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Obama Unveils New Nuclear Doctrine 526

Posted by kdawson
from the backing-off-the-hair-trigger dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that under Obama's new 'Nuclear Posture Review,' released today, the US will foreswear the use of the nuclear weapons against nonnuclear countries, in contrast to previous administrations, which indicated they might use nuclear arms against nonnuclear states in retaliation for a biological or chemical attack. But the new policy included a major caveat: The countries must be in compliance with their nonproliferation obligations under international treaties. The problem for Iran and North Korea is that the pledge does not cover them because the US regards them as in non-compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The new policy will also describe the purpose of US weapons as being fundamentally for deterrence. Some Democratic legislators had urged Obama to go further and declare that the United States would not use nuclear weapons first in a conflict, but officials worried that such a change could unnerve allies protected by the US nuclear 'umbrella.' The president of the Ploughshares Fund said of the new stance, 'It orients US policy towards dramatically fewer weapons and greatly reduced roles.'"
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Obama Unveils New Nuclear Doctrine

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  • by pwnies (1034518) <j@jjcm.org> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:04PM (#31753968) Homepage Journal
    ...but to be honest it really doesn't limit the options of available targets. If we want to nuke someone, you'd best be sure we'll find a way to show that they're in "non-compliance".
  • Cold war is over! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:08PM (#31754018)

    The Mutually Assured Destruction plans of the Cold War are outdated... we're no longer fighting states with a homeland, we're fighting a mobile group that will go wherever lawlessness is tolerated and don't care what happens to innocents around them. Scorched Earth isn't the idea, it's really just a question of law enforcement. Gotta use different tactics for a different enemy.

  • Its a first step (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:08PM (#31754022) Journal

    I mean, the idea is, don't let your guard down against those countries that are obviously against your ideologies. However, for everyone else who has sworn the non-proliferation, this would help diplomatic relations. Perhaps when the rest of the world starts seeing the U.S. in better light, countries like Iran and North Korea will be a little more amicable to joining these kinds of treaties proposed by the U.N.

    In the event that they are stubborn about nuclear domination, the U.S. can still be the standing power capable of keeping them in line.

  • No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:09PM (#31754042) Homepage Journal

    If you (my next door neighbor) kill my family by purposefully spreading rat poison in our fresh vegetable garden, I promise to only shoot back at you with my pellet gun. But only if you don't own a gun.

    We're talking about nuclear weapons. We're talking about whether we encourage or discourage the proliferation and use of weapons that can kill tens of thousands of people in an instant. I don't think it requires a cute analogy for the average person to understand.

  • Re:Good and Bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:10PM (#31754052)

    and what about India, Pakistan, Israel and N. Korea?

  • by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:13PM (#31754090)

    Yes, because Venezuela is the country we need to worry about. Riiiiiiight.

    First off, these pronouncements aren't worth the paper they're written on- they can be changed at a whim.

    Secondly, this is just an announcement to the world of the administration's view of nuclear weapons. Which is unchanged in reality from our stance since the Russians got the bomb. We aren't going to start a nuclear war because someone could retaliate, and noone would win that fight. Not to mention the morality of indisciminately slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent non-combatants.

    So don't worry- you're no safer or less safe than you were 12 hours ago. If you feel differently I suggest you consult the nearest psychiatrist about your paranoia.

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:13PM (#31754092)

    There is no justice system in international relations.

  • by the linux geek (799780) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:13PM (#31754100)
    I am getting sick and tired of the "war between nations is obsolete" rhetoric. It makes no fucking sense, and there is no evidence for it. Russia/CIS, the People's Republic of China, and North Korea are all powerful states with a bone to pick with the United States that have been modernizing their military arsenal and conventional forces. Just because the US is currently involved in a counterinsurgency does NOT make symmetric conflicts obsolete, and we have to be prepared for them or the likelihood of their occurrence increases. In that spirit, I find this new doctrine to be very scary. "No first use against NPT-compliant states" means that if one of the US's enemies uses chemical weapons against us, we have no non-conventional means to retaliate, since the US has no meaningful chemical arsenal and we're now forbidden to use nukes in that situation, as previous doctrine would dictate. POTUS is naive.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:15PM (#31754120)

    Obama is offering a pledge not to nuke the non-nuclear countries. Realistically, the offer is good until January of 2013, when a new president takes office. For whatever reason, he thinks Iran and North Korea will jump at the chance to become nuke-free states and take him up on his offer. I think the strategy is looney, but I suppose it doesn't really take any options off the table.

