22nd January 2021: The Day When Nuclear Weapons Are Finally Banned

edited October 2020 in Purgatory
Just because in our world of bad news, occasionally some good news is needed.

With Honduras deciding to ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons this will finally come into force in January, with 50 nations ratifying the agreement. This treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. For those currently with these obscenities in their arsenal it provides a framework for negotiating the verified and irreversible elimination of its nuclear weapons programme.
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Comments

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Hoorah!

    We should be ashamed we're neither signatory nor party to this. In being neither we declare our dedication to defence based on threat of mass murder.
  • None of the signatories have nuclear weapons, so I'm not sure what it achieves.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    None of the signatories have nuclear weapons, so I'm not sure what it achieves.
    It creates a moral position. The international community considers things like land mines and chemical weapons to be immoral and unacceptable as part of the arsenal of a nation. Now, the international community has added nuclear weapons to that list.

    It's given an additional impetus to those of us who are calling on our national governments to join the rest of the international community in getting rid of these pointless obscenities from our offensive arsenals.
  • I hope it doesn't lend further impetus to the right wingers who want to withdraw from the UN all together. While there has been a hiatus under Trump, I would very much like to see a return to American leadership on arms control and scaling down of nuclear arsenals gradually. We are living in a world where tensions are ratcheting up, not down, and where major powers are building up arsenals, like the recent US weapons sales to Taiwan. Then there is the ongoing conflict in Yemen...

    I don't know the history of this proposition or the ratification process, but it seems to me that a UN declaration excluding the major nuclear powers is a moral position that they can safely ignore.
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    Just because in our world of bad news, occasionally some good news is needed.

    With Honduras deciding to ratify the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons this will finally come into force in January, with 50 nations ratifying the agreement. This treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons.
    Were any of the signatories doing any of those things before?
  • That genie is never going back in the bottle. I wrote a lot more. But it was... not kind.
  • It doesn't matter. Neither has any climate agreement.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    That genie is never going back in the bottle.

    The nuclear bomb cannot be uninvented

  • But, what we've got can be dismantled. And, we can stop inventing newer ways to destroy each other. If those nations which already have these pointless obscenities are serious about not letting other nations have them then we need to lead by example and progressively get rid of the white elephants in our rooms.
  • But, what we've got can be dismantled. And, we can stop inventing newer ways to destroy each other. If those nations which already have these pointless obscenities are serious about not letting other nations have them then we need to lead by example and progressively get rid of the white elephants in our rooms.

    There is not enough trust for true multilateralism?

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited October 2020
    Telford wrote: »
    But, what we've got can be dismantled. And, we can stop inventing newer ways to destroy each other. If those nations which already have these pointless obscenities are serious about not letting other nations have them then we need to lead by example and progressively get rid of the white elephants in our rooms.

    There is not enough trust for true multilateralism?

    Multilateralism is people guns at each other and saying "you first".

    Someone has to be first.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    But, what we've got can be dismantled. And, we can stop inventing newer ways to destroy each other. If those nations which already have these pointless obscenities are serious about not letting other nations have them then we need to lead by example and progressively get rid of the white elephants in our rooms.

    There is not enough trust for true multilateralism?

    Multilateralism is people guns at each other and saying "you first".

    Someone has to be first.

    Correct and the only agreements so far have been agreed reductions.

    During the cold war, the USSR had a massive army. I believe it was only nuclear weapons which prevented them from moving west.

  • Well, no desire to engage in war with equally massive armies in Western Europe to expand the "Soviet Empire" also had something to do with it.
  • Well, no desire to engage in war with equally massive armies in Western Europe to expand the "Soviet Empire" also had something to do with it.

    They weren't "equally massive" though. NATO conventional forces were massively outnumbered by those of the Warsaw Pact.
  • Well, no desire to engage in war with equally massive armies in Western Europe to expand the "Soviet Empire" also had something to do with it.

