View Poll Results: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

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    41 75.93%
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Thread: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

  1. #91
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    So, basically that tool of a terrorist in True Lies wouldn't be likely to actually happen.
    Ha! Never seen it - can't stand Schwarzenegger, but I guess so.

  2. #92
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarineTpartier View Post
    I beg to differ. When the nuclear weapon will be used as a tool of genocide, such as the scenario Iran speaks of where they nuke Israel in order to wipe them off the face of the earth, I believe its pretty relavent.
    Okay, but now you're talking about attacking another state and not intra-state genocide which was the subject of your other examples. Your examples of genocide that I addressed are not relevant to Walt's argument because Walt's argument is specifically about the implications of nuclear weapons and how states use them against each other.

    In addition, which takes more hate and insanity? Allowing the murder, torture, slavery, and starvation of a people for many years or the split second decision to push a button? The first is much more calculating and takes a level of sickness and evil rarely seen. The second can be done in a flash of anger, without much foresight, and then regretted (maybe). I would bank on a split second of anger being much more easily accomplished than a few years of sickness. The scary thing is, the first one happens a lot. The second is just a matter of us and other nuclearly responsible nations flinching when Iran tries to flew its muscle. All it will take is a few years of us balking at taking the capability from Iran before the above scenario is a reality.
    When IR theorists talk about "rational" vs "crazy", they are talking about "people who are interested in staying alive" vs "people who don't care". No matter how much "hate" a state has, they can still be entirely rational, or interested primarily in their survival. So if there are leaders around a crazy President or Dictator who are rational, then the implication of Walt's argument is that they will put their survival above their hate. The fact is that rational people can commit genocide and torture their people and such because it is OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE SUFFERING. However, when they become the potential sufferer or the person that's obliterated, they restrain themselves more.

    In other words, your argument amounts to "if they can be so cruel to other people w/o nuclear weapons, they will be even more cruel with them", but what your argument ignores is that the change that THEIR safety will be obliterated greatly increases if they use nukes and their safety and dominance is paramount.

  3. #93
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    Okay, but now you're talking about attacking another state and not intra-state genocide which was the subject of your other examples. Your examples of genocide that I addressed are not relevant to Walt's argument because Walt's argument is specifically about the implications of nuclear weapons and how states use them against each other.


    When IR theorists talk about "rational" vs "crazy", they are talking about "people who are interested in staying alive" vs "people who don't care". No matter how much "hate" a state has, they can still be entirely rational, or interested primarily in their survival. So if there are leaders around a crazy President or Dictator who are rational, then the implication of Walt's argument is that they will put their survival above their hate. The fact is that rational people can commit genocide and torture their people and such because it is OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE SUFFERING. However, when they become the potential sufferer or the person that's obliterated, they restrain themselves more.

    In other words, your argument amounts to "if they can be so cruel to other people w/o nuclear weapons, they will be even more cruel with them", but what your argument ignores is that the change that THEIR safety will be obliterated greatly increases if they use nukes and their safety and dominance is paramount.
    My entire point is this. Westerners don't understand the train of thought Islamic fanatics possess. They don't care about self-survival. They don't care that they will lose everything if they kill someone else first. That's just martyrdom to them. The highest honor that can be bestowed upon a practioner of their religion. Wrap your head around that. That was the one thing that binded the Third Reich together. The idea of the Aryan Nation. Islam is what binds these wierdo's together.
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  4. #94
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    I'm really not pursuaded by these arguments that our nuclear arsenal makes us safer. The historical record strongly suggests the opposite.

    The only surefire way to avoid nuclear annihilation is global disarmament. This isn't some pie-in-the-sky fantasy. It also happens to be extremely popular. The United States government is actually the biggest roadblock to such measures.
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by NGNM85 View Post
    I'm really not pursuaded by these arguments that our nuclear arsenal makes us safer. The historical record strongly suggests the opposite.
    Really? How does the historical record suggest the opposite?

    The only surefire way to avoid nuclear annihilation is global disarmament. This isn't some pie-in-the-sky fantasy. It also happens to be extremely popular. The United States government is actually the biggest roadblock to such measures.
    That might be the only surefire way to avoid nuclear annihilation, but it's entire possible that the only way to avoid another world war is by having nuclear weapons.

