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Nuclear Arms Cuts, Supported By 56% of Americans, Would Make the World Safer

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the cold-war-never-ended dept.

Earth 615

Lasrick writes "Kingston Reif of the Nukes of Hazard blog writes about nuclear arms reductions are back in the news, thanks to President Obama's State of the Union address and now also a Gallup poll that shows 56% of Americans support U.S.-Russian reductions. From the Article: 'A recent report by the Center for Public Integrity revealed that senior Obama administration officials believe the United States can reduce its arsenal of deployed strategic warheads to between 1,000 and 1,100 without harming national security. Those numbers would put the total below levels called for by New START...' Congressional Republicans of course are against those cuts; Reif lays out why the cuts would make the U.S. and the world safer." Do we even need a thousand nuclear warheads?

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615 comments

More mineshafts (4, Funny)

vakuona (788200) | about a year ago | (#43144055)

Need to mind the mineshaft gap!

Get rid of some (5, Funny)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year ago | (#43144359)

I think we should send some of what we have now on a one-way trip to North Korea. That would make everyone happy. For the liberals we would have actually reduced the number left. For the conservatives we would have used them as intended and made the U.S. much safer by demonstrating that they can be used and are not just an empty threat.

SDI's? (1)

irving47 (73147) | about a year ago | (#43144061)

I'm just wondering if we (and they) have so many because they'd want to be sure to punch through any kind of SDI/Star Wars missile defense system?

Re:SDI's? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144099)

You don't need 1000's of nuclear warheads to punch through one.. 1000's of conventional warheads and a dozen nuclear warheads would work just fine.

Re:SDI's? (2, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43144361)

You don't need 1000's of nuclear warheads to punch through one.. 1000's of conventional warheads and a dozen nuclear warheads would work just fine.

Actually, you don't even need that. As each ICBM reaches space, it could pop out a few dozen mylar balloon decoys. The balloons will cool rapidly in space, so you put a small IR LED with a button-cell battery in each one to give it the same heat signature as a real warhead. Of course the balloons will disintegrate as soon as they hit the atmosphere, but by then it is too late.

Re:SDI's? (4, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#43144395)

Actually, you don't even need that. As each ICBM reaches space, it could pop out a few dozen mylar balloon decoys. The balloons will cool rapidly in space,

And because of their tiny mass will almost immediately slow to zero velocity. If your DEW radars cannot differentiate between something moving at a considerable percent of the speed of sound and a balloon floating around with the wind, you need a better DEW line. "Hey, look, Bob, those incoming missles that were targeting Memphis are now going at only 120 knots and are aimed at the North Pole!"

Re:SDI's? (2)

Jubedgy (319420) | about a year ago | (#43144495)

Don't forget he mentioned they were in space, so it will take a lot longer for them to slow down than you think. The timing is tight enough that it could cause some issues.

Re:SDI's? (4, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#43144551)

"In space" doesn't mean "hard vacuum." The low mass (so they can carry enough of them) combined with the large surface area (to mimic a large object) will make them decelerate rapidly enough that they won't confuse anyone for very long. Then remember that the real ICBM has been tracked from very close to the surface, so if one missile suddenly turns into 99 missiles slowing down very quickly and 1 that keeps the same trajectory, you can be pretty confident you know which one is real and which is chaff. Then you'll see one missile descending into the atmosphere and 99 that aren't, the jig will be up.

Re:SDI's? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43144665)

if one missile suddenly turns into 99 missiles slowing down very quickly and 1 that keeps the same trajectory, you can be pretty confident you know which one is real and which is chaff.

An obvious solution is to add a small thruster to decelerate the real warhead as well.

Re:SDI's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144687)

One ICBM doesn't necessarily mean that it's a single re-entry vehicle. Don't forget MIRV [wikipedia.org]. The US has some toys that have yet to see the light of day.

Re:SDI's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144523)

To successfully intercept a nuke, you need to launch while it is still in space. By the time the decoys slow, it is too late.

