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Cold Warriors Question Nukes 274

Posted by Soulskill
from the nukes-invoke-their-right-to-remain-silent dept.
Martin Hellman writes "George Shultz served as President Reagan's Secretary of State, and Bill Perry as President Clinton's Secretary of Defense. Henry Kissinger was National Security Advisor and Secretary of State to both President Nixon and Ford. Sam Nunn was Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee for eight years. Their key roles in the Cold War has led many to call them 'Cold Warriors.' That status makes their recent, repeated calls for fundamentally re-examining our nuclear posture all the more noteworthy. Their most recent attempt to awaken society to the unacceptable risk posed by nuclear weapons is an Op-Ed in today's Wall Street Journal titled Deterrence in the Age of Nuclear Proliferation. (That link requires a subscription to the Journal. There is also a subscription-free link (PDF) at the Nuclear Threat Initiative.) Key excerpts and links to other resources are available as well."
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Cold Warriors Question Nukes

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  • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Monday March 07, 2011 @06:47PM (#35413312) Journal

    ...deterrence is obsolete. If people are so brainwashed by their religion that they think that they're going to be greeted by 17 virgins and everything will be better once this life is over, all bets are off.

    Religion is the biggest threat to the survival of our species, folks. Time to wake up. Time to stand up to the "let's not offend the Muslims" crowd. Every time they claim to be offended by people in the western world exercising their western rights (whether it's to draw cartoons or write novels) we should tell them to go fuck themselves.

    • by Aerorae (1941752)
      you first.
    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Dude, it's 72 virgins [wikiislam.net], not 17! And what they don't tell you is that all 72 of those virgins are great big gay men...
      • by Apathist (741707)
        So this, don't get it. What happens after you've used up your quota of virgins? Do they magically get restored, or do you then have to spend eternity with a pack of thoroughly "used" women...? 'cause, assuming a standard rate, 72 virgins would only take a couple of months to get through, and I'm told eternity is much longer than that...
        • by Locke2005 (849178)
          These "women" supposedly don't shit, piss, spit, or menstruate, so I suspect these idealized "women" remain "virgins" no matter how many times you fuck 'em. The 72 is just for variety. No, Islam is not sexist, not at all...
          • by dwillden (521345)
            No, they remain virgins because you only get to hang out with them, you don't get to have sex with them. After all they would then no longer be virgins. And there are only 72 of them so all the Martyrs get to share the same, non-giving any, eternal virgins. Paradise indeed. :)
        • by iggymanz (596061)

          said a former muslim I know, "I wouldn't want 72 virgins, I want 72 total sluts!"

          My theory is that paradise has used up all the virgins long ago, now they have "refurbished virgins", kind of like a re-tread on a tire

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          They're returned to 'purity' the next day so you can cause them pain and suffering again, and again, and again. Just like you did in life! Awesome stuff huh?

          • by Thing 1 (178996)

            They're returned to 'purity' the next day so you can cause them pain and suffering again, and again, and again. Just like you did in life! Awesome stuff huh?

            I see what you did there. Hell is being Heaven's virgins.

        • by syousef (465911)

          'cause, assuming a standard rate, 72 virgins would only take a couple of months to get through, and I'm told eternity is much longer than that...

          Apparently not if you're Charlie Sheen. You'd be lucky if they lasted 72 minutes.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          They deal with that at the beginning of Postal the one movie that Uwe Bolle directed which was actually worth watching.

      • Perhaps the OP meant 17 in base 65 :>

        Now if it were 42, that would be the answer to all my problems.

      • by billcopc (196330)

        Dude, he was counting in base 65

      • by Darinbob (1142669) on Monday March 07, 2011 @07:49PM (#35413968)

        And the 72 virgins are chosen from a D&D convention.

      • by Namarrgon (105036) on Monday March 07, 2011 @07:51PM (#35414002) Homepage

        I believe the Koran itself doesn't actually specify how many virgins; that was mentioned in the Book of Suran instead as a fifth-hand recollection of something Mohammed said. Also, there's no mention of them being specifically available only for martyrs.

