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Why USA needs a fundamental reappraisal of nuclear weapons policy

Why we need a fundamental reappraisal of nuclear weapons policy, The Hill, BY WARD WILSON, OPIN— 10/03/21 The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, a Biden appointee who apparently was intent on challenging status quo ideas, recently was forced out of the Nuclear Posture Review process in a “reorganization.” The move led some to conclude that new ideas and innovative thinking are being excluded, some to have even sharper reactions, and inspired Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) to fire off a letter to the president asking eight pointed questions and expressing concern that the move “will result in a draft Nuclear Posture Review that reflects the Cold War era’s over-reliance on nuclear weapons.”

This move to force out a proponent of new ideas is disappointing because the need for a fundamental, realistic reappraisal of nuclear weapons policy is unmistakable — not because recent policies were obviously flawed, although they do seem to have failed to avert a second nuclear arms race. The problem goes back to the origins of nuclear weapons policy and the peculiar fact-free nature of the field………
if U.S. nuclear weapons policy is not based on fact, on what is it based? It is based on assumptions. The people who first made policy about nuclear weapons did the best they could using intuition, judgment and what little experience they had. The problem is that it is easy to get assumptions wrong. In the case of nuclear weapons, there is every reason to believe that at least some of the assumptions that underpin thinking about these weapons are mistaken.

It’s likely, for example, that early judgments were skewed by fear. Nuclear weapons policy was first formulated during the Cold War, a time of uniquely intense anxiety, paranoia and continual fear of nuclear war. This is a problem, because people don’t do their best thinking when they are afraid. Strong emotions almost certainly distorted early thinking about nuclear weapons.

Another likely source of error is what happened in Hiroshima, Japan. Over the past 15 years, the meaning of that one real experience has come under scrutiny. There are now credible reasons to doubt that the twin bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki played a significant role in Japan’s decision to surrender at the end of World War II. Some believe it is even possible they played no role at all……….

October 4, 2021 - Posted by | politics, weapons and war

1 Comment »

  1. […] Why USA needs a fundamental reappraisal of nuclear weapons policy […]

    Pingback by Why USA needs a fundamental reappraisal of nuclear weapons policy – SHOPPEX NIGERIA | October 4, 2021 | Reply

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