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Old 10-31-2019, 01:28 AM
DinoR is offline
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 3,748
Originally Posted by Barack Obama View Post
Edit: I think we could frame it this way, having nukes is more dangerous than not having nukes. Whatever problems could occur or be blamed on disarmament, would not outweigh the dangers having active nukes pose.
Given Russia's approach to use of nuclear weapons one of those risks of unilateral disarmament is increasing the likelihood of nuclear weapons being used. I also worry about creating an incentive for nuclear proliferation that also comes with a risk of nuclear weapons being used.

The concept relevant here is their approach which includes what is frequently called escalating to deescalate. Both public statements and more recent weapons development support that notion being part of Russia's nuclear doctrine. Briefly it's the idea that they can use limited first-use nuclear strikes (escalating from merely conventional means) when conventional conflict has turned against them and they want to de-escalate in a way that is favorable to them. That's a concept now when we still have strong strategic nuclear forces. Russia is effectively gambling that the US and our nuclear capable allies won't choose to risk further escalation in response to those initial limited strikes.

Even now, when they face an existential threat if they guess wrong, they have crafted nuclear doctrine to conduct limited nuclear strikes when it is advantageous. That doesn't strike me as an adversary that will respond to unilateral disarmament by disavowing first use of nuclear weapons. It looks a lot more like one that, seeing the risk of guessing wrong going down, is more likely to use nuclear weapons.

Then there is the effect on all of our allies and partners that don't have nuclear capability. They know that's there's a US nuclear arsenal to fall back on to protect their most vital national interests. That ceases if we unilaterally disarm and creates an incentive for them to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and develop their own weapons. Sure there's the normal tools to prevent that like sanctions and conventional military strikes. Those tools are problematic when we're discussing nations that are already our strategic allies/partners. Increasing the number of nuclear armed nations is not on my Christmas list this, or any other, year. If the number of nuclear armed nations does go up that comes with the risk that relatively obscure (in US awareness) regional friction points now become potential triggers for nuclear release somewhere in the world.

The US disarming does not necessarily reduce the risk of nuclear war. It may increase those risks. I would call potentially increasing the risk of nuclear war worse than than the US merely having nuclear weapons.

Last edited by DinoR; 10-31-2019 at 01:30 AM.