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Thread: Nuclear peace

  1. #11
    Senior Member Willfrey's Avatar
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    North Korea isn't as nuclear capable as people would think. The first test they did in 2006 was a subkiloton yield that is suspected to be a failed detonation. It was confirmed as a radioactive.

    The second was larger than a kiloton, though what you may have not heard was that there were no radionucleotides detected afterwards (which of course would have been more prevalent in a successful test) which has led people to believe it was not nuclear in nature and just more of North Korea trying to flex their muscle.

    North Korea is not a threat.
    ...Then I ducked my head and the lights went out, and two guns blazed in the dark;
    And a woman screamed, and the lights went up, and two men lay stiff and stark...

  2. #12
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar View Post
    Retarded theory, which was most likely conjured up by an INTx crackpot.

    During cold war, there were a lot of close calls which could have resulted in apocalypse... just look the incident of fire on a soviet submarine off the US east coast (the captain opened the missle hatches to flood the fire and americans could have interpreted that as offensive action) and another incident where soviet satelites misread sunlight reflecting off of clouds as a missle launch (the colonel in charge of USSR missle defense had a nerveous breakdown after managing to talk Kremlin out of a counter strike)

    And this just two nations at odds with each other, with the most belligerent being buerocratic atheists (I e keenely aware they were not going to paradise when shit went down).

    Now we have a cult nation (N Korea) with nukes and islamic fundamentalist Iran seeking to get some.

    How the fuck does that make the world a safer place?
    There's no doubt that there were several close calls during the Cold War. Still, I think the underlying logic of MAD actually prevented these situations from escalating - it was much more likely that these were mistakes than an aggressor state committing suicide by launching a first strike.

    I disagree with your assessment of the Soviets being more belligerent than the US during the Cold War. We far outnumbered their foreign incursions in the period 1945-1990, and upheld far more brutal regimes for the sake of maintaining allies than they did. Their meddling stayed mostly within the Warsaw Pact and near frontier, while we went global on our intervention. Of course, I'm not saying the Soviets were saints, either. Just that the US was far more aggressive during that period than the USSR. They didn't have an ocean separating them from the enemy's forward missile positions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    Well, when I am talking about this concept then I am talking only about major powers. N.Korea + nukes simply can't be good for the safety of this world.


    As for the incidents you are talking about, you are right that didn't make world safer place. However it takes time and generational changes to create a mindset that you can't profit out of starting a major war. So in this moment of history nukes are actually a factor of stability (towards my opinion).
    I think Iran and N. Korea gaining nukes might stabilize the situation, strangely enough. N. Korea just wants to ensure its institutional persistence given the near-inevitability of reunification in the somewhat near future. It already has its MAD situation based on the artillery placements aimed at Seoul - an attack on N. Korea would end up killing around 2 million Seoul residents in the first hour from conventional artillery alone. While the prospect of selling its nuclear weapons to rogue actors is a troubling one, I also think it's somewhat unlikely - N. Korea's nukes would be much more useful as a terror weapon against Tokyo, and as leverage in the eventual reunification talks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar View Post
    So you would risk world destruction just to get a point across that war is bad?

    ....brilliant
    If World War I couldn't convince humanity to knock that shit off, then perhaps the only thing possibly worse than that conflict is the only thing that will.

    Quote Originally Posted by Feops View Post
    The only way to win a nuclear war is not to participate.

    Seems pretty straight-forward logic. When losses will assuredly exceed gains by some orders of magnitude, there's huge incentive to work out one's issues in other ways. I'm curious how the US/Soviet relationship would have gone without nukes in the mix, but there's just no way to know.

    However I'm going to side with Sagan given the "more is worse" angle. When countries with unstable, irrational, or inadaquete government come into their own as nuclear powers they increase risk as they have less incentive to keep themselves intact. NK is a good example of this irrational state that's unhealthy on a global scale.
    Like I mentioned above, nukes might actually stabilize N. Korea. The myth of constant foreign involvement evaporates with nuclear arms - the rule of nukes is that you do not mess with another nuclear state, period. Even with the US operations in Pakistan, the only reason we get away with that is our first strike capability against them, and even then, India still tells us to tone it down and we do it (mostly due to their economic power). N. Korea, with the deterioration of Kim Jong-Il's health, likely has institutional barriers to nukes being used even upon his orders, since the military leaders know it's suicide as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    The only thing I am saying is that if you somewhow/magically just remove nukes one day the WW3 suddenly becomes much more realistic since it can be won. But I fully understand your argument since this is certainly quite risky "choice". I mean, however you turn it we are on a narrow road.


    But if we are talking about large disarmament of nuclear, biological/chemical and conventional weapons then your will probably be making a good choice.
    I say probably because this way you are opening a possibility that someone will create a secret arsenal and start another major war which they will probably win.

