Dan Caldwell, my good friend, professor nonpareil at Pepperdine, and the co-founder of The Order of the Baby Lenin, has compiled two charts encapsulating presidential achievements from Eisenhower to Obama that established norms related to weapons of mass destruction. Many other statesmen and women contributed (and in some cases, took the lead) in reaching these achievements. As a consequence, the battlefield use of these weapons — and even their testing — have been stigmatized. The number of these weapons has been greatly reduced, while new possessors have been limited. In some instances, stockpiles have been destroyed.
Norms make us safer, even when outliers disregard them. Deterrence alone hasn’t assured the absence of mushroom clouds. Deterrence is dangerous; without arms control and norms, deterrence is more likely to fail.
Please don’t speed-read Dan’s first chart. Read every line and try to appreciate how much effort went into this body of work.
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