Re:SDI's? (3, Informative)

cheetah (9485) | about a year ago | (#43144139)

My understanding is that you are basically correct.

In-fact, one of the big points about the current anti-missile systems is that they do not have enough capacity to prevent strategic nuclear strikes from Russia or China. The goal is to make sure that they could always nuke us if they needed too. Which is a rather screwed up design feature; but it's understandable that we don't want to undermine their nuclear deterrence.

Re:SDI's? (4, Insightful)

VernonNemitz (581327) | about a year ago | (#43144327)

With Russia embracing democracy, more or less, there is less concern about it trying to conquer the world, as seemed to be a prime Soviet ambition. Meanwhile, China's government (not so much its people) is still bellicose, and has been significantly increasing its offensive capabilities in recent years. We can't drop the MAD paradigm just yet, because of China.

Re:SDI's? (3, Insightful)

countach (534280) | about a year ago | (#43144787)

China has no more ambition or motive to attack the US than Russia does. Sure they are a superpower, and therefore dangerous, but if that is enough to keep MAD, then there is no "just yet" about the situation, they will always (for the foreseeable future) be a superpower, so by your logical we must always have MAD.

Re:SDI's? (3, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#43144861)

Right, at their current rate of expenditure their military should catch up with our current levels in only what, about 50-100 years. And I'm sure that has nothing to do with their being surrounded by a number of hostile and/or unstable countries within easy striking distance. Or as a deterrent against the one currently unopposed superpower that's apparently feeling it's oats and picking fights anywhere there's money to be made.

Frankly, I suspect the day China presents a credible military threat to the US will be the day our government has already crumbled from within.

Re:SDI's? (1, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43144283)

I'm just wondering if we (and they) have so many because they'd want to be sure to punch through any kind of SDI/Star Wars missile defense system?

You can always launch a lot of cheap(-ish) decoys mixed in between the real warheads.

Safer? (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year ago | (#43144067)

Says who? And will countries like NK or Iran follow suit or not? And does that result play into the discussions at all?

Opinions do not equate to facts, yet some people like reporting as if they do.

Re:Safer? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144177)

Nuclear warheads are pretty much only good to make other people not want to attack you because they fear getting nuked. You basically only need enough nukes to kill some of the big cities in a country and that should stop any non crazy person from launching against you.

One of the better quotes in this regard is that a nuclear arms race is like 2 generals standing waist deep in gasoline, the first with 3 matches, the second with 5.

Re:Safer? (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about a year ago | (#43144357)

Nuclear warheads are pretty much only good to make other people not want to attack you because they fear getting nuked

Sort of wrong. Think a little deeper next time. If you have a sufficiently advanced "Star Wars" system they become a practical offensive tactic.

Re:Safer? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a year ago | (#43144593)

there will never be an advanced enough anti missile system to stop a nuke hidden inside the cargo hold of a ship in harbor

Re:Safer? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#43144845)

Sort of wrong.

Really? Haven't deterrence and MAD figured into most of the foriegn policy calculations of all nuclear powers for the last 50 years?

Re:Safer? (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43144515)

It's more complicated than that. It's much more than 2 generals, it's an entire world.

Right now, for example, Japan sits underneath the American nuclear umbrella. They easily have the capability to build their own, but do not, because they trust that America will protect them. Other countries are in a similar situation. Once the American stockpile shrinks too much, the Japanese will start to get worried and want to build their own.

If it were only between Russia and the US, then our stockpiles would have shrunk already, because neither side is afraid of the other, neither side wants to attack and both know it. It's not worth the expense of having a large arsenal. But it's not; there are many actors in the world, and imagining it's just between the US and Russia is dream thinking.

Re:Safer? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#43144955)

Eventually you may be right, however there are only a few countries that have any serious hope of defending against even a single ICBM, much less dozens or hundreds. So as long as we have even a few nukes they're not likely to provoke us on that level. You only need thousands of nukes if you're in a standoff against someone with a serious missile defense program. Now if we were actually *using* the nukes it would be different, you don't want to run out of ammo in the middle of a war, but thankfully the world seemed to learn it's lesson from the first few uses, though we have come frighteningly close to triggering MAD several times.

