Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear envy


Would it matter if you were incinerated with a new shiny warhead rather than an old rusty one? 
boys my toys best
Republican hawk (Trump)Donald Trump’s Nuclear Envy Problem, and Ours The Republican front-runner isn’t the only one stoking fears about Russian missiles. But size doesn’t matter when it comes to nuclear arsenals. FP, BY JEFFREY LEWIS  JUNE 20, 2016

The Republican front-runner isn’t the only one stoking fears about Russian missiles. But size doesn’t matter when it comes to nuclear arsenals. “…..
he’s gone and done it again. This time, during a rambling speech in Atlanta best known for a Twitter account of the crowd, Trump said, “Our nuclear is old. Putin’s is tippy-top, from what I hear. We’ve got to be careful.”……..

There is probably no idea about nuclear weapons that is simpler, older — or more harmful — than the idea that we ought to measure our nuclear weapons against theirs. The idea is a simple one, and it befits Trump, a man who sincerely seems to believe that size matters in all things.

But Trump isn’t alone. Consider the debate six years ago over the New START arms reduction treaty between the United States and Russia. Bob Joseph, a former Bush administration official, testified that the agreement put the United States “at risk of sacrificing or changing … a nuclear posture second to none.” Joseph then took a jab at the treaty with a little pun, “I think we are approaching a nuclear posture second to one.” It struck me as a pretty dumb line, so naturally Joseph committed to using it all the time. A couple of years later, Joseph used the “second to one” catchphrase again in an article, and the editors at the National Review liked it so much they used it as the title.

The worry about being “second to one” is as old as the arms race – which is to say, as old as nuclear weapons themselves. From the beginning of the Cold War, there was an understandable impulse to measure American nuclear forces against those of the Soviet Union. If you know one thing about the arms race, it is probably the infamous “missile gap” that John F. Kennedy alluded to during the 1960 presidential election – which turned out, contrary to his claims, to be running in our favor……..

all these arguments are rarely about the underlying facts, but rather whether facts can be marshaled in support of nuclear wonks’ typical preferred policy – nuclear modernization. The Team B experiment was 40 years ago – and that means the nuclear forces that were built upon its assessments during the Carter and Reagan administrations are now reaching the end of their service lives and must be replaced. As part of the political deal to win support in the Senate for the New START treaty, the Obama administration committed to the simultaneous modernization of all three legs of the triad – a fleet of new ballistic missile submarines (the SSBN-X), new bombers and cruise missiles (B-21/LRSO), and a replacement for the Minuteman III ICBM. Washington is in the middle of another debate about superiority and inferiority because it is time to make big decisions about how much money to spend.

Too often the question left unasked in our finely tuned analyses of nuclear quality and nuclear superiority is: So what? Why would deterrence require that weapons be tippy-top? Would it matter if you were incinerated with a new shiny warhead rather than an old rusty one? These comparisons are ultimately appeals to emotion, not logic. And those appeals work only if we accept the metaphor that the nuclear dilemma is a race and our only escape is to cross the finish line first. But what if Warnke had it right? What if there is no finish line other than nuclear catastrophe and that the United States and Russia are jogging in tandem on a treadmill? What do we do then?

Warnke had an answer to that. “We can be first off the treadmill,” he wrote. “That’s the only victory the arms race has to offer.” http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/06/20/donald-trump-has-nuclear-warhead-envy/

 

June 21, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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