Sunday, June 11, 2017

Should, could Czechia build its nuclear weapons?

Mr Ondřej Šupka is a young student of international and security studies in Brno, Czechia's second largest city, and he has ignited an unusual wave of interest – and controversy – by his essay at titled
A hypothesis: Czechia could acquire an atomic weapon easily and quickly (autom. EN)
He analyzes various aspects of the human capital, traditions, industry, public support, uranium deposits, the nuclear students' "Sparrow" reactor in Prague (here with global Miss contestants; the reactor is in the building where I attended most of my undergraduate lectures), and other things to justify the conclusion summarized by the title. At the same moment, he says that he doesn't find the current geopolitical conditions to favor such efforts.

Some commenters admire him, others – including a nuclear physicist who is good and whom I know – have attacked Mr Šupka vigorously. Well, even though I know that the criticisms are technically correct, I am surely closer to the fans of this boy.

Some critics attack Ondřej by ludicrously "advanced" proposals, e.g. by claims that the uranium and plutonium bombs are obsolete. Please, give me a break. They're the two most realistic types of a weapon that may be constructed.

Others correctly say that you need lots of centifuges for the highly enriched uranium; or special reactors for the plutonium bombs. Well, I think it's right we don't have them now. But I think we're one of the optimal countries where these things can be either imported and assembled or designed. In fact, I would bet that if Škoda Works JS (JS=nuclear machinery; the part of the old Škoda corporation is currently owned by some Russians) in Pilsen got the task to build all the required centrifuges or similar gadgets, they would be enthusiastic and scream that it's a task they have been looking forward to for many years.

Many other countries with much poorer traditions in the heavy industry and high-tech things have succeeded in these efforts. I think that Czechia is really an anomaly of a sort that it doesn't have it nuclear arsenal – as far as most of us know. It's the country where industrialization of Austria-Hungary started, the third country (I mean Czechoslovakia) with an astronaut after the Soviet Union and the U.S., a country with its Mageon satellites, a country with the highest public support of its peaceful nuclear energy industry in the world, a country with significant uranium (and also lithium etc., not that it matters) deposits.

And we simply may be considered the most high-tech fully European country from the central European meridians to the East.

For these reasons, I find all the objections against Mr Šupka's plan to be lame excuses. At the end, Šupka estimates the required time to build a Czech nuclear weapon to be "several years" and I actually think that it isn't "excessively" optimistic. OK, maybe I would say "a decade or two" but who knows? He recommends some deep mines near Příbram – between Prague and Pilsen – as the ideal places of concealed nuclear tests and similar things. Lots of fun. ;-)

There are various technical tasks and problems to be overcome; and then there are ideological and political goals and constraints. I think that it's ultimately the latter that determines most of the people's attitude towards Šupka's "hypothesis". So Dr Wagner criticizes Mr Šupka's thoughts primarily because he doesn't want our homeland to become a nuclear power. Well, I think it would be a good idea to become one.

A fix: please, change the color of Crimea to black – it is a part of a nuclear power and this peninsula could actually be very important in an application of the nuclear arsenal.

From our viewpoint, the map of the powers is rather "bipolar". On one side, you can see Russia – along with China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and – more optimistically – Israel as the nuclear powers. On the other side, France and England... and the U.S., of course. What can the alliances look like in 10 years? Whom we will be able to rely upon? Will we really feel safe in 2025?

Some of our recent experience with Russia was "disappointing" (I mean primarily the 1968 Warsaw Pact occupation of Czechoslovakia) but I have my suspicion that in 2025, Czechia may very well find itself in a state when it agrees that Russia is going to be most most credible, strong enough ally again (like in 1945). You know, the other European nuclear powers are France and England. They happen to be the exact two allies whose friendship was tested in Munich in 1938 – and they failed miserably.

Most of Czechs (but even more so, most of the Poles) love to think about the U.S. as some reliable ally. But it's also a fantasy of a sort. I think that in coming years, Donald Trump is going to weaken the trans-Atlantic military alliances and especially the will of the U.S. government to provide Europe with protection for free. And he surely has a point. He wants other NATO countries to spend at least 2% of the GDP on their military – Czechia had a shockingly low 0.97% last year. But you know, we may have some reasons why the conventional military spending looks like a waste of money to many of us. We're a landlocked country surrounded by other NATO allies. Czechia would only naturally defend itself against non-NATO countries in the situation when NATO is already largely defeated. On the other hand, we may feel some threats coming from other NATO countries, anyway. And we would probably decide not to fight against most of the larger powers because it could be suicidal. Does it make sense to double the strength of our military if we won't have the balls to wage a war against Germany or Russia, anyway?

Given our traditions and other reasons, I would find it more natural to spend the additional 1% of the GDP on high-tech projects, especially the development of a nuclear weapon, because our transformation to a military nuclear power could actually represent a significant change.

I mentioned that the Western European nuclear powers, France and England, are the same allies who betrayed us in 1938. But I don't want to fight in the wars of the past. It's much more relevant what Europe is probably going to look like in 2025 or so. And I find it rather hard to imagine that at that time, France is going to be viewed as an ally by most Czechs. It seems somewhat likely that the Islamic influence over France will be even (much) higher than it is today – and the conditions today already look unacceptable to most Czechs. It's plausible that due to some verbal or other exchanges, we will literally consider France to be our enemy, a compromised territory that works on the project to Islamize Europe. And while Russia may look OK enough today, won't it return to some hostile Soviet-style regime in a decade?

And it's not just Islam. Macron seems to be a lunatic. Macron recently offered €1.5 million to every influential U.S. climate alarmist if he or she moves to France. Wow. These people should be jailed for very, very many years and some of them should be executed. And this lunatic wants to turn each of them to a millionaire – for the French taxpayers' money? And it's the same people who have been slinging mud on Richard Lindzen because he has indirectly received $14.50 from a coal company for some hard intellectual work. Is this why the French pay up to 75% income taxes? To pay for the super-luxurious life of some of the most disgusting fraudsters in the history of the mankind? If this "Gentleman" f*cks a grandmother, it's really his tiniest problem.

There are annoying and dangerous things in Czech politics as well – e.g. Babiš's totalitarian inclinations. But even folks like Babiš want to preserve some kind of a European civilization as we have known it for centuries. Full of BS about multiculturalism and similar stuff, countries like France and even the U.K. can't be described in this way. Because Czechia is the most technologically advanced country among those that have this clear, classically European attitude to the topic of the Muslim mass migration, and perhaps a few others, it seems like a moral duty for my homeland to at least start planning its construction of a nuclear weapon.

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