        There's also some doubt about the virgin part. Some scholars [guardian.co.uk] believe that the word "hur" is better translated as "white raisin".

        • Anyone who gets into Paradise gets the pleasure of servants and wives in heaven. (Therefore terrorists are excluded since they're committing sins like murder)

          Nice try, but there's no "book of Suran." The link you cited is flawed since he claims that the word in the Quran came from Syrian, which is unlikely given that the Prophet was illiterate and didn't have much contact with the Syrians, the portions of the Quran that mention hur just dont make sense with the idea of raisins, and several hadith clarify th

    • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Monday March 07, 2011 @07:00PM (#35413478)

      Religion is the enemy right now, sea lanes, industrial production, communications/control and minerals are the long term things to worry about, for all of those nuclear weapons for deterrence are still "useful".

      Religion isn't the threat, ideology is, be it pan-Islamic, Maoism, White Supremacy, etc

      • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday March 07, 2011 @07:25PM (#35413724) Homepage Journal

        Someone who happens to be on target. The mewling idiots complain about "religion" being a danger. And, within the past 100 years, we've seen that ATHEISTS rank among the cruelest, most inhuman monsters on earth.

        It's "ideology" that is the real threat. Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, and Joseph Stalin never went to a Christian mass, and they certainly never took an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. Ideology. Any time some sumbitch starts thinking that he knows what's good for the rest of humanity, we are in trouble, no matter his religion, or lack of.

        • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

          Stalin sure went to Church, he went to seminary for 9 or 10 years.

          But that's not why he was an asshat, he was an asshat because of ideology.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          So. Because these examples you trot out never went to "Christian mass", they're atheist? Are all people who don't practice your brand of Christianity atheist?

          Everyone trots on Mao, Pol Pot and Joseph Stalin as extreme examples of "atheists" who demonstrated the cruelty of "atheism". The problem, of course, is that none of them were actually atheist... [freethoughtnation.com].

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday March 07, 2011 @07:47PM (#35413944) Journal
          Just FYI... Joseph Stalin attended(but left just short of graduating) from a Georgian Orthodox Seminary. He could afford to do so because of a scholarship earned during his earlier years at a church school. His theistic activities were largely confined to his early life; but he probably went to a great many masses, after the eastern orthodox style.

          Ironically, Pol Pot attended a Catholic school, and so probably also had a few masses under his belt as well. Only Mao appears to have a reasonably clean bill of health...
        • The mewling idiots complain about "religion" being a danger.

          Ah, the old "Pol Pot, Stalin Hitler were atheists" fallacy again.

          Read my lips. Only a religious nutjob would conduct a suicide mission and blow himself up in a crowded mall or crash a jetliner into a building because he thinks he's going to be rewarded for it in the afterlife. An atheist would not.

          "Mewling idiots" indeed!

          • by ljw1004 (764174)

            Up until 2000 or so, non-religious suicide bombers (largely Tamils) outnumbered religious suicide bombers,

          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            You might be surprised at just what people can be convinced to do without religion being involved. Well the "rewarded in the afterlife part" is religious specific but a non-religious people will stuff conduct suicide missions and blow themselves up, for the cause.

            Take Japanase kimikaze pilots in WW2. The Tamil Tigers basically invented the suicide belt but aren't doing things for religious reasons.

        • by couchslug (175151)

          "Any time some sumbitch starts thinking that he knows what's good for the rest of humanity"

          That's the definition of religion.

          Religion IS a danger, because it's not supported by facts, at all. Any falsehood, including belief in deities, is dangerous.

          • Heh. Did you read all the posts on here by atheists? They'll all tell you that we'd be better off without religion of any sort. So, it's also the definition of anti-religion nuts. Oh - don't bother countering that atheism is based on fact - you can't prove your point, I can't prove my point, and Omar can't prove his point either.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday March 07, 2011 @07:21PM (#35413692) Journal
      Suicide bombers are arguably the most dramatic example; but they are hardly the only ones who threaten the classic MAD/Deterrence model of nuke use.

