it is perfectly acceptable for a country that has previously used a weapon of mass destruction, invaded or occupied countries, dropped bombs and created human and environmental catastrophes (in the former Yugoslavia) to retain the privilege of having a nuclear arsenal, and that anyone who disagrees with it does so on the basis of a dead ideology.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Science and Politics of Bombs
L.’s scientific achievements Manhattan ProjectThe research that led to the birth of nuclear bombs is well known and widely recognized as historic. Technical details are available from reliable sources. be seen here And here. The Manhattan Project marked the beginning of the nuclear age, and was one of the milestones of physics in the last century. It is impossible to overestimate its importance. Some of the world’s greatest thinkers in physics worked on this project. The project was led by the Army, under the direction of General Leslie Groves, with the scientific community represented by Robert Oppenheimer, a prominent theoretical physicist from the University of California, Berkeley.
My favorite physicist, Richard Feynman, joined the Manhattan Project at the age of 20, and never made bold statements about the ethics of the bomb. Like most of the scientists who joined the project, he wanted to be one step ahead of the Nazis in developing a nuclear weapon. It was driven by politics. It was science that built the weapon, but it was politics that brought the scientists together. in his book, Of course you’re joking, Mr. Feynman!, he remained vague about the deadly devastation wrought by the scientists’ work, expressing only satisfaction that nuclear weapons had not been used or were “useless” in the decades after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Anyway, that’s what I learned from reading the book twice.
My personal position may be related to pacifism, which is one of the “dead ideologies”. A notable example of pacifism during the first half of the last century was Albert Einstein, who regretted signing the letter to US President Franklin Roosevelt that led to the creation of the atomic bomb. Einstein continued his pacifism and opposition to nuclear weapons during the Cold War arms race. The Russell-Einstein Manifesto (Bertrand Russell was a signatory) was issued after Einstein’s death in 1955, warning the public of the dangers of the nuclear arms race. I can’t imagine the Washington Triumphants and their lickers endorsing the pacifism inherent in the Russell-Einstein Manifesto. The antithesis to their ideology is closely related to the West’s “necessary” and “justified” wars on other wars in Brussels, Washington and Whitehall.
Of course, it wasn’t just pacifists who opposed the bombs. Defenders of the World have no remorse for killing people so their ideologies may flourish. Former President and Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces in Europe, Dwight Eisenhower, was a harsh critic of the deployment of atomic weapons against the Japanese people. When US Secretary of War Henry Stimson told Eisenhower that they were going to drop atomic bombs on the Japanese, Eisenhower expressed a “feeling of depression” and had serious concerns. Eisenhower believed, as many people did then and thereafter, that Japan “was already defeated and dropping the bomb was entirely unnecessary.” not important. People who have access to power and powerful weapons only have desperate intentions to use them. Former US Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright reminded us of this.
Where does all this lead? Well, by mainstream standards, Oppenheimer would probably win one or more Academy Awards. It will probably cause a lump in the throats of the praise-singers in Washington. It has already been described as “Masterpiece” for the BBC. It might be.
From my point of view, I watched Maverick a few months ago and was completely convinced that it was the most sophisticated propaganda of American military dominance and male machismo. With the support and assistance of the military and intelligence community in Washington, it is perhaps unreasonable to expect criticism of this country’s military adventures. Maverick is in the same band, though it’s a much better production, as Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will. There’s no doubt that Nolan’s Oppenheimer will leave audiences with a deep sense of pride, joy, victory, and (hopefully) regret. The best I can say about the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki is to paraphrase Albert Camus, who said of the massacre, “Technological civilization has just reached its final level of inhumanity.”
The bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima was as unnecessary as the firebombing of Dresden. After the firebombs burned everything in Dresden, Kurt Vonnegut reminded us, in Slaughterhouse-Five, “There’s nothing clever to say about massacre.” Later in life, Vonnegut said wryly:
“The Dresden atrocity, so expensive and meticulously planned, was so senseless, at last, that only one person on the whole planet profited from it. I am that person. I wrote this book.” [Slaughterhouse-Five] Which made me a lot of money and made my reputation, what it is… One way or another, I got two or three dollars for every person killed. I’m in some business.”
It would be disingenuous to ignore Oppenheimer’s deep regret, nor the fact that the AEA stripped him of his security clearance in 1954 because he was a leftist and associated with the Communists. When the “Father” of the Bomb witnessed the first detonation of a nuclear bomb on July 16, 1945, he reportedly referred to a remorseful passage from the Bhagavad Gita – the holiest of Hindu scriptures written in the last millennium before the Common Era.
“Now I have become Death, Destroyer of Worlds,” were the words that flowed under Oppenheimer’s breath.
His apparent remorse increased over the years after the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. He died in 1967 The New York Times reported After he said, “We knew the world would never be the same… A few people laughed, a few wept, and most people were silent.” (He sounded remarkably like Vonnegut in relation to the devastation of Dresden, as mentioned above.)
Oppenheimer was not a one-dimensional person. Between scientific achievement and his personal moral dilemma stands the issue of science and the use or application of science. Once scientific and technological breakthroughs leave the drawing board or lab, they can usually be used for nefarious purposes. Or, in the case of nuclear technology, l Medicine.
I return here to a trick question I frequently ask first-year students in political economy, war strategy, intelligence, and international politics. I will paraphrase it here as a statement. We made great scientific and technological progress in warfare between the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, but it is difficult to make the argument that we have made moral progress. All we have done in this context is increase the efficiency of killing people.
Oppenheimer would be a huge hit at the box office. I certainly hope that people will sit back and think about the futility of war, dropping bombs on people (from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to Dresden and Novi Sad, from your safe cockpit or using the joystick of NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command). Removing combatants from the battlefield was “ideal”, as it was at the end of the last century, when the ex-NATO decided. DM