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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 18. 26th July 1973

Nuclear Tests

Nuclear Tests

Salient Editors,

I feel compelled to comment on Rob Campbell's and Graeme Clarke's apologism on China's nuclear tests in Salient July 5.

Many readers may doubt the sense of "US Imperialists wifi never blow up the world, which they have the capacity to do, as that would defeat the reason for their existence. They want world hegemony, along with the USSR, to ensure their profits. No world equals no profits." That peculiar statement overlooks the USA's 'better dead than red' suicidal and homicidal crusading zeal so globally evident in recent years.

There might be no obstacle to the 'militarisation' of nuclear devices that cannot be surmounted by the application of nuclear theory and extant data to research and development. Militarisation of nuclear devices requires that they be made practical ordnance produced in such quantities as to be of significance in war, and 'logistically viable' — optimum weight/destructive capacity, so that they may easily be delivered great distances and produce more blast and heat damage than any non-nuclear high explosive, in addition to lethal and disabling radiation.

Nuclear tests as a political demonstration let a country's enemies surmise that it has 'militarised' its nuclear devices, particularly when it can, as China has done, demonstrate a reliable and accurate long range delivery system. In 1970 China successfully launched a satellite and the Pentagon inferred (Newsweek May 4 1970) that China would have perhaps at least 50 ICBMs today.

If matters of this sort are considered as facts by a nation's enemies then nuclear testing is more for politically demonstrating military capacity than for research and development of weapons. Current political and technical developments in Israel and India make it likely that those countries may gate-crash their way into the exclusive nuclear club with nuclear weapons research and development, and of course, political demonstrations of capability by testing. Is nuclear proliferation really likely to lessen the chances of a nuclear conflagration? It might be sensible to suppose that the opposite is more likely.

Pardon the Pentagon jargon, Les Slater.