Ridding the Earth of Nukes, One Treaty at a Time

President Obama takes significant steps toward global nuclear disarmament

During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama pledged to seek “the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.” President Obama has now made a small but significant step toward keeping this promise. Last week, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev and President Obama announced that they will sign a new nuclear arms control agreement in April. And even though Obama is pursuing a disastrous domestic policy agenda—health care reform comes to mind—in this case, he is doing exactly the right thing.

The new treaty reduces the number of each country’s nukes to 1,550 warheads, a cut nearly 30 percent from a 2,200-weapon limit set under the 2002 Moscow Treaty. The agreement also cuts by more than half the missiles and bombers that carry the weapons, limiting warhead delivery vehicles to 800 deployed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBMs) launchers, submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBMs) launchers, and heavy bombers.

This is good news, but the new treaty applies only to deployed weapons. The U.S. and Russia still maintain stockpiles that add up to some 20,000 nuclear bombs and which account for about 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons. While still massive, the U.S. stockpile of nuclear warheads is down from a peak of about 33,000 in 1967, while Russia’s (the former Soviet Union's) peaked in 1982 at around 45,000 warheads.

These bristling nuclear arsenals may well have deterred all out war between the United States and the Soviet Union during the period stretching from the end of World War II until the communist regime’s collapse in 1991. But Obama is right when he declared in a speech in Prague last April, “The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons is the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War.” There is no current justification for keeping thousands of U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons targeted at each other’s cities on hair-trigger alert, except the lame fact that the other guy is doing the same thing.

And maintaining our nuclear forces is costly. A report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace calculated a lowball estimate that America’s nuclear arsenal costs the country more than $52 billion per year. Back in the 1998, the Brookings Institution released a report that estimated that the U.S. had spent since 1940 nearly $5.5 trillion on nuclear weapons and weapons-related programs, in constant 1996 dollars ($7.4 trillion in today’s dollars). With budget deficits running to trillions of dollars as far as the eye can see, surely cutting nuclear spending is a due exercise in fiscal responsibility.

The time may be ripe for taking further dramatic steps toward a world free of nuclear weapons. In April, the U.S. is convening a global nuclear security summit involving 40 nations that will focus on developing international measures to prevent nuclear smuggling and terrorism. In May, the review conference involving the 189 countries that have signed the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty will convene in New York with the goal of strengthening provisions curtailing the spread of nuclear weapons and advancing the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Adopted in 1970, the treaty celebrated its 40th anniversary on March 5.

Under the 1970 nonproliferation treaty, all signatories agreed not to develop nuclear weapons, and the five nations (U.S., France, U.K., China, and the Soviet Union) that had detonated nuclear weapons before 1967 agreed to pursue negotiations leading eventually to “a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” And the treaty seems to be working—so far only non-signatories Israel, Pakistan, and India have subsequently developed nuclear weapons (along with North Korea which withdrew from the treaty in 2003).

President Obama has also vowed to “aggressively pursue” ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the U.S. Senate. Signatories to the CTBT agree “not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.” The U.S. signed the CTBT in 1996, but the Senate rejected the treaty by an essentially party-line vote of 51 against to 45 in favor in October, 1999. The last Russian nuclear test was in 1990 and the last American nuclear test was in 1992. It is significant that no nation (except North Korea) has tested a nuclear weapon since 1998. Banning such tests would help prevent the restart of an arms race in which countries refine their nuclear attack capabilities.

But what about rogue states? After all, it appears that Syria was trying to develop nuclear weapons before its facilities were bombed by the Israelis in 2007 and that Iran may be well on its way toward doing so. Such rogue states, in part, seek nuclear weapons as a way to deter attacks from other countries. The chief fear is that such regimes could become so unstable that they would use nuclear weapons as a first regional strike, or worse, provide weapons to terrorists. However, the possibility that rogue regimes might acquire nuclear weapons is no justification for having Cold War levels of weapons aimed at Russian and American cities on hair-trigger alert.

Now that the Americans and Russians have achieved a new treaty, it is time to bring other nuclear-armed states into negotiations to dramatically reduce global stockpiles of nuclear weapons. One possible path toward the global elimination of nuclear weapons is outlined in the Model Nuclear Weapons Convention submitted to the preparatory committee of the upcoming Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons treaty review conference.

The model convention lays out a five phase process toward achieving a nuclear-weapons-free world. In the first year, the world’s nuclear weapons states would remove all targeting coordinates and navigational information from their nuclear weapons delivery vehicles, disable the delivery vehicles and bombs, and cease to make bomb-grade fissile materials. In the second year, all nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons delivery vehicles would be removed from their deployment sites. By the fifth year, all nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles would be destroyed, except that both the U.S. and Russia may retain a stockpile of 1,000 warheads, and China, the U.K., and France may keep 100 warheads each. By the 10th year, all warheads would be destroyed except for 50 each for the U.S. and Russia, and 10 each for China, the U.K., and France. At the end of 15 years all nuclear weapons would be destroyed and no facilities capable of making highly enriched fissile materials will continue to operate.

Of course, insuring such dramatic weapons reductions entails the creation of a fairly intrusive system of verification. But there is no reason not to start down this path now and as mutual confidence builds, establishing an acceptable comprehensive verification system should become easier to negotiate.

Obama and Medvedev will sign the new nuclear arms reductions treaty at a meeting in Prague next week. The president promises to submit that treaty for ratification to the Senate later in April. This is no time for partisan grandstanding—previous nuclear arms control treaties with the Russians have been ratified by lopsided margins, with more than 90 senators in favor. Ratifying the new treaty with Russia and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty would be significant steps toward the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. We should take them.

Ronald Bailey is Reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is available from Prometheus Books.

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  • ||

    As I recall, we had a world without nuclear weapons some 55-odd years ago, and it wasn't all that peaceful.

  • Tim||

    Excellent.

  • ||

    Really! This "Model Nuclear Weapons Convention" sounds like something a Chinese military officer bent on world conquest would dream up. Or at least heartily approve of...

    "Peace". Sheesh.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Indeed.

    If it had not been for the existence of nuclear weapons, we would most certainly have been involved in a conventional World War 3 with the communist block countries.

    We will always need nuclear weapons to serve as an offest to the massive numbers of conventional troops that the Chinese and Soviets can conscript to fight any wars that they otherwise may have a mind to start with us.

    A nuclear free world is never going to happen and is an absurd goal to begin with.

  • ||

    I wonder why those who keep the flame of academia lit in America don't ask for some references on that whole "no nukes = world peace" hypothesis.

    Oh, right. Dumb question...

  • Zeb||

    Soviets?

  • Tim||

    Forget it; he's rolling.

  • Dakotian||

    I think we could win a conventional war against the current Russian military. Our military could offset their numbers.

    China is a different matter.

    "Quantity has a quality all its own." Joseph Stalin

  • wackyjack||

    That depends on the goal of the war. If we want to cripple the country, we could do serious damage to both, with minimal risk.

    But if we're talking traditional, go-in-there warfare, not a chance. Russians might not maintain its own weapons systems, but it sells a hell of a lot of them. And they're crusty bastards who love the cold. I wouldn't put money on our chances.

    As for the RedChinee, our only chance would be to get Russia to help. And that's not gonna happen. They're more scared of the Chinese than we are, and aren't going to risk pissing them off.

  • Vizzini||

    never get into a land war in asia.

  • ||

    Here is my #1 rule of war: Do not invade Russia.