    They weren't "equally massive" though. NATO conventional forces were massively outnumbered by those of the Warsaw Pact.

    Very true.
  • Massive enough that an attack on western Europe would have been at a massive cost in men and equipment, and even greater costs to maintain order in the newly conquered territory. No sane leader would inflict that on his own people; Stalin might have been mad enough to contemplate it but the last years of his life were full with rebuilding after the war, and installing loyal governments in the Eastern European countries that had fallen under Soviet influence. Those who followed him as premier of the Soviet Union were significantly more sane.
  • There's going to be a dirty bomb terror attack. In a western country. But hitherto unknown people who get claimed by <insert known group here>. Followed by a repeat of the current long war, but 5x more expensive in the way history rhymes with itself.
  • Massive enough that an attack on western Europe would have been at a massive cost in men and equipment, and even greater costs to maintain order in the newly conquered territory. No sane leader would inflict that on his own people; Stalin might have been mad enough to contemplate it but the last years of his life were full with rebuilding after the war, and installing loyal governments in the Eastern European countries that had fallen under Soviet influence. Those who followed him as premier of the Soviet Union were significantly more sane.

    There could only be one reason for a massive conventional army. NATO was never going to attack the Warsaw Pact with conventional forces.
    There's going to be a dirty bomb terror attack. In a western country. But hitherto unknown people who get claimed by <insert known group here>. Followed by a repeat of the current long war, but 5x more expensive in the way history rhymes with itself.
    Sad but probably true

  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Modern conventional forces, modern being after the early stages of World War Two, are subject to laws of diminishing returns as regards size. That's because the only real forms of defence against modern firepower are: a) being somewhere the enemy doesn't know you are; b) when the enemy locates you moving somewhere else faster than the enemy can bring a gun or missile to bear. Both of those become more difficult if there's a lot of you. In addition, the more of you are moving about fast the greater the likelihood of friendly fire incidents.
    You also need lots of low-ranking officers who can take independent decisions quickly and communicate them to each other directly, which authoritarian governments tend to discourage.
    The effectiveness of the Warsaw pact armies was probably not as great as their numbers would suggest.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    But, what we've got can be dismantled. And, we can stop inventing newer ways to destroy each other. If those nations which already have these pointless obscenities are serious about not letting other nations have them then we need to lead by example and progressively get rid of the white elephants in our rooms.

    There is not enough trust for true multilateralism?

    Multilateralism is people guns at each other and saying "you first".

    Someone has to be first.

    Correct and the only agreements so far have been agreed reductions.

    During the cold war, the USSR had a massive army. I believe it was only nuclear weapons which prevented them from moving west.

    They'd have had to sort out Afghanistan first.

    I have no reason to suppose that the Soviets had any appetite for trying to take over Western Europe. It would have cost them much and given them very little.

    And I cannot justify the threat of mass murder of their citizens to prevent it.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    But, what we've got can be dismantled. And, we can stop inventing newer ways to destroy each other. If those nations which already have these pointless obscenities are serious about not letting other nations have them then we need to lead by example and progressively get rid of the white elephants in our rooms.

    There is not enough trust for true multilateralism?

    Multilateralism is people guns at each other and saying "you first".

    Someone has to be first.

    Correct and the only agreements so far have been agreed reductions.

    During the cold war, the USSR had a massive army. I believe it was only nuclear weapons which prevented them from moving west.

    They'd have had to sort out Afghanistan first.

    I have no reason to suppose that the Soviets had any appetite for trying to take over Western Europe. It would have cost them much and given them very little.

    And I cannot justify the threat of mass murder of their citizens to prevent it.

    MAD was a good policy for both sides to adopt.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    But, what we've got can be dismantled. And, we can stop inventing newer ways to destroy each other. If those nations which already have these pointless obscenities are serious about not letting other nations have them then we need to lead by example and progressively get rid of the white elephants in our rooms.

    There is not enough trust for true multilateralism?

    Multilateralism is people guns at each other and saying "you first".