      For the classic model of nuclear deterrence to work, you must have two or more rational actors, with access to good information, with interests that would be unacceptably threatened by the use of nuclear weapons against them, and with access to nuclear weapons and the ability to perform reprisals with them. That is actually a fairly tight set of requirements.

      Even during the Cold War, for instance, there were a few situations where technical and/or command & control glitches left some number of warheads in the hands of local officers with either false positives, or highly limited information. Since the ability to perform reprisals requires an emphasis on designing "fail-unsafe" systems that launch if the nation's infrastructure is damaged, you enormously magnify the potential costs of infrastructure glitches.

      Another quite plausible attack on the classic deterrence model is the use of proxies or non-state actors(whether suicidal or not: it isn't hugely pertinent whether or not the chap who carried the bomb onto the plane is also on the plane when the trivial-for-an-arduino-hobbyist-with-$100 GPS/alteometer system triggers the bomb at perfect airburst altitude over a major city...) If you don't know who provided the bomb, you don't have anybody to perform a reprisal against, and thus your threat of reprisal is hollow, and does not deter an attacker with access to covert operators. Your basic "Hey guys, let's build a limited number of big, hardened, silos, trivially visible from orbit, from which to launch extremely dramatic ICBMs" strategy makes retaliation easy; but is increasingly obsolete. Even aside from the cargo planes and panel vans school of sneaking about, the steady proliferation of the expertise to build short to medium range missiles(or just the finished missiles) which can be launched from all sorts of improv platforms is going to make aggressor ID harder as time goes on.

      There is also the "star wars" concern: Were some rational actor locked in a classic deterrence scenario to develop an anti-missile technology that actually worked, their opponent would no longer have a viable deterrent, which would upset the equilibrium(as would a rational; but misinformed actor who thinks he has an effective anti-missile system, or an irrational actor who believes
      There is also the sticky issue of the potential for proliferation and increased use of smallish, tactical nuclear devices. International opinion on the use of strategic nuclear devices, particularly against population centers, is pretty uniformly negative. It is less clear how a situation involving something on the scale of a Davy Crockett [wikipedia.org] style device would be handled. It's a nuke, and it would place considerable destructive punch in the hands of quite light forces; but it is smaller than some perfectly-legal-and-above-board conventional explosives. Even in a simple "two powers, clear attribution" scenario, it isn't clear that such devices would escalate to a full-scale strategic armageddon; but they would certainly make conventional warfare extra ugly. Perhaps of greater interest to today's major powers, such devices would be a godsend to the scruffy proxy-forces of the world: All the power of a GBU-43 or some sort of particularly nasty cluster/carpet munition, in a delivery system not much larger than a simple mortar, and capable of being broken down and hand carried by a small team, whatever rickety pickup trucks are the local favorite, etc. Easy to hide in a populated area against anything but a house-by-house operation(unlike the aircraft or heavy artillery you would ordinarily need to deliver such firepower); but capable of inflicting ghastly casualties on even advanced military forces...

      So. Yeah. I can't really blame them for being concerned...
      • by mbkennel (97636)

        "something on the scale of a Davy Crockett [wikipedia.org] style device would be handled. It's a nuke, and it would place considerable destructive punch in the hands of quite light forces; but it is smaller than some perfectly-legal-and-above-board conventional explosives"

        Which ones are those?

        A B-52 has a payload capacity of 70,000 pounds, or 45 US tons. Supposing half of that is actual explosive. So a one Davy Crockett warhead is about a B-52 load. Plus the radiation, which for small nuclear weapons is

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday March 07, 2011 @07:53PM (#35414022)

      Time to stand up to the "let's not offend the Muslims" crowd. Every time they claim to be offended by people in the western world exercising their western rights (whether it's to draw cartoons or write novels) we should tell them to go fuck themselves.

