It was in appreciation of his commitment to a non-nuclear world that President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. He stood in deep thought at the site of Hiroshima. However, during his time in office, the danger of a nuclear fallout has significantly escalated. Will Donald Trump reverse the apparently relentless march towards total destruction?

Finally the telephone has rung and Gentiloni, after a long and nervous wait, managed to hear the voice of the new US President, Donald Trump. The thrust of the telephone call – informs Palazzo Chigi – [is] the “historical friendship and collaboration between Italy and the US”, in the context of “Nato’s fundamental importance”. However, the Italian communiqué omits one point that White House had made public: in the telephone call to Gentiloni, Trump has not only “confirmed US’s commitment within Nato”, but has “emphasized the importance of all Nato allies sharing the monetary burden of defense expenditure”. By this he means that at the very least, all Nato allies contribute at least 2% of the GDP. In the case of Italy, this boils down to increasing expenditure from at least 55 million euro per day (which is the figure provided by Nato not the actual figure which is far higher) to 100 million euro per day. Gentiloni and Trump have pencilled in May for the G7, which will be presided by Italy. The meeting will take place at Taormina, a little more than 50 km from the US/Nato base at Sigonella and 100 km from Muos in Niscemi. These [represent] the strongholds of what, in the telephone call, is defined as “collaboration between Europe and the United States for peace and stability”.

The American Atomic Scientists have confirmed what this may result in: the hand of the “Clock of the Apocalypse”, the symbolic timekeeper that in their bulletin indicates how many minutes we are away from the midnight of a nuclear way, has been moved forward: from 3 [minutes] to midnight in 2015 to 2.5 minutes to midnight in 2017. This represents higher level of alarm than the mid eighties, when tensions between the USA and the USSR were at their highest.

In actual fact, this follows on from the strategy pursued by the Obama Administration which, with the putsch at Maidan Square, alighted a chain reaction that triggered a confrontation with Russia which spilled over to cover nuclear issues. This transformed Europe into the first line of attack for a new cold war, which some proclaim is even more dangerous than the last.

What will Trump do? In his telephone call to the Ukrainian President Poroshenko – communicates the White House – he has said that “we will work with Ukraine, Russia and other interested parties to help them and to re-establish peace along the borders”. However he fails to clarify if Crimea does or does not fall within the borders of Ukraine. Crimea, which has now broken off, forming part of Russia once again. The US ambassador to the UN, Haley, has declared that US sanctions on Russia are still in force and has condemned “aggressive Russian actions” in East Ukraine. Yet this is the very place that Kiev’s troops, including the neo nazi battalions, armed and trained by the US and Nato, have resumed an offensive.

At the same time, President Poroshenko has announced his intention to call a referendum for Ukraine’s membership in Nato. Even if Ukraine is already a de facto Nato member, Ukraine’s official entry into the Alliance would have an explosive effect on Russia.

Meanwhile Great Britain makes its move: while their air-naval forces step up cooperation with the US, it sends into the Black Sea, right up to Russia’s borders, for the first time since the Cold War, one of its most advanced naval units, the Diamond destroyer (costing more than 1 billion sterling), heading a Nato task force and supported by 650 British soldiers participating in, what can be no better qualified as a “drill” in Ukraine. At the same time, Great Britain sends to Poland and Estonia 1,000 men - part of an assault unit; and to Romania, the Typhoon bomber fighters possessing double conventional capacity and nuclear capacity.

Thus while Gentiloni talks with Trump about collaborating with the United States and Europe for peace and stability, the hand of the Clock is drawing closer to a nuclear midnight.

Anoosha Boralessa
Il Manifesto (Italy)

titre documents joints

Final 2017 Clock Statement

Bulletin of the American Scientists

(PDF - 370.1 KiB)