Carol Platt Liebau: A MAD World

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A MAD World

Middle East expert and Princeton professor emeritus Bernard Lewis points out the danger that should be (but apparently isn't) obvious to all: That the longstanding American nuclear deterrence strategy of MAD (mutual assured destruction) isn't worth much when dealing with a regime like Iran, which not only is willing to accept the massive number of casualties a nuclear strike would entail -- but may positively welcome them.

With such a regime, there's no deterrent to a first-strike use of nuclear weapons against either the United States or Israel. That's why it's particularly concerning, as the Claremont Institute's Brian Kennedy points out, that the U.S. has done very little in terms of ballistic missile defense.

It's true that installing some sort of missle defense would likely upset both Russia (which has much more significant defenses than we) and China, as their nuclear arsenals are one of their preeminent claims to influence in the world. Even so, as Kennedy has pointed out, one of the greatest dangers to an American city comes not from a nuclear missile emanating from Russia or China, but from missiles fired from ships that are then sunk by the terrorists that have used them. There's no return address, so the US can't deter such attacks by promising an overwhelming response (and the efficacy of that strategy, as noted above, depends on making sure that such a response is feared by a terrorist rather than welcomed).


Blogger Editor said...

Lewis has proven to be another neocon dead wrong on Iraq... enough said.

4:02 PM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

I have uncovered the left wing plan for overthrowing Ahmadinejad in Iran. Send over Sen. Kerry, and when he and Ahmadinejad sit down for their tea, Ahmadinejad will soon thereafter fall into a deep sleep and die.

Or, send over the brilliant Hillary Clinton, and after 10 minutes of hearing her, Ahmadinejad will pull the rip cord on his homicide vest.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Editor said...

The ground-based system hasn't had a successful flight intercept test in four years. In the two most recent attempts, the interceptor never got off the ground and failed to leave its silo. And in the only other recent attempt, the kill vehicle - the pointy-end of the interceptor - failed to separate from its booster and missed its target.

The U.S. has been trying to develop a reliable missile defense system for over 45 years. For over 45 years the question has been, "Is missile defense a strategic option on which we can depend?" And after 45 years of trying the answer is still, "No."

It's natural for Americans to want to rely on high technology as a silver bullet so we can avoid dealing with our problems in diplomatic ways. But the technology just isn't there.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Bachbone said...

An apocryphal story has a reporter asking Thomas Edison, after his 9,999th attempt at perfecting a light bulb failed, "Mr. Edison, are you going to have 10,000 failures?" Edison replied, "Young man, I didn't fail 9,999 times. I discovered that many ways not to invent the light bulb."

As anyone who knows history recognizes, diplomacy often fails, and appeasers sometimes succeed in deluding themselves, along with many others, into believing that talk solves every problem, no matter how fanatic or illogical or crazy the opponent.

If Edison had given up his work on the light bulb after 10,000 failures, we might still be reading by candle light.

"Cut and run" has, for leftists, seemingly morphed from a military "strategy" into a scientific "strategy" now.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Editor said...

Problem is that only 3% of shipping containers are being screened for nuclear devices. There is only so much money and Congress has decided the money is better used on other more realistic threats. Congress does not want to spend a trillion dollars on a program when it may prove not to work. That is not even considering counter measures that could be used to fool the system.

As the Neocons try to pretend they can rule the world and all its resources, just keep in mind, there is no silver bullet.

11:59 AM  

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