      I'm skeptical that we're dealing with one big population that is offended at those things and is also trying to nuke us. Rather, I think we're dealing with a large number of people who are offended by such things, who would maybe burn an American flag and throw rocks but are mostly harmless.

      Then there is a much much much smaller group who is trying to get nukes to destroy us because they're messed up in the head. Maybe Al Quaeda spouts off about the danish cartoons, but even if we were completely nice and respectful to them, and even if we were to convert to Islam, they'd still try to destroy us. It's worth keeping in mind that most Islamic terrorism is focused against other Muslims, even ones who were being respectful of their own religion.

      It really doesn't matter if they're offended by "The Satanic Verses" for example: the harmless ones don't matter (and of course it's our right to say whatever we want) and the dangerous ones are trying to destroy us anyway. Their taking offense to whatever is a separate issue from terrorism.

    • Please mod him up.
    • by MarkvW (1037596)

      The only person who gets to do the seventeen virgins in heaven is the foolish suicide bomber. The people that make the suicide bomb and give the bomber directions don't get to participate in the seventeen virgin fun. Such leaders are pragmatic and they seek their virgins here on Earth. They use fools as tools.

      Saying that religion is the biggest threat to the survival of our species is beyond ridiculous. The biggest threat to the survival of our species is population pressure. That much is obvious. Fur

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Deterrence may be obsolete against SOME irrational actors, but don't forget that atmospheric testing PROVED beyond debate that smallish nuclear wars are quite practical. Overlay maps of the aboveground nuke shots over your target country of choice. That's a practical level of war.

      In an actual existential war, destroying an enemy country is a reasonable option. Not point targets to make gestures, but the country itself. Suicide bombers are expendable INDIVIDUALS fighting for a CAUSE. We have not yet encounte

    • by syousef (465911)

      ...deterrence is obsolete. If people are so brainwashed by their religion that they think that they're going to be greeted by 17 virgins and everything will be better once this life is over, all bets are off.

      Religion is the biggest threat to the survival of our species, folks. Time to wake up. Time to stand up to the "let's not offend the Muslims" crowd. Every time they claim to be offended by people in the western world exercising their western rights (whether it's to draw cartoons or write novels) we should tell them to go fuck themselves.

      Sounds like an excellent way to start a war and help justify their point of view and turn more to their cause.

      There is a reason diplomats tend to be older. It requires a cool head. ...and it's a pity you resorted to that argument because your intiial point and your overall argument aren't bad or wrong - just this one last point on which you complelely lost me.

      How should we react? With tact. We should explain that our own beliefs do not allow us to permit theirs to encroach in our own world. That every time

    • If people are so brainwashed by their religion that they think that they're going to be greeted by 17 virgins and everything will be better once this life is over, all bets are off.

      Bullshit. This is a fallacy for the vast majority of suicide bomber cases. When your society is reduced to rubble and you are denigrated, stepped on and completely stripped of your dignity, blowing yourself up in the name of your family's, your country's, your race's freedom seems like a viable option. It's either sit back and co

    • by Jawnn (445279)

      Time to stand up to the "let's not offend the Muslims" crowd. Every time they claim to be offended by people in the western world exercising their western rights (whether it's to draw cartoons or write novels) we should tell them to go fuck themselves.

      Bigot much?
      Christ on a crutch... How is it that anyone who can read actually thinks that "the Muslims" are the problem here? Christianity has several hundred years of ugly and and barbaric history under it's sash, and Judaism is well into four figures of killing "the other". So a handful of Muslims, yes, that's right, a precious few nut jobs who lean on their religion to express their rage at the shitty hand life dealt them, are suddenly the Muslims? The plain (as in if you even bothered to take even a h

    • by CrazyJim1 (809850)
      generalizing religion is like generalizing politics, some are wrong, but that doesn't mean they're all wrong.

