Monday, April 06, 2009
The Liberal Disconnect on Big Weapons
Let's look at the central argument she posits when she quotes Republican icon Chuck Hegel:
Presidents Obama and Medvedev know that whatever stabilizing effect nuclear weapons may have had during the Cold War, any residual benefits of these arsenals are outweighed today by the risks of proliferation and terrorism--and that a commitment now by nuclear powers to begin serious negotiations for global zero would strengthen the case against North Korea and any non-nuclear nation which strives to acquire nuclear weapons.
Although there are a few exceptions, Japanese warriors during the Edo Period, between 1650 and 1867, for example, did not use pistols and rifles but stuck with swords, most nations rush to the very latest weapons and rapidly adopt them. Thus, the evolution of war weapons is general straight line towards maximum destruction and carnage. Just as we can't un-invent firearms, we can't un-invent nuclear weapons. Thermonuclear arms are so powerful that whole books have been written about all the coping mechanisms we have had to adopt in reaction to their very existence. The nuclear parity during the cold war stopped us from waging a WWII like global power struggle with the Soviet bloc until the Soviet bloc ceased to exist. Tough going now and again and we might have well lucked out of apocalypse, but just because there is no Soviet Union now, the rules are largely the same. Those nations which have nukes have the ability to cause a staggering amount of damage on an enemy. We actually used them to stop a war quickly and ultimately save lives. We should have used them against Chinese forces, but we didn't; and we've never seriously contemplated their use other than to implement mutual assured destruction which prevented another big war.
Still, the Soviets and the Red Chinese could not trust us to do the right thing and not use nukes against them and we certainly did not trust them, as they were untrustworthy. Nothing has changed there. Only a seriously deluded fool would trust the leadership in the minor nations of North Korea and Iran. They will not give up their weapons unless we destroy their weapons, the means of their production and the nation's desire to get such weapons again. We could do that but it would be costly and not only to us.
Hegel and vanden Huevel could not be more wrong. Merely saying out loud that we are willing to give up our nuclear arsenal has a destabilizing effect, as it makes obtaining nuclear weapons by minor nations all the more worthwhile. In the country of the blind the one eyed man is king. If we have no nukes, and a rogue nation or terrorist organization has one or two, we're pretty much screwed. And I am not a believer in the chicken little predictions about the effects of EMP. Overblown claims, I think.
The idea that we could actually trust Russia, China, India, Pakistan, or even France and Great Britain to actually give up their weapons is a fairy dust and unicorn sort of belief that is actually dangerous.