Should the U.S get rid of all its nuclear weapons?

With the cold war over, I see no real reason why we should keep them. We’re never going to use them anyway, as use of one is the equivalent of genocide.

Why not just get rid of our nukes as a good faith display to the world to encourage other countries to disarm?

Are you proposing a unilateral disarmament? That seems pretty foolhardy to me, at least until World Peace breaks out.

But I wouldn’t mind seem a negotiating framework set up for eventual disarmament.

Because it’s better to have a nuke and not need one then to not have a nuke and need it?

Your logic is faulty. The rest of the world will not disarm if we disarm since, for the most part, it is not the United States that other countries are aiming their nukes at. Even if Iraq or Iran or Syria develop nukes, they would most likely be used to intimidate their neighbors. What do you think they would do? Nuke NY or DC with their one nuke out of spite only to incur the wrath of our full atomic might?

The reason we keep them is the same reason we have always kept them - deterence.

Keep 'em. Because we simply can’t trust the rest of the world to disarm, and better to have them and never use them, then need them and not have them.

snort I’m sure a ‘good faith display’ would really move nations like North Korea. Because the US disarms unilaterally in a display of good faith you seriously expect nations like China and India and Pakastan (not to mention the nuclear armed North Korea’s of the world) to blithely chuck their weapons and trade them in for flowers or something?? Seriously?

So, should the US get rid of ALL its nuclear weapons? Hell no. That would be utterly stupid. Now, if you want to talk about seriously reducing our number of nuclear weapons down to a smaller number, thats something else. We certainly no longer need vast stores of nukes, many of which are aging and costly to maintain (and fairly unreliable if they ever DID need to be used).

If we lowered the number of weapons (something I thought we were already doing btw, though slowly) and were able to maintain (i.e. determine that the damn things would actually work in the unlikely event we ever had to use them) and even develop new models (perhaps ‘cleaner’ or more precise) I would be all for a much reduced stockpile. I could even say that we could get rid of something like 90% of the ICBMs and maybe 70-80% of the sub launched varieties and a similar number of the air craft dropped and cruise missile variety and be no worse off than now. But ALL of them? Maddness.


I don’t see why we’d never use one. I imagine if any nation used or assisted an organization in using biological or nuclear weapons against us or they might bear the brunt of a nuclear assault from us.


Why would it be the equivalent of genocide? If we dropped one of our bombs on China, would it kill all the Chinese? I don’t think so…

Which country would disarm after us and why?

I would suggest a “tonnage cap”–a maximum size of bomb to be allowed in the US arsenal.

50 Kilotons, say.

I certainly don’t agree that we should get rid of all of our nukular weapons, I would support a drastic cutback in the numbers of said weapons. Say, 1,000 warheads of several hundred kiloton yeild. That leaves us with the ability to do stuff that we will regret in the morning, but no so little that we no longer pose a credible deterrent threat. (Too few nukes and a enemy may be tempted into thinking that they could take those out.)

‘Good faith’ and a few bucks will get you ‘Peace in our times!’ and a latte’. Realpolitik rules the world. Look at how little reaction Bush got when he slashed the size of our nuke arsenal. ‘Good faith’ earned him ‘nada’.

But hollywood needs them! Without nukes, we’d be draining the pool of ideas for summer action flicks! This is a potential loss of billions.

It’s a nice gesture, but ultimately just a gesture. It would reduce our options - rare though the nuclear strike option is - but also cost time and money to get rid of the things and their infrastructure.

On the other hand, I don’t have any numbers for either a) destroying the stockpile and infrastructure or b) keep it going. Hey, it very well be less expensive to get rid of them!

I guess that means the heart of my argument is this: I’m too paranoid to get rid of that option.

Exactly. When the outer space treaty falls, which it must if we intend to get serious about missile defense, the only thing keeping, say, China, from orbiting nuclear armed weapons platforms will be the threat of immediate and devastating retaliation from the US. We can’t do that without a goodly stockpile of fully armed ICBM’s.

I hear this sort of thing fairly often. I’m always reminded of a bit from Cheers, where Diane says: “Sam, I’m sure there are plenty of girls that would fall for that line, and you know what scares me? They’re allowed to vote, and drive cars!”

This doesn’t accomplish anything. You can do more damage by employing several small yield bombs, than combining the same yield into one big bomb. That’s the idea behind MIRV (Multiple Indepedently-targeted Reentry Vehicles)

I agree, we should dismantle ALL of our nuclear weapons…

It would take WAY too long to do it here though, so, how about we ship them to other countries to have them dismantled. Better yet, to save money, since most of them have some sort of built-it transport method, let’s just launch them all to other countries to be dismantled. And to save even more money, we could just detonate them when they get there, say like, 2000 feet above the ground…

I’m sure that once we begin “dismantling” our nuclear weapons, the rest of the world would follow, say in about 20 minutes.…

US nukes are already much smaller than we could build them, though most of them are over the 50 kiloton figure you give. The US doesn’t build the multi-mega ton super bombs, because with our guidance systems using multiple smaller bombs is much more effective.

And Blalron, claiming that using a nuclear bomb = genocide is just silly. Genocide is the killing off (or attempt to kill off) of an unfavoreded group. Nuclear weapons are essentially really big bombs capable of killing lots of people at once, or taking out large conventional military formations in a single go. Now, you could use nuclear weapons to conduct a genocide, but as Rwanda tought us, you can use machetes as well.

Now, against an extremely fanatical opponent, using nuclear weapons might actually prevent genocide - one or two nuclear weapons would break their will to fight, while if you go in conventionally, they might all fight to the death or jump off a cliff if they think they can’t win.

And you never know when you’ll have to fly up to a huge asteroid to plant a nuke and save mankind.

Well, 'cause, pessimist that I am, I sort of doubt that everyone else who currently has them really would disarm.

I would certainly agree with some others here that full deterrence could be maintained with less than a thousand weapons in our stockpile, and probably less than 500.


In any event, no matter what happened, I’d want to keep a few of the things around and maybe light one up in some remote location once a year or so. Have it televised worldwide, just so we could look at the pretty colors and remind ourselves what it would be like if a whole bunch of them went off at once over a number of urban centers.