Never attribute to malice what you attribute to incompetence....
It also feels very relevant to current events.
What events are you referring to? Having a heart-to-heart honest communication isn't going to solve shit if the parties are greedy as fuck, or out-and-out Nazis.
A lot of events, all over, but mostly politically and with offenders on both sides. Neither is interested in even trying to understand the underlying emotions and reasons for the actions of the other. They're both so bad at understanding each other that at this point all they see is malice.
> the parties are greedy as fuck, or out-and-out Nazis.
Case in point.
Maybe time to wake the president if you're chaining the defense condition...
Schlesinger (Secretary of Defence) ordered military not to react to orders from the White House unless he cleared them first. Nixon ordered bombing raids that were silently canceled by Kissinger.
If the president is incapable, as Nixon was in your description (and in https://www.alternet.org/drugs/huge-role-alcohol-has-played-... linked down-thread), then there's a procedure wherein the VP takes over, isn't there? Not performing this procedure is deciding to contradict the democratic will of the people.
Now, I can see how you might not want to publicly remove the president in a military crisis situation; but the way it was done seems completely wrong, just assuming power without due process, countermanding the president whilst they remain the president .. (as Nixon was CinC surely that's reason for a Court Marshall?)
Did the people ever react to that, have anyone punished? Or are the USAmerican people happy to have a VP secretly assuming power, a Secretary of Defence that chooses when to obey orders, etc?
Democratic order, democracy and the law pale in significance compared to the need for the nation to survive or human race to to survive in the worst case.
When the global nuclear war is on the table, I hope that everyone involved understands that all vows and laws should go out of the window if need be. Only thing that matters is preventing the war, whatever means necessary. Even murder is morally acceptable.
On the scale of the presidency not carrying out some particular bombing raid is like some minion in an office setting not complying with an order from his boss because he knows it's the right thing. You're somewhat risking your job, and if the boss really cared he could get it done with or without your malicious non-compliance.
Also, all military personnel are not only allowed to disobey any unlawful order, they have a DUTY to do so. Trumps order to kill Assad is an example. 
Moreover even with potentially legal orders, there are orders that present military professionals with moral dilemmas, "...decisions wherein the needs of the institution appear to weigh on both sides of the equation. Whether the issuer of the order is a superior officer or a civilian leader, the same principles apply. In the face of such a dilemma, the military professional must make a decision, which cannot simply owe its justification to the principle of obedience, and must take responsibility for that decision. " 
It was rather firmly established at Nuremberg that "following orders" is no excuse for immoral or illegal behavior. Up and down the chain of command, every person is expected to take responsibility for their actions. Those actions may include modifying or refusing to implement orders. The consequences may be anything from commendation or promotion to court martial or death.
Yes, they are taking a risk in countermanding the POTUS/CIC. They are also exercising responsibility.
The crux of it as I see it is that if you decide your orders aren't legal, then your SO surely should be relieved of command, isn't that the proper process? Not relieving them of command, but "simply" choosing to not follow some orders is breaking the visibility of who is in charge. In the case of the president the people aren't being informed that their elected nominee (or the electoral college that they voted in's nominee) is no longer in charge -- this is why I consider it a breakdown in democratic order. Not that the orders were countermanded, but that it was covered up.
Now, as I said you may not want it to be public immediately; but executive/cabinet members should be aware, and their should be official record and once the immediate crisis has passed then there would need to be a process to follow to keep the incapable/immoral officer (eg POTUS) out of command and quickly establish a new figurehead/leader.
That said, it is often impractical, or would create too much of a problem. E.g., the person currently occupying the President's chair and CIC title, is apparently issuing illegal orders (e.g., 'kill Assad'). The ideal solution is the 25th Amendment to relieve him of duty. The problem is that this requires the VP, majority of the Cabinet, then 2/3 of the Senate to execute. Even bigger hurdle for impeachment
This will simply not happen in today's environment, so what is someone in Mattis' position to do? Simply follow orders and become complicit in the crime, or find a way to undo them?
