06 November 2008

Nuclear Deterrence: A Britcom's View

First there's this:

And then there's this:

OK, they're funny. But they raise some serious questions. We'll see if the Obama Administration formulates and articulates a policy regarding the US nuclear deterrent. The Bush Administration never did, and the result was that Congress didn't approve a set of reliability, safety and surety upgrades to the US nuclear stockpile known as Reliable Replacement Warheads.

Over enough years, this will amount to dismantling our nuclear deterrent without our government making a deliberate decision to do so. Paradoxically, this will ill serve the cause of nuclear non-proliferation.

For example, if Japan were to think that it could not count on the US nuclear umbrella to protect it from China, or if Germany were to think that the US would not or could not protect it from Russia, what would they do? I think they would "go nuclear." That is, if we let our nuclear stockpile shrink without policy or plan, other countries may proliferate nuclear weapons as a response.

The question of "deterrence" is not as simple as the above Britcom videos make it seem. Deterrence needs to be seen as part of our Non-proliferation Treaty commitment to reduce the size of all the nuclear arsenals in the world, not just ours. It also needs to be set in the larger context of making world peace, not just making the it safer for conventional world war by eliminating nuclear weapons.

If it isn't obvious by now, eliminating nuclear weapons will not make peace. Making peace will eliminate nuclear weapons.

See also: Thoughts for the Nation.

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