Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hawks and Nuclear Disarmament

Peter Scoblic argues today in the Los Angeles Times that hawks should be pleased with the idea of nuclear disarmament. It's too easy, he says, for a little country to block our throwing them against the wall if they've got a nuke or two. So no nukes is a good idea.
Yet despite potential flash points with nations such as Russia (over Georgia) or China (over Taiwan), it would be lunacy to engage in combat with either because of the risk of escalation to a nuclear conflict. Abolishing nuclear weapons would obviously not make conflict with those states a good idea, but it would dramatically increase American freedom of action in a crisis.
Sounds very much like the arguments for attacking Iraq/n.

What Scoblic misses is that if we go to zero nuclear weapons, it will be by way of a few hundreds each for Russia and the United States, followed by decreases among those nations in the second nuclear tier, followed by intensive arguments with the one-or-two-nukes holdouts.

Actually, if one is bent on, er, "American freedom of action in a crisis," those last one or two nukes don't matter. If we really wanted to pound North Korea, even without using nukes, we could, but it would be ugly, whether they used their nukes or not.

He also misses that if we go to zero nuclear weapons, other nations will insist on paring down that American conventional superiority. As he notes, those nukes are the great international equalizer, at least when you've got a couple hundred or so.

I'd really like to have a convincing argument for the hawks, but this isn't it.

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