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Thursday, September 26, 2002
I've been debating how to respond to this post from Douglas Anders.
Despite my half-serious, half-comical frustration with Anders repeatedly spelling my name wrong -wink, wink-, I don't want matters to turn hostile as I think Anders is a very intelligent guy and do share his concerns. But, having said all that, I feel the need to say something.
Seven days ago I wrote:
Funny how it is o.k. for the U.S. and Great Britain to have nuclear weapons for defensive purposes but Iraq could only possilbly want them for offensive purposes.Anders replied:
Saddam has shown by his past actions that he probably would use them for offensive purposes, and even if he did not, I don't think that Iran would take that chance. I'm not sure that I would say that it's o.k. for the US to have nuclear weapons, but I would rather that we have them than Saddam. We haven't gassed our own people or invaded our neighbors. Also, the development and deployment of the US nuclear forces had a geopolitical rationale: Stalinism was damned scary. But when countries like Iraq attempt to develop or buy them, it usually isn't for detente. The US didn't really understand what we were developing when we started, and we had good strtegic reasons for doing so. But any nation that goes through the effort and cost to acquire nuclear weapons today know just what they can do, and the leaders of those nations know exactly how they would use them. And right now, it's damned scary that Pakistan has them, since god only knows who is going to be in charge of that country in six months.I don't want to downplay the legitmate fears that people have about nuclear proliferation. The world would be a better place if nuclear weapons did not exist.
And yet they do and no amount of canvassing for Peace Action is going to change that. And so the question becomes what are you going to do?
As I've argued before, it makes sense for the U.S. to try to limit the number of countries with nuclear capabilities if the U.S. wants to preserve its military advantage and it is also normal for other countries to want nukes to end the advantage of the U.S. in that area. Seeking to prevent other countries from having nuclear weapons thus, IMHO, strengthens the U.S. military advantage and, given the White House's imperial ambitions, this is something I want no part of.
Others, including Anders, no doubt disagree with me. My question to these people is what criteria should a country have to meet if it is allowed to have nuclear weapons?