    The fact is that things can't really be uninvented so a "real" disarmament is technically impossible.
    Yep, Pandora's box is open. The nuclear peace is the hope remaining in the bottom, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by nebbykoo View Post
    This theory is bullshit. It does not take into account the current political climate.
    The USSR and the USA were both secular powers that wll understood that mutual destruction was the only outcome.
    Now we have Islamic nutjobs who KNOW that such a scenario does not apply to them. They have paradise to look forward too.
    So where is the bargaining ship in that equation?

    And if Russia starts to disarm, you better believe there will be terrorists lined up for that 'fire sale'.
    A terrorist group that is able to acquire nukes is one whose organizational structure has been developed enough to where the motivations of the highest members is likely not strictly ideological anymore. They'd likely prefer to hold onto the weapons as a bargaining chip to secure their political legitimacy. Terrorism is a political tactic, not a religious one. That being said, the admittedly small risk that a fanatic would get a hold of one is enough to ensure that it doesn't happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    I agree with you on this one; of course, even if we are both wrong, nuclear disarmament by the major powers is a bad idea because the technology is already out there, and there is no way to be certain that rival nations are not developing WMDs in secret.

    I also side with Sagan over Waltz; the latter is invoking the neo-Realist fallacy that states are like actors

    Edit: I edited my post because I mixed up Waltz and Walt.
    The US doesn't really have any rivals that aren't already nuclear-armed, and our spy satellites are developed enough where it's fairly easy to identify when a nuclear program is initiated, as many rare elements needed for the boosting processes only come from certain countries - and you can only hide so much for so long.


    The main reason I think the nuclear peace is a good thing is mainly from looking back over the previous two major conflicts between developed nations. Without nuclear weapons, we have WWIII by 1970, if not shortly thereafter, most likely due to the Western oil production peak leading to a need to secure the Mideast supply, and prevent Soviet dominance of the market. Clearly, the Russians would have had a problem with that.

    By creating a situation where it's inevitable that billions would die in the subsequent conflict, rather than just hundreds of millions, you stave off that sort of horrific war.

  3. #13
    Nerd King Usurper Edgar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    There's no doubt that there were several close calls during the Cold War. Still, I think the underlying logic of MAD actually prevented these situations from escalating - it was much more likely that these were mistakes than an aggressor state committing suicide by launching a first strike.
    Does it really matter if the humanity's destruction comes from an intended action or an inevitable mistake?

    If World War I couldn't convince humanity to knock that shit off, then perhaps the only thing possibly worse than that conflict is the only thing that will.
    If a deliberate slaughter of millions over a course of half a decade didn't convince humanity to "knock that shit off", what makes you think that a deliberate slaughter of billions at a push of a button will?

    People who share your views seem to have no problem playing chicken with the destruction of humanity because you think the other side will blink first.

    Your risk v reward ratio is fucked up. I suggest you stay away from gambling.
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  4. #14
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar View Post
    Does it really matter if the humanity's destruction comes from an intended action or an inevitable mistake?
    When said intended action is ridiculously unlikely, the inevitable mistake can be accounted for - through the innumerable fail-safes we put around the process. It's also not as if the world's on-alert weapons are multi-megaton city killers either - they mostly target military installations.

    Let's not also forget that a nuclear weapon is very, very difficult to get to work right. Even a dumb gravity bomb has about 25 steps in the process where it can easily fail.

    If a deliberate slaughter of millions over a course of half a decade didn't convince humanity to "knock that shit off", what makes you think that a deliberate slaughter of billions at a push of a button will?

    People who share your views seem to have no problem playing chicken with the destruction of humanity because you think the other side will blink first.

    Your risk v reward ratio is fucked up. I suggest you stay away from gambling.
    When that deliberate slaughter means guaranteed suicide, that changes your priorities a bit. Hitler and Germany started WWII after being in the trenches because they thought they still could win, even if it required the deaths of millions. MAD guarantees that you're not going to win, period, so what's the point in even starting?

    You think I'd start the war? You clearly misunderstand my entire argument. The last thing I'd do is start the war because I know it would mean my death, and the deaths of those I care about, not to mention a horrifying existence for the survivors. That doesn't mean I still wouldn't have the weapons to make sure the other guy doesn't get any ideas.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum. Hell, that's why I oppose most military spending. Our strategic arsenal makes us strong enough that most conventional capacity is practically pointless unless we are intent on a power-projecting (i.e. imperialistic) capacity.

  5. #15
    Nerd King Usurper Edgar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    When said intended action is ridiculously unlikely, the inevitable mistake can be accounted for - through the innumerable fail-safes we put around the process. It's also not as if the world's on-alert weapons are multi-megaton city killers either - they mostly target military installations.
    Wtf are you talking about? Military installations? Nuclear missles are pointed at the cities (capitals, economic centers) first, THEN military installations. Nuclear weapons are are not precision bombs. They are an "all in", "maximum destruction" weapons of last resort. You don't nuke someone half assed because if the enemy is still breathing they will nuke you right back.