  • Sam Grove||

    We will always need nuclear weapons to serve as an offest to the massive numbers of conventional troops that the Chinese and Soviets can conscript to fight any wars that they otherwise may have a mind to start with us.

    Won't they have to build a mess of boats to come over here?

  • SKR||

    Ok barring the fact that the Chinese don't have a blue water navy, are you trying to tell me you think the Chinese manufacturing base can't churn out a shit load of ships?

  • Kolohe||

    Yeah, but they'll wind up having too much lead and sink.

  • SKR||

    It was violent and bloody before nukes. It is violent and bloody with nukes. It will be violent and bloody if we get rid of nukes.

  • Apostate Jew||

    We outnumber the Russians more than two to one.

    And if we had more imaginative immigration policies we could raise more than enough troops to fight the Chinese.

    In any case, I'll start worrying when either state builds an invasion fleet.

  • what||

    "If it had not been for the existence of nuclear weapons, we would most certainly have been involved in a conventional World War 3 with the communist block countries."

    WTF? Really? Oh yeah. Remember the commies. For teh childrenz.

    Remember when China invaded Oregon? Or when Russia took over Maine? Oh wait.

    They took care of themselves dude.

  • Kolohe||

    It's a faily sound but ultimately unprovable theory that the existence of nuclear weapons did a lot to keep both NATO and Warsaw Pact forces on their respective sides of the borders for the duration, as well as keeping the Cold War proxy fights like Korea and Vietnam from expanding into 'total war' unlike two of the main power conflicts of the first half of the 20th century.

  • ||

    I certainly remember when they gobbled up Eastern Europe and the only thing that stopped them from taking Western Europe were the allied forces and many long years of mutually assured destruction. Now that they have lost control of the near abroad they are making trouble in places such as Georgia in an effort to re-take it piecemeal.

    Eh, the Russians will roll the idiot Obama anyway and do what they like while arming the mad mullahs and whoever else has a dime. If they comply it will only be because it gives them more inventory to sell.

    In either case it is the proliferation to other countries that is the problem. So while the idiot Obama worries about whether we have too many bombs the millennial death cult in Tehran is getting their shiny new nukes totally unopposed.

    Excellent plan all the way around. It's almost like our enemies wrote it for us.

  • Zeb||

    You do realize that the year is now 2010?

  • ||

    Yes, because Now It's Different, and People Have Changed.

    Really, they have.

  • JoshInHb||

    As I recall, we had a world without nuclear weapons some 55-odd years ago, and it wasn't all that peaceful.

    What's with the leftwinger's obsession with disarmament?

  • ratman720||

    actually your right realistically speaking the time between wars and the extent and length of those wars since the end of WWII has substantially decreased.

    we can only achieve peace through profitable economic trade, and it can only be maintained as long as noone decides that its easier to steal our stuff than pay for it

  • Ratko||

    Bailey is right, what we need for peace is some nice kneepads and our kissers locked on the butts of those who wish to destroy us.

  • G Mc||

    Exactly. Now imagine WWII fought after the development of nuclear weaponry. With our destructive capacity enhanced by these bombs to such a terrible degree, our tendency as a species towards conflict becomes a threat to the very existence of civilization.

    It may be unlikely for a rogue state to develop and launch a nuclear weapon, or to hand it off to terrorists - but over a long enough time-line the improbable becomes probable.

  • Jamie Kelly||

    Think Medvedev will ever quit shipping parts to Iran? Think again.

  • ||

    Hell, this just frees up more inventory to sell.

  • ||

    You mean Putin, don't you?

  • Nuclear Legs||

    I'm just the crazy aunt in the attic no one wants to talk about.

  • Xeones||

    You can't hug your children with nuclear arms.

  • The Vomiteer||

    Maybe not, but you sure can keep them in line.

  • dave||

    Were you in a band with that name when you were in your teens? Odd question, I know.

  • Ratko||

    Children love nukes. Nukers are very popular on the mIRC channels. Would you really take the nukes away from the children? How heartless can one be.

  • ||

    Has this thing been made public yet? If so where? Last I read it had not. Let`s not get too excited until it can be read. I don`t expect the Russians to act in any way that does not serve their country`s interest, but I`m not so sure about Obama.

  • Tim||

    I hear Obama's working on a new peace treaty with the Cylons too.

  • ||

    Nah, he's just abandoned nearly all of the fire power in the known universe and freed them (with scary ass fucking megadeath ships) to "find their destiny" or some such bullshit.

  • ||

    The BEST appropriate Ron Moore slam I've seen in a while :)

  • qwerty||

    There is no way we are going to get rid of the world's nuclear arms. Anyone who thinks we are is hopelessly naive.

  • asdfgh||

    This is true, but we can certainly make ourselves spectators.

    Russia goes into panic mode over the thought of us putting in place a anti-missile sheild, but welcomes the idea of us reducing our nukes and delivery systems while upgrading their own. What's wrong with this picture?

  • ||

    The nuclear club is only going to get bigger. Sooner or later the likes of Al Qaeda and Libya will have them. Then what will we do? I have no fucking clue. Thing is, nukes were worth something in a super-power world, but today there's just no use for them. Sign as many treaties as you can says I.

  • ||

    It will save money for both Russia and the US. How many thousands of nukes does either need?

  • ||

    I figure some new way of releasing nuclear weapon-level destructive force will come along before too long, one that is easier to make into weapons. When that happens, the Girl Scouts will have WMDs.

  • ||

    FINALLY! An excuse to get rid of those lazy lil "have-my-parents-sell-my-cookies" bitches.

  • ||

    Uh, no, not at all.

    Read Belmont Club's "Three Conjectures" for some hardheaded, if disturbing, analysis.

  • Kolohe||

    Belmont Club's 'hardheaded' analysis of 2003 Iraq was completely out to lunch, so his stock has diminished considerably in my view.

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Thus did President Obama take a small but significant step toward keeping his campaign promise to seek “the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.”


    And less than a year after winning the Nobel Prize for doing it!

  • Hacha Cha||

    well I think the fact that these weapons could be used for peaceful purposes is overlooked. and personally I don't see a reason to dismantle our stockpile. we need it as a deterrence, so that any nation who would think of using nuclear or bio/chem weapons knows that they will be completely destroyed. although getting rid of the ground based ICBMs is worth considering, because trident submarines and our bomber programs are more than sufficient.
    I think Russia is still bluffing about the number of nuclear warheads they have. but even if they are, nuclear deterrence and an antimissile shield are perhaps the best defense we can have for our homeland. there are so many other things that could be cut that are wasteful, and unlike our nuclear program, aren't vital to the defense of our country.
    there isn't much government spending I defend, but national DEFENSE (not pre-emptive war) is one of them.

  • ||

    Russia is still bluffing

    I get that feeling too. "We've got tens of thousands of warheads....and at least 0.0000001% of them actually have a chance of hitting a target and exploding."

  • ||

    Reduction of stockpiles is one thing.

    However, unless you have a strong desire to be an infantryman, I don't think eliminating the US nuclear arsenal is a good idea. I believe that WW3 would start shortly after the elimination of all nuclear weapons, and the US would NOT win it, or even survive it...

  • ||

    jabez: No one knows the future, but it seems very unlikely that the U.S. and Russia as they are currently constituted would engage in some kind of general war against one another. That makes it a good time for arms control negotiations.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    The absence of nuclear weapons would just give the Russians (and the Chinese) more of an ability to intimidate other counties (including us) into making concessions on all kinds of things At a minimum the Russians would probably start integrating their old eastern block client states back into the fold - something that they have always wanted to do.

