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Obama Calls For Nuke-Free World

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the i'll-give-up-mine-if-you-give-up-yours dept.

News 705

jamie points out news that President Obama has put out a call for a world free of nuclear weapons at a speech in Prague today. He acknowledged that it was a long-term goal, perhaps not something that can be accomplished in his lifetime, but promised to encourage the US Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty. According to the BBC, he also stated his desire to "negotiate a new treaty to end the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons," and to hold a global summit within the next year to work out agreements for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Obama said, "As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it." His speech came less than a day after North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket.

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This thread has been nuked. (0, Flamebait)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465731)

Prepare for fallout!

We should nuke Canada (1, Troll)

Fanboy Fantasies (917592) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465739)

damn snow niggers. Whose with me?

Rhetorical Question ... (0, Troll)

cfortin (23148) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465745)

Could this guy be any stupider?

No,he is very clever :) (2, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465779)

By the end of the projected total nuclear ban, there will be much stronger weapons than nuclear. Why stick to some outdated weapons?

Re:No,he is very clever :) (5, Insightful)

theIsovist (1348209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465847)

Outdated indeed. The new tactics of war are about guerrilla battles, and small nimble forces that can wear down the enemy overtime. Using a nuke on them is like trying to swat a fly with a grenade.

Re:No,he is very clever :) (4, Insightful)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465993)

The only reason nuclear weapons are outdated is because they still exist. They remove the incentive to go WWII on somebodies ass. Because of nuclear weapons, if you wanna cause trouble you now have to find other ways that don't lead to your country or people turning into a glass parking lot.

In other words, warfare has evolved to deal with nuclear weapons much like bacteria have evolved to deal with antibiotics. New kinds of bacteria have been created that are immune to bacteria--but that doesn't mean the old kinds of bacteria aren't still lying around in some latent form. If you stopped using antibiotics, those old "extinct" forms of bacteria would come back. Same with warfare--if we could somehow get rid of every single nuclear weapon on earth--all the old tactics of war would suddenly become relevant and useful again.

Basically, the existence of nuclear weapons make the old tactics obsolete. Remove the nuclear weapons and the old ways are no longer obsolete.

Re:No,he is very clever :) (4, Insightful)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466189)

the "old tactics of war" are still quite useful and are actually quite old. Go read Sun Tsu or Clausewitz sometime and you'll find the ideas of "insurgency" which you call "modern" is quite ancient. These "old tactics" are still taught in the Military Academies around the world so they must be still pertinent and useful. The tactics (for the most part) have NOT changed at the level that is GI Joe's concern it's just the weapons used in execution of such tactics are much more powerful and deadly and don't always require close contact with the enemy. Even as late as the Iraq War "old tactics" such as masssive bombing raids, uses of infantry and armor for house-to-house combat, snipers, etc. were still used to great effect just as in WWII FYI ,In military terms nukes are a strategic weapon not a tactical weapon. And even so, strategy involving nukes is now close to 60 yrs old (young by military standards) and is NOT going away. Thinking nations will give up nukes just because Obama says so and promises the USA will is a very foolish notion. The only way to accomplish that is for every nuclear nation to verify in person on site that every weapon is destroyed worldwide. Even the US and Russians had a hard time with this in the SALT talks. Just relying on someone's word or satellite/spy plane photos is not enough.

Re:No,he is very clever :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465903)

I've thought of the same thing. I mean, as a pacifist I really do appreciate the goal of trying to get rid of nuclear weapons. However, there are so many other types of horrible weapons that exist or are likely to exist soon that the meaning of nuclear weapons becomes relatively less significant.

Nuclear war would be horrible, but perhaps even more horrible would be war with wide use of biological weapons. Thankfully, many of those are currently limited because people fear that they could spread outside the intended target. But the day that military's scientists find a way to limit that (or worse, believe they've found a way though it won't work)...

Even so, limiting nuclear weapons is the first step and possibly the easiest to take. It is easier to regulate uranium, etc. than all the labs. It won't solve the problem but at least it is step towards the right direction.

I don't see why the "Not in my lifetime" thing, though. He forty-something, right? It leaves some three decades to work with. Perhaps it isn't enough to get to "No nuclear weapons at all" because USA (or Russia or any other country with many nuclear weapons) won't be willing to give up their last ones before everyone else has done so too. However, with some dedication to it, it should be well enough to make sure that even the largest nuclear powers don't have three or more digits of nuclear weapons.

Re:Rhetorical Question ... (4, Insightful)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465859)

He is just naive. No one will give up their trump card. And even if they did, it may not be for the best. I submit that a world without nukes would be one with much larger standing armies. Look at europe during the "old" cold war. NATO relied on the nuke card to justify much smaller forces.

Re:Rhetorical Question ... (3, Insightful)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466053)

He isn't naive. Nobody is gonna get rid of their nukes, especially the USA, and he knows it. It puts international pressure on countries who really have no business with them. It is just good politics.

I submit that a world without nukes would be one with much larger standing armies.

It would also be a hell of a lot less safe too. People know this too. We might say "down with nuclear weapons" in public, but if you put it to a vote, I promise you a large majority would vote to keep every nuke we own.

Re:Rhetorical Question ... (1, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466219)

He isn't naive. Nobody is gonna get rid of their nukes, especially the USA, and he knows it. It puts international pressure on countries who really have no business with them. It is just good politics

But the thing is, you have to take the man at his word, and I think he really that naive. I really think he does believe that the world is like Star Trek, where you can have a meeting with someone that totally hates you, and suddenly love breaks out. There's nothing that tells me that he believes otherwise.

Re:Rhetorical Question ... (2, Insightful)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466235)

There's nothing that tells me that he believes otherwise.

That is what happens when you get your news from a very narrow band of sources.

