L’illusion nucléaire

GENÈVE – Pendant que les délégués de 189 pays se réunissent pour préparer la prochaine Conférence d’examen du traité sur la non-prolifération des armes nucléaires (TNP), programmée pour 2015, je me remémore ma première séance d’information officielle à laquelle j’assistais à titre de jeune ministre du gouvernement australien au début des années 1980, portant sur la stratégie nucléaire des États-Unis. La leçon m’était donnée, dans les entrailles du Pentagone, par un homme qui ressemblait étrangement à un Woody Allen vêtu d’un sarrau blanc et muni d’un pointeur.

Il n’avait pas grand-chose à dire sur tous les êtres humains en chair et en os qui seraient morts d’une manière ou d’une autre – évaporés, broyés, brûlés, ébouillantés ou irradiés – par le déclenchement éventuel d’une guerre nucléaire. Le discours était abstrait et technique, portant exclusivement sur les concepts de charge utile, de capacité de survie, de frappes « antiforces » et de cibles de représailles. L’exposé n’en était pas moins remarquable de clarté pour saisir la logique de la dissuasion nucléaire et les principes de la destruction mutuelle assurée que les États-Unis et l’Union soviétique ont tous deux appliqués pendant la guerre froide.

Trente ans plus tard, l’époque est révolue (si jamais elle a vraiment existé) où les gouvernements de Moscou ou de Washington risquent de s’envoyer des nuées de missiles nucléaires. Ce n’est pas non plus un monde où la Chine ou les États-Unis pourraient éventuellement déclencher intentionnellement une guerre nucléaire l’un contre l’autre.

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