    There are many gradations of power projection short of actual shooting wars.

  • ||

    "it seems very unlikely that the U.S. and Russia as they are currently constituted would engage in some kind of general war against one another."

    Overlooking that as an unsupported and unsupportable time-constrained opinion AT BEST, what about Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, the entire African continent, Se Asia and who knows, maybe Wyoming and Montana?

    What , are you some agent of the 4 Horseman or something?

  • ||

    The Dinosaurs wished they had nuclear weapons and the rockets to launch them.

  • ||

    Hmm.. utopian thought from a libertarian. Disappointing.

    Nukes are bad. So are bioweapons. Nanoweapons will make those things look like nerf guns.

    But thinking there's a future without them is naive at beast and dangerous at worst.

  • ||

    faithkills: I'm sure that some H&R commenters might claim that pursuing libertarianism is a bit "utopian" too. :-)

  • ||

    I'm not one of those libertarians. I'm a utilitarian libertarian, of the Hayekian bent. I'm not in favor of freedom because I think a socialist utopia is an unpleasant idea, but because it doesn't work, hasn't worked, and logically cannot work.

    The point is expecting people to behave in ways they never have isn't terribly productive and arguably dangerous.

    If you can figure out a way for universal disarmament that's wonderful. But even if you did someone would start building them again.

    Arms reduction treaties cause perverse incentives, and bilateral reduction is just silly. There are other nuclear powers.

    I don't know why you would assume nobility and beneficence from governments in this matter when you know they aren't in others.

  • ||

    faithkills: I think of myself as Hayekian too. In any case, I am NOT depending on "nobility" of any governments -- "Trust but verify" as Ronald Reagan said. And as I explained in the column, I didn't argue for "bilateral" reductions, but negotiations for multilateral reductions phased in over the next couple of decades.

  • ||

    And those 'multilateral' parties will act in good faith because???

    The only effective nuclear disarmament is at the hands of a de facto world govt (e.g. Pournelle's CoDominium) which would *have* to ultimately have totalitarian powers to be effective.

    Is that what you really want?

    Yes, massive number of nukes like we had 30-40 years are risky, but too few (much less none) gets risky too. As the numbers get smaller, the incentives for a less raional or fringe actor to make a play *increases*.

    BTW, the 'hair trigger' bit is out of date frightmarish nonsense -- we've already had agreements about that, and if you don't trust those agreements, why in hell would you trust more like this one?

  • ||

    Ron: I appreciate the sentiment believe me. I grew up with nightmares about nuclear war. I read On the Beach and Alas Babylon in middle school.

    I just don't see how it works.

    Let's suppose there's some process that would work if followed. Every party concerned is motivated to subvert the process. One or more parties will.

    To me it's the same as the primary argument against socialism. Assume everyone is self interested and let them compete against each other. The alternative is assume government can correct for self interest and people will compete for government. If we allow government the power, it's a lot easier for commercial interests to compete for a subsidy, regulation, monopoly, or cartel that gives an advantage than to compete with each other.

    Similarly in arms reduction negotiations I think it's safer to assume they will collude against us than for us.

    I'd like to believe it could work but I'm not at it can. Even if it does work.. it only gives us a reprieve. Governments trope to WMD's like people trope to profit.

    It also concerns me because the only possible effective way to get rid of them is a world government, which, without any competition will inevitably lead to totalitarianism. As Lord Acton said 'absolute power' and all that. Honestly, I'd rather a dead human race than a perpetually enslaved one.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I chuckled at the supposed proof that the non-proliferation treaties are working. Oh, sure, NK & Iran are actively developing nuclear weapons - but they aren't signatories, see, so they don't count!

  • ||

    Not proof -- possible evidence. The IAEA figures that 40 NPT signatories have the current capability of developing nuclear weapons, and yet only Iran and NK seem to be actively pursuing that path.

  • ||

    That "capability of developing" somehow gets better and better even without actively pursuing anything. Recently it turned out even Poland has some plutonium.

    What is often overlooked is the fact that decent means of delivery are much harder to get hands on.

  • ||

    Given their history, I have no problem with a nuclear Poland.

  • Jerzy Bulowski||

    Yeah, and we'd really appreciate it if you'd refrain from cracking wise about how many of us it'll take to build something out of it.

  • Stanislaw Dembrowski||

    Hey! Quit talking and get back to turning this ladder.

  • ||

    I wonder how the other 38 would feel without the United States, the reigning WMD Superpower, acting as a check against the likes of China, Russia, Pakistan, et cetera...

  • Mike M.||

    Iran is in fact still a signatory to the NPT.

  • ||

    Yes, it is and out of the 184 non-nuclear signatories, it is the only one currently suspected of trying to develop nuclear warheads.

  • ||

    I think it's fair to ask: do the other countries not want to develop nukes because they are signatories, or are they signatories because they have no desire to develop nukes?

  • Rich||

    A noble goal: “the peace of a world without nuclear weapons.” However, it seems the only way it will be "achieved" is by popping 'em all off. Albert Einstein noted: “The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind."

  • ||

    All: So it's not possible to eliminate all nuclear weapons. OK then, maybe I am being "utopian." But can we agree that it's ridiculous to maintain the current stockpiles and to keep thousands of warheads on 15 minute hair trigger alert? Maybe that can negotiated down?

  • Part of All||

    OK, 30 minutes.

  • Almanian||

    Concur with this

  • ||

    Any discussion?

    Motion passes by acclamation!

    [bangs gavel] [and not in a creepy SugarFree/Pelosi way]

  • Tim||

    Frakkin' toaster lover.

  • Hacha Cha||

    "But can we agree that it's ridiculous to maintain the current stockpiles and to keep thousands of warheads on 15 minute hair trigger alert?"
    only if you want to lose and not be able to retaliate in a nuclear war, should one be initiated against us.
    nuclear weapons are demonized because of how powerful some of them are. this fear has slowed progress of peaceful use of nuclear technology. once a powerful weapon comes into use it will not go away altogether unless a better alternative weapon comes along.

  • ||

    Hacha Cha: Both sides must verifiably back off on the hair trigger. Do you think that is impossible to negotiate?

  • Hacha Cha||

    I don't know, I really hope so. it is really creepy that a mistake on a radar screen (or something similar) could lead to the end of the world. but I think in the end it is possible to negotiate, its just going to take time.

  • ||

    Hacha Cha: Both sides must verifiably back off on the hair trigger.


    What "hair trigger?" "Hair trigger" implies that they are used at even the slightest provocation when in fact the opposite has thus far proven to be true (despite all the hand-wringing to the contrary).

    Being able to deploy a weapon quickly does not a "hair trigger" make.

    I'm not even disagreeing with the move Obama made (though I think I disagree with your assertion of its importance), but pretending like the events in Dr. Strangelove actually happened is disingenuous.

  • ||

    Lots of people apparently think "Strangelove" was a documentary...

  • ||

    Of course people can agree on that. You're standing for something that's so bipartisan that both GWB and Obama are in favor of it.

