View Poll Results: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

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Thread: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

  1. #151
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    First, committing genocide does not, in itself, threaten self-preservation at all. Consequently, the idea that the willingness of leaders to stand by genocide is evidence that they will stand by a nuclear launch is unfounded, particularly since genocide is often done in order to PRESERVE the "pure" state of a nation.

    Second, taking risks in conventional warfare is not the same as taking risks with nuclear warfare. Consequently, the idea that actions in conventional war that lead to military defeat are evidence that leaders would stand by and watch their superior launch a nuclear attack is unfounded. Destruction in conventional warfare is rarely certain. Destruction in nuclear warfare is certain.

    Again, the problem with your argument is that you keep trying to discredit a theory about how leaders interested in survival respond to nuclear weapons by pointing to how those leaders may act in situations that don't involve nuclear weapons. Fighting an ambitious war and losing like Germany did is just not evidence that German leaders wouldn't have stopped Hitler from unleashing nukes if he lived today. Committing genocide isn't evidence of that. For some reason, you seem determined to ignore the uniqueness of nuclear weapons and to ignore how the certainty of annihilation is a much more compelling reason to stop a 'crazy leader' than fighting a conventional war with a chance at winning.


    I actually haven't denied that as the entire premise of Walt's argument is that people willing to launch nuclear weapons exist and that others would stop them. And yes, many Islamic people are willing to die for their cause. The problem is that you haven't demonstrated that the majority of Iranian leaders are willing to let Iran be blown to pieces and that's the point of contention, so I'm waiting for that evidence.


    I didn't accuse you of lack of intellect. I said that the fact that you chose personal attacks over reasoned arguments implied that you don't feel confident with your intellect.
    You are going on the presumption that even if a leader went off the rails, others would prevent him from taking action out of their own self preservation. It works with most countries, but what about some of the middle east countries where you have an entire ideologic shift into martyrdome? Besides that, the same type of clearance and safety features that we have in launching will likely not exist if NK or Iran were to launch. It would be far easier for the leader of one of those countries to be able to order and have a launch executed than it would be for the U.S. to do so. Too many are in the loop so that even if Obama was to wake up deranged one morning and order a nuke strike without reason, it wouldn't happen. The same cannot be assured in other countries.

  2. #152
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by 00timh View Post
    You are going on the presumption that even if a leader went off the rails, others would prevent him from taking action out of their own self preservation.
    That's not the presumption behind the argument, that's the argument in its entirety.

    It works with most countries, but what about some of the middle east countries where you have an entire ideologic shift into martyrdome?
    Which Middle Eastern states (not terrorist groups) have an ideological stance of martyrdom? And what have they done (not said) to make you come to this conclusion?

    Besides that, the same type of clearance and safety features that we have in launching will likely not exist if NK or Iran were to launch. It would be far easier for the leader of one of those countries to be able to order and have a launch executed than it would be for the U.S. to do so. Too many are in the loop so that even if Obama was to wake up deranged one morning and order a nuke strike without reason, it wouldn't happen. The same cannot be assured in other countries.
    Clearance and safety features are a legitimate issue. However, their existence is less contingent on whether a state is crazy and more on whether it is competent and whether the international community helps them out.

  3. #153
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarineTpartier View Post
    I know it doesn't threaten self-preservation. Never said it did. What I said was it shows a lack of rational thinking. He got his foot in the door in the beginning. He slowly worked his thoughts and beliefs into the gov't, and before you knew it, he had concentration camps. Hitler didn't come into power with that type of inhumane behavior. He worked it in slowly. My belief is that if he had nukes, he would have used them. Hands down. He would have made it an autocratic privilege to be able to launch them, and his "advisors" would have allowed it. Irrational thinking such as genocide leads a gov't down the road of irrational thinking
    I disagree. Rationality is not an absolute thing. One can be irrational when it comes to racism and rational when it comes to self-preservation. A smaller scale example would be KKK members in the 1930s who participated in lynchings, but who were incredibly successful businessmen and family men who would have never done anything to destroy their business or family. Genocide, like lynchings, are permissible within the realm of self-preservation. The man who lynches another does not automatically invite total annihilation of his his family. The nation who commits genocide does not automatically invite total annihilation of its territory.