Basically the only reason to have thousands of nukes is promote mutual tolerance via MAD - if a serious fight breaks out we're both seriously fucked even if we get incredibly lucky and somehow intercept 99% of the incoming missiles, so lets try to play nice. Mostly. Can you name anyone besides Russia who might offer a credible threat?

Re:Safer? (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#43144179)

How does having 2000 versus 1000 nuclear weapons in any way improve our safety vis-a-vis NK or Iran? It's not like they're proposing getting rid of the nuclear deterrent entirely, or even cutting it down to a small arsenal. That's still 1000 operational warheads!

The only reason to have so many in the first place was an arms race with the USSR envisioning a counterforce scenario, where they try to nuke our nukes, and vice versa, before the other side can launch theirs. In that case it's helpful to have more than the other side. But it's not like NK is in any position to take out 1000 launch sites, such that we would need 2000 to be safe.

Re:Safer? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#43144407)

you are thinking war with Russia is impossible now? 1,000 is not enough against them.

Re:Safer? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#43144497)

The idea is that it's a mutual reduction, so we'll still be balanced with Russia's forces. Just at a lower number on each side.

Re:Safer? (3, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#43144901)

make the number too small and the odds of "winning" (elite survive) become attractive despite downsides.

Re:Safer? (1)

sirsnork (530512) | about a year ago | (#43144607)

Why?

1000 warheads is enough to kill every living thing in Russia. In fact it's enough to indirectly kill every living thing on the planet (or close enough)

Why does it matter if both sides have the same amount? Both sides can detect one anothers launches and launch before getting hit so I ask again... why?

Re:Safer? (3, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#43144739)

that is absolutely a false statement, the USA does not possess enough warheads to kill every human on the planet, let alone every living thing. a thousand weapons could not even kill 80% of the people in a large country like Russia or China or India; too many cities, not enough bombs.

you watch too much Hollywood and have an exaggerated notion of what nuclear weapons can do

Re:Safer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144873)

It isn't the initial hellfire, but the radiation, contaminated water supply, and destruction of arable lands that is the real threat. It would be a slow death.

Re:Safer? (1)

CncRobot (2849261) | about a year ago | (#43144549)

Each weapon is not a launch site. Most ICBMs have multiple warheads, so taking out 1 site could mean 20 out of commission. Then you have failure rate probably around 20%, them missile guidance errors of a few percent, if they have SDI it can take out up to 70% most likely. Between all that your 1000 suddenly becomes around 5, and those 5 won't be your top targets and some of those 5 may hit the same target multiple times. So by the time you launched all 1000, a lot of your opponent's targets are still there and the beating you just took means you can't build more. During the cold war 1000 only would be idiotic.

What no one is mentioning though is nuclear subs or stealth bombers. Both are able to deliver to targets in non-ICBM ways that are probably much more reliable. With the stealth bomber and subs, 1000 might just be enough for one large conflict.

The other thing not mentioned, a lot of the older ones were called tactical nukes. Something like the Davy Crocket which was launched from a ground artillery piece from a couple of miles away and was small yield. Meant for a Russian tank column. The A-4 and I think F-111 could both carry small nuclear bombs which we no longer have. We don't use those anymore and things like that probably accounted for half of what we used to have.

Re:Safer? (1)

Amouth (879122) | about a year ago | (#43144961)

The other thing not mentioned, a lot of the older ones were called tactical nukes. Something like the Davy Crocket which was launched from a ground artillery piece from a couple of miles away and was small yield. Meant for a Russian tank column. The A-4 and I think F-111 could both carry small nuclear bombs which we no longer have. We don't use those anymore and things like that probably accounted for half of what we used to have.

