When Doctrine Changes
Winning a Nuclear War?
By. Raimondo Graziano
~Written in March, two years ago.
The concept that has guided American, and arguably all nuclear powers, diplomatic and military efforts regarding large nuclear powers is the specter of mutually assured destruction – in the event of a catastrophic meltdown of relations, and an ensuing exchange of nuclear fire, both sides would undoubtedly ‘lose’. The devastation from an exchange between two nations of its nuclear arsenal would render the global community inhibited, and perhaps permanently, crippled. There is no doubt, the evidence and studies have shown, that a nuclear exchange would not only be debilitating for the populations affected, but the implications of such a historic event would reverberate globally – not only economically, but psychologically. Imagine, the first generation to experience the raw horror of a nuclear exchange between two nations – the mass exodus of refugees, and psychological trauma that would follow the world over from such an earth-shaking event would be unprecedented.
And thus far, we have avoided this scenario. Until recently. The prospect of a limited nuclear exchange is not only rising, it is being acknowledged – not only is the threat of a bomb, dirty or otherwise, being set off in a major city a real threat; major militaries globally are looking at the possibility of ‘winning’ a limited nuclear exchange. And in the age of Trumpian politics, and populist movements, the notion of such couldn’t be more bone chilling.
What is also troubling is the deafening silence by the administration regarding the movement of Russian missiles, recent tests conducted by North Korea in the Sea of Japan, and the possibility of nuclear proliferation increasing at levels unseen since the height of the Cold War. For instance, in policy circles within the European Union, the possibility of establishing a European Nuclear Defense, a nuclear arsenal for the European Union is growing – likewise in Japan, prominent politicians are floating the idea of developing first strike capabilities in response to recent North Korean provocations the muted response form the United States which has for the greater half of the last century provided for the collective freedom and security of the Western World.
And this trend of course will only increase as the United States pursues a course of withdrawing from global commitments, and leaving the bulk of international security up to our European allies, who unlike us, do not have the sheer size and force needed to defend their countries alone – look to Europe itself, a continent embroiled in, and the cause of both World Wars, differing cultures, ethnic backgrounds and with the rise of populist politics, the propensity for conflict among European nations fueled by this rhetoric, as well as a Russia intent on establishing the foundations of our democracy – and you have a recipe for the rise of authoritarian regimes, friendly to countries that do not share our values. And as the United States withdraws, nations will seek the ultimate defense against invasion – a nuclear deterrent. As the number of nuclear powers rises, so too does the possibility of weapons falling into the hands of terrorists, and non-state actors. The precarious situation of the global community is hot, quite hot; the risk of miscalculation and horror is high. It is up to the American people, to the people of Europe and to all peoples who believe in western democracy, the tenets that have held up our society to speak truth to power, to remain vigilant and to watch out for one another – regardless of party. The situation worldwide requires intense vigilance and care, and in the coming months and years the bedrock of our society will be tested. We as a people will be tested. And it is in our best interests to be prepared for the times ahead.