Firstly, is should apologise, my first post read a touch more harshly than was intended. The reason I am a touch ‘sharp’ on this subject is that there have been many articles written and broadcasts made which were just as shallow as my first post on this subject and considering the consequences of getting nuclear policy wrong, it is a subject which deserves a great deal of study and deliberation. It seems that there are many who feel that it is a given that getting rid of nukes would be a good idea and that is the impression I got from the original post. If I mis-read that, i apologise.
A very quick summary of my thoughts on the subject are;
What is the goal of defence policy? – Peace? Security? To be a little pedantic, the aim is to reach a maximum of peace and security.
Point 1. Defence policy aims to maximise peace and security.
There will, for the foreseeable future, be dictators and other threats. Even within technologically advanced countries, there are still those who use violence for their own ends. Internationally, there will always be those (individuals, groups countries) who wish to expand their influence and are willing to use violence to achieve it. I am sure we can all accept this as a sad fact.
Point 2. There will always be those who will use violence to dominate others.
The nuclear age has seen a remarkable period of peace. Yes there have been some small wars, but despite the sizes of the opposing armed forces, nothing on the industrial scale we have shown ourselves capable of. Much of this “peace” can be attributed to the doctrine of “Mutually Assured Destruction” – MAD.
Point 3. MAD works, when both parties fear the consequences of nuclear war. (obviously societies which believe in matyrdom are another case)
Any nation building nuclear weapons, is effectively joining the stalemate. Clearly, possessing nuclear weapons does confer a certain ‘power’ on the nation (or group) however what the other nations of the world do, determines what benefits this new ‘nuclear club’ member sees for their efforts. There are currently rules in place that automatically apply sanctions to any nation joining the nuclear club. The benefits to joining this club are therefore very difficult to quantify.
Point 4. Any new nuclear state is for the most part, simply ‘joining the stalemate’.
Now, let us imagine a world where we have got rid of ALL nuclear weapons. What would happen if a country was suspected of developing nukes? I suggest you spend some time thinking about that as it is a very important question if we are considering getting rid of our nukes. Any country (or dictator) which can sucessfully develop nukes, is then, overnight the most powerful country (or person) in the world!
Point 5. In a nuclear free world. the person in charge of a single nuke, is the most powerful man on the planet.
Do we really consider than ANY dictator would not happily sacrifice a good chunk of his population to be the most powerful man on the planet. Also, would any US citizen be happy in the knowledge that Ahmedinijad is the only leader to have nukes at his disposal? I believe this leads to the inescapable conclusion that we (the free nations of the world) would be compelled to invade ANY country we suspected of developing nuclear technology, even nuclear reactors, due to the ease of constructing a plutonium nuke.
Point 6. In a nuclear free world, we would be compelled to invade any country suspected of developing nukes.
A nuclear free world would be world at war.
A world at war is neither peaceful or secure. Q.E.D.
The current stalemate is ‘the lesser of two evils’.
Clearly there is a lot more to the subject, however the point is, i believe, clear.