    Let's not also forget that a nuclear weapon is very, very difficult to get to work right. Even a dumb gravity bomb has about 25 steps in the process where it can easily fail.
    Did you read my first post here?
    I don't care how many safety devices there are, as long as humans lack telepathy and still feel panic there is a good chance of a mistake happening.

    When that deliberate slaughter means guaranteed suicide, that changes your priorities a bit. Hitler and Germany started WWII after being in the trenches because they thought they still could win, even if it required the deaths of millions. MAD guarantees that you're not going to win, period, so what's the point in even starting?
    The only guarantee that there is no guarantee.
    Some country will invent a missle shield, and think they are safe. Some countries will choose to go down in flames for the sake of God, Great Leader, honor, etc.

    Not everyone thinks like a detached NT you know. In fact, few do.
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  6. #16
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar View Post
    Wtf are you talking about? Military installations? Nuclear missles are pointed at the cities (capitals, economic centers) first, THEN military installations. Nuclear weapons are are not precision bombs. They are an "all in", "maximum destruction" weapons of last resort. You don't nuke someone half assed because if the enemy is still breathing they will nuke you right back.
    OK, I guess you're not familiar with the specifics of nuclear strategy. Based on declassified documents, in the US strategy, strategic targets are designated primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary targets are those by which the enemy would launch their counterattack (since it makes way more sense to try to limit your losses in that scenario), so this would include missile silos, AFBs with bombers, ammo depots, weapons assembly facilities, submarine bases, so on and so forth. Even in that situation, the cities don't get out unscathed - it's believed that 25 megatons would be detonated somewhere over Manitoba to EMP the hell out of the continent. Secondary targets are the infrastructure to sustain the war machine - this would be interstates, railroads, oil pipelines and manufacturing centers (where the first city killers would come out - but fortunately the US hardly has any manufacturing centers anymore). Financial centers are left out because they're assumed to be wiped out by the EMP. Finally, if negotiations break down after this point (since even with the severe hits, government still could technically run, since most their communications networks are hardened, explaining why old AT&T Long Lines buildings look like bunkers, and both sides deliberately do not want to target the capital first, because who will capitulate?), then the rest of the strategic arsenal comes out and wipes out the major to mid-size cities. Many think it would never get to that point, since the losses would already be too heavy (in the tens of millions on both sides), and tertiary targets would be spared due to the destruction of at least 40% of the arsenal in the first strike/counterstrike, not to mention their functionality from the EMP blast. This is fairly academic, however, because the fallout would already be tremendous from the groundbursts used to take out the hardened military targets in the primary stage, and life would still be nasty, brutish and short following even a two-stage exchange.

    Did you read my first post here?
    I don't care how many safety devices there are, as long as humans lack telepathy and still feel panic there is a good chance of a mistake happening.
    How would you define a "good" chance? Not only that, but do you think we let just anyone around those launch consoles? The real issue has never been the weapons per se, it's always been about the delivery systems. Even if NK got a working nuke, that doesn't mean they can do much of anything with it (their "ICBM" is a joke). That's why ABM was such a big deal - it wasn't the nuclear balance that was disturbed, it was the delivery system balance of power.

    The only guarantee that there is no guarantee.
    Some country will invent a missle shield, and think they are safe. Some countries will choose to go down in flames for the sake of God, Great Leader, honor, etc.

    Not everyone thinks like a detached NT you know. In fact, few do.
    Yeah, and they're not the ones that develop nukes and nuke strategy, either. Even the most overtly nationalistic administrations in both recent US and Russian history (Reagan/Bush II, Putin) never even broached using nukes in their various campaigns. Even people with the level of power Curtis LeMay and Douglas MacArthur had post WWII weren't allowed to deploy these weapons, because enough people knew the repercussions to get in their way.

    We may be in the minority, but it's practically a requirement to get to certain levels of power.

  7. #17
    Just a statistic rhinosaur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    you can't profit out of starting a major war.
    Not a student of history, I see.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhinosaur View Post
    Not a student of history, I see.
    I was talking about todays world.

    The WW1 and WW2 started exactly because the profit (money or territory) can be "earned" with this approach.

  9. #19
    Just a statistic rhinosaur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    I was talking about todays world.

    The WW1 and WW2 started exactly because the profit (money or territory) can be "earned" with this approach.
    Converting Iraq to a democracy "gains" their territory in the sense that it opens up support for a Westernized society, which stimulates trade and boosts our economy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhinosaur View Post
    Converting Iraq to a democracy "gains" their territory in the sense that it opens up support for a Westernized society, which stimulates trade and boosts our economy.
    True, but I don't count Iraq as a major war/large conflict .

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