  • meerdahl||

    fewer nuclear weapons makes it more feasible for an opponent to take out all or substantially all of them in a sneak attack

    plus, that worry makes it more likely for an opponent to use them or lose them in a crisis

    there is a point where having fewer nukes is more dangerous

  • ||

    meerdahl: Having read my On Thermonuclear War, I think I understand deterrence theory. If possible adversaries have nearly equal numbers of weapons then deterrence should still operate. The Cold War arms race took place in part because the U.S. and the S.U. couldn't verify the size of each other's stockpiles. Once both became more comfortable about verification, they began reducing the number of weapons that each have on hand. What I am proposing is the continuation (and one hopes speed up) of that process.

  • meerdahl||

    i'm not sure we really can verify the size of each other's stockpiles, and opponents may worry the same about us

    i feel like i'm back in 1985...

  • Gilbert Martin||

    The Russians have cheated on every treaty that they have ever signed.

    I don't trust verification methods as being reliable to begin with.

    Furthermore, the left in this country has been trying to get us to unilaterally disarm ourselves for years.

    Due to their deliberate attempts to block any and all attempts to modernize and/or maintain the operational readiness of our own nukes or conduct any nuclear testing, we don't really know how many of our own nukes will still work as designed.

  • Hacha Cha||

    your idea supposes that Russia is the only possible threat. like you said, no one knows the future, and we cannot know for sure who or what we may be defending against tomorrow. sure there might be the remote possibility of evil ETs trying to invade but lets look at the more realistic probability of a country developing a new type of weapon of mass destruction which they are able to build up a large arsenal? and even with chem and bio weapons you have that problem. one of the main reasons to keep the stockpile is because we cannot know for sure what the future holds.

  • dr esq||

    i think that idea is preposterous. as gilbert martin said already, the russians have cheated on every treaty they have ever signed. There are accounts every year of russian intelligence agencies trying to tap into our various electric grids or intelligence sectors. they have been found to be doing backroom deals with Iran and probably north korea. i'm sure medvedev (read: putin) is happy to sign a treaty with the u.s. about a year after we leave the czech republic without its missile defense systems: because obama is a dumbass sucker.

  • ||

    'Equal numbers[evenif small]' is insufficient as a deterrent.

    Again, why?

    Because when sufficiently low, say in the tens --even if 'both' sides are actually trustworthy-- the incentive for someone else outside the system to do stealth development rises. Next thing you know some formerly lesser power has a much lower threshhold of nukes to produce and turnover the balance of power.

  • ||

    Gurney, when the storm hits... set off the atomics. I want an opening through the entire Shield Wall. Stilgar, do we have wormsign?

  • ||

    Hey, those were used against a feature of the desert, not people.

  • Risk Player||

    I have nothing but peaceful intentions in Kamchatka....if you draw down your troops on my immediate borders, of course I will not turn in my cards, put 100 armies on the border and obliterate you.

    Surely not.

  • ||

    Risk has nukes. Play someone with a bad temper and kick his ass. Then he'll hit the board with his fist. Nukes.

  • Zeb||

    I like this. "If I can't get my way, then nobody else can play" is about the only rationale I can see for actually using the damn things.

  • Sandi Trixx||

    Obama's ultimate goal is to eliminate all nuclear weapons. Just as gun-control advocates believe that outlawing guns will reduce gun violence, Obama is equally delusional in this case. And his actions, if successful, would put us at the mercy of thugs.

  • ||

    QFMFT

  • Zeb||

    I don't think the parallel to gun control is a good one. Not until I am allowed to keep some nuclear bombs at home, at least.

  • ||

    You had me at "I don't think"

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, funny.

    Nuclear weapons are something that states use. There is no good reason why anyone should have them. I realize that the cat is out of the bag and they are not going away. But that does not mean that it is not good to keep their availability to a minimum.
    I happen to think that it is a good thing for people in general to be able to be armed for self protection. There is no parallel for nukes, unless you think that nation states have the same essential right to exist that individual people do.
    Pay fucking attention. I never said that the US should up and get rid of all nukes.

  • ||

    Zeb, I have to go fight an invasive species now, the pretty but dreaded "Coral Ardisia". I am pretty sure that minding my own business won't affect them.

    I don't wnat to use herbicide, so I will just pull them up. Wait, I am 60, and have a broken hip. Maybe I will use glyphosate.

    I will be near where somebody stripped a stolen car, but I don't want to make anyone mad by carrying a gun.

    But wait, I am 60 and all alone. Hmmm, think I will take the .45.

    For real bub...

    Have a nice fuzzy day.

    Remember, "Not liberal at 20, no heart. Not conservative at 40, no head."

    Now if we can just raise the voting age to 36... }:D

  • ||

    I don't wnat to use herbicide, so I will just pull them up. Wait, I am 60, and have a broken hip. Maybe I will use glyphosate.

    No kids in the neighborhood you could employ?

    Besides, don't you have a better way to spend your Golden Years other than fighting a bunch of plants for domination of your property?

  • ||

    "No kids in the neighborhood you could employ?"

    Why sure! I have an infinite money supply, and they are such nice hard-working youngsters. Why did I not think of that?

    Oh wait. I forgot. The local dopelords don't like me, and when they don't like you, the "neighborhood kids" don't like you, either.

    "Besides, don't you have a better way to spend your Golden Years other than fighting a bunch of plants for domination of your property?"

    OK. that is the single most pathetic comment I have ever seen. You have obviously never been responsible for anything you cared about. My sympathies.

    BTW, how do your local dopelords feel about you? Nothing negative? Why not?

  • ||

    Seeing all the nuke-mongering posts here only confirms my suspicions; conservatives have taken over the comment section. Shouldn't you guys be hanging out at The Corner or some-such place.

    And don't give me that "idiotarian" bullshit; it's you guys who are the idiots.

    I'm with Bailey on this; any reduction of nuclear weapons is good. As for the fears that a war breaks out; if nobody starts nothing, there won't be nothing. All the more reason to encourage peace.

  • ||

    It's actually a reduction of "deployed" weapons, not of weapons that exist. Perfectly fine by me, but it's substantially the same as the agreement that GWB had with Putin, just continues the cuts.

    At the time, some Democrats (including Biden) felt that they had to attack GWB's agreement for only affecting how many were deployed, not how many existed, calling it a loophole. Since this is under Obama, they'll keep their mouth shut.

    Some Republicans who kept their mouth shut under GWB will undoubtedly bitch about this.

  • ||

    the same as the agreement that GWB had with Putin, just continues the cuts.

    Annnnnd once again Obama continues the abhorrent policies of the previous adm....wait what?

  • Hacha Cha||

    I disagree, I think principled libertarians can disagree on maintaining a nuclear arsenal for the sole purpose of deterrence and defense. the constitution and many libertarians say national defense is one of the proper roles of government. all libertarians should believe in the principle that force should never be initiated and only used in defense. therefore, there is nothing inherently anti-libertarian in believing we should currently maintain our nuclear arsenal.

  • ||

    On the other hand, not reducing our stockpile has a way of making countries angry, increasing the chance of war and aggression. Besides, we spend too much on the military already.

  • Hacha Cha||

    I agree military spending should be cut and I even agree some of the nuclear arsenal should be dismantled (land based ICBMs). I just think that if what you are saying is true, those same countries would be angry whether or not we reduced our nukes as long as we still had a strong defense. the problem is we don't have a non-interventionist foreign policy. if we did have such policy then I doubt our nuclear arsenal would be an issue.

  • Hacha Cha||

    but my point still stands that, principled libertarians can disagree on the nuclear weapons issue. I would hope most libertarians could agree to that. I think the more important issue is that there needs to be a change in our foreign policy to a non-interventionist one and that our DoD should be for DEFENSE, like its name says.