    This weakness on foreign policy is going to result in another war. Fortunately, it is easy to monetize the new socialism. My stock portfolio consists of oil, defense, guns, and ammo.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:15PM (#31754132)

    Russia and possibly China are the only countries that could blow America to oblivion and it wouldn't do them much good. Apart from anything else, the US could comfortably scrap 1000 nuclear weapons and still have enough to reduce any and all aggressors to dust. Obama's moves on weapons reduction just take America on it's first steps away from Strangelove country. There's still a hell of a long way to go before you need to start worrying about what the other monkeys are doing*.

    *(but, FYI, it rhymes with plaster slating)

  • Re:No (Score:1, Insightful)

    by royallthefourth (1564389) <royallthefourth@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:17PM (#31754162)

    Come on, it just wouldn't be Slashdot if people didn't use childish analogies as an excuse for holding reprehensible opinions.

  • Re:Good and Bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr 44 (180750) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:19PM (#31754200)

    ICMBs are not accurate enough to deliver a conventional explosive payload. (if you are off by half a mile, it doesn't matter if you're delivering a nuke). Thats why we have cruise missiles.

  • by ground.zero.612 (1563557) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:22PM (#31754248)

    (remember that chemical and biological attacks are a whole lot harder than they sound)

    Really? See, most people have heard the name Haile Selassie I. Let your post serve as a reminder that most people don't know why they know his name.

    Allow me to enlighten you: He was Emperor of Ethiopia when Italy invaded and attacked with chemical weapons. He made an passionate speech at the League of Nations condemning the use of chemical weapons.

    If Italy, using 1930's technology, was capable of developing, delivering, and deploying chemical weapons in Ethiopia, I will go on record and make the claim that Venezuela could do the same to the US, using 2010's technology.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:25PM (#31754306)

    Did you seriously just put North Korea in the same category as Russia and China?

    Russia and China are major world powers; NK is a poverty-stricken shithole. If it wasn't within firing distance of Seoul, nobody in the world would even know who the hell they were. North Korea is the worlds largest municipal disturbance.

  • by the linux geek (799780) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:27PM (#31754322)
    Okay, here's a scenario for you. The US and the CIS go to war. CIS starts losing conventionally, and pulls out their chemical arsenal, which is the most advanced in the world (look up the Novichok Agents.) US sustains massive casualties. Now what? Once upon a time, we would just retaliate with chemical or nuclear weapons, but now we can't... so the CIS has a free force-multiplier with no consequences. Great.
  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:30PM (#31754368)

    Yes, because Venezuela is the country we need to worry about.

    Indeed. One wonders why some people are still so irrationally afraid of communists, real or imagined. I don't think much of Chavez, but he's not stupid or comic-book evil, the threat of being nuked was probably never on his top ten reasons not to attack the US.

  • by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:38PM (#31754500)

    Rule #1 of tyrannical dictators (which Chavez qualifies for these days, although I didn't think so 5 or so years ago)- tyrannical dictators want power. They want to maintain or increase their power. So they may do some sabre rattling, but they aren't going to seriously fuck with anyone who can really hurt them. If they have a small weak neighbor without defensive alliances they may attack their neighbor, but they won't do jack shit against a country many times their size, wealth, and military might. So let them rattle to their heart's content and otherwise ignore them. Just don't let them start snatching small countries, or you risk them thinking they can beat you.

    This rule applies to all 3 big crazies at the moment- Venezuela, Iran, and N Korea. None of them are doing more than appealing to their support base. Think of it as the foreign equivalent of a Sarah Palin rally. Of the three Iran is the biggest threat because their is the religious fundamentalism aspect, but the drive for power far outweighs that.

