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04 December 2006 @ 11:58 am
Nuclear Politics  
UK PM Tony Blair announces plan to renew nuclear weapons:

Educate me. Is mutually assured destruction or disarmament or something else the best way for other countries to respond as North Korea develops its program? Does the UK's announcement to renew potentially escalate problems in North Korea and/or Iran? Who are good people with in depth, well articulated opinions on this subject and do they have blogs?

Current Mood: curiouscurious
Cynickalcynickal on December 4th, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC)
The important portion of the article is hidden in a link:

Each Trident missile is designed to carry up to 12 nuclear warheads, but the Royal Navy's are armed with three after the 1998 Strategic Defence Review imposed a limit of 48 per submarine.

This isn't about terrorism, this is about intimidation to existing states.
floiterfloiter on December 5th, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC)
State-owned nuclear weapons can never be about terrorism - when you can't tell them apart from the majority of people who just want a normal life bringing up their kids, then how can you target them, let alone with something as "blunt" as a nuclear weapon?

That's the problem that's got us all in such a mess in Iraq. And Afghanistan. And has the Israeli's tied up in knots in Southern Lebanon. I'm sure Israel could have "resolved" the Lebanon problem by simply carpet-bombing southern Lebanon into the dust ... but the political fallout would have been incalculable ... even the USA would have been forced to withdraw their support. And that's without them even resorting to the nuclear option.

I'm increasingly of the opinion that nuclear weapons are merely an ego trip for the politicians of the countries that have them (aka a p!ss!ng contest).

Arguably the time for nuclear weapons is gone ... its no longer one super-power squaring off against another and threatening invasion (if indeed it ever was). Now super-powers are determined on their economic power. Look at the way Russia is playing Europe with its gas/oil reserves. And China is growing its economy at an unbelieveable rate. Unless there is a drastic change, I strongly suspect China will be *the* worlds next super-power, and everyone else will be merely looking for second or third place.
Cynickalcynickal on December 5th, 2006 07:00 pm (UTC)
I agree.

"Blunt" is a good euphamism
Zen Anarchymetalmensch on December 4th, 2006 11:48 pm (UTC)
In order for MAD to be useful, the opponent must be concerned with destroying themselves.
Vulturevulture23 on December 5th, 2006 04:52 am (UTC)
That's exactly what I was thinking. MAD can only be effective when both parties feel that they have something to lose (and even then its effectiveness is questionable). North Korea is probably more likely to instigate a nuclear war out of principle (even if the principle in question is "spite") than just about any other country on the planet.

On the other hand, I'm sure there's many people in the UK and the US who are thrilled with having a War on Terrorism, because it means being able to justify new investments in the same old war machine that they remember from their childhood.
AsterothX: Slinkyasterothx on December 6th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)
Many of the people who have the most intelligent and informed commentary to make on nuclear warfare and strategic principles for managing not to conduct it, will not post blogs or speak very freely either due to the sensitivity of their work, or the unwanted public (foreign and domestic) attention sharing such information might bring.

There are a lot of nuclear and defense news websites out there but a great many of them have their foundings roots in the KGB / CPUSA's efforts to weaken the United States during the Cold War. Absence of Cold War does not mean absence of Marxists, so the bands play on in easily noticable forms of rhetoric. I won't mention sites, they are easy to spot if you're at all familiar with Soviet / Communist Cold War rhetoric.

One site I can recommend for remaining comparatively unbiased and offering a large amount of relevant information is www.globalsecurity.org. I'd say they are useful if you are interested in information rather than opinion, propaganda, party-lines.

Is mutually assured destruction or disarmament or something else the best way for other countries to respond as North Korea develops its program.

Strategy #1: MAD
Principle: Mutually assured destruction in theory removes any benefit of hostile action by either party.

-A party in such a situation may consider a first strike option if they think they can get away with it in order to remove the ever present threat of destruction (generally very risky)

-A party may strike if they do not believe the opponent has sufficient ability to inflicit appreciable damage, hence the need to showcase weapon systems and capabilities (http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/pics19/nkoreaparade.jpg)

-A accidental launch, misunderstanding, or limited strike may still precipitate a full exchange (See: Fail-Safe (1964) for relevant Cold War angst)

-A party may strike if they do not believe the opponent has the ability or the will to strike back. Various writings by Bin Laden and others cast doubt on the willingness of the United States specifically, and western powers in general to commit to essentially total genocide to people of questionable responsibility (say the population of North Korea) over a limited strike, say one or two cities. How would the world react to the incineration of the "innocent captives of the system" (such rhetoric would likely be used) of North Korea should the leadership decide to fire on the United States.

-Strategy typically causes an arm's race neccesitating inefficient build up of ponderous weapon systems to ensure capability to effectively exterminate opponent.

Strategy #2: Uniliateral Disarmament
Principle: By discarding all of your weapons, you can not be considered a threat, and in theory your opponents do not feel the need to arm themselves. Unilateral Disarmament works if the opponent is genuinely interested in non-domination/control of you, and interested in a true harmonious existence.

-Thousands of years of human history indicate that military powers tend to rise without respect for liberty, humanity, etc. and these powers will use their might to take what they will. (Example: Rome, and Hitler's National Socialist movement precipitating World War II). In other words, the Law of the Jungle while costly and inhumane is a real law of the material world that can not be ignored or wished away without considerable risk.

As I tend to put it, in my own terms "Might does not make Right, but Might does make Control. If you would not be Controlled by Assholes, you had best consider being a Mighty MoFo."

It's not a very ideal solution but it is well proven in the Real World.
to be continued...

AsterothXasterothx on December 6th, 2006 04:07 am (UTC)
DPRK and Iran are a new and complex problem. As often happens in the west's tendancy toward Liberal Democracy or Democratic Socialism, the ability to resist the "criminal" element is lost. Our desire for humane and harmonious solutions prevent us from doing anything to stop a "Dominator" from marching over us, for in our mind, resisting them, is matching their level of evil/inhumanity/whathaveyou, and is repugnant to us. Should we pay the cost and play an endless cat and mouse game hoping to stave off the final confrontation (Cold War)? Are we willing to be the beasts we had to be to crush National Socialist Germany and Imperial Japan for security? Or would we rather take our chances with Gandhi's principles and hope and pray that after enough bloodshed and slaughter the Dominator will feel guilty and mend their ways? Or do we lay down our own principles and embrace the Dominator as a sort of New Liberator?

These are some of the concepts fundamentally at the core of the many movements out there.

I wish I had the best answer to this one. I really really do.
AsterothXasterothx on December 6th, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
http://www.spacewar.com/ collects a good amount of relevant news also.