Bush and Nukes

So it seems that the US is now willing to use nukes if:

a) Iraq invades Israel;
b) North Korea invades South Korea;
c) Mainland China invades Taiwan.


Isn’t Li Zhaoxing correct in saying that the US is using “nuclear blackmail?”

I personally don’t think that the US should leave the door open for us to get involved in a nuclear/biological/chemical weapons exchange in these situations. I personally wouldn’t want us to get involved in any military level if any of the above scenarios played out let alone a high-death conflict like the Pentagon seems to prefer.

Who decided that nuclear weapons would be used by America in situations aside from self-defense? If we get involved in a nuclear exchange in any of the above scenarios we will be fighting more than just those countries.

The Paul Wolfowitzes and George Bushes in our government don’t see the bigger picture when they make policy changes that have long-term effects on our nation. Nuclear war is not something to be treated casually.

And, by the way, no matter what Trent Lott thinks I can still criticize George W. Bush. He is making foolish decisions that are going to put the US in harms over the years.

Li Zhaoxing

WHO?! Foxtrot Oscar.


Or deterrent force.


Then we shouldn’t have nuclear weapons. We’ve spent billions of dollars on nuclear armament and I’d sure hate to see them go to waste.


I think the Pentagon would prefer not to get involved in high death conflicts.


I think the President gets to decide who we shoot nukes at and when we do it.


You’re right, it won’t be treated casually. However we have the weapons and it would be foolish to remove all possiblities of us using them.

I agree, no matter what Lott says you can still criticize Bush. However I don’t see how the current administrations plans for nuclear weapons are going to harm the US over the years.


MGibson wrote:

The power to single-handedly rain flaming, radioactive death down upon the entire globe is in the hands of … George W. Bush.


You guys don’t really think that nuclear weapons would be used this easily, do you?

I suspect this is mere posturing on the administrations part.

I don’t think that Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing is one of the usual talking heads. The US ambassador didn’t get a full minister berating him.

This sounds like the usual newspaper headlines and posturing by both sides. China obviously knows that the US has a lot of nukes, and that some are or easily could be targeted against China. Like this is a surprise?

High level contacts including two trips by Bush in the past few months, several by Powell within the past year, would suggest that there is real contact and discussion outside of the newspapers and that this is fluff.

In this thread, http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=103742&pagenumber=1 I argue that the Chinese leadership is convinced that economics will drive a political settlement with Taiwan within 1-2 decades. The Chinese leadership is faced with choosing between an extremely high cost if they try to take Taiwan back by force (even without US involvement) versus playing a waiting game. IMHO, they will go for the waiting game.

Tell me this isn’t one the scariest things you’ve ever heard.

(I used to have nightmares about nuclear war.)


This is nothing new. The U.S. has not said, “We will use nukes against you.” It has said, “These are the threat scenarios under which we would have to consider all options, including the use of nuclear force.”

There is a certain ambiguity in that statement, and the U.S. does this all the time. Rather than tie its hands by saying category what it will or will not do, it uses wording like, “We would consider the most serious of options in retaliation” - then let the other side sweat.

That’s how nuclear weapons have been used since the start of the Cold War. Nothing new.

This defense policy review is also nothing new. These studies are done every few years, to reasses the threats that the government faces and to adjust battle plans accordingly. The only reason this is news is because the press is fishing around for that “Bush is a nuclear cowboy” headline. The Media always tries to pigeonhole a politician so that it can fit him into nice, catchy headlines. For instance, if Bush danced with a strange woman at an official function, no one would care. If Clinton had done it, it would probably make headlines. Because the press had Clinton pigeonholed and always prints stories that reinforce that.

In short, you’re making much out of nothing.

I would hope that every presidential administration has some sort of nuclear weapons policy. It would be irresponsible not to.


In spite of your gross over-simplification & assumptions about capability & process, the ability to order a nuclear stike in the hands of any person should be scary.

I’d still rather it in the hands of Bush (or almost any elected official), whom has shown, to date, an ability to walk the international high-wire with some success, than, say, in the hands of an dictator. Oh, wait… Some dictators do have nuclear capability. Hmmm…

Sad & scary. I think the world is already well aware of the U.S.'s nuclear power. Although these recent events are intended to be a deterrent (I hope), I think it’s unnecessary and will actually cause more harm than good…i.e., at least generating more tension and destabilization, perhaps harming anti-proliferation work with Russia, and perhaps even leading toward a new arms race with who-knows-what-country.

Scary ways to counteract such U.S. threats…
(1) counter-deterrent (ok, no one but Russia or China can catch up nuclear-wise, but bio-wise, it’s an open field)
(2) Politics…such as putting your military stuff next to civilian stuff.
(3) Decentralize…like Al Qaeda sleeper cells worldwide.
(4) Alliances…the way USSR and Cuba buddied up a few decades ago.

I don’t think we want to encourage any of these things. Not to be naive but…it’s better to engender an international ethic of eliminating weapons of mass destruction. The U.S.'s conventional military power is still enough of a deterrent and even this could be increased by using all the money we’re spending on maintaining nukes.

Not to mention using a nuke would harm people worldwide, not just at the target site (increasing atmospheric concentrations of radioactive elements).

Trying to be pragmatic here…not liberal.

Although I agree that, in general, this is nothing new, I do think it is news-worthy when the Administration says “here is a list of countries that we are going to target with our most powerful weapons”…especially when that official list contains new targets and is presented at a time of high tension (one of those tensions being the U.S. talk about broadening its war to other countries like Iraq).

Sure, Media is Business. But Bush is making some big threats.

Very deftly worded, that. Nice work.

Knowing that the fate of the world is in the hands of Bush, Putin, etc it is nice to know that my country/state/city don´t figure in any strategic map. Who knows perhaps we would manage to survive World War III (we avoided the first and the second). That is the good part of being a minor player in world affairs :slight_smile:

We’ll never learn, will we? Humans, I mean.

It’s like, we complain about spending say, 5 billion to feed one another, but then cheer about spending 10 billion to blow one another up. It doesn’t make sense.


I understand that we need to leave all options available when it comes to our self-defense. For example, Israel has a standing policy that if any country uses nuclear/biological/chemical weapons against them they will respond with nuclear weapons. I would not be averse to the US adopting a similar policy when it comes to national sovereignty and security.

However, this new policy does not say that we will strike back if we are hit; it says that we can/will use our most powerful weapons in conflicts that do not concern us.

I know we have interests in these regions but the scenarios listed in the OP are not ones where American lives are in harm’s way.

I do aim to please… :wink:

For the record, those Russians you are worried about issued a statement in which they said the same thing I said a few messages ago: This is business as usual, no cause for alarm, the Russians fully expect the U.S. to have such plans and they do as well. Yawn.

Mambo wrote:

Didn’t the Iraqis use chemical weapons against Israel during the Gulf War? I don’t remember Israel responding with nukes back then.

No, they didn’t use chemical weapons. That was the big worry, but all the Scuds turned out to have conventional warheads.