Can peace be provided by nuclear weapons?
By Jack L. Key
The tense situation concerning Iran and that country’s attempt at uranium enrichment for possible nuclear weapons manufacture has again focused attention to use of these terrible weapons of mass destruction. American strategies must be upgraded and improved from those of cold war times in order to deal with a volatile, and possibly a nuclear-armed Middle East Comments of world leaders during the last few days have heightened these anxieties.
An American nuclear strategist at The Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies in Oak Ridge, Tennessee wrote an article last September that held special interest for me. On our exchange of e-mails later he confirmed to me he had also provided nuclear strategy and targeting information to the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations for "several decades". He also overtly called my concerns with statements and judgments recited in his article as "overwrought and simplistic". The increasing tension in the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan and the recent aggressiveness shown by Russia and China have shown those opinions to be totally wrong.
His article dealt with theories and statements by Thomas Schelling, a Nobel Economics laureate many think shaped the nuclear deterrence policies that contribute to the so-called "international security environment" and lack of nuclear war we have today.
Briefly, Schelling's theory states the "nuclear deterrence" over the past 6 decades was that no state that had developed nuclear weapons has ever attacked another state armed similarly with nuclear weapons, and this alone has deterred nuclear war. Schelling also advocates nuclear weapons are for "having and not using". Due to the equalizing threat of mutually assured destruction (MAD), these weapons cannot win wars but only prevent them.
In my opinion, his article gravely misjudges this fact, as well as the behavior of nuclear states over the past decades since America used the first atomic bomb to end the war with Japan in 1945. The writer goes so far as to assume that the horizontal proliferation -- the spread of nuclear weapons to other states -- can maintain the same logic while referring to North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, India, Israel and China as those of the U.S., Russia, Great Britain and France over the past 60 years.
It is not only false logic to assume these states will behave as the original nuclear states, but that Schelling's basic point in his theory, "get a nuke and permanently rule out invasion from other powers", is fatally flawed. That assumes that the vertical proliferation -- the building of more and better nuclear weapons and delivery systems by nuclear nations -- is controlled.
That certainly is not the case, as evidenced by the new warheads and missile delivery systems recently announced by several of the major powers in defiance of existing treaties. The current situation in Iran is a perfect example of both the horizontal and vertical theories. Unfortunately, high academic standing alone is not nearly enough to make life and death judgments regarding nuclear strategies.
The Cold War standoff
Only the American nuclear arsenal and the fact the U.S. had used the weapon in combat was the security blanket for the free world during the Cold War. If the U.S. had not kept pace with the Soviet Union on nuclear weaponry during all these years, does anyone doubt this country would not have been overcome politically or by war and become a Soviet satellite?
During my military service in the U.S. Navy I hunted Soviet nuclear submarines in the Atlantic and North Atlantic. Both navies were armed with nuclear weapons and easily could have used them if the occasion ever arose. They were on my aircraft many times. In my personal confrontations with Soviet naval units in those Cold War years, on every occasion they seemed to find ways to avoid direct intimidation or confrontation with U.S. naval units -- as we did with them.
Perhaps unknown to the Soviets at the time however, was that an American response to any overt naval action by them would have been almost impossible, due to the heavy restraints placed on U.S. naval commanders by the political leadership. Once the lengthy process of obtaining final permission to fire a weapon was received from Washington, either nuclear or conventional, we would have already been defeated by Soviet action, which had only one on-board restrictive process, and did not require direct permission to fire from Moscow. American policy in this regard must be upgraded to meet the current world conditions.
The Soviet naval mission, whatever it may have been at the time, would have been completed and well on their way to the next victory. We all should remember that after the fiasco in Vietnam, when know-all politicians and strategists opted to fight an armed conflict from their desks in Washington that killed over 58,000 young Americans, it is the trained experts in the military who are best suited to plan and fight America's battles.
Americans should also be aware that even today Chinese and Russian submarines armed with some one hundred or more nuclear missiles with multiple warheads lie off both coasts of the United States at all times. Our country does not have the air defense or missile protection to stop over 80% of those missiles, plus other hostile land-based missiles, from hitting their pre-set targets of American cities, military installations, missile sites and nuclear naval units.
While it is true the U.S. has both nuclear missile submarines and land-based missiles, some near both Russia and China and also armed with multiple nuclear warheads, it would not be possible to overcome a sneak nuclear and biological attack. Even severely damaged from U.S. retaliatory strikes, either or both countries would be capable of immediately invading the destroyed U.S. and Canadian lands and killing the remaining populations with biological weapons. Under the current political and congressional restraints, our combined military would be defeated in approximately one hour in this type scenario. Our entire populations could be eliminated in less than a week.
The world was simply lucky during the Cold War era that the U.S. had used nuclear weapons once before in combat in ending World War Two and the Soviets knew it and feared it. That is what kept Soviet fingers off the nuclear trigger. China did not enjoy a nuclear parity until the last decade. They were dependent early on with nuclear weapons and delivery systems purchased from the Soviets and were not then a large threat. These facts alone have been the real nuclear deterrence up until now -- a Mexican standoff.