    Nations to be worried about are places like China. But its quite obvious the current rule of China is taking a long term view and is more interested in ruling through finance than arms- the fact they haven't invaded Taiwan is proof of that. We should be very concerned about the amount of money we borrow from them, but I don't see war in the next decade. Russia's another worry, but Putin for all his evil falls under rule #1- he likes ruling Russia and is more interested in holding power than anything else.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:44PM (#31754574)

    we might begin to repair the damage to our reputation done by the G. W. Bush Administration.

    Funny, it's the same group of people as the "Obama Administration," which you should read as the "Goldman-Morgan Administration." Granted, the facemen/women are different, and wear blue ties instead of red ones, but the puppet masters remain the same. Pull back the curtain if you want real change to be effected.

    Captcha: corrupt.

    Indeed.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:45PM (#31754596) Journal

    I am getting sick and tired of the "war between nations is obsolete" rhetoric. It makes no fucking sense,

    It makes perfect sense. It moves war into the territory of police, giving you a reason to militarize the police. You can then use military equipment and tactics against your own people more easily. As a ruler you would want to do this because the greatest threat any government faces is its own people. (and vice versa)

  • Re:Good and Bad (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:46PM (#31754632)

    Eth0 is an abbreviation not an acronym :)

  • by goodmanj (234846) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:47PM (#31754640)

    Secondly, this is just an announcement to the world of the administration's view of nuclear weapons. Which is unchanged in reality from our stance since the Russians got the bomb. We aren't going to start a nuclear war because someone could retaliate, and noone would win that fight. Not to mention the morality of indisciminately slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent non-combatants.

    Yes, it matches U.S. policy going back to the 1950s... with the exception of an 8-year gap from 2002 to 2010.

    The Bush administration's version of this document specifically declared that the U.S. should be prepared to use nuclear weapons on a first-strike basis, and even against non-nuclear states.

    You're right, a pronouncement that "we're not gonna nuke ya" isn't worth the paper that it's printed on. But it's a big concrete improvement over a previous pronouncement that "we might nuke ya."

    http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/nwgs/npr_review.pdf [ucsusa.org]

  • More accurately, if you poison my family I promise to only shoot you yourself. I won't blow up your house, rape your wife, and burn your children alive. Unless it looks like there's plutonium in the cupboard, then all bets are off.

  • by The End Of Days (1243248) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:58PM (#31754798)

    Yeah, the Venezuelans are so brilliant that they leave him in charge of the country. Obviously it's Americans who are dumb.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:58PM (#31754800) Homepage

    but when you talk about retaliation with nukes you are not saying lets destroy their armies or their military bases.
    Nukes are for indiscriminate killing, destroying hole cities of civilians or entire nations or complete genocide.

    What the POTUS is saying is, even you indiscriminately kill our civilians we may not wipe out your entire race or country.
    That does not mean that the US could not retaliate by destroying the opposing country's ability to ware war on the US and neutralize the government that ordered the attack.

    But as any civilized government should do, they plan not to attack their civilians.

    So my question is, do you not understand results of using a nuke or do you actually believe the the destruction of large groups of a enemy's civilian population is justified when alternatives exist.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:00PM (#31754820)

    This weakness on foreign policy is going to result in another war. Fortunately, it is easy to monetize the new socialism. My stock portfolio consists of oil, defense, guns, and ammo.

    How do you figure? The only countries that (might) have nukes but don't play by the rules are Iran and NK. This doctrine doesn't apply to them. They still have just as much to fear from us if they keep trying to make nukes, since they're breaking the NPT.

    Really, the only countries that might have both the desire and means for an attack on US soil are China and maybe Russia. Honestly, I'm not worried about China attacking because we're they're biggest importer, and it would crush their economy if they did. Such a war couldn't last long, and China would lose. Russia's economy has been in shambles since the 80s, and without nukes, they would be a complete non-issue as well. The other countries (e.g. Venezuela) are pains in our asses, but still don't have nukes, and if they attacked us, our retaliation would be swift and thorough, whether we use nukes or not. I don't see nukes as serving any more of a deterrent in this case, since our military is freaking massive.