    Someone has to be first.

    Correct and the only agreements so far have been agreed reductions.

    During the cold war, the USSR had a massive army. I believe it was only nuclear weapons which prevented them from moving west.

    They'd have had to sort out Afghanistan first.

    I have no reason to suppose that the Soviets had any appetite for trying to take over Western Europe. It would have cost them much and given them very little.

    And I cannot justify the threat of mass murder of their citizens to prevent it.

    MAD was a good policy for both sides to adopt.

    Only if you really were willing to press the button. In which case you would be a mass murderer. If you only pretended to be willing, you were a liar.

    Neither are good options.
  • MAD as a policy lived up to it's name. It lead to the nuclear arms race, and the only time we came even close to all-out war between the US with it's Western European allies and the USSR with it's Eastern European allies (there might have been a blockade of Cuba, even a few shots fired, if the USSR had tried to put conventional weapons there but not getting to the point of full-scale war). MAD made the world a lot more dangerous place to live in.

    Deterrence wasn't invented with the development of nuclear weapons, it hadn't worked before* and it was just the propaganda of the military-industrial complex that presented it as something that would work with nukes. We got lucky, that's it.

    * The two classic examples of deterrence pre-nuclear were the arms races between European powers at the end of the 19th and early 20th century with all sides declaring "go to war with us and the slaughter will be massive" - a warning that was demonstrated in spades between 1914-18. And, then in the 1930s with that slaughter fresh in people's minds the world again started to engage in a renewed arms race, the spectre of another slaughter was used to slow the response of European powers to the growing military power of Germany under Hitler - the appeasement over Czechoslovakia and then Britain and France calling his bluff in September 1939 (except, Hitler wasn't bluffing, he was actually mad enough to believe he could win a quick war against Britain and France with limited losses).
  • Telford wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    But, what we've got can be dismantled. And, we can stop inventing newer ways to destroy each other. If those nations which already have these pointless obscenities are serious about not letting other nations have them then we need to lead by example and progressively get rid of the white elephants in our rooms.

    There is not enough trust for true multilateralism?

    Multilateralism is people guns at each other and saying "you first".

    Someone has to be first.

    Correct and the only agreements so far have been agreed reductions.

    During the cold war, the USSR had a massive army. I believe it was only nuclear weapons which prevented them from moving west.

    I reckon that's right early on.
  • MAD does both. Makes the world actually safer by aggressive competitors being tied together, doused in petrol and each having a lighter. That's as moral as it gets, as it can be.
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    Deterrence wasn't invented with the development of nuclear weapons, it hadn't worked before* and it was just the propaganda of the military-industrial complex that presented it as something that would work with nukes. We got lucky, that's it.
    That’s funny - I could have sworn I heard somebody confidently asserting that deterrence worked just yesterday...
  • Sometimes deterrence works, sometimes it doesn't. More by luck than anything else. We can reference occasions when it did, but we can also reference occasions when it didn't. Even if the Soviet Union had wanted to expand into western Europe by military means (and, there seems to be zero conclusive evidence that they did - though certainly plenty of people who wished to convince the people of western European countries of the benefits of Communism and rise up in revolution) it can be easily argued that the conventional forces of the western European nations and the US would have been deterrent enough without adding nukes into the mix. The language of MAD was almost designed to present this as something new that wasn't just the old deterrence ideology that had proven unreliable.

    Part of the problem with deterrence is that in order for it to be credible you need to maintain not only a sufficiently large and equipped military (at significant cost) you need that to be in a state of readiness such that it can swing into action very quickly. That puts the military powers tottering on a knife edge - sometimes things fall on the peaceful side, sometimes into war, and when that happens it goes disastrously wrong. Deterrence requires military powers to maintain things at a careful balance point - not have enough forces or their state of readiness too low and the deterrent isn't credible (though, that doesn't necessarily lead to war), go a little too far and we've seen what happens. That knife edge in 1914 took one assassin in the Balkans to push things to a point where the massed armies of Europe were marching to war and no one could stop them before anyone knew it. The request from Castro in 1961 for Soviet missiles to deter further American interference in Cuba after the Bay of Pigs very nearly had someone on that knife edge push the wrong button ... and there's been no end of speculation as to where that point of failure could have been significantly below the top brass and politicians on all sides, but there's good evidence that it could have taken something as simple as radar operator misreading his screen or a ships navigator getting their position wrong by a few miles to push things to a point where no one could have stopped an exponential escalation.

