Wednesday, 17 July 2019

share and share alike

Though arguably the worst-kept secret in the international defence alliance but the inadvertent disclosure, confirmation of the location of the US nuclear arsenal forward-positioned in Europe seems at least to me a pretty dangerous exposé and far more tempting of a fools’ crusade than the storming of Area 51 to extract some supposed extra-terrestrial beings. An open-secret already with Wikipedia articles on the towns in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey and Italy that reflect the stationing of warheads, security and launch protocols one wonders how tautological and self-referencing the news is.
Indeed there are relics of a hopefully bygone era all over Europe (with official admission at least broaching the subject) and let’s hope there’s no new arms race with Russia that necessitates a further build-up, but seeing this unsourced report, since removed, reminds me of an anecdote—also from Wikipedia, that related how during the DDR, East Berliners referred to the grand boulevard now called Karl-Marx-Allee as “Stalin’s Bathroom” (Stalins Badezimmer) owning to the tiled facades (Fassadenfliesen) of the showcase buildings. Included in an article on Berolinismus (Berliner-isms, that is pet names for structures and other architectural features like the Bierpinsel instead of the tower-restaurant Steglitz or “Telespargel” for the TV Tower or the East Side Gallery), this new moniker was picked up by many journalistic outlets (both foreign and domestic) and perpetuated in the media. The contributor later admitted that it seemed to him like a fitting a term of affection and that the list was incomplete and he could help by expanding it but no one ever referred to Karl-Marx-Allee as Stalin’s Bathroom. I wonder if it might be a similar case of commission in the case of the nuclear weapons as well.