  • ||

    On the other hand, not reducing our stockpile has a way of making countries angry,

    As a note, this agreement isn't about reducing the stockpile per se. It's about decreasing the number of actively deployed weapons, but both sides are allowed to keep them in stockpile.

  • AJs||

    So you mean, if we reduce our arsenal, Chavez like us?

    At the end of the day, I like the so-called libertarian mascot of a porcupine... generally a peaceful creature not getting in the way of others affairs, but if you F-with him, he is armed to a nearly unnatural extreme to defend himself. For the most part other creatures just leave him alone knowing it is much more trouble than it is worth. At least, that is my neanderthal view on how a libertarians view on military policy should be. Keep the nukes.

    I don't know, set a policy that we will always have 2x the second most country, but no more than that?

  • ||

    Hmmm. All attitude, unsupported declaratory statements, and name-calling, not necessarily in that order.

    The 21st century equivalent of "all hat and no cattle"...

    When, in the history of man, did 'nobody start nothing'?

    No more Cocoa Puffs and morning cartoons for you, young man.

  • dr esq||

    you heard it hear! we're all just mongering mongerers mongering our way around the world!

    tell me spinoza, what makes you so sure that a world without nukes is better off. also tell me, what makes you think russia would honor any sort of treaty like this. would the dear leader? how about the autocrats in the middle east, or maybe chavez. how many despots are you willing to believe in lieu of reason?

    i may be incorrect but i'm pretty sure there were two world wars before nukes.

  • ||

    In defiance of reason? Maintaining these deadly weapons while engaging in an interventionist foreign policy is in defiance of reason!

    These autocratic regimes derive their justification from the interventionist foreign policy we engage in. Also, having all these nukes pointed and ready for launch is the equivalent of having a gun pointed at every country's head; that's the threat of force. And we wonder why they threaten us?

    What you are proposing is to keep the world trapped in a Prisoner's Dilemma. The Cold War drove the world crazy for half a century; and the war on terror is doing it all over again. And you want to make people crazier by fighting an attempt to make the world a more peaceful place?

  • dr esq||

    this again is the exact representation of a fundamental misunderstanding of literally millennia of military conflict. we did not go to the revolutionary war because of interventionist policy. we weren't attacked on 9/11 because of interventionist policy. pol pot didn't invade vietnam because of united state interventionism. they may say they derive their justification for this but it is a load of hooey. kim jun-il and his god-father kim il-sung (ya know, the president of north korea) don't suddenly sink a south korean ship because we're interventionist. i guess it's just coincidence that they sink it THE DAY obama signed that treaty.

    no amount of proselytizing to these despots will garner any sort of respect. i mean, ksm didn't kill danny pearl with his blessed right hand because we have a stockpile of nukes.

    if you don't believe me, just ask the increasingly notorious neville chamberlain. attempting to make the world a more peaceful place by cutting deals with terrorist sponsors is just about as asinine a plan as i can think of.

    if you want peace, work for justice.

  • ||

    "We had to bomb the village to save the village."

    That's what your logic boils down to. We tried being the world police for decades; didn't work. It's a different world right now, one best served by us learning to GET ALONG with other countries. That means, at times, kissing ass.

  • dr esq||

    no, that is not at all what i'm saying. what i'm saying is what i said, i suggest you reread it, it's mighty smart.

    you show me any time when a world superpower being deferential to despots garnered their respect without becoming a despot themselves, and i'll show you an instance of "we had to bomb the village to save the village."

  • ||

    Well, that's the problem. Why do we have to be a "world superpower"? Isn't that just a modern, PC term for "Empire." Besides, the good ol' Land of the Free has INSTALLED more despots than its removed around the world.

    You don't trust Kim Jong Il with nukes? I don't blame you. I just don't trust the United STATE Feds with them either.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    T B

    "We tried being the world police for decades; didn't work."

    Oh no? How many world wars have we had since becoming a nuclear power?

  • ||

    Well, for one thing, liberty must be preserved, and unfortunately that usually means ensuring the balance of power remains with us...well, that is if nowadays that's even a valued virtue anymore.

  • Chris||

    Agreed. There is certainly a lot of conservative dick sucking going on in the comments of late. To conservatives the military had turned into a quasi-religious institution, and any questioning of the validity of how it is or might be used is unAmerican as if we have the right to world domination.

    Less nuclear bombs is the route to a better world (notice I didn't say no nuclear bombs). The problem with nuclear weapons en masse is the will to use them.

  • Zeb||

    Nuclear deterrence may be necessary. I don't think many of us know enough to be sure about that. But nukes can never be used as a weapon by any sane actor. There is no situation where using nuclear weapons against anyone can possibly lead to a better outcome than not using them.
    Even if N. Korea, China or some terrorist were to attack us with nuclear weapons, there is nothing we can do with nukes that will make anything better for anyone ever.

  • Brett L||

    So we'll just ignore the one real world case?

  • Zeb||

    I don't have much trouble with the use against Japan. But being the first use, it is a special case which will never be replicated. We will never again be at war with a major world power who is not prepared to respond in kind. As soon as there is any possibility of reciprocation of nuclear attack, any government which uses them against another government is basically condemning its own people (and lots of other innocent people too). Can you suggest any contemporary scenario in which using nuclear weapons would not be a very bad idea?

  • ||

    They are being used NOW, to keep you undrafted and out of combat...

  • Zeb||

    I mean used in the sense of against an enemy. But you knew that.
    I said above that I am not denying that the deterrent effect may be useful. But that is no reason to maintain an absurdly large stockpile. All I am saying is that there will never be a good reason to actually use them against anyone.

  • ||

    Bullshit. If Iran Nukes Israel, I'm fine with nuking Iran. I have absolutely no moral objection to that. None.

  • Zeb||

    You may not have a problem with it, but what good will come of it? How is doing so a rational decision? I am actually interested in answers to these questions, not just reflexively responding. No one seems to have any, though.

  • Zeb||

    Just because something is morally acceptable doesn't mean it is a good idea.

  • jamescbennett@hotmail.com||

    If any one small power successfully eliminates a local rival by nuking it without consequence, other small states with local rivals may decided that this is a good model to follow. A demonstration that, when a small state nukes another small state, a big state will punish the aggressor state by nuking said state, could possibly dissuade the rulers of other small states from pursuing that course. If one believes this is the case, then it would be rational to believe that nuking Iran after Iran nukes Israel is the nuke-minimizing, and therefore best, course of action.

  • G Mc||

    So a nuclear moral hazard problem? That's a hell of a lot of lives to sacrifice (not to mention economic and environmental damage to cause) based upon a theoretical assumption of state behavior.

  • Y.||

    The better question after reading this thread, is why a non-suicidally insane Israeli leader would ever give up his country's nukes. After all, it would only takes a single (outlawed) nuke to make irreparable damage to Israel, and we can clearly see here why Israel can't rely on others for deterrence.

    This alone means that any global disarmament effort is doomed. Now add similar problems with Pakistani enmity vs India (no way they're giving up their equalizer), Russia vs China (the Russians are paranoid re: their far east part, perhaps unjustly), and really, everyone vs everyone (the level of trust needed for this has never existed, and cannot exist as long as so many states are dictatorships), and you can see why any real disarmament effort is not only doomed, but DOA.

  • what||

    "If Iran Nukes Israel, I'm fine with nuking Iran. I have absolutely no moral objection to that. None."

    That totally makes sense if you have the IQ of a retarded squid.