Re:Rhetorical Question ... (1)

dhudson0001 (726951) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466121)

How short-sighted of you.

Re:Rhetorical Question ... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465875)

Or more boring?

An elegant and articulate speaker who is able to communicate the minimum amount of information using the maximum number of words. His speeches are like those inspiration posters which provide us with a great map of his career; short term fun, medium term irritation, long term parody.

Re:Rhetorical Question ... (1)

arpad1 (458649) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466183)

Oh, I don't think it's fair, or accurate, to call him stupid. After all, he did manage to get himself elected president. It may be satisfying to dismiss Obama as stupid but the evidence suggests otherwise.

Still, any assumptions that don't include "stupid" still have to explain why an otherwise intelligent man would find reason to believe that if we all just wish hard enough the bad people will see the error of their ways and repent.

Poor North Korea (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465753)

Always playing at the wrong end of the bell curve

Nuke Free Only Until When (4, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465757)

Free of nukes only works until some other 4 foot 9 dictator decides to raise his status the only way he can to impress the world.

What then? Does he become emporer of the world or just harasser of the world as Hannibal did to Rome?

Re:Nuke Free Only Until When (5, Insightful)

canadian_right (410687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465807)

I don't think the USA will have any problem using conventional weapons to take out any tinpot dictators nuclear facilities - well before they have a nuke.

After all, the USA outspends the rest of the wolrd combined [globalsecurity.org] on their military.

Re:Nuke Free Only Until When (4, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465857)

I don't think the USA will have any problem using conventional weapons to take out any tinpot dictators nuclear facilities - well before they have a nuke.

After all, the USA outspends the rest of the wolrd combined [globalsecurity.org] on their military.

I seriously doubt we have the will to do this under this administration. At least not until it is far to late to help.

Re:Nuke Free Only Until When (-1, Troll)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466091)

Far to late for what? to go in and fuck up another country?

Re:Nuke Free Only Until When (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466115)

Far to late for what? to go in and fuck up another country?

Far to late to keep them from moving the nuclear material, or completed nukes to another hidden location. Or give them to people who don't like us much.

Re:Nuke Free Only Until When (1, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465865)

Really ? Notice what North Korea was doing just as Obama announced this idiocy ?

Launching an intercontinental ballistic missile you say ? In the direction of either Japan or the US you say ... What mean, clearly untrue things you say.

Re:Nuke Free Only Until When (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465995)

North Korea need to prove they can actually put a nuclear warhead on that thing before we need to start worrying about them. All they've done so far is smash to very expensive bits of metal together and utterly failed to make them go "Bang"

Re:Nuke Free Only Until When (5, Funny)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466101)

So you mean the nukes don't act as a deterrent anyway!

Re:Nuke Free Only Until When (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466199)

Not if your reaction to an attack is to destroy ... the weapons.

If your reaction to an attack is to destroy ... you know ... the attacker ... (what a concept !) THEN they might help.

Re:Nuke Free Only Until When (2, Funny)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465811)

Free of nukes only works until some other 4 foot 9 dictator decides to raise his status the only way he can to impress the world.

C'mon, that's hardly fair. Roosevelt was in a wheelchair.

Re:Nuke Free Only Until When (5, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465889)

Roosevelt was 6 feet when the big bombs were dropped. As in 6 feet underground. It was Truman who took the decision.

Re:Nuke Free Only Until When (-1, Troll)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465927)

That is not the real problem with a nuclear weapon free world. The real problem is denial, every country could claim an absence of nuclear weapons nut, realistically how many would lie and retain a secret stockpile, just in case. Much like chemical and biological weapons, look at the US, they have been using chemical and biological weapons on their own citizens when the weapons are supposedly banned (rampant excessive use of pepper spray, in bulk extended range weapons is a chemical weapon especially when it is used to torture peaceful protectors, along with taser electric 'whip') .

Invasion guarantee (4, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465981)

Has America invaded any nuclear power?

 

Re:Invasion guarantee (1)

warGod3 (198094) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466193)

Overtly? No. Covertly, most likely. Check out the constant source of controversy regarding American missiles and other devices entering Pakistan. But, Obama is right. Let's get rid of the nukes. As some of you have speculated, there is ALWAYS something bigger and better. There are conventional bombs that currently do quite enough damage. But, why nuke someplace and risk fallout, etc.? Use some chemical/biological that is active for a few hours and leaves everything in tact but the people. I don't foresee the government wanting to give up some kind of trump card. Whether it is an SDI that already exists or what.

Re:Invasion guarantee (2, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466195)

We've never had reason to. But if Pakistan's civilian government falls to the Taliban, you can bet your ass we'll be going in.

Re:Invasion guarantee (1)

warGod3 (198094) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466223)

Overtly? No. Covertly? Most likely. We do have quite a few soldiers in Afghanistan that possibly "stray" into Pakistan looking for Bin Laden...

So get rid of dictators (etc) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27466111)

Yet another reason why the world needs to mature beyond this old model of ruler-based government and evolve into open source government [metagovernment.org] .

Ahem. (2, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465759)

And now, Ill come forth and call to an end of mean people. And a pony. I want a pony.

Really though, nuclear technology isnt that hard. Take 2 pieces of near-critical U235 and smack them together.. Hell, we could have Soulskill clap them together.

And dont forget yeah, the US, France, UK, Russia, and China all have nukes. Those countries like India, Pakistan, and Israel also have them, and we dont have a nuclear holocaust yet, either.

Just a bunch of North Korea fearmongering. After all, if they do get scared, China WILL step in and handle the situation.

Re:Ahem. (3, Insightful)

canadian_right (410687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465835)

The "gun" method will get you a low yield weapon. And everyone knows the hard part is enrichment of the uranium, and building the reactor etc... As long as existing stockpiles of weapons grade material are kept safe it takes a nation quite a while to go from zero to nuke and it's hard to hide. The whole world knows about N. Koreas secrect nuke program.