    To me it seems you're turning an attempt by our leaders to reduce proliferation through peaceful means into a complete dismantling of our military. It's not, and it never will be. It's just that there's no good reason to use nukes on a non-nuclear enemy. The only reason we still have them is as a Cold War style deterrent, which is a really, really stupid reason to begin with. But go ahead, be paranoid, stock up on guns, and hide in your bunker in the Montana. I guess if you don't know how to handle your conflicts with others in a civilized manner, that's the only choice you have.

  • ...and when he actually did invade Iraq, the exact same crime that the Nazis were hanged for at Nuremberg, they did jack shit.

    The US is impervious to international law because it is the strongest.

  • by KharmaWidow (1504025) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:04PM (#31754884)

    There are long term costs to these weapons: r&d, tooling, production, periodical testing and calibration, and future maintenance. They are a significant investment and vital industry.

    A small amount of weapons could do the *offensive* job but the smaller the cache, the more vulnerable they are to detection and interception. The defense concept is mutual assured destruction - and it requires a staggering overwhelming abundance of ready-to-use weapons. What really screwed the USA was the Carter admin agreeing not to further nuclear weapon r&d. We were on the way to a half-life of a matter of days in which the impact site could be habitual again...

    Regardless of the morals and ethics, the bottom line is its good skilled and technical jobs for America that include retirement packages and healthcare. Get rid of the nukes and we put 10s of thousands of people out of work. (This is definitely putting my dad out of work.)

    Plus the USA has the right to amass any sort of defense we feel necessary. We are a sovereign nation - no other entity has legal domain over us. Time and time again other nations break their promises to the US. To trust them at their word is foolhardy.

  • by lwsimon (724555) <lyndsy@lyndsysimon.com> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:06PM (#31754912) Homepage Journal

    "Nucular" is the vernacular in half the country. I'm sorry you don't understand the concept of dialects, and you can go to hell if you want to judge me based on my accent.

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:08PM (#31754956)

    Please count the number of countries China has invaded in the last 3000 years

    .

    Hmm, that's tough. Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Tibet, for sure. Possibly Mongolia and the USSR.

    And since China hasn't been unified for 3000 years, do we count all the invasions of one country in the area now called China of another country in the area now called China? If so, it would run into the thousands.

    Please count the number of countries Russia has invaded in the past 40 years.

    I like they way you carefully picked a time period here that you think that Russia has been "peaceful". If you stretch your time period out a bit farther (say, to 80 years), we have pretty much all of Eastern Europe, plus duplicates (Some of Eastern Europe was invaded more than once by the USSR - Poland is a good example), possibly China and Mongolia.

    Note that the "possiblies" on both sides include the other. I'm not sure which of these countries invaded the other during that little squabble they had last century. Note that "little squabble" in this case was the largest war since WW2.

    Please count the number of countries where we have troops and military bases right now.

    And here we get to the "oranges", as in "comparing apples and oranges".

    Instead of considering places we were invited to build bases (even if we bribed people to invite us) as exactly the same as places we've invaded, let's just look at the places we've invaded.

    In the last 40 years, that would be Iraq, twice, and Afghanistan

    If we stretch the time period back the same 80 years we used for the USSR, we get the three listed above, plus North Korea (arguable, since we were driving them back as a result of their invasion of South Korea at the time), French North Africa (whatever that area was called back in WW2 when we did it), Italy (WW2), France (in the process of kicking the Germans out of same), Holland (ditto), Germany (WW2), Japan (WW2).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:25PM (#31755138)

    Of the three Iran is the biggest threat because their is the religious fundamentalism aspect, but the drive for power far outweighs that.

    Michael Totten just posted an interview [michaeltotten.com] today with a former member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. This is the latter's insightful perspective:

    "If you look more deeply into the thought processes of the people controlling the [Iranian] government, these are people who strongly believe Islam will conquer the world. Every act they commit is in that direction. They don't just want a nuclear bomb to make them untouchable. They think it will be the trigger for Islam conquering the world....

