Nuclear Cooperation; Protocols for Crisis Management

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 29, 2008 | Go to article overview

Nuclear Cooperation; Protocols for Crisis Management


Byline: Daniel L. Davis, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In a recent Wall Street Journal commentary "Toward A Nuclear-Free World," Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, and William Perry put their considerable reputations behind an effort to make the world more secure from nuclear war. In the opening sentences they posit that the world is at a "nuclear tipping point," they warn of the dangers of nuclear weapons falling into "dangerous hands," and state their desire for a world free from nuclear weapons. Aside from providing a surprising paucity of recommendations regarding how this goal is supposed to be achieved, they leave the most difficult and continuous issues completely unaddressed.

Though the stated thesis is global nuclear disarmament, the vast majority of their essay focuses on nuclear reduction issues between the United States and Russia that have existed in one form or another for decades. Frankly, the danger of nuclear war between America and Russia is at an historic low. The danger from other, less politically stable nations - or from a nuclear terrorist - is notably higher, and yet this gets only a passing mention in their work. Any sane member of the human race desires to see the danger posed by nuclear weapons decreased or eliminated. But for that effort to have a legitimate chance of success, hard, cold, unpleasant realities must be addressed.

For example, some of the more complex issues: tiny Israel wants nuclear weapons because from its perspective it faces an existential threat in the region; Iran allegedly seeks nuclear weapons to counter Israel and/or to gain power and political influence; China believes that in order to be taken seriously in global affairs, it must possess a credible deterrent to nuclear-armed Russia, India, and the United States; Pakistan has existential fears from its larger neighbor India; India fears a nuclear-armed Pakistan; isolated, weak North Korea seeks protection from what it views as a belligerent America; and the list could go on. Individually each of these issues represent enormous complications and difficulties. And yet to realize a nuclear weapons-free world, every one of them would have to be resolved and each leader who currently possess these weapons convinced to eliminate them.

What no one seems willing to acknowledge publicly is that nuclear weapons provide a level of deterrence that is unmatched by any conventional capability. Consider the cost-benefit calculations that occurred in wars past: would Hitler have given serious consideration to invading France in 1940 or USSR in 1941 had they possessed a nuclear arsenal? As un-politically correct as it may be to suggest, one can argue that had nuclear weapons existed in 1939, World War II might never have occurred and 60 million people might never have died. …

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