Ahh,, "Atomic Annie", honestly i would love to be the guy that got to test fire that.. even if it meant dying of cancer at an early age.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M65_Atomic_Cannon [wikipedia.org]

Re:Safer? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144225)

Fewer nuclear weapons but still enough to obliterate civilization can't possibly make the world less safe. What it will do is reduce the cost of maintaining a nuclear arsenal, reduce the number of potential accidents, and reduce the number of weapons which could fall into the hands of a rogue state or terrorist group.

Will NK or Iran "follow suit"? No. Iran has no nukes so can hardly reduce their arsenal. NK has a few dozen at best. Neither is in a position to reduce their arsenal to a mere 1,100 weapons.

The vast arsenals of the cold war were good for nothing except scaring the other guy (probably not even that). Why do we still have them?

Re:Safer? (2, Insightful)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#43144333)

Our reduction in nuclear weapons does not put us in more danger regardless of what NK and Iran do. We can still destroy human civilization if we needed to. Sure we'd be safer if Iran and NK reversed course on nuclear weapons, but we can't directly control that. All we can directly control is our own stockpiles.

The less nuclear weapons out there, the easier it is to control them (e.g. less chance of accidents, theft, etc). The stockpiles in the USSR are a huge danger, because they are more likely to fall into the wrong hands. If we can get Russia to dismantle a bunch of nuclear weapons if we disable a bunch of ours, that's a good thing.

We can still try to obstruct NK and Iran, but keeping our huge stockpiles doesn't provide any added benefit.

Re:Safer? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year ago | (#43144347)

If the Is can't cut back and still fight poor countries that have a tiny fraction of the armoury and military as the US then you're doomed. Then again the US is still in Afghanistan after all these years with no real improvement so maybe you're screwed either way.

Re:Safer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144675)

"The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one."
-- news for nerd site, attribution therefore unnecessary.

56 Percent.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144073)

Of the people surveyed. That is all it means.

Oh, that and a bit over 1/2 surveyed are idiots.

Of course we need them. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144093)

The only effective deterrent to actual violence is a credible threat of violence.

If we didn't live in a world where resources were scarce and needs were abundant, maybe the conversation would be different. But in the real world we face real threats from real people, and having the means of achieving complete victory is what keeps those threats from manifesting as real-world violence.

THEIR nukes are not why we need nukes. THEIR guns, jets, non-nuclear bombs, and the readiness to use them are why we need nukes. And not so that we will use the nukes, but so we can demonstrate that we could use them if we needed to, so that THEY keep their guns, jets, and non-nuke bombs pointed somewhere else.

This should be obvious to anyone who thinks clearly, and has the facts.

Re:Of course we need them. (1, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#43144245)

Or rather you can deter violence by not pissing everyone off and becoming friends with them.
The US is its own worst enemy in that respect.

Re:Of course we need them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144303)

...because that's work great for the previous 10,000 years of recorded history.

Re:Of course we need them. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#43144581)

Ah yes, because Switzerland is such an /unsafe/ country....

Switzerland is a model of how to build a sane foreign policy and a sane military (although they should abolish the draft and have a 100% volunteer army) .

As odd as it may sound, no one wakes up one morning and says "Hey, I feel like being a terrorist!" things like invasions and occupations create terrorists. Supporting right-wing dictators (like the US did throughout the cold war and even beyond) creates terrorists. Drone strikes on civilians create terrorists.

The US has a completely flawed foreign policy, especially as it relates to nuclear arms. They have this idea that apparently in 2013 no one should be able to replicate basic nuclear science that the US did way back in the 1940s! Rather than a sane foreign policy of friendship, understanding and unrestricted trade.

Re:Of course we need them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144431)

Or rather you can deter violence by not pissing everyone off and becoming friends with them.
The US is its own worst enemy in that respect.

Did you wake up this stupid or did you hit your head today?

Re:Of course we need them. (1)

Jubedgy (319420) | about a year ago | (#43144517)

We did hit the reset button with Russia. That's gone well, hasn't it? We're just two peas in a pod now...

Re:Of course we need them. (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#43144615)

Or rather you can deter violence by not pissing everyone off and becoming friends with them.