Re:Ahem. (2, Insightful)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465883)

And an ideal being one which almost assuredly cannot be realized means that it should not be attempted at all. Riiiiiiight.

A continuing reduction in the number of nuclear weapons is still a very realistic goal, and it is probably a desirable one too.

Of course its fearmongering (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465915)

Its how you get the populace to give up their rights 'for their protection'.

Re:Ahem. (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465959)

Still, the M.A.D. doctrine rests upon the idea that the people in charge of nuclear nations will act in a rational and sane way. The probability for this to fail increases with every new nuclear nation. The way to go is incredibely hard : to encourage nations to abandon their nuclear programs, like Libya did.

And I really think that China relies on North Korea to the fear-mongering it can't afford to.

Re:Ahem. (5, Informative)

Vanders (110092) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466033)

Really though, nuclear technology isnt that hard. Take 2 pieces of near-critical U235 and smack them together.. Hell, we could have Soulskill clap them together.

It's a touch harder than that. First you need that highly enriched uranium, which means you'll need a reactor, reprocessing facilities and some way to refine your U238-rich Uranium into weapons grade U235. You'll also need a few other metals while you're there, such as Beryllium. Then once you have all of that, and assuming someone hasn't bombed your facilities in the mean time, you have to "smash them together" in just the right way: too fast and they'll fly apart before they reach criticality, too slow and the mass will not be compressed enough: either will lead to a fizzle.

Which is exactly what happened to North Korea by the way. Apparently even after decades of research and development, smacking to bits of metal together is pretty hard to do right.

Unless they're too late (1)

Alaska Jack (679307) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466113)

After all, if they do get scared, China WILL step in and handle the situation.

Not if North Korea gets nukes first, they won't.

  - Alaska Jack

And nuclear power? (1)

Simply Curious (1002051) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465767)

If he's trying to stop the production of fissile materials, how will this affect nuclear power?

I understand that fuel for nuclear power requires much less enrichment than for nuclear weapons, but would they require the same sort of facilities?

Re:And nuclear power? (3, Informative)

nhtshot (198470) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465853)

It won't.

There are many reactor designs (CANDU in particular) that don't require any enrichment at all. What he's talking about is no longer producing highly enriched U235 and/or PU239.

Of course, that's great and all, but there are already fairly sizable stockpiles of both within the established nuclear powers.

He's either posturing or pipe-dreaming.

Re:And nuclear power? (2, Informative)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465971)

The answer is, unfortunately, depended on installed base technologies.

The ancient, prototype nuclear plant (the ones installed all over the western world in the 1950's and 1960's) DO require the very same enrichment cycle that nuclear weapons require.

The new types of reactors. Pebble bed, light water, what have you, don't require any kind of enrichment cycle (but would, in the US and all over Europe and Russia, require replacing most, if not all, existing facilities). Dropping the enrichment cycle would also rob us of the production of medical isotopes, which would become prohibitively expensive to produce. It would also end research into new "very high atomic number" isotopes, and will rob us of any knowledge of the higher stable islands in the periodic table.

The problem with this knowledge is that is makes it VERY hard to explain what Iran is doing with enrichment facilities and light water reactors, which have other advantages such as increased efficiency and, above all, price. You see, Iran doesn't need enrichment for power, and yet they ARE enriching ... Since they're not doing it for power (and they sure as hell are not spending 40% of the country's budget on producing medical isotopes they don't know how to use) ... there can be only a single conclusion.

However I will leave it to people for whom reality is more important than fantasy to decide what exactly said conclusion is. Especially considering that Iranian engineers participated in North Korea's missile test. The missile test that occured moments before Obama announced he would kill the one defence America's got that's proven to work : the ability to retaliate in kind.

There is a positive note to make though : despite all the hype, any realistic quantity of nukes is not capable of taking out America's military. That would take something near a million nukes, and would require enveloping America, and several other nations, for weeks in nuclear blasts, something impossible to do with less than several hundred thousand nukes.

Therefore despite their reputation, any nukes Iran or North Korea might fire, in the belief that America would be prevented from retaliating, would not really prevent that. America would, obviously, be left with only one choice : have American soldiers conquer a few of their cities and commit massacres the "old fashioned" way. It would cost untold numbers of casualties, but there would be no other options.

You see, despite all the idiocy surrounding nukes, they were intended to lessen bloodshed and force enemies to use other external politics than war.

They worked. On at least three enemies (Japan, USSR and Korea). Destroying nukes will not improve the world, it will bring back the civil wars and constant open conflicts like WWI and WWII. They will bring back the need for national armies to massacre civilians, just like they did before the 1950's.

Of course, considerations like that are too much reality for anyone who's ever believed an Al Gore (or Obama) speech.

Re:And nuclear power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27466175)

Yes. I'm pretty sure he's talking about the highly-enriched uranium (>90% U235), whereas the type used for most reactors is only enriched a few percent. The enrichment cascades used for making weapons-grade materials have to be configured differently. Ban that, and there still won't be any obstacle to nuclear power.

Also, some reactor designs (e.g., the CANDU reactors) don't require any enrichment.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (5, Insightful)

dameepster (594651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465773)

The United States has 5,914 strategic nuclear warheads, followed closely by Russia with 4,237 deployable warheads. (Source: Arms Control [armscontrol.org] ). The rest of the members of the nuclear club -- UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel -- have less than 1,000 combined nuclear weapons. Clearly, if Obama wants the world to take him seriously, he needs to restart the START-II treaty [wikipedia.org] and disassemble his own stockpile before he can expect others to do the same.