    Thirty years ago they were told the Mahdi [i.e., the prophesied redeemer of Islam] wants them to proceed with the nuclear project, and that's why they're not bending. They think they're untouchable and that the Mahdi wants it."

  • Actual reasons (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TiggertheMad (556308) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:27PM (#31755148) Homepage Journal
    If North Korean troops start pouring through the DMZ, the US military is going to consider all of its contingency plans to keep its ~150,000+ soldiers from being killed or captured, and there is a 100% chance one of those contingency plans includes using nuclear weapons. In all likelihood it is one of the reasons why it hasn't happened yet.

    NK is not even remotely a conventional match for US troops. They cannot keep the lights on at night, let alone maintain air superiority against stealth fighters. Nukes would not be considered if NK attempted a land grab.

    They are being held in reserve, to make sure NK knows good and well the consequences of building and employing a few fission weapons. This is a carrot/stick move that might encourage them into non-proliferation compliance. We have all the reason in the world to want this, because we would completely steamroll them in a conventional war, and we wouldn't suffer the negative publicity of a nuclear war.
  • by maillemaker (924053) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:30PM (#31755188)

    >Nuclear weapons have turned into something of a penis waving contest.

    It would seem to me that you are completely incorrect. Having nuclear weapons is basically your best way to keep the US from interfering overtly with your country.

  • by ZDRuX (1010435) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:33PM (#31755226)
    What?! Anti-American nation that has WMD's?! Where have I heard this before?
  • by Nadaka (224565) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:41PM (#31755312)

    I never said they couldn't devastate cities, just that the fear of nuclear winter, or the idea that "Even with 100 we could completely wipe China off the Earth" is utterly false for a largely rural nation like china. You could barely wipe Delaware off the map with a hundred such bombs.

  • Re:Actual reasons (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Verteiron (224042) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:47PM (#31755396) Homepage

    NK knows it can't deliver whatever nukes it may have. If they came under (counter-)attack, their most effective strategy would be to threaten to blow up Pyongyang rather than let it fall to a foreign nation. That's a whole lot of hostages to negotiate with.

  • yeah right (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:49PM (#31755416)

    We promise that we won't nuke you, until we decide that this promise is no longer valid and we need to nuke you. This a PR game, but nothing has changed. It is not like if the US threatened to nuke any country right now.

  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:57PM (#31755522)
    ...and when he actually did invade Iraq, the exact same crime that the Nazis were hanged for at Nuremberg,

    The Nazis in 1939 were enforcing UN sanctions against the German-Jewish nuclear weapons program? The ever-wily Jews were hiding said nuclear development programs in squalid concentration camps with funny names like "Auschwitz"?

    Interesting. How much is your newsletter, I'd like to subscribe.

  • by robot256 (1635039) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:57PM (#31755524)

    Some rouge nation meeting their nonproliferation obligations hits the US with a chemical attack in a major city. Say, one million dead... and we won't nuke them back?

    No. We tickle them mercilessly until they mess up their makeup.

    But more seriously, no. If they truly are a rogue state, killing their civilians won't do any good against the leadership, and more than likely would give them propaganda fodder for continuing to fight against the "enemy of the people." The only way to deal with a serious attack is to use overwhelming conventional force to take out their military in the most precise way possible. We know how to do that, right?

  • Re:Good and Bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:57PM (#31755528) Homepage Journal

    So - how exactly are Russia and all the rest going to verify that all our nukes are in one place or another? Seems to me the whole thing is based on trust, right? And, if you trust the other parties, you have no need to verify. Little catch 22 here, don't you think? Or, is it just propaganda, playing on people's naivete?

  • by Alex Belits (437) * on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @07:03PM (#31755602) Homepage

    ...and THIS is average American's understanding of international conflict -- an equivalent of schoolyard brawl.

    This is why everyone treats you like a bunch of retards with bombs.