Yes, this is the "all unicorns and glitter except a few spots of Nickelodeon slime that haven't gotten the message yet" philosophy. Except it's ignoring the slime spots altogether and hoping for the best.

Re:Of course we need them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144867)

I see an unpopular opinion modded -1, despite the logic given in support of that opinion.

Humans are just incapable of objectivity, it seems.

I wonder if there will be enough moderators who agree to counter-act the effects of those who disagree, to return this post to visibility.

Why we need one thousand nukes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144107)

Do we even need a thousand nuclear warheads?

Look, pal, what happens when Stalin's got enough nuclear warheads to destroy the planet nine hundred ninety-nine times? Yeah. That's what I thought. You've got nothin' to that.

US/Russia? but no China? (4, Interesting)

JDAustin (468180) | about a year ago | (#43144123)

Why are talks between us and Russia while China is rapidly increasing their nuclear stockpile?

Re:US/Russia? but no China? (1)

Clsid (564627) | about a year ago | (#43144161)

By the time you launch the first 100 nuclear bombs the world will go down the toilet, so why does it matter? really?

Re:US/Russia? but no China? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year ago | (#43144417)

On the other hand, if you downgrade to only a 100 warheads, then it's quite possible a small group of conventional strikes could remove your entire arsenal, and there goes MAD...

Re:US/Russia? but no China? (1)

AaronW (33736) | about a year ago | (#43144877)

It's rather difficult to do that when many of your warheads are in submarines hiding at the bottom of the ocean.

Re:US/Russia? but no China? (4, Informative)

xstonedogx (814876) | about a year ago | (#43144261)

Because the US and Russia possess two orders of magnitude more nuclear weapons than China possesses. Even after reduction each will individually hold more than four times what China currently holds.

Re:US/Russia? but no China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144815)

You've been doing too much work with binary I think - two orders of magnitude would be about 100 times more, not four times.

Re:US/Russia? but no China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144355)

Because China is very friendly and would never hurt anybody.

Re:US/Russia? but no China? (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#43144379)

If China is making nukes, then that means they want more (i.e. they are less likely to participate in something like this). Russia on the other hand seems to have a bunch of nukes it doesn't necessarily want (like us), so we can get rid of nukes together. We aren't getting rid of all our nukes so we still have a deterrent. We can still destroy China Iran and NK in a couple hours if we wanted. China wants a similar capability. At some point having more nuclear weapons gives you no added benefit, but it still comes with more risk and expense to keep your arsenal from getting into the wrong hands.

Let's follow this here. (1, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#43144143)

If 1000 to 1100 warheads is sufficient for the most paranoid people on the planet who are fully informed about the situation, then doesn't that mean the proposed cuts are still leaving way too many?

Re:Let's follow this here. (2, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#43144331)

If 1000 to 1100 warheads is sufficient for the most paranoid people on the planet who are fully informed about the situation,

I assume you are referring to the Obama administration officials who came up with the 1000-1100 number here. What makes you think they are the most paranoid people on the planet? I'd say they were probably leaning mostly towards the world being all unicorns and glitter except for small pockets of Nickelodeon slime that haven't gotten the message yet.

No replacement policy. (4, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | about a year ago | (#43144393)

The difficult part about getting defense people to commit to decreasing the stockpile is that we have no idea when, if ever, we will be able to start producing new warheads. That turns it from being a discussion about how many we strategically need, towards a discussion about how certain were are that the stockpile we have will still be functional when we need it, and "can't we keep them all just in case". It would suck to destroy an entire line of warheads because they seem least valuable today, only to find out later that the ones we kept had an aging problem we couldn't detect before which didn't effect the destroyed line.

Oops (1)

pavon (30274) | about a year ago | (#43144465)

I missed the distinction that these are deployed weapons were are talking about. My comment doesn't apply to those, but to the other ~4000 stockpiled ones.