Re:Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (3, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465793)

I actually like having 2 superpowers both with enough nukes to make the world glow like a nite-lite.

Knowing that certain actions, like a country using atomics, WILL lead to mutual assured destruction. And that prevents a lot of "bad stuff".. And also cutting off commerce and trade also scares these likes shitless.

Re:Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465879)

"WILL lead to mutual assured destruction. And that prevents a lot of "bad stuff".."

No it doesn't.

Re:Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (2, Insightful)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465935)

Pretty much the only reason the world is "safe" is because we have the bomb. "The Bomb" is the final word in warfare because basically, everybody loses.

Now, the "trick" to "The Bomb" making us safe is nobody actually plans to use it. Anybody who uses it will get nuked to hell in return... everybody loses. Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD.

This theory breaks when the person who uses the bomb doesn't care about their own destruction. Once you stop caring about retaliation, all bets are off.

Warfare has now "evolved" to the point where I don't think all the players who could potentially have nukes care if their side gets nuked to hell in retaliation. In addition, warfare is no longer country-to-country. It is "one dude in a subway with with a bomb in a pizza box".

All the fighter jets in the world can't help you against a pizza-box-bomb. Nukes don't help either. The things that really help are surveillance devices hooked up to massive computers running statistics software. Unfortunately (er, fortunately) such things are really not tolerated by our culture here in the US.

Re:Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (1)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466025)

Add to this the possibility of a middleman-delivery.

Sure, if Nuclear Power X sets off a nuclear device in Nuclear Power Y's territory there'll be hell to pay, MAD would commence.

But what if Nuclear Power X gives a nuke to a non-nuclear country/foreign group of individuals, who then sets it off in Nuclear Power Y's territory?. Who would Y do MAD on then? Even if the origin of the device could be divined through fallout analysis, X could shake responsibility by saying "we have no idea how this could happen".

Re:Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (1, Interesting)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466143)

That is the question. What if one of these "rouge" countries nuke a neighbor? What if they nuke us or our allies? Do we or Russia go MAD on their ass or do we get hella pissed instead?

First of all, one nuclear weapon isn't the end of the world. It is a huge deal, yeah. But it isn't balls-to-the-wall USA vs. Russia either.

If I was president (thank god I'm not), I wouldn't nuke that country... odds are good that was the only nuclear weapon they owned and they just blew their whole load in one shot. If we nuked them to hell, it would make the situation much worse and could result in a MAD-like scenario. Worse, what if that weapon did come from "Country X" and we knew it, and retaliated with a nuclear weapon, we might risk getting into that ball-to-the-wall USA vs. Russia scenario.

In other words, I have no clue. USA vs. Russia ain't gonna happen because of MAD. Random countries with three nuclear weapons don't have enough firepower to warrant a nuclear retaliation. But the trick is to make sure all they ever have is a couple nuclear weapons--hence calls to "disarm the planet". Everybody knows we are gonna continue to have 5 bagillion nukes--the fact that we do is the only way we can even make a call to disarm the planet... it doesn't matter if dont listen, we can destroy them and the world.

Re:Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (1, Interesting)

JDAustin (468180) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466227)

MAD still works against the pizza-box-bomb terrorists. You just have to make it clear that you will nuke something they love. In the case of Islamic terrorist, you just make it clear that if they use a nuke on us, we will nuke Mecca.

Re:Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465887)

Unless you face an enemy that actually believes mutually assured destruction is not a bad thing...

Re:Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (1)

fat_mike (71855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466157)

Damn, I haven't heard the term MAD used in quite a while.

Mutually Assured Destruction is the reason we're all still here. In 1980 I was five years old. I spent a lot of time fretting about mushroom clouds and the damn Ruskies and mutants and stalks growing out of my head.

Then one day my dad explained it simply.

"Quit worrying, it won't happen"
"Dad, but the bombs and the fallout and.."
"Boy, we know and they know that its all retarded because we'd just kill each other and what's the point in that? And if it does happen there's nothing you can about it because you'll be dead along with everyone else. Now go cut the grass before I launch an H-Bomb called my foot up your ass."

Really put things in perspective.

Re:Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (1, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466185)

I actually like having 2 superpowers both with enough nukes to make the world glow like a nite-lite.

Knowing that certain actions, like a country using atomics, WILL lead to mutual assured destruction. And that prevents a lot of "bad stuff".. And also cutting off commerce and trade also scares these likes shitless.

Fortunately 6000 nuclear warheads is not, by a long shot, enough to destroy even a little country. It's enough to cause lots and lots of suffering, but it's not enough to keep them down.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki both got 1 10 megaton warhead, and recovered to full economic capacity in a matter of months. Had Japan wanted to, the US would not have been actually able to PREVENT them from waging war in the pacific using nuclear force, even given full use of the US's then one bomb/month capacity.

Add to that the knowledge that a 100 megaton nuclear warhead has only double the effectiveness of a 10 megaton warhead (due to the damage, in the "optimal" case occuring along a circle, whose length increases relative to the square of the distance. A nuclear bomb in a trunk (ie. on the ground) loses effectiveness with the third power of the distance due to "technical reasons" (imagine the difference of a blast in the sky and on the ground. In the sky a bit under 50% of the blast wave hits the target, on the ground, however, only a small circular section will hit the target. The rest will disappear into the sky and into the ground. A diagram explains this very well, but I don't really have one).

Add to that the knowledge that the currently most powerful nuclear weapon is about 150 megatons, and there are only a few dozen in existence.

The US would have needed several hundred 10 megaton bombs to destroy Hiroshima. It would have had to keep firing on Hiroshima for days, causing constant nuclear blasts.

