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February 07, 2006

A Question

Whenever America's War Party talked about Iraq giving nuclear weapons to terrorists, others would say, "That's ridiculous! A government would never offer to give its nuclear weapons to someone else!"

The natural response by the War Party—or the War Partay, as I like to call them—would have been: "That's simply wrong. After all, in 1954, America offered France two nukes to use on Vietnam."

For some reason, however, they never said this.

Anyway, this makes me wonder: is there any other example in history of a government offering to hand over its nukes?

NOTE: It's unclear whether the U.S. was actually going to hand over operational control of the weapons to France. There apparently was also talk of doing the nuking directly ourselves.

BONU$ FUN FACT$: The nuke/Vietnam offer was made to French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. Later an airport in Virginia was named after Dulles. Later still the plane that hit the Pentagon took off from Dulles.

Posted at February 7, 2006 07:17 AM | TrackBack

Yes, nukes were apparently considered as one option for proposed USAF airstrikes in support of the garrison at Dien Bien Phu, but nothing I've read suggests that operational control of those nuclear weapons would be in any but American hands. To hand them over to the French would be, in Vizzini's words, "inconceivable!"

Posted by: Ralph Hitchens at February 7, 2006 08:02 AM

As long as we're swapping left-wing trivia, I'd like to say that Wally Shawn, the guy who played Vizzini, is a left-wing playwright. His '96 play "The Designated Mourner" appears to be at least partly inspired by the coup in Chile which the previous post mentioned.

Also, I got to meet him while marching on the White House in September, which nobody should really care about but me.

Posted by: Sully at February 7, 2006 12:15 PM

During the late 50's and early 60's, the Americans wanted to put Nuclear missiles on Canadian soil as part of NORAD. Of course, I'm not sure it's an entirely analagous situation.

Posted by: hoserguy at February 7, 2006 12:40 PM

Apparently, air forces of several NATO countries, e.g. Turkey, Germany, etc. practice using nukes which will be conveniently handed over to them by the Great White Chief if he decides to go on the warpath:

Of course, many naysayers claim this makes a mockery of articles I and II of NPT which "prohibit the transer and acceptance, respecitively, of direct or indirect control over nuclear weapons", but then what would you expect from "nattering nabobs of negativity". A bit of pettifoggery from policy wonks should make the point "clearer than truth"...

Posted by: sk at February 8, 2006 03:35 AM