    Deterrence is a very, very dangerous game to play.
  • Going back a bit (!) to 1968, and the USSR's invasion of Czechoslovakia as then was, I can't recall being particularly worried by the thought of nuclear weapons being deployed. I was 17 at the time, so aware of what was going on in the world...

    What was scary was wondering at which point the Russians would stop moving westwards...
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    Sometimes deterrence works, sometimes it doesn't. More by luck than anything else. We can reference occasions when it did, but we can also reference occasions when it didn't. Even if the Soviet Union had wanted to expand into western Europe by military means (and, there seems to be zero conclusive evidence that they did - though certainly plenty of people who wished to convince the people of western European countries of the benefits of Communism and rise up in revolution) it can be easily argued that the conventional forces of the western European nations and the US would have been deterrent enough without adding nukes into the mix. The language of MAD was almost designed to present this as something new that wasn't just the old deterrence ideology that had proven unreliable.
    So it works when it supports your argument, but not when it doesn't. I mean, "more by luck than anything else" and it's "a very, very dangerous game to play" - but then you repeat your superconfident argument that Western conventional arms were enough to deter the Soviets. (Though now I guess it's not you asserting that, it's just something that "can be easily argued" by somebody.) The people whose job it was to ensure the safety of Western Europe weren't as confident as you.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    Pleased to hear that Honduras has renounced nuclear weapons. That makes me feel so much safer.
  • Well, I never trusted "The people whose job it was to ensure the safety of Western Europe" in the first place. Too many of them seemed to be primarily in the job of supplying bigger and better guns and bullets, and nukes were just another arm of their business. If they could convince politicians that countries needed more tanks, faster jets and sneakier subs then they were quids in. The arms race was good for business (though, quite possibly if those arms were ever used in large numbers business would go pear-shaped very quickly).

    I've still never seen any evidence of a desire by the Soviet Union to annex any parts of Eastern Europe beyond the areas under their control in 1945 by military force. Yes, the Warsaw Pact was often brutally ruthless in maintaining control within their sphere of influence. Yes, Communists in many parts of the world looked to the Soviet Union for guidance, and some Communist states obtained military aid (including Cuba, facing a real threat of invasion from the US or by US backed rebels). Yes, the Soviets would have probably welcomed any nation in Western Europe where there was a successful Communist revolution (and, would likely have supported that). But, send the whole weight of Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces to invade West Germany, Austria or other European nations? It was never going to happen, but made a convenient fiction for arms manufacturers to convince European governments to buy more of their tanks.

    So, that was a deterrence against a fiction, so it's not surprising it looked like a success. But, even if there was some reality to the claims about Soviet expansion, that would have been at massive cost for gaining a scorched earth even without nukes. A cost that no sane leader would countenance (and, if the leader's insane then no level of MAD deterrence would make any difference). The 1968 experience where an invasion of Czechoslovakia to restore a loyal Communist government effectively destroyed the entire Soviet inspired Communist movement (the Maoist version of Communism in China being somewhat different) outside the Warsaw Pact showed how little could be gained by military expansion.
  • Yes, the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 turned out to be something of an own goal...
  • edited October 2020
    Has anyone read the American president Eisenhauer's 1961 "military-industrial complex speech"? You might give it a look: https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/eisenhower001.asp
    Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations.... In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    edited October 2020
    You seem to be all over the map on this, Alan. Yesterday you were confidently asserting that the Soviets were deterred by Western conventional forces; this morning you didn't believe in deterrence, except when you did; and now you've decided there never was anything to deter in the first place.