      Also, aren't we glad it was the Russians who got nukes and not Japan? Remember Japan used the kamikaze from a corrupted look at samurai code.
    • If people are so brainwashed by their religion that they think that they're going to be greeted by 17 virgins and everything will be better once this life is over, all bets are off.

      Huh? It used to be 72 virgins [wikiislam.net], you insensitive clod!

      (mod informative, not funny)

    • ...deterrence is obsolete

      Whether or not thats true, us getting rid of nukes wont stop other people from having them-- not even the crazy people. It will just mean we dont have nukes.

      Religion is the biggest threat to the survival of our species,

      If you think people need religion to threaten the survival of the species, you have another thing coming. People seem to find ways to brutalize each other without it quite well (China, Cambodia, USSR....). The conflict in the middle east just happens to involve religion, but its as much about territory and ethnicity as anything else.

      we should tell them to go fuck themselves.

      I would tend to

  • We just dropped a 10 megaton Slashdot on http://nuclearrisk.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com]
  • There is an argument to be had for having a nuclear deterrent, but the kind of madness where a country builds thousands of megaton yield thermonuclear weapons is just tragic. If nothing else it is a fantastic waste of money and resources when even a small nuclear arsenal with maybe 50-100 weapons would appear to work as an effective deterrent. Ideally it would be better if one could do without them altogether, but if one feels there is a need for it then at least keep it sensible rather than blowing away re

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      To say nothing of the economic effects of using a thousand or more nukes, really cuts into profit margins and raises cost of living and cost of doing business!

      or as gilbert godfrey would say, "the worst thing about global nuclear warfare.....you think it's hard to get taxi *now*.....

    • by siddesu (698447)

      But it is a good business that pays huge amounts of money to your friends -- without too much oversight.

    • by Nyeerrmm (940927) on Monday March 07, 2011 @07:14PM (#35413626)

      From what I gather, it would be far more unstable for us to have 50-100 nukes than the huge number we have right now.

      The problem is that there are only 2 countries with very large numbers of weapons, while a lot of countries have ~100. The two-party balance is theoretically stable (or at least it appears to be given the past 60 years), while a multi-party balance leaves a lot of room for alliances and power plays that could start nukes flying. The most dangerous part of a 'Road to zero' nuclear reduction plan is the time when everyone has a few hundred.

      The other problem is that with ~100s of weapons, it is conceivable for a country to 'win' a nuclear war, since it would be conceivable to eliminate the enemies capabilities while inflicting serious damage. However, with the ridiculous number we have now, there is simply no way to attack the other country and keep from being wiped out yourself.

      Or at least thats the theory. I'm no expert on the matter though, I just learned from my roommate who is in grad school for these kind of things.

      • A little more room maybe, but there is still room with the 2-party system. What is stopping the US and Russia from teaming up and wiping another country off the map? Just because YOUR country can't be destroyed (I'm guessing you are from the US), doesn't make any of the OTHER countries feel very safe.
        • by gman003 (1693318)

          What is stopping the US and Russia from teaming up and wiping another country off the map?

          The fact that they've been hated enemies for 80 years, have no significant political, economic or religious ties to each other, and see each other as the One Thing Keeping Us From Our Rightful Place? Oh, and the lingering fear that if they do that, they'll scare the rest of the world enough that instead of US + RU vs. Elbonia, it becomes US + RU vs. the World? Oh, and don't forget that Russia is both economically and militarily unprepared for any major military action - their economy is in the dumps, their

    • The thinking back then was, 50-100 might wipe out a population, but the enemy might just have a way to shoot some down, or might strike first and knock out too many to mount a counterattack. The "Star Wars" program was after all a big fake system to make the USSR believe we could destroy hundreds of their missiles, and thus the USSR made thousands of missiles to compensate.

      If you only have a few dozen missiles, then suddenly it is way more lucrative to invest in space based defenses, because then you CAN
    • by khallow (566160)

      If nothing else it is a fantastic waste of money and resources when even a small nuclear arsenal with maybe 50-100 weapons would appear to work as an effective deterrent.

