My last post cited research coming out of Air Force think tanks that argued we could reduce our current nuclear arsenal by roughly 95% and still possess a highly credible deterrent. An even more basic question also deserves attention: Does deterrence work?
Deterrence may make us more cautious, but unless it works perfectly forever, it doesn’t work as intended. Given that there have been a number of near misses, nuclear deterrence is like the economic bubble that recently popped and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill — a disaster waiting to happen. Hopefully, we will learn to pay more attention to early warning signs before catastrophe strikes one last time.
Member National Academy of Engineering
Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University