So the "nuclear might" of the US is capable of
-> cause month-lasting economic setbacks in 6000 cities world-wide (not enough to hit every important city), and kill about 10 million people
-> destroy between 6 and 18 major cities (but not major metropolitans like Randstad (Amsterdam), or New York), killing about 2 million (due to having to hit the same spot twice or thrice, the casualty count would be much lower. Obviously nukes need to be set off in serial, not in parallel, and everyone outside of the blast radius of the two or three bombs would get ample and extremely convincing warnings of what's to come. Combine that with the large capacity transportation systems of these cities and many people get out in time)
-> destroy max 2 major metropolitan cities, causing about a million casualties.

Due to the fact that they're built up of much more resilient materials, destroying economic or military centers, like harbors or airstrips would be prohibitively difficult using nuclear weapons.

The power of nuclear weapons is massively exxagerated in popular culture. They are not, at all, the world destroyers people often claim they are. They are, almost exclusively, psychological weapons. They cause a relatively large pinpoint strike, and are almost impossible to defend against.

Atomic weapons' main "power" is that they are capable of killing nearly anyone. You don't need to know all that well where they are, you don't need to fight through the enemy's defenses to kill the leader. Out of the blue, with minimal information, you can kill anyone. Even a theocratic nut like the ones ruling saudi arabia or iran, or a dictator.

And that's, obviously, the real reason dictators and socialists all around want the weapons destroyed : it took the US 2 years (!) to find Saddam Hussein with massive conventional superiority, and only because Saddam stood alone (had he had allies, he would have been beyond the reach of the US). Dictators, islamic or socialist are easy to kill with nuclear weapons, and even a "superpower" needs years to do the same with conventional weapons.

Without nukes, dictators, islamic thugs and massacrers are basically safe from military intervention by the US, or any other party.

Re:Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (2, Insightful)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466065)

Geez. The man just announced it. Give him time and see where this goes. It's not like there's a giant plug in the White House that he can just pull out. Things like that will always involve gradual steps and take time. Also, why START II? Why is that the only viable way of doing this? Next, sure dissemble our stockpile but perhaps gradually as other countries do the same with theirs. How can we monitor and be sure everyone is being honest? How can we guarantee these weapons can't be reassemble or manufactured again? These are things that need to be worked out.

Re:Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27466161)

Do you know what you call a country that disarms first?

Of course you don't!

I'm all for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465777)

...as long as we get rid of them in reverse order of discovery.

But... (1)

samriel (1456543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465785)

But then how will we fight off the aliens?

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465799)

There will be a single nuclear weapon left. It will be placed at the centre of Washington DC and worshipped.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465845)

But then how will we fight off the aliens?

Jeff Goldblum.

Re:But... (1)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465893)

The Martians had no resistance to the bacteria in our atmosphere to which we have long since become immune. Once they had breathed our air, germs, which no longer affect us, began to kill them. The end came swiftly. All over the world, their machines began to stop and fall. After all that men could do had failed, the Martians were destroyed and humanity was saved by the littlest things, which God, in His wisdom, had put upon this Earth.

Clearly, we have to pour money into germ warfare.

Not going to happen (5, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465795)

Nobody is going to disarm if another country still has nukes, that would be suicide. Furthermore, countries that possess nukes would still have the knowhow to produce them after the destruction of all of the nuclear weapons. That alone would create an unbalance in the worldpower, some countries can still make nukes if the situation warrants it and they can be produced in a year or 4(probably less) so any war with these powers would mean a re-arming of the nation involved and as a reaction a re-arming of all other nuke-capable nations.

Furthermore, some countries still rely on nukes as a deterrent like Israel. I just don't see them disarming, and my believe is affirmed since Israel categorically refuses to say anything about its nuclear capabilities which leads to the last objection to these plans. You can hide your nukes and feign compliance with disarming programs.

In short, it won't work and Obama is not believing his own words if he has any intelligence.

Re:Not going to happen (1)

Stalyn (662) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466213)

First off Obama wasn't talking about unilateral nuclear disarmament. He was talking about a slow gradual reduction in the world stock pile of nuclear weapons. Also he said it was a long term goal something the might be possible after his lifetime.

Second the recent provocation by NKorea proves that nuclear weapons no longer act as a sufficient deterrent. Actually NKorea is using nuclear proliferation as a market to fund its regime.

Third nuclear weapons are quickly becoming obsolete. Biological weapons which can eliminate the population of a nation without destroying its infrastructure are much more a threat in the near future. The only threat that nuclear weapons currently present is that of nuclear proliferation which increases the probability of nuclear accidents and a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon. Reducing nuclear weapons over time will decrease the probability of these events occurring.

When they outlaw nukes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465805)

only outlaws will have nukes!

Re:When they outlaw nukes... (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465895)

only outlaws will have nukes!

You can pry my nukes from my hot, glowing hands? :)

Is this possible? (1)

txoof (553270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465821)

With states like North Korea and Iran actively pursuing nuclear technology, can the US, Russia and the other nuclear states afford to lose their deterrence? It seems that states like Pakistan that are potentially fragile are also on the list of potential threats.

I'm all for getting rid of nukes; they're the most terrible weapon we have and really serve as a weapon of last resort. However, in the current political climate, is it possible to eliminate the stockpiles and deterrence that goes with them?

Signing on to the Test Ban Treaty is a great first step that shows that the US is willing to practice what it preaches as far as disarmament and peace. The actual removal of nuclear weapons from the arsenal seems unlikely, however.

Along those same lines, it would be great if the US could get on board with the Global Landmine Ban Treaty. Landmines are perhaps even more terrible in their effect on people and the environment. Landmines kill and maim thousands of people every year and rarely serve the purpose they were intended for. The only even semi-valid argument for the continued use of landmines is the 38th Parallel between North and South Korea. Though given the current world political climate is pretty flimsy. North Korea wouldn't stand much of a chance invading South Korea these days.

