Words of Advice:

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China. It's going to be just fine." -- Donald Trump, 1/22/2020

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama."
-- Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, 2/25/20

"I don't take responsibility for anything." --Donald Trump, 3/13/20

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, September 25, 2009

This Is a Bad Idea

A really bad idea:
The world took its first concerted step towards getting rid of nuclear weapons today when the UN security council voted unanimously for a resolution on disarmament and non-proliferation.

The summit in New York represented the first time the security council had met to focus on the elimination of nuclear weapons. Barack Obama, who at the same time became the first US president to chair a council session, described the resolution as "historic", saying it "enshrines our shared commitment to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons".
It may be counterintuitive to argue that nuclear weapons actually make the world safer, but I maintain that they do. Twice in the last century, the largest powers in the world went to war to settle their differences. In both wars, the initiating parties thought that they could win a fast victory at little cost. They were wrong, both times, and in each war, tens of millions of people were killed.

Nuclear weapons remove the fantasy of a cheap and easy war. Nuclear weapons make it clear to both sides of a potential conflict that there will be a hideous cost to starting a war. There always was that cost, of course, but the concept that a salvo of missiles will quickly obliterate a nation's major cities is a far easier concept to grasp than the idea that the other side will build a massive fleet of bombers and then firebomb your cities to ashes. For generations, weapons designers rationalized their inventions by saying that they would make war too terrible to fight. The invention of high explosives, long-range artillery, aerial bombardment, machine guns and chemical agents did not make war too horrible to consider. Only nuclear weapons have achieved that.

Nuclear weapons kept the United States and the Soviet Union from going to war over a series of crises. Nuclear weapons forced India and Pakistan to back down from the brink of war in 2002. For the last 35 years, nuclear weapons have kept the Arab states bordering Israel from trying to wipe it out.

Nuclear weapons keep us safe. Removing nuclear weapons from the world will destabilize the world. It is a really bad idea to try and do so.


Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to think that destabilization is the whole point.

Anonymous said...

Ummmm....I don't think so. While it is true that the presence of end of the world nuclear war DID keep us out of war with the old Soviet Union, there are now many nations with nuclear weapons. And...and...and, how are you to enforce keeping others from obtaining them....what right do we and Russia and India and Israel and Pakistan and whomever, have the right to tell Iran that it cannot have...? We have to at the minimum, be working towards reducing the numbers of such weapons. Otherwise there is absolutely no supportable rationale for telling other nations they cannot have them.

Comrade Misfit said...

Other than Greek Fire, the formula for which was lost during the First Millennium, can you name one weapon that everyone gave up and then forgot how to make?

The nuclear genie is out and there is no way to stop a determined nation from making a weapon, especially since the peaceful use of nuclear energy is authorized. The difference between uranium enriched to fuel a reactor and enriched to weapons grade is only a matter of degree. We detonated at least one plutonium bomb that used non-weapons grade plutonium.

The technology is out there, it cannot be bottled up. I think it is worthwhile to make it difficult to do, but we'll never be able to forget it, at least until this present civilization falls.

montag said...

As glad as I am that above ground testing has ended, I do think that world "leaders" should gather every 20-25 years to view a big above ground blast. Put them in a nice cushy stadium box downwind from the site and because they are all pressed for time, bring them to see ground zero as soon as it is cool enough to walk on. It might make a suitable impression on them.

Distributorcap said...

i sort of agree with you - i have a lot of mixed feelings on this

the genie is out - you cant put it back in the bottle - and there is NO WAY to police any sort of "nonproliferation" - that is hogwash.

the mutually assured destruction that the US and USSR had actually worked - because despite our demonization of the SOviet Communists - they were NOT stupid, they knew what the world faced with the use of nuclear weapons

the folks in the middle east - not that smart and not that concerned. many of them feel they have virgins waiting for them.......

you bring up some really good points..

ps - what about the neutron bomb - that is not produced (by us, unless it is) - how has that managed to escape this all

Comrade Misfit said...

the folks in the middle east - not that smart and not that concerned. many of them feel they have virgins waiting for them.......

DCap, I don't buy it. I think that is a line that the masterminds hand out to the impressionable young suicide bombers. There is not a politician in power anywhere who is willing to risk his own hide.

Stalin had no problem with ordering the deaths of millions, but even he was not willing to risk a nuclear attack.

Hirohito only ended the war when he was assured that he would not be personally having his neck stretched. No such assurance was given to Hitler, so he forced his country to fight to the bitter end rather than spare it the devastation of being conquered (unlike Kaiser Wilhelm II).

Ahmadinejad may be a few liters short of a full tank, but I seriously doubt that he is willing to run the risk of having every city in Iran nuked.

MC said...

As a political realist, game theory indicates that while the greatest systemic rewards exist for no power having nuclear weapons, the rewards for a single power having them and everyone else not having them makes for a very compelling argument to not be a party to this sort of thinking (and multiple parties having them as leverage against other members of the nuclear community is likely the most stable way of having these weapons and not using them).