Thursday, July 3, 2014

Take a Page out of the NRA's Book -- Why Can’t Everybody Have Nukes?

If the NRA had its way, everyone would be carrying a gun. "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Where does that mantra stop?

Lost in all the uproar about the potential proliferation of nuclear technology, and the inevitable acquisition by North Korea and Iran, is the murky argument against their possession. Why doesn't the nuclear club hold that, "The only way to stop a bad guy with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke?"

The club’s original five members, US, Russia, China, Great Britain, and France, is  now nine or ten, depending on who’s counting, and who isn't bragging. Pakistan, India, and Israel are non-signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). North Korea withdrew its membership in 2002.

The worldwide total number of 20,000 warheads are aimed at various military targets and population centers around the globe. Why so many--given that number could destroy our planet several times over? One can only guess at the brilliance behind such planning, and it conjures up images of such masterful adventures such as Vietnam and Agent Orange, and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, given that these weapons have a limited shelf (or silo) life, and disregarding the huge cost of building them in the first place, why is there no discussion of the cost of maintenance and replacement? In 2004 Congress mandated (but never discussed), the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program--“to improve the reliability, longevity, and certifiability of existing [nuclear] weapons and their components.” Lots of money for defense contractors involved here.

The two main arguments for the nuke club's stance are that 1) Our arsenal is a "deterrent" that assures mutually assure destruction (MAD). No one would dare attack us for fear of retaliation—read annihilation (or “obliteration” as Hillary Clinton once warned Iran that it faced). This rationale obviously does not apply to nuclear wannabes Iran and North Korea.  2) These governments who are trying to join the club are unstable “rogue” states and their weaponry could easily fall into terrorist hands. This argument has been effective with the American public because it plays the fear card. A frightened populace has been proven time and again to be a controllable populace--one that is quite willing to give up basic freedoms while entrusting their safety to a few “brilliant” bureaucrats.

If nukes are a defensive weapon for us (even though the previous administration threatened to violate that premise) why wouldn’t they be the same for every nation? Why would North Korea, or Iran, want to launch what would amount to a Kamikaze attack on anyone? Surely they know that their country would be in ashes shortly after such a blunder.

Finally, if our deterrence strategy is indeed sound, then we have nothing to worry about. In fact it’s so good it should be expanded to include everyone. Just think, if every country had nuclear weapons then no one would be attacking anyone else for fear of retaliation, and there would be no wars--because everyone would be…deterred!

The NRA strategy sounds good to me.