Only the bad guys have guns (3, Interesting)

rotide (1015173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465825)

Isn't this going to do the exact same thing? If you outlaw the weapons then only the outlaws will have the weapons?

I'm not one that believes in using nuclear weapons, but not having them seems worse than having them.

Ya, I know, pretty easy to say when I'm in one of the countries with a crapton of them (US).

Re:Only the bad guys have guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27466075)

But guns are evil...

but without nukes there is no apocalypse wtf? (1)

emailandthings (844006) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465881)

but without nukes there is no apocalypse wtf? or doom's day. Isn't our role to go destroy ourselves so that JC can put a stop to it? or does our world have real choices?

Yet another example of incompetence (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465899)

So we get rid of our nukes and so does other 'law abiding' countries. What about the 100's that really don't give a damn?

Then again, he thinks banning personal guns will work too.

Re:Yet another example of incompetence (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27465979)

Then again, he thinks banning personal guns will work too.

I was wondering, how many people get shot in the States each year? Something tells me it's a bit high compared to the rest of the world.

Re:Yet another example of incompetence (0, Flamebait)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466155)

Obama has never suggested we ban personal guns. How a totally idiotic comment like this gets modded "insightful" boggles the mind. I guess this place really is being overrun by right-wingers.
Oh and BTW. Booth was not a patriot, he was a traitor of the highest order.

Re:Yet another example of incompetence (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466221)

Up until the point that the U.S. no longer has strategic nuclear capabilities, his comments, and yours, are smoke and mirrors.

How hypocritical? (0)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465911)

I was lucky enough to be born in France too late for the mandatory military service, so instead of months of military training all we had was a full day of lecturing about how much arse the French military kicks (try to keep your generic obligatory jokes for yourself). I slept through most of it, but I recall them insisting on how deterrent nuclear force was what shielded us from any invasion, and I believe that holds true for any country with nuclear ICBMs and such.

So we know we need these, but these days, it's all about Iran and North Korea trying to join the club, and we don't want that to happen. What this story is talking about is preventing new weapons from being created (in a nutshell), that means precisely these guys, we still keep ours, but they can't get any. So this move isn't about making the world free of nukes, it's about making sure they don't fall in the hands of worst rivals. In other words it's completely opportunistic and hypocritical, amirite?

Re:How hypocritical? (2, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465955)

So this move isn't about making the world free of nukes, it's about making sure they don't fall in the hands of worst rivals. In other words it's completely opportunistic and hypocritical, amirite?

I don't see it that way at all. It sounds like that on the surface, but I don't think it's like that at all.

Take a society without guns (zero, none whatsoever) and put 1 gun into the hands of one side of an argument and 1 gun into the hands of the other side. Both sides are smart enough that they know using the gun would mean the other guy would.

So, what's the problem here, now there are lots of guys without guns and they want them. Sounds like you should give everyone who wants them because we're responsible, so they should be too. I mean, it's too powerful and everyone respects that fact.

So lets give them to everyone, hell if everyone has them, and noone uses them, well, nothing changes....

No.. If you just hand out weapons, or just allow everyone to make them at their own will, eventually one guy will end up with one and he will want to use it. Eventually it gets into the hands of a crazy. N. Korea might not be the crazy guy, but he sure as shit isn't the sane guy.

Yes, it sounds hypocritical, but if enough people have weapons, eventually someone will use them. That is what we want to avoid.

Re:How hypocritical? (2, Interesting)

coryking (104614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466215)

That is what we want to avoid.

The one thing to realize is that crazy guy isn't gonna have a mass stockpile of them either. He might get one or two of them and then use them to blow up $RANDOM_COUNTRY. It would suck a *lot* and justifiably piss people off *a lot*, but as long as everybody sane keeps their cool, the world wouldn't end. The world would end if the sane folk got into nuclear war... but but if they actually nuked each other, they wouldn't be sane would they.

What you *dont* want is to sit around and twiddle your thumbs while Crazy Guy builds a stockpile. If he gets a stockpile, all bets are off.

The real question is, if your military intelligence indicates that the nuclear weapon Crazy Guy just used was the only one he had, do you retaliate with a nuclear weapon? My answer would be no and I'd be curious to hear pro-nuke-them-to-hell arguments...

Obama's failure to think half a step ahead (3, Insightful)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 5 years ago | (#27465949)

Reagan's solution to eliminate nuclear weapons: Create defenses that make them impotent, and trust but verify.

End result of Reagan's plan: Collapse of the USSR, and reduction of the probability of nuclear armageddon.

Obama's solution to eliminate nuclear weapons: Curtail or eliminate defenses against nuclear weapons, sign on to a treaty that would have no effect upon those that would actually use nuclear weapons, and ensure that nuclear deterrence would eventually fail, as there would be increasing uncertainty whether the nuclear weapons of the nations that had signed the Test Ban Treaty had functioning nuclear weapons or not, especially if you're going to then go and end the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons.

End result of Obama's plan: Defenseless US et al against those whose moral duty to act includes nuking us.

Re:Obama's failure to think half a step ahead (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466021)

I liked Ted Turner's solution better: The Satellite TV Initiative. Turn the enemy into couch potatoes.

Re:Obama's failure to think half a step ahead (4, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466119)

yeah because obama is defiantly fighting a cold war! terrorists leaders don't care about thier people, so launching a nuke against them isn't a threat.
Did the 5000 nukes stop osama? NO
Did the 5000 nukes, get the taliban to hand over osama? NO
Did the 5000 nukes, keep you from having to invade iraq? NO
Did the 5000 nukes, stop jim's missile program? err NO
Can the US go round killing inocent civilians? NO
Can the US even retaliate to the actions of a rouge state using a nuke? NO

So what the fuck do you want them for? other than to lose a moral high ground and mean you have no right to tell others that they shouldn't have them!

