Tag Archives: nuclear

A Hopeful Side to Human Nature

Soon after December’s Newton, CT, school massacre, Prof. Marc Bekoff wrote an article for Psychology Today which argued that human violence is almost unique within the animal kingdom. Bekoff recommended that we “rewild our hearts.” Jane Goodall, who has observed chimpanzee behavior for decades, co-authored a reply in today’s Wall Street Journal which comes to a very different, but very hopeful conclusion. Continue reading

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How Logical is Nuclear Deterrence? Part 8

Logical thinking should determine the size our arsenal. Yet, as we will see below, that number has been determined in a highly irrational manner which “frightened the devil” out of President Eisenhower and continues to be applied today. Continue reading

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How Logical is Nuclear Deterrence? Part 7

Military officers are trained to fight wars, while the only rational use for nuclear weapons would be to prevent war. Putting nuclear weapons under the command of military officers therefore introduces the risk that logic which applies to conventional weapons will be misapplied to nuclear weapons. General Thomas Power, Command-in-Chief of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) from 1957 to 1964 appears to have committed exactly that error. Continue reading

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How Logical is Nuclear Deterrence? Part 5

The last two installments in this series dealt with President Nixon’s deliberate, conscious incorporation of irrationality into nuclear deterrence. This installment deals with an unintended risk: Nixon’s suicidal ideation in the final months of his presidency, as Watergate pulled him down. Continue reading

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Challenging Russia to Fight

House Speaker John Boehner is second in line for the presidency, after Vice President Biden. That highlights the danger of his recent speech that come dangerously close to challenging Russia to a fight. Boehner’s web site prefaces the speech by noting “In remarks at the Heritage Foundation today, Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) discussed the need to reassert American exceptionalism in the U.S.-Russia relationship.” Here are the key parts of what he had to say: Continue reading

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British Duplicity on Iraq’s WMDs

Yesterday’s edition of the British newspaper, The Guardian, cited documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act to write:

The senior intelligence official responsible for Tony Blair’s notorious dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction proposed using the document to mislead the public about the significance of Iraq’s banned weapons. Sir John Scarlett, who as head of the Joint Intelligence Committee was placed “in charge” of writing the September 2002 dossier, sent a memo to Blair’s foreign affairs adviser referring to “the benefit of obscuring the fact that in terms of WMD Iraq is not that exceptional”. Continue reading

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What to do when DC is nuked

When terrorists detonate a nuclear weapon in DC — and, unless we start to take this issue more seriously, it is probably “when,” not “if” — a study at Stanford’s Biz School has concluded that you’re better off hiding in your basement than trying to evacuate. Hopefully, more people will start to take action to prevent that disaster in the first place. Continue reading

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Moving From Myth to Reality

The first step in defusing the nuclear threat may not be to ratify treaties reducing weapons or ending testing, but to move from myth to reality in our thinking about national security. Don’t get me wrong. The New START Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty are both important steps that I strongly support. But if, for example, Russia is a modern-day reincarnation of Nazi Germany, what good would those treaties do? As with Neville Chamberlain’s 1938 attempt to appease Hitler with Czechoslovakia, it would end in disaster. Continue reading

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