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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarineTpartier View Post
    My entire point is this. Westerners don't understand the train of thought Islamic fanatics possess. They don't care about self-survival. They don't care that they will lose everything if they kill someone else first. That's just martyrdom to them. The highest honor that can be bestowed upon a practioner of their religion. Wrap your head around that. That was the one thing that binded the Third Reich together. The idea of the Aryan Nation. Islam is what binds these wierdo's together.
    It's interesting to me that you say, "Westerners don't understand the train of thought Islamic fanatics possess," and then you proceed to explain what you perceive as their train of thought. It seems to me that when you say, "Westerners don't understand", you actually mean, "people who don't agree with me don't understand". I guarantee that Stephen Walt understand them 100x more than you do because this is his specialization just like a doctor understands the human body 100x more than you do. So if the best point you can make is, "You just don't understand," then that's not much of an argument.

    Moreover, you've moved the goalposts. First, you talk about intra-state genocide. Then when I counter than argument, you change it to inter-state genocide. You also mention Iran. Now you're talking about Islamic fanatic suicide bombers. You need to stick to a subject and I'll address it. Now if you're trying to say that Iran "doesn't care about self-survival", then I think that's a bold statement that requires proof since Iran's actions say the exact opposite. However, if you're talking about terrorists, then yes, you've definitely moved the goalposts as Walt's theory and our conversation doesn't have anything to do with terrorists although I imagine it could work for some terrorist organizations as well.

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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    Really? How does the historical record suggest the opposite?
    The disturbingly long, and growing list of narrow misses. The most striking, of course, being the Cuban Missile Crisis. Both the USSR and the United states, flirted with Armageddon in manner that can only be described as criminally insane, or suicidal. Subsequent revelations, since then, have shown that the situation was even more dire than anyone realized.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    That might be the only surefire way to avoid nuclear annihilation, but it's entire possible that the only way to avoid another world war is by having nuclear weapons.
    This is a kind of circular logic. It’s like Sean Connery’s monologue from The Untouchables. It just results in a relentless, endless cycle. The only solution is to break it, which would require global disarmament. I would add to that the end of Nation-States, and religion.
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  8. #98
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    It is a deterrant in 2 ways for any sane person.

    1: You know that if you push that button against someone that has the same capability that they will push that button also. That ole saying "I'm not going down without a fight" didn't just spring up on a whim ya know.

    2: You know that the moment you push that button millions of people are going to die by your hand. No sane person with a conscience can take that lightly.
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by NGNM85 View Post
    The disturbingly long, and growing list of narrow misses. The most striking, of course, being the Cuban Missile Crisis. Both the USSR and the United states, flirted with Armageddon in manner that can only be described as criminally insane, or suicidal. Subsequent revelations, since then, have shown that the situation was even more dire than anyone realized.
    And yet, it never happened.
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  10. #100
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by NGNM85 View Post
    The disturbingly long, and growing list of narrow misses. The most striking, of course, being the Cuban Missile Crisis. Both the USSR and the United states, flirted with Armageddon in manner that can only be described as criminally insane, or suicidal. Subsequent revelations, since then, have shown that the situation was even more dire than anyone realized.
    Yeah, but that doesn't prove that nukes don't make us safer. In fact, that's pretty good evidence that deterrence works. On the one hand, the Soviet Union used them to intimidate the United States making that event one of many reasons why the US would have never directly attacked the USSR. In the same light, the USSR didn't strike because it understood that had it done so, it would have been destroyed. Deterrence theory doesn't argue that states become immune to aggression, it argues that nuclear weapons prevent escalation and prevent states from going farther than they would. I think history, an understanding of humanity and an understanding of the international system support that.

    This is a kind of circular logic. It’s like Sean Connery’s monologue from The Untouchables. It just results in a relentless, endless cycle. The only solution is to break it, which would require global disarmament. I would add to that the end of Nation-States, and religion.
    No, it's not circular logic. Obviously nuclear annihilation would be impossible without nuclear weapons. That's a tautology. However, nuclear deterrence theory isn't effected by that reality. Nuclear weapons prevent states from pushing nuclear powers into a corner which is what happens in a world war. Getting rid of them because people are afraid of something that is beyond unlikely to happen (nuclear annihilation) at the expense of preventing another world war or other escalations of conventional war just doesn't make much sense to me.

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