  • ||

    OK, that does it! No more CocoaPuffs for you, either.

  • HeadTater||

    Now all we need to do is build some privately run nuclear power plants so we can recycle that old weapons grade material into peaceful and green (clean, not glowing) energy.

  • ||

    Awwww, no green glow? You just ruined it for me.

  • ||

    Absurdly short sighted. Parcing the particulars of world scene in 2010 does not change the nature of international relations and warfare.

    The best means to insure peace is to mind our own business, keep our troops within our border, and have 100X more nukes than another country.
    The ONLY downside I can see to this, is that some power hungry Washington politician will use this power to start/continue the campaign of empire building.
    That should not stop us though. Instead we should make it damn near impossible to engage in a foreign war, possibly by taking the Swiss route of constituting our military of citizen soldiers instead of mercenaries.

    Further, imagine a world without nukes. What would it take for North Korea to significantly alter the world scene? 1 nuke. Increasing the stockpile of nuclear weapons dilutes the power of other countries, all of which will eventually acquire nukes.

    For this reason we also must be careful to avoid the hatred of other countries by MINDING OUR OWN BUSINESS. Again see Switzerland.

    Actually. Let's try an analogy. Guns are much more destructive then swords and bows+arrows. So, in the interest of peace, lets unilaterally disarm and fight with bows and arrows. Wise move correct?

  • ||

    In the midst of all this General Ripper nonsense, you have hit upon the essence of the matter. The key to avoiding war is to mind our own business. So, having nuclear weapons isn't needed to pursue peace.

    Point in fact, I think that possessing nuclear weapons explains a lot of our imperialistic behavior. Having access to world-ending weapons creates the incentive to wage imperial wars. By not having access to such weapons, the United States will have an incentive to avoid war at any cost.

    The Japanese were already about to surrender; the bomb was simply a show of brute power.

  • Lakota Chief||

    "The key to avoiding war is to mind our own business"

    Worked for us.

  • ||

    Best post yet.

  • ||

    What is "General Ripper nonsense"? Try and dispute my points rationally instead of taking the sanctimonius "I know better than you" high road.

    I doubt you have the capacity, hence the attack.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    " Try and dispute my points rationally instead of taking the sanctimonius "I know better than you" high road."

    The true sign of a liberal.

  • ||

    The argument for nuclear arms reduction is a textbook example of sophistry.

    Prove me wrong. That will be fun.

  • what||

    You are wrong. QED.

  • ||

    No, the Japs weren't about to surrender. Even after Hiroshima was hit, they didn't surrender. It took Nagasaki, direct orders from the Emperor, _and_ the Emperor's survival of a coup attempt by the Army, for Japan to surrender.

  • ||

    "The Japanese were already about to surrender; the bomb was simply a show of brute power."

    This has no basis in fact. The closest they came to discussing "surrender" before the nukes was something that amounted to a time-out on our part while they could recover.

  • ||

    "Further, imagine a world without nukes. What would it take for North Korea to significantly alter the world scene? 1 nuke."

    Wrong. NO nukes is what it would take.

    NK has a huge army, and every motivation, both internal and external, to USE it...

  • ||

    Please, they're struggling to keep their own people in control. They're a paper dragon.

  • ||

    Well, not to South Korea, they aren't.

  • ||

    South Korean isn't a slouch militarily. They can take care of themselves.

  • ||

    No comment on that. I just meant that South Korea takes North Korea seriously as a military threat, even without nukes.

  • ||

    Just one of the many motives I mentioned.

    Kim points his sword southward -- "Charge! Anyone disobeying will be immediately shot."

    Oldest trick in the book...

  • dakotian||

    What is your proof that Japan was ready to surrender. Japan was a country that produced soldiers that were willing to commit suicide instead of surrendering.

  • Zeb||

    Why 100x more? What good will that do? I would think that a couple of well armed subs should do the job of deterrence quite nicely.

  • ||

    Vinny: Am I misunderstanding you? I nowhere come out in favor of "unilateral disarmament."

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "There is no situation where using nuclear weapons against anyone can possibly lead to a better outcome than not using them."

    As a matter of fact we've already had a situation where using them lead to a better outcome than not - ending the war in the Pacific against the Japanese.

  • Zeb||

    OK, I have addressed that a bit above. But what contemporary or imagined future scenario is there where using nukes would be better than not? Any nation state we would use them against has some to fight back with. Using them against non-state actors would likely just strengthen the resolve of sympathetic people around the world and give them a (perceived by many, at least) moral high ground.

  • ||

    Do you know what incoming sounds like? If the answer is --

    No? Then thank the nice nukes.
    Yes? Well, you volunteered, didn't you?

    Contemporary enough to suit you? Hate to break it to ya kid, but it is still the same old Planet it was in 1910, 1810, 1710, ...

  • Zeb||

    Hello? Have you read anything I wrote? I accept that they have at least had a deterrent effect. And that may be a good reason to keep some around. But 30% fewer than we have now is still plenty. My point is about using them. As in blowing shit up. In what scenario is it rational to do that?

  • The Gobbler||

    "Hello? Have you read anything I wrote?"

    You mean all that citationless opinion?

    Yeah, we read it. Now what?

  • Zeb||

    What should I cite in speculating about future events?

  • The Gobbler||

    "My point is about using them. As in blowing shit up. In what scenario is it rational to do that?"

    See Palin on Iran above. Say Iran nukes Israel and no one nukes Iran. Who will Iran nuke next?

  • Zeb||

    Thank you for actually responding to something I actually wrote. I don't have an answer to that. I think it is most likely that that will never come to pass. But that is pure speculation either way. I think that the results of Iran nuking Israel would be almost unimaginably horrible whether anyone retaliates or not.
    So what happens if we nuke Iran? I suppose we would have to do so thoroughly enough to be sure that all of their nuclear capability would be destroyed. I suspect that this would involve millions of additional innocent people dying. Maybe our intelligence would be good enough to avoid this. I would hope so.
    Maybe a retaliatory strike would be enough to make Iran and everyone else behave themselves for a while. Maybe it would bring out the crazy in other marginally stable places with access to nukes. I can't claim to have any serious insight into that, and I very much doubt that anyone else here does either. I am still putting my money on people in all countries remaining rational enough not to make first use of nukes. If anyone does, then I don't think there are any good answers.

  • Dakotian||

    "So what happens if we nuke Iran? I suppose we would have to do so thoroughly enough to be sure that all of their nuclear capability would be destroyed. I suspect that this would involve millions of additional innocent people dying. Maybe our intelligence would be good enough to avoid this. I would hope so."

    Hopefully a precision Nuclear strike would be possible to punish Iran or some other belligerent country. Use of Nuclear weapons does not necessary mean the complete destruction of a country. The U.S. population would not support a large causality rate.

    Then again if Israel gets nuked and retaliates all bets are off and Tehran may end up a crater.

  • Chris||

    Precision and nuclear are an oxymoron. It isn't fucking possible.

  • Apostate Jew||

    We wouldn't have to. Israel has more than enough nuclear weapons to annihilate Iran.

  • ||

    Are you serious?!?

    That we should not use them even if struck?

    The rational case:
    a) put a stop to the current bad guy
    b) by showing willingess to act against badd guy#1, increase deterrent effect on potential bad guy #2.

    WTF part of that do you not understand?

  • Zeb||

    And please stop with the condescending bullshit. Especially if you are going to respond to your assumptions about me rather than anything I have actually written. Ass.

