21 July 2018   Leave a comment

Public focus on nuclear weapons has waned in recent years, even as the major nuclear powers–the US, Russia, and China–have been modernizing their arsenals.  The nuclear states are developing weapons that are explicitly designed to make the threat of their actual use more credible.  For example, bombs with lower explosive force are designed to make the opportunities for “limited” nuclear attacks; missiles are developed that fly many times faster than the speed of sound are thought to limit the possibilities for anti-missile systems; and precision-guided nuclear bombs are touted as limiting the number of civilian casualties in a nuclear war.   These new weapons are also highly expensive and will likely lead to ever higher military spending as counter-tactics are developed to address the new threats.  Behind all this activity is the underlying reality that strategists are making assumptions that are increasingly divorced from the underlying political realities that underpin decision-making.  Andrew Cockburn has written a long essay for Harper’s on these new weapons in the light of our actual historical experience of living with nuclear weapons.  It is a detailed and disturbing essay, but well worth the read.

Scene From Dr. Stangelove

Posted July 21, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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