During the Cold War, we relied on the doctrine of "mutually assured destruction." We believed that neither the United States nor the Soviet Union would launch an attack because it would produce massive and destructive retaliation. But the world has changed, and we are in a high-risk era when the presence of nuclear weapons raises the stakes for global conflict, accidents and terrorism.
What if someone infiltrated our nuclear command and control so that if we pushed the button, nothing happened? Or if something did happen even without our pushing the button? What if Pakistan did this to India, or India to Pakistan?
Twenty years ago next week, on 8 July 1996, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an advisory opinion regarding nuclear weapons. In a decision that split its fourteen-member bench, the court found, with the president's casting vote:
The new sanctions against North Korea, just adopted by United Nations Security Council, are a critical part of efforts to contain that nation's nuclear weapons program. But they are not enough.
“When we look at North Korea it is like looking at a crystal ball."
We do NOT need a nuclear triad. The vague talk at the GOP debate is matched by similarly vague discussions about the triad at hearings and in official statements. This posturing inflates the value of these weapons and obscures their threat to our own security.
The U.S. needs to rethink our overall nuclear strategy. Our current strategy is still based on fighting a nuclear war with Russia. We should refocus it, and stop spending billions on an obsolete U.S. nuclear arsenal and move at least part of those funds to preventing ISIS or any other group from getting their hands on radioactive materials. It's time to stop fighting Soviets and shift our funds to fighting the terrorists that truly threaten us. The risk of ISIS getting their hands on nuclear or radiological weapons is small, but it is not zero. And that is too big of a gamble to take when American lives are on the line.
In the history of terrible mistakes, accidentally dropping a nuclear bomb on your own country has to rank pretty damn high. That's exactly what happened when a really, really stupid accident resulted in America tossing an atom bomb on rural South Carolina.
But it also endorsed a push for more renewables and set no targets for nuclear energy. (Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing
A diplomatic resolution will not only bring stability and security for us and our allies, but it could prove the beginning of broader efforts to curtail Iran's more destructive activities in the region.
As they head home from a rare round of bi-lateral talks with Iran in Geneva, it would serve American negotiators well to understand that the muscle behind the Iranian regime simply can't afford to let Rouhani resolve this crisis.
The U.S. should tone down the rhetoric and concentrate on the core issues for worldwide peace and accept the Crimean reality. The solution will evolve slowly, if we let it.