Readers write: Dominance of English, problems with nuclear race

Letters to the editor for the Aug. 15, 2016-Aug. 22, 2016 weekly magazine.

Darren Staples/Reuters
Men work at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station site near Bridgwater in Britain.

Dominance of English

Regarding the June 13 cover story “The new battle of Britain”: Great reporting, but I assume that the story did not mention English as the world’s lingua franca because no one is talking about it. It’s the elephant in the room, after all. The symbolism of Britain leaving the EU is anti-world – essentially, “We’ve had all we can take of global integration.”

The world has embraced English (at gun-point) as the language that can help everyone to explain their issues, if not resolve them. “Brexit” is an invitation for those who don’t want to resolve differences to back off, and for those who love war to keep on fighting.

Alan Krause

Arlington, Va.

Problems with nuclear race

Regarding the June 13 article “Nuclear-capable nations are growing their weapon systems, report finds” ( It neglects to mention two major problems with the qualitative race that is now taking place among the world’s nine nuclear-armed nations. First, it is clearly illegal under international law, which requires good-faith negotiations on an end to the nuclear arms race. That is why the Marshall Islands has filed lawsuits against all nine nuclear-armed nations at the International Court of Justice and, separately, against the United States in US federal court, for breaches of this obligation. 

Second, the “modernization” programs these countries are engaged in are often giving nuclear weapons new military capabilities. In many cases, weapons that are being “modernized” right now are planned to still be in use until late in the 21st century. The B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb, currently being “modernized” by the US, will become the world’s first “smart” gravity bomb, with a new guided tail-fin kit and an adjustable explosive yield. These new capabilities could make the weapon more usable in the eyes of military leaders, leading to consequences that are truly unthinkable.

Rick Wayman

Director of programs, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Santa Barbara, Calif.

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