  • Irrelevant words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by guspasho (941623) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @07:05PM (#31755630)

    The US won't nuke you unless you aren't in compliance with nuclear agreements. How many of our enemies *are* in compliance? Is the US in compliance? Who gets to determine who is in non-compliance anyway? Why should anyone believe the US wouldn't nuke someone it that it really wanted to anyway?

    These are meaningless words from a belligerent rogue state.

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @07:06PM (#31755634)

    The terrorist threats are not just lives lost, but also WHICH lives they went after. 9/11 knocked a few stock trading firms out of existence by killing all of their staff. The physical Wall Street was hard to access knocking NYSE offline for days, and NASDAQ went offline despite having their physical trading computer in Connecticut just because they didn't want to be swamped with their stocks trading while nobody could trade NYSE stocks. CNBC also was a simulcast of NBC's coverage for days... and the markets have proven that if there is ever a disruption in CNBC's availability they'll ring the bell early because that's a too-big-to-be-without source of market news to the average person who wants it.

    Then there's the act-of-war hit on the Pentagon, which wasn't as effective as it could have been... and also the unknown presumably Washington area target of Flight 93.

    They're not just killing people... but trying to kill the people who make the American economy and American government run.

  • Re:Good and Bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @07:09PM (#31755684)

    Thats what Google, FAS.org, Wikipedia or the dictionary are for.

    Many /.ers are also into science fiction, gaming or were military and those abbreviations have been common in those genres and sectors of society for decades.

    The abbreviations MIRV, SSBN, SLBM are not obscure and have not been obscure for at least 35 years. One doesn't have to be a "nuclear weapon fetishists" to be literate in the terminology of the devices that have been waiting to kill us for the last 50 years.

  • Re:Actual reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maeka (518272) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @07:14PM (#31755736) Journal

    Every aircraft we have, every cruise missile, launched at once, loaded with conventional bunker busters, would not make a dent in the north's 10,000 artillery tubes which are heavily fortified into the hills.

    They don't need to "keep the lights on at night" to rain unimaginable hell down on the south.

    Artillery is cheap, effective, and when behind three meters of reinforced concrete damn hard to kill.

  • by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @07:23PM (#31755826) Journal

    defense is vital to any country,

    Defense is, yes. Maintaining a military on the scale that the USA does isn't defense.

    -jcr

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @07:44PM (#31756022)

    I'm sorry but including Venezuala/Chavez alongside North Korea and Iran is absurd. Here is the difference: Kim jong Il, and Achmenedinijhad are both batfuck crazy. Chavez is just angry because the IMF and World Bank have been assfucking South America for decades and he's tired of the 'status quo', which involves rich Americans and Europeans with their dicks in his ass.

    I don't blame him for rattling sabres, and I don't blame him for being pissed off - what the World Bank and the IMF have done to South America should be criminalized as economic warcrimes, because they're killing people en masse by fooling desperate and poorly-educated-at-best politicians into agreeing to national loans they will never repay at exorbitant rates they will never out-earn.

    All of South America is getting fucked, the only reason you see Chavez speaking out all the time is because Venezuala is gifted with enough crude oil to escape the spiraling debt the rest of the continent is subject to - since he can escape it, he has the luxury to examine the problem and speak out against it, while the other leaders are scrambling just to survive or pocketing the money themselves and getting the fuck out of Dodge before someone comes gunning for them.

    Kim Jong Il and Achmenedinijhad, by contrast, are trying to get nuclear weapons so they can be bully neighbour states without fearing reprocussions from stronger organizations that would disapprove, such as the US and NATO, (Chavez is not beyond sabre rattling that if only he had nuclear weapons people would listen to him, which is partially true).

  • Try harder (Score:3, Insightful)

    by copponex (13876) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @07:58PM (#31756142) Homepage

    In the last 40 years, that would be Iraq, twice, and Afghanistan

    Not counting airlifts and small skirmishes:

    1970s
    operations in Cambodia
    the Vietnam War

    1980s
    El Salvador
    Columbia
    Nicaragua
    Panama
    Lebanon
    Grenada
    Honduras

    1990s
    Persian Gulf War
    Yogoslav Wars
    Haiti

    2000s
    Afghanistan
    Iraq

    This list does not include foreign intervention by way of arms sales, CIA coups, or trade embargoes. And does not including the permanent deployment of 250,000 troops around the globe in over 130 countries with over 700 military bases.