      Such a small arsenal would not "appear to work" to me. First, how reliable are those weapons? Second, there are too many nuclear countries which can take 50-100 nuclear hits and still keep fighting. You can't conduct a MAD style defense with merely a few nuclear weapons against a country like the US or the USSR.

    • by gman003 (1693318)
      That seems to be China's plan. Depending on who you ask, they have between 100 and 300 warheads, with about 70% of them "active", ie. ready to be used without warning. This is on par with France and the UK, and possibly with Israel (sources for Israel's armory vary between 0 and 500, usually about 100 or so). India and Pakistan each have about 100 as well - sufficient to deter, but not sufficient to really damage the planet. And, of course, we can't forget North Korea's half-dozen devices.

      This is a pretty
    • by couchslug (175151)

      Deterrence is only credible if force WILL be used when required, and large arsenals ensure enough weapons to exterminate any opportunists who might jump in.

  • or the radiation exposure. I can't tell which.

  • We can do pretty much anything we need to with precision guided conventional weapons. Nukes were great for threatening populations (probably a war crime) or taking out hardened targets. Now, we can take out buried facilities with a couple of bunker busters. And if nobody had nukes with which to escalate, the political acceptability of surgical strikes would be greater.

    The presence of nukes in various countries creates some serious limitations on our tactical options. Take Pakistan for example. If they didn

    • ...and bin Laden would be ours by now.

      If the U.S. administration of the time hadn't deliberately delayed going after bin Laden, he would have been captured. It's got nothing to do with Pakistan and nukes, it has to do with the number of powerful Americans who will be compromised if he is captured and speaks to anyone.

    • "Now, we can take out buried facilities with a couple of bunker busters."

      Uhhhh - which "bunker busters" exactly? Dude - if your target is buried 100, 200, 500, even 1000 feet below the surface - you're not going to get it with "conventianal weapons". I think the "bunker busters" you refer to are actually tactical nukes.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_bunker_buster [wikipedia.org]

      Note the poor penetration of your conventional weapons when used for bunker busting.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunker_buster [wikipedia.org]

    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      There are extensive bunker facilities that a conventional weapon can't take out. Like Cheyenne Mountain, Raven Rock Mountain Complex, Heng Shan Military Command Center, Mount Yamantau, and tunnels of the Moscow Subway.

      If you are going to kill the US, Russian, Chinese or Taiwanese (to list four) command and control network and make sure the continuity of government goes with it, you'll need nukes.

    • by salesgeek (263995) on Monday March 07, 2011 @07:45PM (#35413908) Homepage

      We can do pretty much anything* we need to with precision guided conventional weapons.
      * Except make making victory impossible for the enemy.

      FTFY.

      Until the other guy doesn't have nukes, you are pretty much stuck with having them. Nukes are largely responsible for preventing the next every 20 years or so ginormous war that was happening up until 1945. While I don't like having stuff around that hand the earth off to the cockroaches, it beats having 50 million people killed in five years every two or three decades.

    • We never needed them. Conscripts thrown off the boat onto Japan would have eventually killed every hostile man woman child and dog by hand. But if only our nukes disappeared today, by the weekend Congress would be welcoming our provisional Chinese governor.
    • by couchslug (175151)

      "We can do pretty much anything we need to with precision guided conventional weapons."

      Except destroy area targets.

  • It's easy for some jackass to come out 20 years after he had any political relevance and state that his approach was equivocally wrong. Now, show me a politician with the COURAGE to do the right thing when there's political pressure to make the wrong, but safe, choice. Fuck you and fuck your legacy!!!