If anyone doubts that honest opinion, then read the speech of the (then) Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Chi Hoatian in 2005 to the Chinese Communist Central Committee. He advocates not only war with the U.S. and that it is inevitable, but also how to "depopulate" America before the Chinese invade the country. The speech was published on the Internet by several watchdog websites, as well as in the print media, and is still available by searching the web.
A nuclear terrorist war?
I am deeply concerned that the world is approaching the casual use of these terrible weapons. If some Islamic jihadist murderer, other middle east zealot, a left-over communist ideologue such as rules in Venezuela, or the paranoid Chinese with their itchy trigger fingers fire just one weapon at either Taiwan, the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, American Middle East forces or the U.S. mainland, then the end begins.
History tells us Hitler would have used WMD's in his last days, and so would Tojo's fanatic Japanese warlords if they'd had them. Castro said he would have used them in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 if the Soviets had given him the fuse codes to fire their first missiles placed on Cuban soil. Thank God Krueshev retained missile control until they were removed from Cuba. Maybe even Nikita Krueshev would have fired earlier in a weak moment, no one knows for sure.
Now the Chinese communists tell us they will use nuclear weapons against us if America interferes in their solving of the "Taiwan Question". Russia has recently reverted to a hard line stance over U.S. defense missile plans in Europe. So what makes the great liberal thinkers and writers of today so sure we can trust other opponents such as these now? Are they so naïve as to think North Korea and China are being forthright and truthful? That Russia has disarmed? That the current religious idiot and loose cannon heading up Iran wouldn't use any weapon or kill any person to achieve his goals? That Osama Bin Laden wouldn't use a nuclear device if he could find one? Or buy one?
If Bill Clinton had shown some guts in the 1990's after the initial terrorist attacks on America we might have prevented 9/11 and the Iraq and Afghanistan battles altogether and saved over 6,000 American civilian and military lives. Millions of innocents died before and during the two world wars, and before the world societies and their own state-supported falsehoods and failures finally stopped the Sino-Soviet march of communism. Do we want millions more to die before we as a country rise up and stop the nuclear weapons progression and world terrorism dead in it's tracks?
Terrorism and American politics
President Bush has been hampered and obstructed from quickly handling the Iraq and Afghanistan battles by liberal politicians, biased media personalities, leftist academics, anti-war fanatics, uninformed policy makers and lack of solid intelligence. We should remember the American military defeated Iraq in two weeks, and only after the U.S. media embraced the Iraqi insurgency did it flourish. America's runaway socialist media has used the terrorist war crisis and the horror of 9/11 for their own selfish purposes.
The great American media empires of newspapers, press agencies and TV stations have been re-formed to harass the government, provide anti-war propaganda, progressively change national policy, politics, education, religion and obliterate cultural origins. These media-programmed changes in our democratic life principles are taking place from small cities and towns to large metropolitan areas. Are you aware your town newspaper is no longer owned locally? Did you know your local TV station and newspaper are probably owned by the same media giant? That you see, read and hear only what they prepare for you—along with their views, biases and political leanings?
Movie and TV moguls and liberal magazines such as Time and Newsweek and the New Yorker spew out hatred of our governmental institutions, our armed forces and prey on the minds of our children on a daily basis. Our schools are organized with rewritten history that portrays America as a failing, racist and war-mongering country while preaching a "social progressive" curriculum. Our great universities turn out teachers, journalists and lawyers that have been taught by academics and professors who openly teach socialism and communism as their ideal societies. Our Christian religion and its teachings are ridiculed and our cultural values belittled.
The President's War on Terror foreign military policies do have flaws -- all combat policies do -- but thank God we have a man such as George W. Bush who took it personally when we were viciously attacked that fateful day in September 2001 that murdered 3,000 American men, women and children. He has kept the Islamic killers at bay, enemy leaders confused and in disarray by showing them everyday we DO indeed carry a big nuclear stick, and will walk softly only until being tread upon -- and will still fight the good fight—for the time being, at least.
Even with many hardened enemies in the media and in Congress, the President has presided over 7 years of the greatest American prosperity the world has ever seen, all the while fighting a 6 year War on Terror in two foreign countries and keeping America free from further terrorist attacks.
President Bush has cut taxes, maintained our nuclear deterrent and military forces, provided free medications to seniors, cut the budget deficit substantially, has more Americans working than ever before, kept interest rates low and kept us free from recession for 8 years. He has faced down North Korea and Iran and is building new American missile defenses in Europe and the Pacific Rim. He has given "Homeland Security" a new meaning and globalized the fight against international terrorism.
Could we trust socialist democrats Hillary Clinton, Obama or John Edwards to do the same? Trust liberal quitters and “progressives”such as Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi to determine national policy? I don't think so. Defeatist policies, socialist principles and weak government will get many more innocents killed in this mean and dangerous world we live in.
Misjudging the use of weapons of mass destruction by evil and power-mad countries and Islamic terrorist organizations will too.
Jack L. Key is a native Tennessean, staff writer for the New Media Alliance, a published author and freelance writer. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.