Only safer because there's less to manage. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144149)

Nuclear deterrent is great, otherwise, there's little stopping major countries from invading each other. Keep in mind, you don't only need enough warheads to take out the country you're fighting, you need enough to take out all their allies as well. Plus, what if half of your warheads are taken out because your enemy struck first?

The only drawback is it's easier to lose one through theft or whatever; also the whole waste management thing....

But nuclear deterrent is probably the #1 thing that has enabled the world's major powers to get along.

Of course we don't need 1,000 nuclear warheads. (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#43144151)

We're already slowly but surely working on anti-matter weaponry and high-energy weaponized lasers. We'll be able to obliterate and/or lase the surface of the planet likely before anyone else.

Re:Of course we don't need 1,000 nuclear warheads. (1)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | about a year ago | (#43144367)

What worries me the most is the big interest private enterprises and countries are starting to take on "mining" asteroids and NEOs. Wait 'til one of the big players puts a 10km rock in orbit and we'll have another race to put the biggest rock on top of a major capital in no time.

At least the night sky will have "stars".

Instead of killing the world five times (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#43144189)

We'll just kill it three times. Safer!

Re:Instead of killing the world five times (3, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#43144389)

where do you get the absurd idea that nuclear weapons could even kill all the population once? Hollywood?

Re:Instead of killing the world five times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144871)

All the population? No, but a very large proportion. In fact, it would take far less for that.

There are the first order effects of hitting major population centers. A single weapon could obliterate the bulk of a megacity of 10 million or more. Modern nuclear weapons make the ones used on Japan look like firecrackers.

There are the second order effects of fallout. Far, far more damaging than the heat and blast wave.

There are the third order effects of environmental change, dust clouds, and the resulting famine. Even a major volcano can change how much light enters the atmosphere...how about hundreds of nuclear weapons detonating simultaneously? Much of the world is underfed as it is. Add nuclear war, change in environment, lack of transportation and trade, and how many billions do you think would starve to death?

Forget about cracking the world open like an egg. Instead, picture the equivalent of earthquakes and tsunamis all around the planet followed by a global great depression that makes the great depression look like great prosperity.

In short, your ignorance frightens me.

another form of deterrent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144213)

link the world's electrical grids so that excess capacity in one country could be sold to another country on the other side of the planet. Once everyone is solidly connected to a world wide electric grid and each country depends on the excess capacity of another country on the other side of the planet, what are you gonna do, attack the other countries and eliminate part of your won power supply.

Of course, this depends on the idea that we're going to move along to what's been called a Type 1 civilization but the current trend is well away from that pinning us as a Type 0 by reducing our resource consumption, energy consumption and population.

Re:another form of deterrent (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#43144365)

Once everyone is solidly connected to a world wide electric grid and each country depends on the excess capacity of another country on the other side of the planet, what are you gonna do, attack the other countries and eliminate part of your won power supply.

No, you'll just turn off the supply to the country on the other side of the planet that is depending on your excess capacity. Then nuke them, if necessary.

Oil dependence is already enough of a hot button issue, do you really imagine any country would put itself into a position of dependence on someone else's excess capacity of electricity that can be turned off at a moment's notice? It's relatively easy to stockpile oil (we have a national reserve), but stockpiling electricity when you are dependent for daily operation on someone else's production is a lot harder.

No thanks! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144223)

Disarmament is a joke. How do we certify that our opposition have unloaded theirs? It's impossible.

If the U.S.A. were to honestly and truly disarm, then we'd just be the only country without them. No thanks.

M.A.D. is the only way.

I have one warhead at home. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144247)

And i feel safe.

Nuclear weapons costs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144253)

The easiest ones to cut are in the silos, but the ones that really break the bank are cruising through the oceans on our absurdly expensive nuclear submarines. For obvious reasons they don't want to cut the sub-launched missiles.

Isn't it the constitutional right of any American (0, Troll)

Tim Ward (514198) | about a year ago | (#43144255)

... to buy as many nukes as they like at any gun show without even having to prove their identity?