    Oh, and of course western leaders are entirely venal puppets of the arms industry and couldn't possibly have any real concerns about national security.
  • 1. I'm not denying that deterrence is a military strategy that goes back to before the time when someone said "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace." (Luke chapter 14, if you don't recognise it). And, if you want to avoid fighting there's some logic behind having a big enough army that others will avoid attacking you - but, it comes with a price and that's especially so in the context of approximately matched forces and an arms race, when the strategy fails the war is that much bigger. That, to me, seems self evident. As I said, it's a very dangerous game to play.

    2. I think I've been consistent in stating that, certainly after the death of Stalin, there was no indication at all that the USSR was seeking military expansion into western Europe. That is there was nothing to deter in the first place (in relation to the need to station a large military force in western Europe, let alone develop a massive nuclear arsenal to support that deterrence).

    3. I have said, maybe not as clearly as necessary, that the aim of deterrence is to make the cost of war exceed the gains from going to war. MAD takes that to an extreme where the cost is effective destruction. Is that a fair summary? In the Cold War scenario, a Soviet attack on western Europe, even without nukes, would have faced a well equipped and trained, though numerically smaller, NATO force with all the benefits of defending which would have inflicted massive casualties on the Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces - and the USSR would have gained a scorched earth (very high cost, very small gain), and still have to face the US. If one accepts that deterrence is valid military strategy then that was achieved by the conventional forces that were in Western Europe, those forces were sufficient to prevent a war by deterrence ... but not sufficient to win a war should the dice roll badly (ie: deterrence failed through some accident or insanity), not that I believe 'win' is a word that's applicable to something that would leaves millions dead and millions more as refugees, total war (conventional or nuclear) is something where everyone is a loser it's just that some lose more than others.

    4. It's a fact that during the Cold War an all-out shooting match across the European continent didn't happen (we had plenty of other shooting matches elsewhere as the US and USSR, and assorted allies, fought a series of proxy wars which fortunately didn't get too out of hand - though Vietnam and Afghanistan were both disasters for the US and USSR respectively). I don't believe that it can be proved that deterrence succeeded, just that it didn't fail. The additional deterrence from nukes doesn't, on the evidence, appear to have made a lot of difference otherwise the conduct of all those proxy-wars might have gone differently (a bit more attempts at finding a peaceful solution rather than ship in a load more troops, if there was a deterrence from the thought that it could go nuclear).

    5. And, yes, western politicians are in the pockets (to varying degrees) of big money businesses. And, the arms industry is certainly part of that. That could be directly through various lobby groups. It could be more subtle by influencing the public into believing there's a problem that can be solved by more guns. Was there a fear among the general public in the 70s and 80s that there would be a Soviet attack through western Europe? Yes, there was. Reinforced by the media (including a variety of movies of the Red Dawn variety, even though they're basically the same genre as Zombie apocalypse movies). And, exploited by the arms industry who were very happy when people elected governments intent on arming to the teeth against an attack that was never going to come. In more recent years the same industries have leapt onto the "war on terrorism" bandwagon to supply the equipment for pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere) even though any rational person should know that those wars were the wrong tactic against the wrong targets. But, aid to lift people out of poverty doesn't line the pockets of gun makers.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Dave W wrote: »
    You seem to be all over the map on this, Alan.
    That's what he gets for chasing moving goalposts.

    The logical form is valid:
    (A or not A);
    A implies B;
    not A implies B;
    Therefore B.
    It doesn't require agreement on A either way, and works if the person asserting not B shifts from A to not A.
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    edited October 2020
    2. This is ridiculous. The massive Soviet force and the oppression of Eastern Europe were more than enough reason to think that there was something to deter.

    3. Again, you assert that Western conventional forces were obviously sufficient to deter the Soviets (who were no threat anyway.) Why should I, or anyone else, simply accept your assertion?