One of the key lessons I learned from several people I worked with who had held US Mil command positions, was that leadership is NOT about giving orders -- many civilians think that mil leadership is easy because of the Chain of Command and orders.
If you think that, then the best case is that you order "Do X" and your second in command says "Do what the chief says" -- i.e., he adds zero value. Leadership is about making those under your command want to execute your orders to the best of their ability.
The person currently occupying the President's chair fails miserably at that basic standard, the party supports his every move for a variety of reasons. Therefore, those under his command are stuck with workarounds.
The man has a press secretary. He could resign today, talk about this, and actively campaign for impeachment. The man has a pension, it’s not his god given right to be a cabinet member. Nobodys asking him to shoot his mother.
Not only would this be a Big Fucking Deal, it also forces stuff like congress passing more laws to prevent attempted beheadings of foreign governments.
Principles only exist if you’re willing to pay a personal cost to enforce them. Otherwise it’s just lip service.
And yes, if the person occupying the President's chair had actually given a specific direct order, as in "As President, I'm hereby ordering you specifically to implement a plan to attack and kill another head of state, specifically Bashir Al Assad; do it by next week or I'll relieve you of duty and court martial you for insubordination", Mattis would have little choice to either comply, resign, or wait for the MPs to arrest him.
However, it is extremely unlikely that the order was that specific, and so both creates the moral dilemma referenced above, and the opportunity to use discretion in how the request is implemented.
And even if such a "Big Fucking Deal" happened, in this environment, it's a fart in a hurricane, and if you actually expect this congress to act as you expected, perhaps we should talk about this bridge I have for sale...
The reality, given what we know about Nixon, is likely simpler: he was drunk.
Comforting at least that there are people responsible enough to ignore those orders.
“Let’s fucking kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the fucking lot of them,” Trump said, according to Woodward.
Mattis reportedly assured Trump that he would look into it, but then told a senior aide: “We’re not going to do any of that. We’re going to be much more measured.”
At Mattis’s direction, national security officials allegedly drew up options for a more conventional response, including the cruise missile strike on a Syrian military installation that Trump eventually approved.
The DoD was even one of the more prominent examples of an executive agency choosing to buffer Trump’s impulses—when Trump announced a ban on transgendered people serving in the military (which was, according to Woodward, in response to a more nuanced discussion about whether the military should pay for or perform reassignment surgeries—Trump was in the discussion and hours later abruptly decided to tweet), DoD responded with a statement that they had received no Presidential order and that no policy change would be made until an order was received and a plan for implementation was devised.
Another repeated theme in the book was the apparent fact that Trump just basically says things and makes decisions and then doesn’t consistently remember to follow up on them, meaning that offhand Trumpian pronouncements that nobody ever put into writing would go forgotten—at least until Trump was provoked into pressing the issue, perhaps by one of his more sycophantic aides.
I actually feel just a tiny bit sorry for Trump. I have the increasing impression that he’s a deeply simple man being manipulated in competing directions by everyone around him. It’s an impression I’m very dubious of, because Republican presidents are routinely perceived as charismatic, naive simpletons being manipulated by conspiracies of sinister right-wing advisors. Both Reagan and W. Bush were suspected of this, but there’s considerable behind-the-scenes evidence to the contrary. I’d be interested in any other reports or memoirs from behind the scenes of the Trump administration, but so far it looks like Trump really is the real deal. The only difference is that the rise of Trump was enabled and precipitated by a complete fracturing of the Republican Party, and many different factions are all trying to pull Trump their way.
He literally watches Fox News and tweets about it immediately afterward sometimes.
He really seems to be that uninformed / scared / elderly person who doesn't know any better ..... with a lot of ego.
No one would hire a surgeon who had never been to medical school, or a mechanic whose only knowledge about cars came from watching Top Gear, but for some reason we're willing to elect a President based primarily on his lack of expertise in (and disdain for) politics and the law.
Such as the likelihood that he trusts Fox News more than his own cabinet, or his calling out hits on people likely because he just assumes that's how government works.
