Tag Archives: Diaoyu

Time to Stop Playing Nuclear Roulette

In Russian roulette, there’s one chance in six you’ll be killed – if you pull the trigger only once. If you pull it once a day, or even once a year, it’s not a question of IF you’ll be killed, only WHEN. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, Pres. Kennedy said he thought the odds of war were somewhere between 1-in-3 and even. If he was right, that crisis was equivalent to playing nuclear roulette – a global version of Russian roulette – with a 2- or 3-chambered revolver. Fortunately, most events have a much smaller chance of escalating to nuclear war, but even a small probability per event can add up to an unacceptable risk if repeated often enough. Continue reading

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Does Nuclear Deterrence Deter?

A few years ago, my wife pointed out that whoever coined the term nuclear deterrence was a marketing genius: it implies that threatening to destroy the world will deter behavior we don’t like. But what happens if nuclear deterrence morphs … Continue reading

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Could Japan Drag America into War with China?

Several earlier posts on this blog have highlighted the risk that China and Japan might come to blows over a few tiny, uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. One pathway to war is inadvertent escalation as a result of both nations sending jet fighters over the disputed territory. As noted in an an article in yesterday’s New York Times: Continue reading

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Are We Encouraging a Japanese Nuclear Weapons Program?

One of the last things we should do is empower those in Japan who would like to develop their own nuclear weapons. Yet, we are doing that because we have not thought through the long term consequences of our actions. Continue reading

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Another Early Warning Sign

My post of two days ago showed that, if you are watching for them, early warning signs of potential nuclear disasters often can be seen, and catastrophe averted. As a current day example, I noted the dispute between Japan and … Continue reading

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Poking the Russian Bear and Baiting the Chinese Dragon

In my seminar on “Nuclear Weapons, Risk, and Hope,” I emphasize the need for paying attention to early warning signs before a disaster involving nuclear weapons occurs. For example, in one of my course handouts, I identify six key steps that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and demonstrate how, by July 2008, we had repeated five and a half of those mistakes. Continue reading

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