Yes, we need 1,000 warheads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144271)

Yes, we need 1,000 warheads so that when the first 900 get wiped out in a surprise first strike, we can still hit back.

Re:Yes, we need 1,000 warheads (1)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | about a year ago | (#43144409)

If 900 missiles hit the continental USA, I don't think vengeance and counter attacks will be your biggest problem/priority. Neither a soviet invasion (who wants to conquer a wasteland?)

Also, a "surprise" attack with 900 nukes is hardly "surprise" and if movies have taught me anything, is that the US can launch its nukes in less than an hour.

Re:Yes, we need 1,000 warheads (1)

Jubedgy (319420) | about a year ago | (#43144569)

A 'Soviet' invasion? Wasn't there a Simpson's episode about that?

Re:Yes, we need 1,000 warheads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144723)

There was an SNL skit. The Soviets invaded the US via Canada because some kid didn't want to go to school. It's a classic.

No (1)

Nexion (1064) | about a year ago | (#43144289)

However this should be US/Russia/China reduction of nukes, possibly expanding to ask other nations with smaller arsenals to start limiting wasteful spending, on what is essentially a pointless standoff weapon with very ugly costs to the human race on the whole for any accidental discharge.

Republicans of course are against those cuts (1)

kwerle (39371) | about a year ago | (#43144319)

Why of course?

Why at all?

Re:Republicans of course are against those cuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144423)

Why blame the Republicans when it was the Democrats who created these things under FDR, and it was Kennedy and Johnson who greatly expanded their numbers. When it is the Democrats that have created these horrible things and built them in such large numbers, you have to be irrational to blame the weaker party for something the ruling party did.

Re:Republicans of course are against those cuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144591)

Why of course?

Because, while Republicans pretend to be in favor of spending cuts, they are for anything that increases military-related spending. Less nukes means spending less money on maintaining them.

In Favor Of Nuclear Weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144401)

So long as they are only pointed at extraterrestrial threats (i.e.: planet killer asteroids).

As for the human race, if we're stupid enough to let a handful of people decide if everyone on the planet lives or dies ... then we get what deserve [youtube.com].

Only 56 percent? (2)

macraig (621737) | about a year ago | (#43144433)

That's not really an overwhelming majority, is it? So what, take action anyway and to hell with the concerns of the other 38-44 percent who don't agree that it's a great idea? That could arguably be cited as an example of a tyrannical majority.

(I personally think 1,000 warheads is plenty enough to deter rogue states or factions that happen to get a few nukes and an urge to blackmail with 'em, but there's principle here.)

Reinstate Civil Defense (1)

trout007 (975317) | about a year ago | (#43144467)

There are lots of reasons to have a shelter besides a nuclear attack. If you make yourself less vulnerable while reducing your offense you make yourself a less likely target.

ART BUCHWALD’S LOGICAL EXTREME (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144475)

Hydrogen bombs don’t kill people — people kill people. The bomb is for self-protection and it also has a deterrent effect. If somebody knows you have a nuclear weapon in your house, they’re going to think twice about breaking in.

Nuclear weapons keep the world safe. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144565)

Its called the nuclear deterrence. If everyone has nukes pointed at everyone no one will actually pull the trigger because it would in turn cause their enemies to launch back at them and everyone fires their nukes and everyone dies. Yes it sounds horrible but its the only deterrence to all out war. If no one had the ability to wipe out an entire nation we would have more large scale war because if a country can invade another and statistically destory them with no recourse then it becomes more appealing. Or say you meet a robber on the street and he pulls a gun on you, youre only choice is to give what he wants or he kills you but if you have a gun pointed at him he wont shoot because you would shoot him and you both are guarnteed to lose but atleast his chances of defending himself increase without being robbed or getting shot.

Nuclear weapons are needed as a form of defense against nuclear war. Just getting rid of them all solves nothing. Its as stupid as saying getting rid of guns will solve crime and violence in the world magically overnight.

Hmmm (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#43144641)

What would make the world safer is a little less fear and paranoia. Holding people without trials, ordering assassinations of citizens...this does nothing for the citizen's ideal of safety within the homeland, to speak nothing of without.