This is not how it works, the president has the sole authority to decide to launch a nuclear attack. Quoting from Wikipedia.
> This verification process [involving the Secretary of Defense] deals solely with verifying that the order came from the actual President. The Secretary of Defense has no veto power and must comply with the president's order.
And from another article:
> If the Secretary of Defense does not concur, then the President may in his sole discretion fire the Secretary. The Secretary of Defense has legal authority to approve the order, but cannot veto it.
That quote is paraphrasing e.g. this source in the New York Times:
> “There’s no veto once the president has ordered a strike,” said Franklin C. Miller, a nuclear specialist who held White House and Defense Department posts for 31 years before leaving government service in 2005. “The president and only the president has the authority to order the use of nuclear weapons.”
Furthermore, the reference to the "button" (nuclear football) and the Secretary of Defense being involved is only a reference to the protocol around that specific launch system, but there's other methods of launching nuclear weapons available to the president, and which operate at his sole discretion.
Here's what ex-Secretary of Defense Bill Perry said about it:
> “What is clear, is that the secretary of Defense does not have veto power on it. This is a decision of the president’s,” Perry told Politico’s “Off Message” podcast.
> “The order can go directly from the president to the Strategic Air Command. The Defense secretary is not necessarily in that loop,” Perry said in the interview.
There’s also no obligation for the military to obey an illegal order.
The verification step is just that they have to acknowledge that the person ordering the launch is indeed the president. They get no say in whether it happens.
> There’s also no obligation for the
> military to obey an illegal order.
Once the launch order goes submarine crews or crews in various missile silos aren't going to be given the chance to check what Trump has been saying on Twitter, and they have no independent way to verify that North Korean / Russian / Chinese ICBMs aren't already in-flight heading towards every major city in the US.
OTOH, an illegal attempt by the President to order a nuclear first strike could conceivably be stopped before the order left the National Command Authority, and the apparent violations of policy would be legally defensible after the fact.
If the President orders a blatantly illegal, unjustified nuclear first strike, the outcome will be millions of innocent deaths and the probable complete devastation of the United States. Refusing to verify the order, physically isolating the President from the ability to communicate down the chain of command, or even more drastic actions could be papered over and excused after the fact a lot more easily than “just following orders” that would lead to the largest and most pointless loss of life in human history.
I agree with your assessment, but I feel sorry for the rest of the world more than the useful idiot.
To be born with incredible privilege combined with such a lack of insight and a feeling of entitlement would not be the heaviest cross ever borne.
I believe that was before Kelly came in as chief of staff. He seems to have things more under control, although that means he's in control of a lot more than he really should be. The latest report is that Trump wants to fire him but can't figure out how because he relies on Kelly to fire people.
To really believe that, you'd have to discount or be ignorant the massive military spending advantage.
Maybe you believe that our government is in such shambles that they wouldn't _respond_ to an attack. If any error would be made, it would be an overwhelmingly.. excessively disproportionate response to any aggression.
MAD is still in play... If anyone wanted to immenitize the eschaton, now's the time to invade.
We’re really playing with Fire if you look at the number of close calls there have been with nuclear weapons. The only sane way we can carry on guaranteeing a decent existence for mankind is to work towards a world free of nuclear weapons.
North Korea, the poorest country on earth, has demonstrated how it can be done by anyone. Before that Pakistan and India demonstrated how easily it can be done with minimal consequences.
Poor and small nations will always be at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to conventional military conflict. Taiwan would love nothing more than to have a 100 nuke stockpile right now, it's the only way they don't get invaded and annexed by China against their will. There is nothing that can stop China as things are today, the US isn't going to commit suicide to save them from annexation. Those nuclear weapons are the ultimate deterrence when facing off with an overwhelming opponent, another thing North Korea correctly figured out.
There's no scenario where countries like Pakistan or North Korea don't pursue nuclear weapons to compensate for their weakness or specific context. To say nothing of that pursuit on the basis of conquering rivals or ensuring dictatorships or kingdoms.
