Scott interviews Gareth Porter about his coverage of a recently-released document liberated by Daniel Ellsberg when he originally leaked the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s. This document, Porter explains, shows how in 1958 the military wanted to use tactical nuclear weapons against China over the offshore islands crisis. It was only Eisenhower’s intervention that stopped the Joint Chiefs from going ahead with the plan, though ironically, it was Eisenhower’s own efforts to combat the military-industrial complex by reducing conventional military forces that helped lead to an increased focus on nuclear weapons as a primary military tool in the first place. Ellsberg has released this document because the idea that the U.S. might go to war with China over Taiwan has thrust this issue to the fore once again. Nuclear brinksmanship, he says, remains one of the greatest threats not just to American national security, but to the very survival of the human race. The idea of an all-out war with China as in any way a legitimate possibility must be vehemently opposed before we ever come to the point of using nuclear weapons again.
Discussed on the show:
- “Eisenhower rejected military chiefs’ demand for nuclear war on China, classified account of ’58 Taiwan Strait crisis reveals” (The Grayzone)
- The Doomsday Machine
- “Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says” (The New York Times)
- “Risk of Nuclear War Over Taiwan in 1958 Said to Be Greater Than Publicly Known” (The New York Times)
- “US military considered using nuclear weapons against China in 1958 Taiwan Strait crisis, leaked documents show” (CNN)
- National Security Archive
Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist on the national security state. He is the author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare and, with John Kiriakou, The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis. Follow him on Twitter @GarethPorter and listen to Gareth’s previous appearances on the Scott Horton Show.
This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: The War State, by Mike Swanson; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; Photo IQ; Green Mill Supercritical; Zippix Toothpicks; and Listen and Think Audio.