Nuclear weapons, once Americans’ greatest fear, are barely mentioned these days in opinion polls and popular media. Eclipsed by domestic concerns and climate change, Americans seem to accept the continued existence of nuclear weapons on high alert in hostile nations, each with the potential to kill hundreds of thousands. Even when the ongoing competitions with China and Russia take center stage, discussions focus on economic issues, cyber warfare, and conventional weaponry – nukes are rarely mentioned. Yet, nuclear weapons pose the much-overused “apocalyptic threat” to this country, just as US nuclear weapons pose comparable threats to adversaries. Should nuclear war begin, the United States, its enemies, and much of the world could be totally devastated within hours.
For decades, decision-makers have depended on “deterrence” — the threat that if you destroy me, I’ll destroy you in retaliation, to prevent nuclear war. Yet, deterrence is not a law of nature, nor a scientific principle, it’s a concept that depends on the decisions of individuals — decision-makers who must perceive the threat, believe it, and decide to act rationally. It also depends on complicated technical systems working properly. Deterrence is a frail reed upon which to depend. Instead, many have argued that the only real solution to the nuclear threat is to eliminate nuclear weapons — all such weapons, from all nations, for eternity.
Ward Wilson has long argued for eliminating nuclear weapons, Recently, he has put together a lifetime of work in a series of four articles in which he dismantles the myths of deterrence and argues persuasively for the need and the feasibility of eliminating nuclear weapons. Although not a Stimson product, we believe that this comprehensive analysis of the threat posed by nuclear weapons and the only means of truly eliminating it, is truly worth your attention.
Read Ward Wilson’s comprehensive argument for the elimination of nuclear weapons on Inkstick Media.