  • ||

    This thread relates to the "hypothesis" that "NO nukes = world peace".

    Some sort of cargo cult effect, I guess. I mean, the world was so peaceful prior to their invention, surely it will revert to that state if we just remove them.

    I do believe that is your guy's stated goal. But you're right, that is just an assumption...

  • Zeb||

    I don't have a guy. I am interested in the discussion about whether and to what extent nuclear disarmament is a good idea. Sometimes discussion threads diverge from their original point.

  • Hacha Cha||

    a rational use of nuclear weapons would be in retaliation to a nuclear strike against us. currently the DoD's strategy is to take out their capability to carry out any further strikes and "win". MAD is dead.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    I hope that is true. Citation please?

  • Bingo||

    We would still have deterrence with 1/10th of our current stockpiles.

    Rothbard has it right, the nuclear weapon is the ultimate tool of the state against individuals. It is also in the state's best interest to keep the population in fear of war, and conservatives fall right into that trap.

  • ||

    +1

  • ||

    Fine and dandy as far as it goes.

    Too bad we individuals have even less control over those *other* states out there.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    -2

  • ||

    Also, 52 billion to maintain our nukes? It cost the Richmond, VA public library system 1 million to upgrade it's computer system.

    52 billion to maintain a huge stockpile of superweapons is pretty efficient. Well worth the expenditure.

  • ||

    So wait, do we spend more on the WoSD than we do on our capability to destroy all of mankind?

  • Mick||

    The UN web server says it's my fault I can't access the link to the model treaty.

    Ron, is this the same document: http://inesap.org/sites/defaul.....821377.pdf

  • ||

    Mick: It may be an earlier version, but that's basically it.

  • sro||

    As so typical with everything at Reason lately, Bailey regurgitates the talking points and Teabaggers wet their diapers. None of these intellectually-starved bother to read the doc. The treaty does not limit anyone to 1550 warheads, unless you accept a new definition of what 'is' is.

    A single bomber is defined as one warhead in the treaty. For those of you with all your pre-disposed ignorances, one bomber can carry many warheads.

    As always, being proven completely wrong again will not cause any of you to question your suppositions. You have no ability to reason.

  • Radioactive Man||

    Happy Hour!

  • ||

    The essense of the thread is "Is it a good idea to have a world without nuclear weapons?" Or did you miss that?

    Sorry, dumb question...

  • ||

    sro: As I understand it, that "counting rules" will not used to determine the number of warheads.

  • ||

    None of these intellectually-starved bother to read the doc. The treaty does not limit anyone to 1550 warheads, unless you accept a new definition of what 'is' is.

    A single bomber is defined as one warhead in the treaty. For those of you with all your pre-disposed ignorances, one bomber can carry many warheads.

    I'm sorry, you're the ignorant one. To that you add arrogant and insulting for a nice combo.

    This treaty, like the 2002 Treaty of Moscow, limits actual warheads.

    If we were talking about, say, the START treaties, you would be right. However, the SORT/Treaty of Moscow in 2002 changed all that.

    sro, as always, will being proven completely wrong again not cause you question any of your suppositions?

    The sound and fury is ridiculous because this treaty continues the same path as the 2002 treaty. Obama and Bush are the same here. Democrats attacked the 2002 treaty for only affecting deployed warheads, not affecting the total number in storage. Republicans will presumably attack this one from the other direction.

  • ||

    So now human nature has changed, we can stuff genies back into bottles, peace and love will steer the stars.

    Putin's puppet kleptocracy is stable, the Chinese have no ticking social time-bombs, and neither have any territorial ambitions. India and Pakistan are good friends, and the middle-east is peaceful. Why not wish for the mullahs to declare a fatwah on the principle of Jihad while we're at it?

    It must be the freaking age of aquarius.

  • Ivan||

    JTS,
    Finally somebody said it. As all libertarians know, you can not predict the market because you cannot predict human behavior. Therefore, as much as we want to believe that all other people will behave, and if we use or have no nukes so will all others is just plain naive.

  • Ivan||

    Correction: if we 'refuse' to use

  • Ivan||

    Correction: if we 'refuse' to use

  • asdf||

    Retaliating with nuclear weapons would be the biggest assault against individuals by the state possible, in terms of taxes aggression and mass murder. Good to see all the neoconservatives come out for this though.

  • ||

    If we do have to saddle ourselves with a state, surely its #1 legitimate goal is to deter/prevent other states from *our* individuals, no?

    STFU

  • ||

    I understand this to be:
    We are going to eliminate viable, state of the art functioning nukes.
    The kind that work and are a deterrent not only to Russia, but other bad actors...
    The Russians are going to scrap absolute junk.
    Stuff that is outdated and was scheduled to be retired from service anyway.
    We are becoming suicidal...

  • hah||

    Okay.. first that shitty Cathy Young piece on healthcare.. now we get this crap.. please reason... you are really sucking lately.

  • hah||

    Actually.. sorry.. this article really isn't that bad. I'm still angry after reading Cathy's piece of shit.

  • ||

    This is treason pure and simple. They will get away with it too.

    This is suicide. What traitors the Democrats are.

  • ||

    What kills me is that this Carter-esque nonsense is decidedly NOT something he actively campaigned on, as it might have spooked many of the independents whom he suckered with the help of the MSM.

  • Apostate Jew||

    Calm down. At least having fewer nuclear weapons will make it easier for the Air Force to keep track of their bombs.

  • what||

    Somebody's been watching Red Dawn a few times too many.

  • ||

    A few points:

    1) Another commenter was right to say that Russia's cheated on every treaty it's ever signed. E.g., the treaty banning bio weapons, which Russia signed in 1972, and went on to have the biggest bio-weapons program in all of human history (think that it gave them strategic advantage over the total lack of any such program on the part of the USA).

    2) Limiting the number of warheads says nothing about the size of those warheads; Russia's past response to limits on warhead quantity has been to make them as big as possible.

    3) The main reason for the US to have nukes has been to offset quantitative superiority in conventional forces on the part of potential enemies. Those forces were primarily Russian during the Cold War, but could be Chinese or something else entirely in the future.

  • Y.||

    Bailey gets it entirely wrong. In a world without nukes, America would have to constantly intervene in other countries in order to keep them from getting even a single nuke. A verification regime doesn't solve this at all since a constant threat of force will still be required in order to make rouge countries abide by said verification. Thus, the mere possibility of non-compliance would require a big conventional Military-Industrial complex, with all that entails.

    Therefor, having a nuclear arsenal is a must for a non-interventionist foreign policy. The optimum size of said arsenal is debatable, but it must be big enough to make sure any would-be enemy state is completely obliterated if a nuclear war breaks out. What size that is, is beyond my pay grade.

  • Y.||

    Thinking further, this scenario looks even worse: countries often keep nukes in order to deter attack by enemy with potentially superior conventional forces: Pakistan vs India, Russia vs China, Israel vs rest of Middle East, etc. The only likely way all these powers will give up nukes would be to offer a defensive alliance. And the army would have to be able to honor all these alliances at the same time for the worst case scenario. Which would again require a massive military-industrial juggernaut with the foreign policy to match...

  • l0phty||

    +1.5

  • ||

    Socialism!!! Oh wait....did a columnist for REASON actually say something positive about the Obama administration? Now I'm confused, I thought he was Satan incarnate.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    He might be...

