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Author Topic: Political Science a la Randy Newman  (Read 1050 times)

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Offline VandalSavageTopic starter

Political Science a la Randy Newman
« on: January 07, 2008, 05:28:06 PM »
Why shouldn't we use nuclear weapons on our enemies?

That's the debate topic I would like to put out there.  For, for many, the immediate response is - "of course we would never use nuclear weapons!"  But I am not sure if people have really thought out 'why', and it would be interesting to hear what opinions are on the subject - a thoroughly convincing reason why a power like the United States should not employ at least the low-end of its awesome nuclear arsenal.

Just to get things started, I will note that this last half-century is the only time in history that a nation has reliably held back from using all its arsenal against a foe.  It is assumed that the US and former USSR states will not use nuclear weapons aggressively.

Many argue it's because they kill so many - yet estimates of deaths due to the Iraq war are equal to five Hiroshimas, likely higher.  Displacement is higher still.

Many argue it is because they are simply too horrible - yet are Fuel-Air Explosives, which turn someone inside out, not horrible?  Isn't starvation, disease, poverty, rape, lawlessness and all the other hallmarks of an extensive war?

In essence, war is already Hell.  Why not use all the weapons at our disposal to bring it to the quickest conclusion?

Offline Apple of Eris

Re: Political Science a la Randy Newman
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2008, 07:04:23 PM »
Well, first off, the US is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. This treaty contains a clause stating to the effect that powers posessing nuclear arms will not attack non-nuclear states with those weapons. Of course, the US earlier in the bush administration announced it MAY use those weapons if it deemed a target appropriate, which would of course cause the United States to violate the treaty, something we've been incensed that states like Iran and North Korea may be currently in the process of doing (though it appears Iran is not).

The other argument against nuclear usage stems from this is hardly the only WMD states posess. Use of nuclear weapons could lead to the widespread usage of other non-conventional weapons, biologial for instance, which may be, in many cases easier for 'enemy' states to procure. Also many non-nuclear states are allied to states that posess some nuclear capability. A strike against one of these nations might result in a etaliatory strike against the nation that launched the initial attack, or against one of its allies. From there, it is a small step until mass destruction weapons are used in large scale, resulting in the mutually assured destruction that kept the superpowers and other states from using those weapons in the first place.

Offline Sakujo

Re: Political Science a la Randy Newman
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2008, 11:56:47 PM »
Death toll isn't the concern, the idea of reducing unneeded casualties is. A nuke kills a large area of people without discretion, bombings and gunfire can be more selectively targeted.

The Real reason, though, is because of fear that it'd start a domino effect and a very unstable world where anyone could pull the trigger. I guess you could equate it to terrorists taking over every nation. (Now they'd be in the public eye, heh.)

Offline Velph

Re: Political Science a la Randy Newman
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2008, 02:53:56 AM »
Simply: there no enough land on this planet to satisfy all destructive potential of all neclear stuff around here. Preserving own life don't make you concern all about the scenery: if whatever country senses to be targeted by nuclear weapon...well, I think they will throw out any own from their basis.

the real fear is about weapons that you may still don't know. Consider the step of the science of the last half centruy: what was the power of calc in a "computer room" now it's in a pda. Same apply to weapons: just you don't need to advertise and get people around you quite nervous, isn't?

Offline kongming

Re: Political Science a la Randy Newman
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2008, 04:43:13 AM »
Others have basically summed it up here - you destroy any useful resources, render the land uninhabitable and spread radiation. You invite everyone else to hit you with anything and everything they have, and you earn the condemnation of many.

Indeed, by using the biggest weapons you have, you have just used the biggest weapons you had.
Understand what this means: Even if you have more, it doesn't matter because you've already said "Hey guys, I'm using these!" You can't scale any threats up from here. Suddenly, anything they do can't make their situation worse, as you're already throwing such a destructive power at them.

It's similar to how, from a government standpoint, ideally the death penalty should, if used at all, be limited to "leading a rebellion against the state", as the laws only exist to help people be part of the system. If you work with the system, you get benefits (for instance, you have money that you put back into the system in return for food you couldn't grow yourself, and you can go to the doctor - yay, society!) If you work against the system, life is harder for you as people don't want to help you, AND you are criminally penalised.

So, with that in mind, if you rob a grocery store, you will be looking at prison time, but might be able to get away with a fine, community service etc. Now if you resist arrest, or take a hostage, they can make it worse for you - suddenly you ARE going to jail. Start shooting at the police, and they might shoot and kill you, but if arrested, your sentence is looking very big. So you always have incentive to cut your losses and not escalate the situation.

On the other hand, if you can be legally executed for minor offences (one ruler in ancient China tried this. The result was rebellion, and the whole government was overthrown and, knowing Chinese history, sliced into tiny pieces, their families put to death in public, and their ancestors dug up and hacked apart), then as soon as they earn the death penalty, it can't get any worse for them and they have no need to stop and give themselves up. They are almost forced to escalate the situation, and there are no consequences for doing so.

This links us back to the nuclear weapons. You are doing your worst, so you can't use any bigger, worse deterrent against them to make them sit down and listen. Suddenly, their best option is to do what, until you started nuking them, was their worst option: launch a full-scale invasion (or use all biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, calling in all allies as well) in the hopes of crushing you to force you to stop.

And even if you win, you've just expended some supply of your best weapon, that you're only too happy to use. Other countries are going to start talking about you.