    • by mano.m (1587187)
      It isn't easy. Admitting an approach was 'wrong' damages their legacy. And no one is saying it was wrong then; they are merely saying it is wrong to continue it now.
  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Monday March 07, 2011 @07:47PM (#35413954)
    Although it does not appear in the Wikipedia definition, it is common for all US military vets that served in the deterrence of the Soviet nuclear threat to call themselves Cold Warriers. I kept Pershing tactical nukes operational during the early 70's. They were in Southern Germany and their purpose was to defend against a Red Army attack from the east. I have several friends that served in similar roles.
  • At some point in the not too distant future China is going to resume testing warheads. It will violate the CTBT (which it has never ratified) and then engage in whatever rationalization it must at the UN who, while engaging in the obligatory public histrionics, will be only too happy to accept China's renewed nuclear credentials as a bi-polar counter to the US.

    On that day this nuclear navel-gazing will be quietly returned to the dusty silhouette on the shelf from which it fell. So don't spend a lot of tim

  • by mr100percent (57156) on Monday March 07, 2011 @08:36PM (#35414444) Homepage Journal

    Ronald Reagan called for a world without nukes, and took concrete steps to slash the arsenals of both the US and USSR.

    Obama calls for a future where there will be zero nukes, and his administration's policy is to have both US and Russia reduce the number of nukes by several thousand. And for this, he's rewarded with screeches from the left that Obama hates America, wants to let the terrorists win, doesn't understand war, etc. This is all coming from the Right, a group that is trying to portray Reagan as a saint. How odd that Obama copying Reagan gets jeers.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Be careful what you wish for...

      The result of a world without nukes would be to make massive, existential, conventional wars practical _again_.

      Wars since WWII have been of the recreational variety, and the Cold War was fought in such a restrained manner because of nuclear deterrence.

      • Wars still take place without nukes; look at the Balkans or portions of Africa. Economically and politically they're harder to sustain these days, the adage "no two countries with McDonalds in them go to war with each other" holds true in general. No nukes are better than asymmetric nukes; Israel's possession of them has triggered an arms race in the region (especially since the Israeli far right has openly threatened and pushed for their use on Iran, which makes Iranians want nukes back)

      • Because nuclear weapons can always be redeveloped.

        Be careful what you wish for...

        The result of a world without nukes would be to make massive, existential, conventional wars practical _again_.

        No chance, because that world can never happen. The best we can do is eliminate deployed nuclear weapons. The knowledge of how to build them and the ability to develop them quickly isn't going away. Any of today's officially recognized recognized nuclear powers could develop and deploy new bombs very quickly even if they had previously disposed of their arsenal. And they would, if they found themselves on the losing end of a massive existential conventio

  • When I saw the headline, I immediately thought of:

    Doolittle: Hello, Bomb? Are you with me?
    Bomb #20: Of course.
    Doolittle: Are you willing to entertain a few concepts?
    Bomb #20: I am always receptive to suggestions.
    Doolittle: Fine. Think about this then. How do you know you exist?
    Bomb #20: Well, of course I exist.
    Doolittle: But how do you know you exist?
    Bomb #20: It is intuitively obvious.
    Doolittle: Intuition is no proof. What concrete evidence do you have that you exist?
    Bomb #20: Hmmmm... well... I think, the

  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @12:16PM (#35420454)

    The one thing the United States has to deter Cold War 2.0 with China is a massive number of ICBMs, and even more effectively, a robust fleet of nuclear submarines. Without those, China figures it can buy a bunch of shore-to-ship missiles to neutralize American carrier battle groups, a bunch of amphibious landing craft, and it can "re-patriate" Taiwan.

    China is embarked upon a massive, comprehensive, and long-term strategy to counter American power and seize hegemony for itself. Read about it in Congressional whitepapers. Accumulating U.S. debt and dollar currency reserves, gaining control of key locations (eg. Panama Canal) and resources (eg. rare-earth metals), perfecting cyber-warfare, anti-satellite measures, and the like are all explicitly part of the same strategy.

    The one trump card the United States still holds is our subs. Park a couple off-shore in the Yellow Sea, and game over in 15 minutes for the People's Republic of China. They know this, so why not open another front by buying off our supposed 'Cold Warriors' to say that nukes are counter-productive? How wonderful it would be to convince your adversary to disarm himself...

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