Re:Obama's failure to think half a step ahead (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466165)

Your time line there for the cold war is pretty simplified, and not accurate...

Re:Obama's failure to think half a step ahead (1)

azgard (461476) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466205)

Actually, you are pretty much wrong. During Reagan era, there were many talks about reduction in nuclear warfare, which ended in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INF_Treaty [wikipedia.org] . And USSR would collapse anyway, because it just had poor socioeconomic system and agriculture; if you think your tax dollars for some weapons helped it, you are deadly wrong.

Re:Obama's failure to think half a step ahead (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27466237)

Obama's solution to eliminate nuclear weapons: Curtail or eliminate defenses against nuclear weapons,

Really? "He said the United States will maintain a safe, secure and reliable nuclear capability to deter adversaries and reassure its allies. He also indicated that the United States would "go forward" with a controversial missile defense system planned for the Czech Republic and Poland." [1] [dw-world.de]

End result of Obama's plan: Defenseless US

Nuclear weapons' primary function is striking against civilian targets - no military target is large enough to warrant such massive destruction [citation needed]. If North Korea were to attack NATO using nuclear weapons, I postulate that the NATO member nations would care more about that North Korean civilian population than the North Korean government does [2] [freedomhouse.org] . Rather, your first goal would be to eliminate their launch capability, for which conventional weapons are sufficient. [citation needed]

no guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27466019)

This will work just like the UK banning hand guns, now the only people with hand guns are bad guys AND they all know the law abiding citizens aren't armed. Also once we get rid of all our nukes, then the bad guys get to turn the tables on us and say okay if we see you guys trying to build any nuke we're gonna nuke you.

there is only one way to be sure (1)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466035)

One of the main problems with getting rid of nukes has been mentioned here: no one wants to give their own up. A few countries have already given up nuclear weapons, including South Africa. All countries cannot be expected to do the same with their weapons, which leaves us with one solution...

We have to nuke the nukes from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

Baaaaa.... Baaaaa (0, Troll)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466037)

I thought sheep were mostly white.

If he really thinks this would work, he is stupider than I thought.

As a side note, Obama claims to be Christian doesn't he? Evidently he hasn't read his own book of Revelations. Pretty much any christian who actually reads what they are supposed to believe should know better than to hope for world peace. If they do, its just hypocrisy.

Nukes are obsolete. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27466047)

To respond to a bunch of folks here:

First of all, it would be economic suicide for any country to be a nuclear aggressor. The World's economy is so integrated that it can't happen among countries that trade internationally or want to.

Now the countries that don't want to: N. Korea. International trade would undermine his regime. Yes, Jong Ill will use nukes for blackmail purposes. Launching missiles, threatening the World, mostly the US, with nuclear aggression. From what I'm seeing, he's so fucked up, he doesn't care about retaliation. He's starving his own people to keep his pathetic little country. I don't know enough about international affairs to know exactly what to do, but Nukes aren't the way to deal with that fuckwit.

Islamic fundamentalist. The Muslim community will have to deal with those themselves. For one, they're the only ones that those wakos will listen to - maybe. And two, if they don't, the entire Muslim World will be caught up in the backlash against the fundamentalist nuts. I'm not saying it's right. I'm saying what will happen.

The international money folks and traders are driving all this. Sovereign nations are also becoming a thing of the past. Yes, I am saying that the one World government is on it's way. Not in our lifetimes, but not too far either.

Too much so far for a post. Here's more from some great books: "The World is Flat" by Friedman and "The World is Curved" by Smick.

Superman could hurl them all into the sun... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27466069)

But seriously, what the heck are we doing with over 10,000 nuclear warheads on our planet and over half of them in the north american continent.

I mean 100 wouldn't do it? We need 6000?

Typical Stupid Liberal... (0, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466071)

I just, can't say enough... goes and lets North Korea shoot a rocket... oh, he'll get a warning letter out of the UN, is going to sit and watch the world gather up nukes... and he wants to disarm the USA? Even worse, he's basically going to eliminate nuclear power to do it?

Obama is an idiot. Why doesn't he go out and buy a unicorn for Sasha and Meliah and sing happy love the earth songs...

Re:Typical Stupid Right-Winger (0, Troll)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466203)

No capability for critical thought, or nuance.

In Other News (1)

futuresheep (531366) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466079)

Steve Wynn announces ambitious plan to start charging for drinks at all his Vegas Casinos. More at 11.

A fools call (4, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466093)

The nuke has very effectively prevented WWIII from happening as the deterrent of MAD has proven to be histories most effective peace policy. The concept of non-proliferation, to keep nukes from spreading is one that that world has turned it's back on. You want to make the world a safer place, get real about nuclear programs run by countries like Iran and North Korea.

In the event that nukes were somehow magically put back in the nuclear genie bottle, countries would simply go back to larger standing armies. Conventional armies with conventional weapons have proven their ability to kill in large quantity time and time again.

Obama is not stupid ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27466127)

He says that a complete ban is probably not going to happen during his lifetime, so he's a realist and the talk about the USA being defenseless anytime soon appears like nonsense to me.

His goal is probably a heavy reduction of nuclear weapons and by doing the first steps he wants to get more support from the UN to put more pressure on countries like the Iran, North Korea, Pakistan etc. to stop their efforts. That's not stupid, that makes sense.

Besides that one shouldn't forget that the USA is surely the most advanced country, when it comes to simulating nuclear weapons, which needs a lot of know how and computing power and is currently done on some of the fastest supercomputers world-wide.

So if the USA manages to get real world tests banned, they have probably gathered more knowledge than anyone else to stay on top of the food chain, because there software is probably so good that they don't need a lot of real world tests anymore to get more data.

