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What is the Role for Nuclear Weapons

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by BigRob, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. BigRob

    BigRob Well-Known Member

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    This question seems to be at the forefront of thinking today, especially with Obama's speech calling for a world with no nuclear weapons. So, how do you think about the options for nuclear weapons in a post Cold War world?

    The question seems to hinge on what you think about the reliability of deterrence.

    Option 1:
    This option follows the line of thinking that deterrence is reliable, and you should use nuclear weapons to continue to target your opponents major cities. To assume this, you must assume that all states share a common rationality, including "rouge" states.

    Policy options based on Option 1:
    A) Fewer nuclear weapons are needed. All you will need is a limited number of reliable nuclear weapons to maintain a credible deterrent.
    B) No defenses are needed to protect against possible rouge nuclear threats. If "rouge" states share a common rationality, as assumed by the logic of this line of thinking, then there is no need to upset the so-called "balance of terror" by investing in programs such as missile defense.

    Option 2:

    This line of thinking assumes that deterrence will not work in all cases. Under this line of thinking, you must be prepared for the possibility that deterrence will fail, and have an option for what to do when it does.

    Policy options based on Option 2:

    A) Defenses against breakdowns in deterrence must be given a priority.
    B) Missile defense, Civil Defense, and similar programs must receive large amounts of funding .
    C) Additionally, warheads must continue to have their reliability ensured, and depending on who you are trying to deter, more warheads and reliable missiles would need to be produced.

    If you buy into this line of thinking, these policy options are critical given what must be in place should deterrence fails.

    Option 3:
    This line of thinking is what the present administration follows, and the Bush administration only to an extent. This line of thinking assumes that deterrence is not as important as it used to be. It assumes that nuclear terrorism is the biggest threat we are facing today. (If you pay attention to multiple Bush speeches and Obama speeches you hear this echoed) The goal becomes the elimination of nuclear weapons.

    Policy options based on Option 3:
    A) If you assume that nuclear terrorism is the largest threat then Non-Proliferation must be the top priority. Current weapons must be secured and no new weapons should be produced.
    B) The idea is that the US should set the example by giving up its own weapons. This is a throw back to the Cold War logic of Action/Reaction arms control. This line of thinking went that if the US gives up its weapons, others will follow suit. It is the reverse of the logic that if one side produces more weapons, others will follow suit.


    Problems I have with this argument:
    A) In a world with no nuclear weapons, the conventional dominance of the United States will dominate on the world stage. It therefore becomes logical for a small state to pursue additional nuclear weapons.
    B) One needs to simply look to history to see why this will occur. During the Cold War, the United States in Western Europe (NATO included) could muster around 30 divisions, while the USSR could muster around 400 divisions.
    C) The conventional imbalance that this created was dealt with through nuclear weapons. In this case the United States was weak and balanced by creating large amounts of nuclear weapons. Therefore, to assume that other nations would simply give up their weapons and cede themselves to our conventional dominance seems foolish.
    D) It is therefore my assumption that a world free of nuclear weapons will never occur, and any US action to unilaterally eliminate its own weapons will result in the continued proliferation of other states.


    Which option do each of you all think is the best? I personally think option 2 is the best option. In terms of cost, it is also probably the most expensive... what do you all think?
     
  2. Dr.Who

    Dr.Who Well-Known Member

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    It does seem to be clear that the role of nukes is changing.

    When only superpowers had them there was a deterrent effect. This might not work with rogue states. Using conventional weapons to keep rogue states from using nukes might be necessary. Of course, an overwhelming attack with conventional weapons could force the hand of a rogue state that has nukes.

    Unless nukes are replaced with other weapons that are more likely to bring victory I can see no way that states will take them out of their arsenal. Though if a deterrent effect is eliminated they may only keel the nukes that are intended for defensive or offensive purposes.
     
  3. BigRob

    BigRob Well-Known Member

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    I find it hard to believe that no one has an opinion on the role of nuclear weapons...
     
  4. pocketfullofshells

    pocketfullofshells Well-Known Member

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    The main goal is deterrent , of of course other nukes from other nations. Fact is most nations, as stated , assumed to be rational ( north Korea at times can skip that ..thus why such a major issue) can not attain any real gains by being the first to use a Nuclear weapon, unless it already at war, and in danger of being taken out anyway..then maybe ( even then the end result often will be they are taken out )

    Defence against missile attacks....for the most part I think will fail, are costly, and don't prevent the most likely mode of nuclear attack...the one that does not leave a return to address. ( or makes it at least cloudy ) If the US built its system to its best current possible outcome.,..and for some reason Russia launch a full attack...it would still end the same I be live...at best both nations crippled to near nothing , or end of world....Multiple entry warheads, dummy missiles to overwhelm, counter measures ect...in time will catch up or pass the shield and render it again nothing for a major attack. worst case, one side thinks its shield is so good..that it actually can win a full war with nukes...

