Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 24th Dec 2016 20:46 UTC
In the News

Every technology embodies the values of the age in which it was created. When the atomic bomb was being developed in the mid-nineteen-forties, the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. It was championed as a means to victory. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes - and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use. They threaten and endanger noncombatants for the sake of deterrence. Conventional weapons can now be employed to destroy every kind of military target, and twenty-first-century warfare puts an emphasis on precision strikes, cyberweapons, and minimizing civilian casualties. As a technology, nuclear weapons have become obsolete. What worries me most isn’t the possibility of a cyberattack, a technical glitch, or a misunderstanding starting a nuclear war sometime next week. My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.

Donald Trump, the next president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world, said in a tweet this week: "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes". He also told a TV host "let there be an arms race".

In response to these remarks by the next president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world, Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation and supreme commander-in-chief of the other most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world, said "We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defence systems".

Sleep tight, and merry Christmas.

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RE: Gimme a break...
by timl on Sun 25th Dec 2016 00:05 UTC in reply to "Gimme a break..."
Member since:

Sheesh, Thom. Did you buy rations for Y2K as well, maybe a bunker when Reagan was prez?

Huh? I was under the impression that Reagan supported nuclear DISarmament. He actively seeked to at least decrease the active arsenal of nuclear weapons, leading to the START-treaties.

Even SDI (of "Star Wars", as the missile shield was popularly called) was meant as an active measure to protect from hostile (nuclear) missiles. Consequently, the USA would have less need for lots of nukes as a deterrent.

That's a far cry from Trump's internally inconsistent "The world needs less nukes, so we need more now".

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Gimme a break...
by Frak on Tue 27th Dec 2016 01:35 in reply to "RE: Gimme a break..."
Frak Member since:

I don't think Thom was alive when Reagan was in office ...and some of the comments here are internally inconsistent. The reason we arm ourselves is to deter others from attack. If you want to learn about Nuclear Deterrence, I recommend the book, "War and Peace in the Nuclear Age" by John Newhouse. A PBS (circa 1988) 13-part companion series (i.e., college telecourse) was produced by the Annenberg/CPB Project and is very difficult to obtain. Interviews from the series are still available via the PBS website at:

Reply Parent Score: 1