Tuesday, January 22, 2008

You Know That Thing I Said...

... about how Western militaries are no more likely to give up their nuclear weapons than the Russians?

Well, here's your proof.

It turns out that NATO's top military commanders do not regard the threat of nuclear war as a fading memory, but rather as a real and growing possibility.

"The risk of further [nuclear] proliferation is imminent and, with it, the danger that nuclear war fighting, albeit limited in scope, might become possible," the authors argued in the 150-page blueprint for urgent reform of western military strategy and structures. "The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction."

Naumann suggested the threat of nuclear attack was a counsel of desperation. "Proliferation is spreading and we have not too many options to stop it. We don't know how to deal with this."

I'm not sure if I quite follow the logic here. It seems to me that threatening countries with nuclear attack will only encourage them to acquire nuclear weapons as a deterrent. On the other hand, it's not like I have a snappy alternative solution. The authors make clear, however, just what they think of Kissinger et Al's musings on nuclear abolition:

The former armed forces chiefs from the US, Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands insist that a "first strike" nuclear option remains an "indispensable instrument" since there is "simply no realistic prospect of a nuclear-free world".

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Well, strange as it may sound, I feel safer knowing the US and Nato have a very capable nuclear force. Actually I am friends with a guy who was a commander of a Minuteman III squadron in the Air Force. From what I have heard from him about how things operated in the US nuclear force the professionalism and commitment to maintaining something which should never be used was second to none.

To say "We have nuclear weapons and that is bad we need to get rid of them" is so overly simplistic that it's not worth considering. The world is a very dangerous place and they exist as a terrible necessity.