Iran is guaranteed to acquire nukes in the near future, both for their desire to be able to stand-off with Israel on an equal footing and to deter the US. Iran can't fight with the US in a conventional manner at all, the US can disable their entire economy and take down their air force and navy without ever invading. There's one tangible solution from their point of view.
If you're Vietnam, and China becomes a monster bent on conquering Asia, with a $40 trillion economy and an unlimited supply of soldiers, how do you stop them from taking your country? There's one answer.
Until there are no very powerful military nations, and all nations have similar numbers of soldiers, budgets and hardware, nuclear weapons will remain desirable for defensive purposes if nothing else.
They're not technically at war with a nuclear-armed power (North Korea). They're not faced with a neighbor with incalculable manpower advantages (India, Pakistan) or nuclear weapons (same).
Anyway, I would characterize South Africa as a unique situation vs a reason for optimism, but I'm also deeply pessimistic about nearly everything.
If anything, the situation in Pakistan, North Korea, India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel etc. are the unique cases - that is essentially a whose-who of regional conflicts
Aside: the fissile material is still stockpiled and there was a break-in attempt at the storage facility a few years ago
South Africa shows that a country can get rid of its weapons, but it's not a particularly relevant example to those that still have them, or are likely to add them.
North Korea is not even close to being as poor as the reputation bestowed upon it by the US establishment.
If it were, space rockets and nukes would simply have been out of the question (as they were in the 90s). You don't tend to find the best rocket scientists living in mud huts.
It's still hardly a rich country but industrially they're surprisingly profligate and while their famous famine weighs heavily upon them (esp. in the form of stunted heights) it was 25 years ago. About the only thing there is still a massive, visceral shortage of is oil (because embargoes).
An economist weighs in here: https://www.38north.org/2012/07/rfrank071612/
Moreover, most institutions will systematically under rather than overestimate their economic activity from what scraps of data they do have. You wouldn't, after all, win political capital in the UN or the CIA by declaring the north korean economic model to be more successful than it really is... nobody wants to hear that.
Also, the embargoes are weaker now than they were a year ago, so I'm not sure that I would say that they have really started to bite. China and Russia both backed off the pressure after the Singapore summit, and their cooperation is essential for an effective embargo.
South Africa did give up its nuclear weapons. Complete disarmament.
I don't know why you think this comment was disagreeing with what I said.
: Like most observers today, I think that the Vela Incident was not a RSA test. I tend to think it was not a nuclear test at all, which does differ from the majority opinion.
did you visit too?
Nuclear weapons are equalizers among nations like handguns are equalizers among men. The people most vulnerable don't want to be picked on so they arm themselves if they can. Big nations pick on small nations when they know they won't get hurt doing so. Look at Iraq and Libya.
Ah, yes, Obama and Clinton went in, they saw, and they killed Qaddafi. The man surely deserved it, but! But he had made a deal with Bush 43 that needed to be respected so that others in the future too might pick a nuclear-free policy.
Obama single-handedly made the world a more dangerous place by killing Qaddafi. He made it that much more difficult for his successors (not just Trump) to negotiate nuclear disarmament with NK or Iran, for example, though in the future there will likely be others too. To think, Obama won a Nobel peace prize...
I wish sober people had argued this -and prevailed- at the time. I don't know, really, why the Libya adventure happened. It shouldn't have. I wonder if Bush 43 tried to get Obama to not do it, and if so, I wonder why Obama went ahead anyways.
And what nuclear disarmament with Iran? They're already disarmed. All of the highly enriched uranium has been given up. The JCPOA was specifically designed with the expectation of Iran cheating. That unilateral withdrawal is far worse for nuclear non-proliferation going forward. But this is completely consistent with John Bolton who was likewise involved when DPRK withdrew from the NPT. But it's OK, we have a "very stable genius" in office who can only make himself look better by saying everyone else over the past 50 years has done a terrible job, and will never admit he made a mistake.
The world is awash in Plutonium, sadly.