This means war (2, Insightful)

Nephrite (82592) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466129)

The USA have the most powerful conventional military in the world. So the only way to ensure the USA don't attack you is to have a nuclear bomb. And the USA have clearly shown that they want and will attack you, take Serbia or Iraq for example.

Read between the lines ... (5, Insightful)

krou (1027572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466139)

It's political posturing, with more important objectives.

  1. If you RTFA, you'll notice he's talking primarily about stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, which is what just about every US president has called for over the last several decades. The prime focus seems to be non-state actors (read: al-Qaeda), and states without nuclear weapons (read: Iran).
  2. He states quite clearly that the US will keep a nuclear deterrent as long as a nuclear threat exists.
  3. He wants to reduce the US arsenal in conjunction with a reduction of the Russian arsenal. Working to reduce one's nuclear arsenal is not the same as working towards a nuke-free world.
  4. Obama is manoeuvring the US into a position whereby it forces other countries to appear as aggressors and stumbling blocks to world peace. Currently, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is not ratified by the US and China, and both India and Pakistan have not signed it either. He is making these statements in the knowledge that it is likely that China will not agree, and India and Pakistan will not join, thus giving an "out" in future i.e. the nuclear threat is there.
  5. Besides which, this is also no doubt designed to try and bring the Russians on board in supporting the missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.
  6. This seems to be an attempt to try and isolate Iran as well. He says in his speech, "We need more resources and authority to strengthen international inspections. We need real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules or trying to leave the Treaty without cause. And we should build a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation, including an international fuel bank, so that countries can access peaceful power without increasing the risks of proliferation." It again seems clear that he is manoeuvring the US into a position of peace-maker, and compromiser.

In short, the "nuke-free world" is window-dressing for more real, practical objectives.

"I say let the Wookie win." (2, Insightful)

memorycardfull (1187485) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466141)

What Obama is seeking is similar to the consolidation of material advantage when you trade pieces away on a chess board when you are already up in material. If major nuclear powers were to unite in disarming small nuclear powers first and controlling proliferation it would consolidate their strategic control of the world through these weapons. This could be done under the guise of world nuclear disarmament but of course it would take a "little" longer to disarm the major powers that would drive the effort. I think that this is less about dreaming of a day without nuclear weapons than it is about dreaming of a day when it is possible to control the rest of the world through possession of these weapons again. Admittedly the chess material analogy is a little strained: a nuke isn't a pawn advantage, hell it's not even like being a queen and 2 rooks up. It is more like being a Wookie opponent at the chess table.

More Than Just a Nuclear Deterrent (1)

Strick11 (1525009) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466169)

Nuclear weapons continue to exist not just to deter nuclear war, but major wars in general. Too many conventional war scenarios lead to nuclear war with disastrous consequences; the very idea has taken war between the major powers off the table. They are the reason for why there have been no major European wars since WWII and why China was restrained during the mad years of Mao. Conventional weapons can provide the same deterrence, assuming everyone, every where destroys their nukes, but only a massive increase in conventional forces. No one believes Obama or the public in the US or Europe would be willing to make the sacrifice. Barring unicorns springing forth and the seas turning to lemonade, the threat of war will be with us always. If you want peace, or at least avoid another world war, nukes are the cost effective deterrent.

Nice idea, but way before it's time (2, Funny)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466187)

If you outlaw nukes, only outlaw countries will have nukes.

Yes, I know I'm paraphrasing pro-gun rhetoric here, but I believe it applies. The only way that International Law works, is if all the countries involved agree to abide by said laws -- which we all know doesn't work often enough. One day, assuming the human race actually lives long enough to see it, we MAY evolve enough, physioligically and mentally, that our needs for things like solving problems with aggression will become obsolete; THEN things like nuclear weapons will have a chance to go the way of the dinosaurs. Until that day comes this technology will (unfortunately) have to exist. You can't put the genie back in the bottle once you've let it out, after all; knowing something is possible is half the battle towards MAKING it possible, even if we effectively buried the knowledge of how to create nuclear fission, physicists would work backwards and rediscover how to make it happen anyway. I applaud Obama's sentiments on the subject, as I applaud the realism of his thoughts when he says "not in my lifetime".

Don't go to war with the US unless.... (2, Interesting)

Carthum (751946) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466201)

After Gulf War 1 an India offical said "The lesson of this war is do not fight the United States unless you have nuclear weapons." I can see the path down to under 1000 nuclear weapons world wide. But i can't see the path to 0. As long as US conventional strength is strong enough to topple regimes China, Pakistan, North Korea etc are going to want to hold on to their nuclear weapons. These countries know they could never defeat the united states in a fight with or without nuclear weapons their only option is to raise the costs to the point a fight becomes unacceptable for either side.

Monopoly (4, Funny)

kentrel (526003) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466207)

The problem is there's a monopoly on nuclear weapons. Thats why nukes are such a security risks with terrorists about, and a lot of attempts to acquire missiles by al queda. They will succeed as long as nukes are in the hands of a small few. The solution is to make nuclear weapons open source, so we can better secure them. Open source = better security.

If nukes are available to the common man for free, then anybody from part-time nuclear engineers, to hobbyist reactor specialists in their spare time, at home, can better analyze the security around them, test them in their backyard, etc. Put the specs on the internet for everybody to download and install in their home uranium enrichment centres. Most security holes are found by accident, so home-made nukes will help reveal more holes than any other method available.

Open Source Nukes, FTW!

The genie is out of the bottle (2, Insightful)

davidtupper (228631) | more than 5 years ago | (#27466209)

Like any technology, once the ability to produce nukes is available it will not go away. Trying to make this happen will succeed about as well as prohibition did or banning firearms would. It is obviously a larger project than a still or a machine shop but not beyond the realm of possibility for any nation to try.

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