Ammunition for Peacemakers
Well, I know several people who've whistled in the dark & still gotten
mugged. There's no reason to believe whistling deters anything. On the
other hand, I know of no nuclear attacks (since Aug, 1945).
When you play russian roulette, and the first four chambers are empty,
should you then assume the other two also are?
And I can think of *lots* of reasons why nuclear deterrence should
Taken from _Ammunition for Peacemakers_, by Phillips P. Moulton, pp 13:
It is probably true that the massive stockpiling of nuclear weapons
tends to deter a rational ruler from starting a war when there is
ample time for reflection and no crisis exists. But that is the least
likely way a nuclear war might start. Strengthening nuclear
capabilities to guard against that one unlikely scenario greatly
increases the probability of war starting in other ways.
Despite allegedly deterrent arsenals, national leaders may start
a war because of one (or a combination) of these factors:
What defense strategists overlook is that the possible deterrent
effect of nuclear striking power is far outweighed by the increasing
peril it creates. If we removed the deterrent, the Soviets would
almost certainly remove theirs. Our world would then be much safer.
- They believe that values more important than survival are at
stake--national honor, patriotism, freedom, justice, or religion.
- They do not always act rationally. Their decisions may be
affected by macho reactions, fear, anxiety, and other emotional
- Human errors and miscalculations become more likely as nuclear
weapons become more numerous and complex.
- Technical or mechanical failures could produce misleading signals,
or a computer error in a launch-on-warning system could set
- The buildup on one side provokes similar action by the adversary,
increasing the likelihood of a dangerous confrontation.
- The proliferation of nuclear weapons gives to additional nations
the means to wage a disastrous war, which could involve the
Last modified: Thu Jul 27 10:48:33 EDT 2000