There are a great many nuclear power stations producing Plutonium. Japan and SK can easily make nuclear weapons on short notice with barely anyone noticing, and they're not the only ones -- I'm sure Germany could too, and perhaps also Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, and others.
A wholesale switch to Thorium reactors and/or dismantling of all Uranium-/Plutonium-burning reactors would be needed too.
And even then, we'd need controls on the unavoidably huge stockpiles of Uranium and Plutonium. And the Uranium mines would have to be demonstrably shut down and controlled.
It would be fantastically easier to... have just a few nuclear-armed superpowers enforcing a no-new-membership rule for the world's nuclear club. This should be a LOT easier to agree to... and yet here we are with Russia and China (and the EU!) cheering Iran and NK on!!
So you see, we can't globally agree even to the easy measures that would reduce the risk of nuclear war. How will we even get to disarmament then?
To actually get global nuclear disarmament would be oh so much harder than that still. That makes unilateral nuclear disarmament a non-starter.
The best case scenario right now is that we get no new nuclear-armed states after NK (and Iran, which I presume has nukes now), and even that is in doubt. If the U.S. were to intervene in any other aspiring new nuclear club members... the lesson to draw would be: develop nukes really fast, fast enough to get inside the American political OODA loop and make one's nuclear status a fait accompli. If the U.S. does not intervene... then the lesson will be: every country can and should develop nuclear weapons. That all means that the worst-case scenario right now is a stampede to join the nuclear club. Saudi Arabia? Egypt? Brazil? Chile? Vietnam? SK? Japan? Philippines? All of them will find reasons to develop nukes very soon.
So you see, it really is impossible -- at least for a fairly long forseeable future -- to get nuclear disarmament. It's all going to get much worse before it gets better. In that context simply making sure MAD does not stop working (due to plausible deniability from having so many nuclear-armed countries) becomes the highest priority and the best possible outcome for a long, long time.
Hate to be a pessimist. But really, nuclear weapons policy requires realism.
If you want nuclear disarmament, then perhaps the only thing you can do right now is hope that the Trump administration and, if need be, its successors, make progress on disarming NK and Iran. Then and only then will the slide towards more and more nuclear-armed nations stop (at least for a while). Then and only then can we discuss measures to begin disarming existing nuclear club members.
North Korea is not even close to being the poorest country on Earth. That’s your bias showing.
In the 70s and 80s targeting systems were much worse, so you might expect to send tens of nukes to destroy a single reinforced bunker, since many would miss by hundreds of meters to kilometers. So often you needed tens of nukes for a single strategic target.
Nowadays targeting systems are so good and launch / reentry vehicles so reliable that a single nuke can hit exactly in the right x-y coordinate and in the exact z coordinate sweetspot to destroy that bunker. So you don't need as many.
So the number of nukes has gone down, but the destructive power is quite similar, although I suppose in the event of an all-out war we'll have less fallout.
The military efficiency is quite similar, however, the destructive power has dropped significantly - these targeting improvements resulted in much less powerful warheads being necessary to achieve the same goal, so not only there's much, much less warheads (10000 vs 60000 at the height of cold war, and "only" 3000 of those 10000 are available at short notice) but also each warhead is much less destructive, the "default" warheads have gone down from multiple megatons to 100-150 kilotons.
This means that an all-out war will not only have much less fallout than in 70s, but also much less civilian casualties, much less destruction of cities, etc, etc. In the 70s, if a military base near a city would be targeted, then the city would be eliminated along with the base; now it'd likely be targeted with just something like 100kt bomb with much smaller impact; if the target was in the middle of the city, then most of the city would survive.
But taking that further, what is the point then, of taking out your enemy's bases or bunkers? I realize how dense that question sounds. But in the context of a surgical nuclear strike, ok you wiped most of their airbases off the face of the earth...now what?
It seems rather pointless unless you intend to actually invade, in which case you're in for millions of very hostile civilians and not much to gain
If you take out enemy airbases and nuclear capability, then you can use tactical nukes (or, more likely, you already started using them) to win that conventional war and achieve whatever goals you had in it. There's no reason to invade - just as with Japan in 1945, you can subjugate a country without invading it
It baffles me how the threat of nuclear war has essentially disappeared from the public consciousness. People seem to think that the danger evaporated with the USSR, but it's still there, as likely as it ever was, quite possibly more so now that there are so many more nuclear powers.