    The point being, you can stop and start the dates any time you like. The United States now has the most vast system of military bases in human history, and has invaded other nations at a higher rate than any other, except perhaps for Nazi Germany. We account for over half of all arms sales, and equal the rest of the world combined in military expenditures, despite having 3% of the population and under 3% of the landmass.

    We are the empire. Any whining to the contrary is evidence of a painful amount of historical ignorance.

  • by khallow (566160) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @08:06PM (#31756206)

    It's like a Mexican standoff with RPGs at point blank range. Nobody in their right mind is going to shoot so the only sane option is to put them fuck down, but mankind isn't mature enough for this, so everyone wants to keep pointing them and making threats because it makes them feel powerful, and again, because of stupidity, people take the threat seriously.

    Spoken like someone who doesn't have a clue about game theory. You know what's worse than a Mexican standoff with RPGs? One person with a RPG and no repercussions for its use.

    To be blunt, there's millennia of history where groups take what they want by force of arms. They don't invade a weaker country because it makes them feel powerful. They do it because they are more powerful. As long as you have groups with differ levels of power, you're going to have situations where in the absence of repercussions, it'll be convenient for the stronger group to take by force from the weaker group. Nuclear weapons provide consequences for a variety of really nasty and brutal nation-level actions.

    As long as you're dwelling on the psychology of force and reprisal, you're going to miss the fundamental thing, cost versus benefit. As long as war has a big payout for its cost (for the perpetrators, not the masses), it'll continue to occur, no matter how "mature" the involved parties are.

  • by roystgnr (4015) <roystgnr@ticam.u ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:14PM (#31756684) Homepage

    The world really isn't as evil a place as some think it is.

    For the most part, no, but surely you admit there's a few big exceptions [wikipedia.org]? But on the bright side, maybe the last genocide ended this spring, knock on wood, in which case the greatest evil around is a measly few million women and children enslaved and forced to work as prostitutes. Things are definitely looking up now that only a third of the world is ruled by totalitarianism, but perhaps it's not time to beat all the swords into plowshares yet?

  • by Lunzo (1065904) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:21PM (#31756740)

    The UN weapons inspectors didn't find anything in Iraq. The USA kicked them out before they were finished inspecting. Then the UK and USA "sexed up" their intelligence dossiers to make it look like Saddam was a threat when he was not.

    The comparison the GP made to the Nazis is wrong - they were hanged for war crimes. However the Iraq war was still unjustified and illegal and based on a lie. These are the facts and they were at the time for those who didn't get swept up in the jingoism, drum beating and "Baghdad in 2 weeks" nonsense.

  • Re:Actual reasons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stickerboy (61554) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:27PM (#31756792) Homepage

    >Every aircraft we have, every cruise missile, launched at once, loaded with conventional bunker busters, would not make a dent in the north's 10,000 artillery tubes which are heavily fortified into the hills.

    >They don't need to "keep the lights on at night" to rain unimaginable hell down on the south.

    >Artillery is cheap, effective, and when behind three meters of reinforced concrete damn hard to kill.

    While you have an effective point, nothing you said contradicts what the parent poster said. The US would most likely steamroll the DPRK in a conventional war. The DPRK trains in massed infantry and outdated armor formations, exactly the type of target-rich environment a precision airpower military like the US would dismantle in a hearbeat.

    Those 10,000 artillery tubes of the DPRK in the mountains are meant to cause mass civilian casualties in Seoul which, while horrific, would have little to no effect on the final outcome of a conventional war.

    Imagine an armed robber with the police surrounding him, holding a hostage at gunpoint. That hostage is the civilian population of Seoul. Perhaps the only reason the US has not conducted airstrikes at this point against known nuclear facilities of the DPRK is the threat of the DPRK shelling Seoul. Not, as conventional pundit wisdom believes, the fact that they probably have one or two crude nuclear devices.

