View Poll Results: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

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Thread: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

  1. #71
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    re: the "last resort" aspect

    I agree that it should, and probably would, be used as a last resort by pretty much anybody. Even Iran. But, let's think about what that can mean.

    Hypothetical scenario: We are fighting Iran. We are kicking their butts. They know they're going to lose, and lose bad. At that point, they may literally believe that they have nothing left to lose, and throw some nukes our way as a "last resort".

    It's not just a "last resort" aspect from our point-of-view, but from the other side's point-of-view also.

  2. #72
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    In my opinion, Nukes have changed society. We can no longer bully without fear, invade without worry, and force a nation to bow down.

    The great equalizer is no longer a .44 magnum...it's bigger than that.

  3. #73
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    It's not just a "last resort" aspect from our point-of-view, but from the other side's point-of-view also.
    Yes, but we want some governments to be overthrown and the people to rise. Thus, we are pushing them, hopefully, beyond the last resort. So it's kinda different. Sure, they'd like to wipe us out too (the fundi totalitarian governments vs. modern western liberal democracy) but who's really more likely to be put in that position?

    One cannot simple equate our (democracy's) situation with theirs (totalitarian backwards brutal oppression) and expect similar behaviors; that's not logical, real, educated, objective, critical, reasoned, ethical or moral.
    Last edited by ecofarm; 02-01-12 at 06:11 PM.

  4. #74
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wake View Post
    Nuclear bombing is the last resort. Should something extreme require them to be used, so be it.
    This is the precisely the problem, and why it is so important to keep nuclear proliferation to a minimum. The more nations that have them, the more likely some extreme situation will arise that will precipitate their being used as a last resort.

    Of course, the ultimate danger lies in their being used with increasing frequency until we reach the point where the obliteration of an entire city every once in a while becomes as commonplace as acts of mass terrorism are today.
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  5. #75
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    It's only a deterrent to governments that are sane and know the consequences of mutual destruction. It's totally meaningless to those so entrenched in religion that they wouldn't hesitate to use it if they ever get their hands on one.

    And, whoever believes that if you leave them alone, they will leave you alone, will eventually be dead wrong.

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  6. #76
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    It has been said by many that the primary reason the Soviets never used nuclear weapons on us is because they knew we had them too, and would use them on them in retaliation. May be a tad simplistic, kind of a 'nutshell' description, but I think there is merit to that point-of-view.

    We often try to keep other smaller nations from getting nuclear weapons. The stated rationale has been what they might do with them against their neighbors. There might be a grain of truth to that, but I suspect that the real reason we don't want them to have nuclear weapons is because we don't want them to use them against us should we decide to attack them.
    First, it's nearly impossible to say with 100% certainty that they are a deterrent because it's nearly impossible to know with 100% certainty why nations act or restrain themselves. Consequently, nuclear deterrence theory, like much of IR theory, is based in an understanding of humanity and in applying that understanding to the international system.

    Second, yes, I think nuclear weapons are a deterrent. However, they are not a deterrent in the sense that they make a nuclear power immune to physical attack or other forms of aggression. While it may create such immunity in some cases, the real power of nuclear weapons is in their ability to deter states from escalating conflicts, particularly in ways that would engage states in another world war. Nobody rational is going to use nuclear weapons in any situation other than desperation which is why nukes don't make nuclear powers immune to aggression. However, everybody rational is going to stop themselves from pushing a nuclear power in a corner. So if you don't want people to try to overthrow your government or ignite a regional/world war, then you want nukes.

  7. #77
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePlayDrive View Post
    First, it's nearly impossible to say with 100% certainty that they are a deterrent because it's nearly impossible to know with 100% certainty why nations act or restrain themselves. Consequently, nuclear deterrence theory, like much of IR theory, is based in an understanding of humanity and in applying that understanding to the international system.

    Second, yes, I think nuclear weapons are a deterrent. However, they are not a deterrent in the sense that they make a nuclear power immune to physical attack or other forms of aggression. While it may create such immunity in some cases, the real power of nuclear weapons is in their ability to deter states from escalating conflicts, particularly in ways that would engage states in another world war. Nobody rational is going to use nuclear weapons in any situation other than desperation which is why nukes don't make nuclear powers immune to aggression. However, everybody rational is going to stop themselves from pushing a nuclear power in a corner. So if you don't want people to try to overthrow your government or ignite a regional/world war, then you want nukes.
    Couldn't have put it better myself. A bit of a throwback to my IR class.

  8. #78
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    Even if China could beat us militarily (just saying for the sake of conversation), they are so tied to our best interests economically that they'd lose as well. Something tells me they know this.
    Great point, wish I'd have made it lol.
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  9. #79
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    They were a deterrent with the Soviets and with us because both sides simply had too much to lose if the weapons were used. Both sides, despite their differences, were reasonable enough to know that it would be madness to use even one of those weapons. The scary thing is if such a weapon falls into the hands of someone who is mad and doesn't understand the consequences or doesn't care.

  10. #80
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    Re: Are nuclear weapons a deterrent?

    All I have to say is this. An empty gun, never shoots.
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