Take a look at our nuclear arsenal
I received a greeting card on August 7 – Hiroshima day – that illustrates another arena for our boneheads in DC to mess with.
I found it disturbingly interesting.
Season’s greetings to all in CM community.
Where to start? At best it was cutesy with a deftly delivered "Oooooooooooh, that’s bad" undercurrent, yet woefully lacking in technical accuracy and discussion of policy limitations and challenges. I did like the way the narrator touched all the hot button topics of what the annual maintenance costs of our arsenal would pay for. Kind of reminds me of the approach the edtors at National Lampoon took years ago with the cover that had the ominous hand holding a pistol to a dog’s head with the caption "If you don’t buy this magazine we will shoot this dog."
We can debate the morality of the possession (much less so the use) of nuclear weapons until we are all blue in the face and still will be no closer to agreement.
Nuclear weapons and their delivery systems have been invented. The genie is out of the bottle and there is no way to put the genie back in the bottle.
The size of an arsenal for deterrence is debatable, the concept of deterrence is less so. I’m going with the assumption that weapon(s) as a deterrent is still credible. In order to support a viable arsenal, you have to have "spares" in the logistics cycle to ensure periodic maintenance and testing takes place to make sure the weapons are safe, yet functional. The duality of nuclear weapons is that if you have them in your arsenal as a deterrent you accept de facto that you must have a maintenance, testing and monitoring system in place to ensure they don’t go off when they aren’t supposed to while at the same time having a maintenance, testing and monitoring system in place to make sure they go off when they are supposed to (and we all hope we never have to verify the robustness of the latter systems).
There are spiral issues here as well. In order for deterrence to work, you need to ensure that some portion of your arsenal will survive in the event the ‘bad guys’ shoot first. And the amount that survives has to be large enough to hold at risk that which the bad guy values enough to keep him from shooting in the first place. This is what makes deterrence the self-licking ice cream cone that it is. That’s why we have several elements in the US arsenal – portions are capable of rapid response (if needed), while others are nearly 100% survivable.
The key issue is transparency and verification. IF (big if) there were a way to ensure 100% complete transparency and compliance with a global total disarmament policy, then by all means, go for it. I just don’t see it happening.