    Suggest you study Hitlers decision making process during WWII. He ordered the attack of Russia in the middle of another offensive. He disregarded the advice of a brilliant Field Marshal (Rommel) because he didn't want to retreat. The list goes on and on. Hitler attempted to build a artillery gun that could range Britain. Hitler committed suicide for God's sake. Thats the ultimate in lack of self-preservation. I know Iran is not Germany. Just pointing out that human beings are capable of this.
    In conventional battles, you don't know what will happen - you can hope for a miracle or for a surprise. In nuclear war, you already know the death of your nation is certain. There's no grey area and that certainty makes all the difference. Because that certainty of outcome exists, I don't measure what people will allow with nuclear weapons according to what people allow in conventional warfare.

    You and I understand the uniqueness of nuclear weapons. Would you depend of a leader that is irrational to do the same? I wouldn't.
    No, but that's not the argument. The argument is not the irrational leader would understand or care about such uniqueness, but that those around him would. I think that 99% of the time there are rational leaders around irrational ones that would stop them, but that 1% is what prevents me from fully embracing Walt's argument even though I'm more than willing to defend it.

    I wouldn't have proof of that until happened. I never said this stuff was fact either. No one knows about this because it hasn't happened yet. However, I wouldn't want nutjobs like the Iranian gov't sitting at the table for any nuclear discussion. Any country that comes to UN meetings and makes statements that they are going to wipe Israel off the face of the earth and that the Holocaust was a conspiracy is not some I want to meet with about a WMD.
    Ahmadinejad never said that he was going to "wipe Israel off the map". That was a misquote translated into an English idiom that the Washington Post even chastised itself for repeating over the years. Even so, I put more weight on actions than on words and Iran behaves like a state interested in self-preservation and a state who understands that nuclear weapons are most powerful as a deterrent. In fact, its inflammatory statements just make its (future) nukes even more of a deterrent.

    Your continued use of LOL on any argument I make, the suggestion that I don't read anything, and the suggestion that my experience in this region of the world carries no weight is what lead me to that conclusion. If you say it wasn't your purpose, I believe you.
    I used 'LOL' once or twice after your attacks on Walt as a person, not your arguments. I also did not suggest that your experience holds no weight, I suggested that it doesn't make sense dismiss someone's argument because they did not serve in the military in the ME, particularly when they've devoted their career to studying the region. If your experience is valuable to the discussion, then it will be evident in your arguments - not by mere mention of it.

  4. #154
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    I disagree. Rationality is not an absolute thing. One can be irrational when it comes to racism and rational when it comes to self-preservation. A smaller scale example would be KKK members in the 1930s who participated in lynchings, but who were incredibly successful businessmen and family men who would have never done anything to destroy their business or family. Genocide, like lynchings, are permissible within the realm of self-preservation. The man who lynches another does not automatically invite total annihilation of his his family. The nation who commits genocide does not automatically invite total annihilation of its territory.


    In conventional battles, you don't know what will happen - you can hope for a miracle or for a surprise. In nuclear war, you already know the death of your nation is certain. There's no grey area and that certainty makes all the difference. Because that certainty of outcome exists, I don't measure what people will allow with nuclear weapons according to what people allow in conventional warfare.

    No, but that's not the argument. The argument is not the irrational leader would understand or care about such uniqueness, but that those around him would. I think that 99% of the time there are rational leaders around irrational ones that would stop them, but that 1% is what prevents me from fully embracing Walt's argument even though I'm more than willing to defend it.

    Ahmadinejad never said that he was going to "wipe Israel off the map". That was a misquote translated into an English idiom that the Washington Post even chastised itself for repeating over the years. Even so, I put more weight on actions than on words and Iran behaves like a state interested in self-preservation and a state who understands that nuclear weapons are most powerful as a deterrent. In fact, its inflammatory statements just make its (future) nukes even more of a deterrent.


    I used 'LOL' once or twice after your attacks on Walt as a person, not your arguments. I also did not suggest that your experience holds no weight, I suggested that it doesn't make sense dismiss someone's argument because they did not serve in the military in the ME, particularly when they've devoted their career to studying the region. If your experience is valuable to the discussion, then it will be evident in your arguments - not by mere mention of it.
    I agree to disagree then. I think both of us have a train of thought that will not be swayed by the other. Honestly, I hope to God I am wrong. I hope that, if Iran gets a nuke, they use it the way you say they will. For self-preservation and a deterent. If I'm right, I won't be on here to tell you I was, trust me.
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