    Defence vs rouge nation or I think more likely, rouge military command without authorization from government leaders...this due to poor command structure and systems in place in nations like Pakistan and at times questionable alliances to there own government. At best its a crap shot defence , but at the point you find out...its the best option left...but I dont have much faith in them right now even against a few missiles.

    Also there is always the issue of attack from Sub based fire system. could be very close to US, little warning...as I don't foresee a US anti missile system going up all along to cost that would protect us ...at least not any time soon...or one I would trust to work.

    I see the main threat of Nukes right now as in fact lose nukes that are lost, stolen. Less likely is the chance is a nation will turn over a nuke to a proxy group that is not tied to them strongly...Iran would not give one to al quida...Hezbollah yes but those ties are so clear they may as well just do it themselves...reason is, that 1 Bin Laden hates Iran's leadership and could in fact use it against them just as easy as it could the US. Same reason Saddam would never give them wmd...fact was that they wanted Saddam out of power as well, and he would have hated to give any group in his own nation that much power.

    my focus would be on tying up lose nukes, material, and those with the know how and access to get them in places like Russia and its former republics. I have little doubt that if we see a nuclear attack, it will not be by a nation, and not with a ICMB. This is where we need to put the most money I belive in deffence.

    As far as our own nukes...mostly a large outdated wast of money and overkill for any need we have. I dont see going to no nukes...but we should and can cut the amount we have by a large amount I belive and not risk our Security...and possibly enhance it with less of them.

    And most likely place to see nukes used....India Pakistan and no policy we have right now will do anything to stop that,,,and I don't know of any outside of them both disarming....or we just hope that both sides stay rational when the next war happens ...and I think that's likely in the years ahead.
     
  5. Mr. Shaman

    Mr. Shaman New Member

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    I find it hard-to-believe that "conservatives" are still trying to convince everyone that.....killing mosquitos with sledgehammers is still a practical-option.

     
  6. The Scotsman

    The Scotsman Well-Known Member

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    The role of nuclear weapons......

    1) Scientific advancement.
    2) development and retention of military skill sets.
    3) departmental budgetary increases.
    4) I've got a bigger dick than you have.
    5) Balance of power
     
  7. Ronaldus Magnus

    Ronaldus Magnus New Member

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    What an ignorant statement! I seem to recall an empire in Japan, which was hardly a mosquito, being extremely persuaded by the use of a nuclear weapon.

    The question should be....Is our president smart enough or man enough to use them should he have too? This concept of you put down your weapon and we'll put down ours is simply dumb.
     
  8. AgainstTheMachine

    AgainstTheMachine Member

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    this isn't a surprise!

    LISTEN ... if you take a weapon away from a good person only bad people will have any.

    OH!! I see - Obama thinks he is a BAD PERSON! ... I agree!​
     
  9. samsara15

    samsara15 Member

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    Why not cut our arsenal down to a couple of hundred, fully modernized and operational nukes, of varying sizes, carrried on subs and a few planes? We certainly don't need as many nukes as we have, and that would reduce the expense.
     
  10. Ronaldus Magnus

    Ronaldus Magnus New Member

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    The fact is they aren't that expensive to maintain. In comparison to building them, the storage/maintenance is nothing. How does anyone know what # of nukes we need? I can almost understand pausing the manufacturing of the weapons, but to completely cut Nukes is something I can't support!
     
  11. Stalin

    Stalin Active Member

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    Should all be deployed as part of an asteroid shield.
     
  12. pocketfullofshells

    pocketfullofshells Well-Known Member

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    if you actuly think Japan relates to today and nukes...then you should just sit on the side and let the rest talk...nukes when only one has them, vs a word with many nation with them...is not the same...
     
  13. pocketfullofshells

    pocketfullofshells Well-Known Member

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    when you can kill evry living thing on earth 20 times over...you may have more then you need...just a thought
     
  14. pocketfullofshells

    pocketfullofshells Well-Known Member

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    the tech needed for that is long range way of firing a missle into space accuratly...the key is to blow it up near it and change its orbit...not blow it up.
     
  15. pocketfullofshells

    pocketfullofshells Well-Known Member

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    relay how much do they cost to store, secure, and maintain...I ask becuse since you made that statement I would guess you know...
     
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