  • ||

    Yep, I'm sure the "rid the world of nukes" will work about as well as "rid the world of dreadnoughts" did. (Check out "Washington Naval Treaty" on Wikipedia and see where that led the world.) Bailey (and others of his ilk) is hopelessly naive, and as a result incredibly dangerous to the rest of us. It's real simple - keep the nukes because all those warheads allow us to enjoy a non-WWIII peace, since 1945. If that causes some like Bailey to cringe under their bed in fear of dying, so be it - it's a good trade off. And I don't mind paying taxes for that type of world peace.

  • ||

    Nuclear arms reduction treaties have become a kind of public relations ritual for every new president. Bush I had one, Bush II had one. Clintone probably. Don't quite recall.

    What's silly is that anyone thinks reducing nuclear aresenals is anything other than a symbolic gesture. Or worth spending time doing when there are other more pressing matters to deal with.

  • Kolohe||

    And maintaining our nuclear forces is costly. A report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace calculated a lowball estimate that America’s nuclear arsenal costs the country more than $52 billion per year.

    You could make the case for keeping that 50 some odd billion and zeroing out the other 650 billion. And avoid the entangling alliances and meddlesomeness of anti-profilferation initiatives and other arms control regimes. Let the world have whatever they want, and just promise Megadeath if they ever use it.

    I'm not making that case, but you could.

  • Kolohe||

    As Y did at 8:06 and 10:16

  • ||

    "And we wonder why they threaten us?"

    No, nobody who has any sense of history wonders. Chronically episodic war is the natural state of human affairs. The fact that you somehow have eliminated this from your reality-view would be clinically interesting were you not advocating policy.

    "And you want to make people crazier by fighting an attempt to make the world a more peaceful place?"

    Sure! Just because someone SAYS he is trying to make the world a more peaceful place doesn't mean you should let him pull you with him when he jumps off the cliff.

    Lots of folks think the world would be a better place if there was no America, and use that as a basis for high-sounding rhetoric. They also think liberty and democracy are a huge policy mistake, too.

  • ||

    The numbers quoted by Mr. Bailey for warheads and such are misleading. The United States currently maintains close to seven thousand nuclear warheads; but most are in the "hedge" stockpile. These weapons are not deployed per se, and they have no tritium gas for boosting...but that's it. They can be rotated into inventory in some small but classified time window.

    Also, making a deal for deployed warheads with the Russians alone is silly. The Russian arsenal - due both to current cost structures and some added costs resulting from technical decisions made decades ago - is going to shrink anyways whether the Russians legally commit to such an idea or not.

    Also, the NNPT is the most worthless treaty I have seen. All the countries that you'd never want to see with nuclear weapons get them, and no one else. The way the current treaty is understood and administered is like the illusion of "gun control" legislation but on a strategic scale.

    I am sure some dark police-statey shit will also emerge from the summit...all for our "safety" of course.

  • ratman720||

    is someone can illustrate clearly to me why "nukes are bad" and therefore we should get rid of them i might listen but.

    last nuke was dropped in WWII, not exactly an ever pressing threat.

    periodic tests are a fantastic way to flex muscle. its no different than a skunk raising its tail, or a porcupine readying its quills. it says hey dont mess with me or ill F*** you up.

    nukes are scary but a world without them is worse. for perspective 1 fire bombing in tokyo killed more people than hiroshima and nagasaki combined.

    getting rid of nukes for peace is being completely ignorant about our species finding new and ingenious ways of killing each other for the past 100,000 years

  • ryan||

    I dislike such comparisons as testing nuclear weapons to a skunk raising it's tail, in this case as well as in many others.

    You are wrong. Periodic tests of nuclear weapons are not "no different than a skunk raising its tail, or a porcupine readying its quills". They are very different, and it is misleading and ultimately ineffective to suggest such a simplification, and misrepresentation, of facts. In such an argument as this, and preferably in most arguments if not all, I suggest you be more explicit and elaborate.

  • ryan||

    its*

  • ||

    Nuclear weapons are the only proof of God's love for mankind.

  • Cheggue||

    While the 2200 deployed warheads to 1500 deployed warheads is just a continuation of the GWB policy by Obama, there is serious discussion in the academic and policy community on the problems you start having when you drop the number of deployed warheads below 1000, in terms of the ability to deter attacks, second strike capabilities (which affects your ability deter credibly), room for error in the reliability of the nuclear weapons you have (given that we can't test), and British and French nuclear forces becoming relevant when their numbers are closer to what the US and Russia have (Russia would no longer ignore them, but would start to count them against the tally available to the US). While there is nothing wrong with cutting nukes per se, if (as many people here seem to be saying) the best use of nukes is to deter, we might not be able to get the deterrent capability if we cut much more without radically revising what we mean by deterrence.

  • ||

    His article should have been called "Ridding the Earth of Nukes, one Dictatorship at a Time." Nobody is afraid of British nukes, or even India's nukes for the simple reason that as democratic societies they are not militaristic and expansionistic, nor dedicated to destroying this or that religion or group. We are concerned about nukes in the hands of thuggish regimes and terrorists. Eliminate those regimes and the fear of, and need, for nukes evaporates and the "world" would soon be sans nukes. But this fascination with arms control treaties is fruitless -- to date, nukes have only been eliminated by eliminating either the regime or their facilities by force.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    Easy..
    "Nobody is afraid of British nukes, or even India's nukes for the simple reason that as democratic societies they are not militaristic and expansionistic, nor dedicated to destroying this or that religion or group."

    Maybe not now, but 20 years from now?

  • ||

    You guys are assholes.

  • ||

    Are you a victim of the A-bomb or the conventional firebombing? Does being burned to death by one kill you less than being burned to death by the other?

  • ||

    Actually, it's pretty much equal. Both in barbarism and pain

  • ||

    Reducing American and Russian nuclear weapons is a meaningless gesture, as Obama allows, and Medvedev encourages Iran to thumb its nose at the world, developing weapons that they promise to use against Israel. Once again, image trumps truth.

  • ||

    A world without nukes makes major war between major powers possible...

  • ||

    truth,,,,obama people have no idea of the extent to which they have to be gulled in order to be led."
    "The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of the nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell a big one."
    "All propaganda must be so popular and on such an intellectual level, that even the most stupid of those towards whom it is directed will understand it. Therefore, the intellectual level of the propaganda must be lower the larger the number of people who are to be influenced by it."
    "Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise."pelosi don't see much future for the Americans ... it's a decayed country. And they have their racial problem, and the problem of social inequalities ...obama feelings against Americanism are feelings of hatred and deep repugnance ... everything about the behaviour of American society reveals that it's half Judaised, and the other half negrified. How can one expect a State like that to hold TOGTHER.They include the angry left wing bloggers who spread vicious lies and half-truths about their political adversaries... Those lies are then repeated by the duplicitous left wing media outlets who “discuss” the nonsense on air as if it has merit… The media's justification is apparently “because it's out there”, truth be damned. STOP THIS COMMUNIST OBAMA ,GOD HELP US ALL .THE COMMANDER ((GOD OPEN YOUR EYES)) stop the communist obama & pelosi.((open you eyes)) ,the commander

  • دردشة مغربية ||

    goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood

  • Scarpe Nike||

    is good

  • xiaoyang||

    Beer and wine kisumu 2 possess a small amount of methyl alcohol, also known as fuel line antifreeze along with cook oven fuel. It is just a harmless quantity in ale and wine beverage but when distilled atmbt sapatu the wrong temp a dangerous amount of methyl alchol can be done.

  • sd||

    sd

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