    5. Once again, I think you're vastly underestimating the Soviet threat, and your refusal to accept that Western leaders might really have serious concerns about national security really seems peculiar to me.

    It seems like you've convinced yourself that there obviously was never any threat, so people who claimed there was must have been doing so for some dishonest, nefarious reasons. The pattern seems a lot like people who don't want to believe in climate change, so they have to conclude that environmentalists are all Commies or lining their own pockets, or people who don't want to believe in the pandemic so they have to conclude that liberals are all Commies or lining their own pockets.

    Parallels aren't exact (the case for nuclear deterrence obviously isn't anything like that for climate change or the pandemic) but your certainty about your own assertions and the moral inferiority of leaders who don't or didn't share them really doesn't help support what I'm sure you think sounds like a well-reasoned argument.

    It seems that you really want to believe that the possession of nuclear weapons could never be justified, so you have to believe that the threat they were meant to deter didn't really exist.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited October 2020
    It's not justified ever. The use of a nuclear weapon, killing millions of civilians, is an evil act.

    Its possession must either indicate a willingness to commit mass murder, or basically lying. Which was it?
  • 1. I'm not denying that deterrence is a military strategy that goes back to before the time when someone said "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace." (Luke chapter 14, if you don't recognise it). And, if you want to avoid fighting there's some logic behind having a big enough army that others will avoid attacking you - but, it comes with a price and that's especially so in the context of approximately matched forces and an arms race, when the strategy fails the war is that much bigger. That, to me, seems self evident. As I said, it's a very dangerous game to play.

    Not half as dangerous as maintaining no deterrence at all, leaving yourself completely exposed to the first foreign power that decides you've got something it wants.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum
    (if you want peace, prepare for war)
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited October 2020
    And prepare to vapourise millions of children in the own beds it makes you feel secure.

    We condemn terrorists and yet maintain a fleet of submarines ready to unleash horror on innocents orders of magnitude worse.
  • Both @KarlLB
    Like in business, truth is flexible. Lawyers usually understand this too. (sorry if that is too much of a jab)
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Both @KarlLB
    Like in business, truth is flexible. Lawyers usually understand this too. (sorry if that is too much of a jab)

    There's not much I'm definitive on, but the horror and mass death, destruction and infliction of lasting and ongoing suffering that nuclear weapons involve makes me absolutely horrified that anyone could ever threaten their use. It's beyond my comprehension.
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Dave W wrote: »
    You seem to be all over the map on this, Alan.
    That's what he gets for chasing moving goalposts.

    The logical form is valid:
    (A or not A);
    A implies B;
    not A implies B;
    Therefore B.
    It doesn't require agreement on A either way, and works if the person asserting not B shifts from A to not A.
    If the person asserts A, then switches to not A when it suits, an observer could be forgiven for wondering if maybe the person is really just extremely committed to getting to B no matter what, regardless of "logical form" or the truth of the premises.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Dave W wrote: »
    Why should I, or anyone else, simply accept your assertion?
    Any assertion is unsupported if you completely ignore the argument supporting it.

  • KarlLB wrote: »
    And prepare to vapourise millions of children in the own beds it makes you feel secure.

    If you're willing to countenance war in your own defence then you're prepared to countenance millions of deaths. I'm not convinced the method by which those corpses are created makes all that much difference. The victims of Dresden or Tokyo are no better off because their deaths were caused by good old-fashioned incendiary bombs rather than nuclear ones.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited October 2020
    KarlLB wrote: »
    And prepare to vapourise millions of children in the own beds it makes you feel secure.

    If you're willing to countenance war in your own defence then you're prepared to countenance millions of deaths. I'm not convinced the method by which those corpses are created makes all that much difference. The victims of Dresden or Tokyo are no better off because their deaths were caused by good old-fashioned incendiary bombs rather than nuclear ones.

    Indeed. And I've always considered those to be war crimes as well.