A weapon is a weapon is a weapon...it's the mind behind it that you need to be wary of, not the weapon itself. Even if we eliminated every WMD in existence, a new one could be cooked up over a long weekend by a skilled chemist or physicist. Feel me? Understand me? No, you may not. That's not important. The point is, douse the flames of nationalism and global paranoia before the US & friends end up like NK, who is, by various accounts, going full schizo this week.

The average human being can die in an innumerable number of ways every day: the way they get through their day, get on with their lives, is by being largely blind to the sheer number of possibilities in which they can bite the big one. When you make them too aware of these ways, then they stop working, start OCDing / ruminating on the various ways, and get trapped in a 'fear maze' with no exit. These national security jokers, who, in their short term greed / self interest of securing more resources for themselves by cranking up the fear factor, have seriously unhinged some parts of this society that are not meant to be unhinged, unless we want a civil war...which is where we are headed. Now, sometimes a civil war is a good thing, or so I am told, but the fact remains that my personal confidence in anyone's reasons for starting one, let alone their game plan for day two, are currently at an all time low.

Cold war... at least its peaceful. (1)

atari911 (1656841) | about a year ago | (#43144649)

The fact that we 'cut' our nuclear stockpile does nothing for the safety of us or the world. It only takes one dirty bomb to do harm. Having a large number of nuclear weapons and more importantly, making that public knowledge is the only thing that has stopped another country from using nuclear weapons. Its like the gun debate on a worldwide scale. If everyone in the room has a gun and this is public knowledge to everyone in said room, you are going to have one massive killing field or a tense, but peaceful situation. I'm not posting in support of large stockpiles of nuclear arms, but this is reality people.. not a perfect world where everyone will just lay their weapons down. As long as you have one country with nuclear weapons, everyone is going to want nuclear weapons.

Whose world safer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144801)

Nuclear Arms Cut.. Would Make the World Safer?

Such a deal between US and Russia to destroy their arsenal in part would make China cream their jogging pants.

Russians would win any nuclear conflagaration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43144941)

Let's face it, the Soviets would have won World War III and the Russians, today, would win any sort of nuclear conflagaration. Assume that both sides destroy each other's major cities, military installations, and key strategic utilities. What is left.

In Russia, they would be left with a vast territory populated by hundreds of thousands of people living slightly better than their ancestors did 500 years earlier, There would be great hardship and half of them would die in the first winter. The rest would learn the lesson and spread out into better hunting grounds in the VAST territory of Russia and neighboring countries.

In the USA, almost everyone would starve to death in the first year except for a few hundred survivalists and a few hundred back-to-the-landers who have not yet been seduced by modern lifestyles and are actually able to produce all the food that they need for a year. Everyone else would die. A few farm families might hang on depending on how soon after harvest the bombs hit, but let's face it, how long can you survive on a diet of only rapeseed, or cow corn, or even wheat. Great hardships and there are few places in the small territory of the USA where a hunting-gathering lifestyle is still viable,

So let's stop kidding ourselves, get rid of the bombs, and get ready for the next adventure which is likely to be civil war in China. And if that actually does not happen, then climate change will kick in by the end of the century. Either of those two events will impact global food supply, and supply of other goods, enough that it will have a domino effect like Arab Spring where one country after another devolves into the kind of chaos that the USA lived through in the 1960's. But the big difference is that now there will be no economic boom coming to rescue us. Once the magic of China is broken, it is gone forever, and they will likely depopulate their country one way or another. And after things settle down in China, they are largely a disciplined culture that will likely never make the same population growth mistake again.

One way that it could play out is a Chinese military diaspora that will be far more successful than Japan in the 1940's. My family, right down to the first grader, are all learning Mandarin. And if you think about it, a nuclear deterrent targeting the territory of China is not going to do much AFTER the horse has bolted and the Chinese invading force is one YOUR SOIL.

Nope, we do not need nukes no more.

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