  • Re:Actual reasons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rich0 (548339) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @09:41PM (#31756866) Homepage

    The artillery would only be effective against civilian targets. In order to fire them on military targets you'd need accurate near-realtime targeting data - which they can't obtain.

    Sure, they could turn the South's cities into rubble, but that wouldn't have much of a military impact - only a political one. If they tried it chances are that both the US and China would step in to straighten things out. If anything the powers that be in NK would try desperately to surrender to the US rather than the alternative.

    I'm sure China likes the squirming the US has to do around NK, but it isn't like they want an all-out war right on their borders. The last time that happened the US army almost ended up on their doorstep (with MacArthur calling for attacks on China), and at the time the US didn't have nearly the advantage it has today. It really isn't in anybody's interests to let things go that far again.

  • by Alex Belits (437) * on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:14PM (#31757078) Homepage

    The only place in Europe that still acts like this after WWII is former Yugoslavia+Albania.
    And only when Americans are helping.

    Everyone else grew up.

  • Re:Actual reasons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jeff4747 (256583) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @10:47PM (#31757240)

    Every aircraft we have, every cruise missile, launched at once, loaded with conventional bunker busters, would not make a dent in the north's 10,000 artillery tubes which are heavily fortified into the hills.

    Artillery is surprisingly ineffective when it remains behind heavy fortifications. The gun tubes have to exit the bunker somewhere.

    You don't have to destroy the gun, only it's ability to fire.

  • by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:37AM (#31757932) Journal

    Keeping troops deployed in 130 countries around the world is NOT a defensive operation. Spending more than all the other countries on earth combined is absurd. China and Russia together spend about 1/6 of what we do.

    -jcr

  • by khallow (566160) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @01:05AM (#31758078)
    Also, my point was that you are putting a psychological context on the problem that isn't relevant or accurate. The threats made with nukes are not empty, childish, or even unproductive. A typical example from the Cold War, is the almost complete cessation of military expansion by the USSR. Prior to the Second World War, the USSR had conquered a number of countries. This effectively ended with the conquest of the eastern part of the Nazi Germany empire and the formation of the Eastern Bloc. I can see no other force than the threat of nuclear weapons, that prevented the USSR from continuing this pattern of aggression.

    Instead, we had the Cold War with its wars by proxy, elaborate espionage struggle, and other indirect means of conflict.
  • by Onymous Coward (97719) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @06:34AM (#31759282) Homepage

    We can't let ourselves fear. When we do, it exacerbates our tendency towards dividing. Fear causes us to think of people as "other" and to care less for them. When that happens "big exceptions" are more likely. This is the crux -- those big exceptions, those instances of people being evil, they were fostered by the fearfulness of the perpetrators.

    There are other factors that promote dividing, but fear is perhaps the biggest.

    Sure, I carry a knife, though I expect not to need it. The difference between my attitude and the attitude of the fearful is that I'm not motivated to push others away. I don't look for excuses to condemn or devalue. I'm ready to incapacitate you if you mean serious harm, but my primary goal is your health and well-being. Regardless of who you are.

  • by icebrain (944107) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @07:04AM (#31759386)

    Actually, it would probably be better to assume a good portion of your warheads will not make it to the target. Whether they're get destroyed before use, fail to launch, get shot down before use (on an aircraft), get intercepted by defenses (yes, missile defense systems are real, and contrary to popular "knowledge", they do work and have worked since the 70's), fail to initiate, etc. Remember, many of the latest warheads have never been actually tested, and neither they nor their delivery systems (in the case of ballistic missiles) have been tested under realistic conditions. It's entirely possible that a significant fraction will simply not make it to their targets or work as intended.

  • by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:11AM (#31760814) Journal

    It's reasonable when you're expected to defend a whole range of nations

    Who says we're "expected" to do any such thing? Even if we were morally or legally obligated to do such a thing, maybe it could be accomplished without spending 55% of all the military appropriations in the whole world, don't you think?

    I'd prefer crushing military superiority to losing, personally.

    Do you enjoy swatting mosquitos with SAM missiles?

    -jcr

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