    Unless you think civilians are morally acceptable targets, nukes are useless. That's what they do. But then you have to explain why terrorism is so evil, because that's what they do too. And of course why the rules of war, which outlaw civilian targets, are also wrong.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    edited October 2020
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    But, what we've got can be dismantled. And, we can stop inventing newer ways to destroy each other. If those nations which already have these pointless obscenities are serious about not letting other nations have them then we need to lead by example and progressively get rid of the white elephants in our rooms.

    There is not enough trust for true multilateralism?

    Multilateralism is people guns at each other and saying "you first".

    Someone has to be first.

    Correct and the only agreements so far have been agreed reductions.

    During the cold war, the USSR had a massive army. I believe it was only nuclear weapons which prevented them from moving west.

    They'd have had to sort out Afghanistan first.

    I have no reason to suppose that the Soviets had any appetite for trying to take over Western Europe. It would have cost them much and given them very little.

    And I cannot justify the threat of mass murder of their citizens to prevent it.

    MAD was a good policy for both sides to adopt.

    Only if you really were willing to press the button. In which case you would be a mass murderer. If you only pretended to be willing, you were a liar.

    Neither are good options.

    The other side had to be convinced you were willing. That's why it actually worked

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    But, what we've got can be dismantled. And, we can stop inventing newer ways to destroy each other. If those nations which already have these pointless obscenities are serious about not letting other nations have them then we need to lead by example and progressively get rid of the white elephants in our rooms.

    There is not enough trust for true multilateralism?

    Multilateralism is people guns at each other and saying "you first".

    Someone has to be first.

    Correct and the only agreements so far have been agreed reductions.

    During the cold war, the USSR had a massive army. I believe it was only nuclear weapons which prevented them from moving west.

    They'd have had to sort out Afghanistan first.

    I have no reason to suppose that the Soviets had any appetite for trying to take over Western Europe. It would have cost them much and given them very little.

    And I cannot justify the threat of mass murder of their citizens to prevent it.

    MAD was a good policy for both sides to adopt.

    Only if you really were willing to press the button. In which case you would be a mass murderer. If you only pretended to be willing, you were a liar.

    Neither are good options.

    The other side had to be convinced you were willing. That's why it actually worked

    Exactly. So were we liars or genocidal psychopaths?
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Both @KarlLB
    Like in business, truth is flexible. Lawyers usually understand this too. (sorry if that is too much of a jab)

    There's not much I'm definitive on, but the horror and mass death, destruction and infliction of lasting and ongoing suffering that nuclear weapons involve makes me absolutely horrified that anyone could ever threaten their use. It's beyond my comprehension.
    I agree with you. Though note that throughout history, including biblical, slaughtering everyone was usual during and after battle. Expected. Frequently after torturing the survivors, raping them, etc.
  • Ah - those really horrific bits in the Bible, ordered (and presumably delighted in) by the all-loving God...
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    But, what we've got can be dismantled. And, we can stop inventing newer ways to destroy each other. If those nations which already have these pointless obscenities are serious about not letting other nations have them then we need to lead by example and progressively get rid of the white elephants in our rooms.

    There is not enough trust for true multilateralism?

    Multilateralism is people guns at each other and saying "you first".

    Someone has to be first.

    Correct and the only agreements so far have been agreed reductions.

    During the cold war, the USSR had a massive army. I believe it was only nuclear weapons which prevented them from moving west.

    They'd have had to sort out Afghanistan first.

    I have no reason to suppose that the Soviets had any appetite for trying to take over Western Europe. It would have cost them much and given them very little.

    And I cannot justify the threat of mass murder of their citizens to prevent it.

    MAD was a good policy for both sides to adopt.

    Only if you really were willing to press the button. In which case you would be a mass murderer. If you only pretended to be willing, you were a liar.

    Neither are good options.

    The other side had to be convinced you were willing. That's why it actually worked

    Exactly. So were we liars or genocidal psychopaths?

    Both (albeit not necessarily at the same time)?

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