Monday, September 14, 2009

They Must be MAD

Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Enrichment and Nuclear Programmes are something we hear a lot about these days. With states such as Iran and North Korea trying to develop their own warheads coming to much international condemnation, it seems everyone agrees that Nukes are a bad thing.

Nukes were definitely a good thing to have at one point... namely in 1945 when the US was the only nation to possess them. It gave incredible power that could not be matched by any nation. But once the Soviets developed (or stole) their own in 1953 it didn't seem like such a great idea anymore.

Gone was that Ace Up The Sleeve... instead we had Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Once a nuke was launched the other would retaliate. It is for this reason that no nuclear weapons have been fired on any other nation since 1945. Not to mention that the horrid immediate devastation and after effects are something nobody wants to see.

So when there were only two, Gorby (Gorbachev) wanted to reduce the number of warheads with that Nuclear Proliferation Treaty. A smart move since the number of nukes possessed during the early 90's was enough to blow the world up several times over and constant production of warheads was costly, more so for the USSR.

But now we see Obama on the path to try and eliminate nukes. But the truth is these actions are to benefit the US. Why? Simply because in a world without Nukes the US will have a much better competitive edge over other nations. The power of a Nuclear Weapon gives a smaller state like North Korea the ability to inflict tremendous damage without needing the support of a large army. The reverse is true for the United States.

So naturally the US wants them out. But is this really feasible? If there is a way to construct the weapons, then surely someone will always manufacture it somehow. In fact with more nations having nuclear weapons, the chance of actual large scale wars is significantly reduced as "Nuclear Deterrence" goes beyond simple 'MAD'. In fact this is one large factor to why the Cold War stayed Cold. In a way they are truly peacemakers.

So can we ever rid the world of Nuclear Weapons? I highly doubt it. Campaigning for their removal seems like a total waste of time.


  1. well, imo nuclear weapons should stay (if they should stay at all) in the hands of stable nations... imagine NK selling one of those nukes to a stateless terror organization like Al Qaeda or the LTTE, or Pakistan's government collapsing and the Taliban getting hold of them... the terrorists wouldn't be hesitant about using them, and when they do, where is the vicim (usually the US if video games are anything to go by) going to retalliate? these problems didn't exist on such a scale during the Cold War...

  2. The problem with nukes is that they are too dangerous, if they fall into the wrong hands. The whole purpose in nukes is that they are not used- if one side uses it we end up with MAD.

    When many places have nukes the danger multiplies exponentially, which is the campaign for their control, if not elimination must continue.

  3. Well, the mutually assured destruction that nuclear weapons dictated was the only reason that the world was saved from WW3. If not for nukes, the Cold War would have gone hot so many times. The USSR would've invaded western Europe, the US would have invaded China during the Korean War (as MacArthur wanted), China would have directly intervened in Vietnam, the US would have removed Castro by force, The Arab-Israeli wars would have continued, India would have invaded Pakistan, etc etc etc. Be thankful there were nukes.

    Even today, MAD probably keeps North Korea from invading South Korea, and India from invading Pakistan. It probably also prevents direct war between China and India.

    The nightmare scenario of nukes in the hands of non-state entities is definitely something that has to be prevented, but removing the nukes will not change anything, simply because the technology and knowledge necessary to enrich and weaponise is available.

  4. About states selling weapons to terrorist groups, its somewhat unlikely. The reason I say this is handing over such weapons to any third party who you do not have full control over is foolhardy in the sense that they may well turn on you using the very weapons you provided.

    Terrorist groups tend to bite the hand that fed them.

    As for state collapses, it is possible. Measures have been taken by the US to ensure security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal while I don't think North Korea is anywhere near collapse yet.