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Why so little public anxiety about risk of nuclear war? With Putin and Trump in charge!!

With Putin and Trump in Charge, the Risk of Nuclear War Returns

You thought the threat of global annihilation was history? Better think again. Hard. Bloomberg, By Peter Coy Jan 31 2018, 

Nuclear war gets surprisingly little attention considering there are enough nukes to end human civilization in hours. It feels like a relic of another era—of perestroika and glasnost and that famous walk in the woods. We’ve moved on to other concerns. Besides, what can anyone really do?

The reason to pay attention is that arms control—especially between the U.S. and Russia—has broken down. A fresh nuclear arms race appears to be taking shape. As for what anyone can do: Arms control moves forward in response to public pressure, when humanity speaks louder than arms merchants and bellicose world leaders. Sanity can prevail. It’s been more than 70 years since the U.S. detonated the first two atomic weapons in war, and not one has been used in combat since………

The Trump administration’s approach to a warlike Putin is essentially “peace through strength.” The president took the advice of John Bolton, his hawkish national security adviser, when he gave preliminary notice in October of his intent to pull out of the INF Treaty, which bars all nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (300 to 3,400 miles). ………

The death of arms control would benefit shareholders of BoeingHoneywell InternationalLockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman, among others. “Great Power competition should be good for heritage defense contractors,” Byron Callan, an analyst for Capital Alpha Partners, wrote in a Jan. 24 note to clients, while cautioning that “the U.S. defense budget will be fiscally constrained.”

It would be less positive for the general public, of course. For decades, defense contractors and the Pentagon have offered the American people the following weirdly rational deal: You give us trillions of dollars, and we will use the money to build nuclear weapons that will never be used. A single Ohio-class nuclear submarine—a “boomer”—can mete out 2,000 times the destructive power of the A-bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If all goes well, it will prowl beneath the sea for decades and then go to the scrapyard without having fired as much as a harpoon in anger.

Mutual assured destruction—the balance of terror between the U.S. and Russia—kept the peace precisely because it was balanced. Arms control agreements ensured that neither side was able to gain an unbeatable advantage. The demise of arms control could lead not just to more weaponry but to more instability and uncertainty. The less each side knows about the other’s capabilities and intentions, the more likely it is that war will break out by accident. “The situation we face today relative to nuclear dangers is equal to the darkest days of the Cold War, and nobody seems to understand that,” says William Perry, 91, who was secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton. “Our policies don’t reflect it, either in the United States or in Russia.”


February 4, 2019 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war

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