For a period accuracy on ICBMs wasn't very great (on the order of a kilometer), which is why they made use of very high yield weapons in the several megaton range. Large warheads were necessary to take out targets (such as population centers) with those accuracy levels. Then several things changed: accuracy improved greatly, the ability to put multiple warheads on a single missile arrived (MIRVing), and anti-ballistic missile defense (ABM) started taking off. This lead to the use of more, higher accuracy, lower yield warheads to take out targets. You could blanket a city with sub-megaton MIRVed warheads instead of using one big 10 megaton bomb. And then the calculus of "but how many will be lost to the ABM systems?" came into play, which resulted in use of "penetration aids" like decoys as well as the deployment of vast numbers of warheads to ensure enough of them made it through. That led to a massive rapid escalation in warhead deployment during the '60s and '70s until the ABM treaty flattened it out.
But this is only half the story. The other half is the massive deployment of tactical (battlefield) nukes. With the invention of smaller nuclear warheads combined with the massive production capability of the weapons procurement pipelines in the US and USSR it became possible to deploy tens of thousands of tactical warheads. These would be used for everything from anti-ship missiles and torpedoes to anti-aircraft weapons to short range ground strike missiles.
The late Cold War and post Cold War arms limitations significantly reduced the deployed number of warheads of both the US and USSR. They massively curtailed the number of tactical nukes deployed, and they resulted in a lot of "de-MIRVing" of missiles. A modern Ohio-class nuclear missile submarine can carry 24 missiles each of which can carry up to 12 W-88 (475 Kt) warheads. Potentially that's up to 288 warheads and over 130 megatons of total destructive power, basically WWIII in a can. However, today they carry far fewer warheads than that due to treaty limitations. Similarly, most of our land based ICBMs have been de-MIRVed and we've retired new weapons systems (like the MX/Peacekeeper) which were heavily MIRVed.
All of this has translated into far fewer warheads in service or on alert and a much reduced overall destructive capability. It is still an overwhelmingly enormous nuclear destructive capability but it has been reduced significantly through treaty obligations over the years.
Now we just need to work on not targeting civilians, not destroying the electrical grid, minimizing fallout etc.
I firmly believe nukes are the reason we haven't had world war 3 yet. If no nukes existed the USA and the USSR would have gone at it in the 60s/70s.
The Soviets made a similar transition, moving away from city-crushing 25MT unitary warheards to much smaller silo-busting MIRVs.
MAD did its job through the 60s but faded away as technology improved.
If you need to destroy a military base or a factory, you can just use non-nuclear weapon.
I think the main targets for ICBMs are densely populated cities or areas. So large countries have much higher chances to survive while overpopulated European countries, or East Asian countries can be severely destroyed.
Don’t confuse the development of guided conventional munitions with nuclear ones it’s a completely different ball game.
Costs and size don’t mean much for nukes, nukes also can’t use GPS, CCD sensor or any other “modern” guidance system due to reentry and many other factors.
Because the US will disable GPS for everyone but their own forces in a heartbeat in the event of war.
And China / Russia might be able to knock out US GPS pretty quickly - but all of that is very untested, moreover, the US may have a way to put up a bunch more satellites quickly.
Systems today have become really, really dependant on technologies that may not be available in a time of war.
It may very well could be that if the US has their act together they could shut down an advanced opponent pretty quickly without having to do much at all.
I'm actually pretty curious as to how advanced guidance systems would work in 2018 without GPS like technologies, not just in 'known tech' but behind the scenes, all the secret stuff.
It's hard because in some ways we could expect them to be way, way ahead with some things, but in others, they might be blindingly incompetent, for example, maybe the US really doesn't have a plan for rapidly popping up new GPS satellites in the event the Chinese knock some down.
That would require a stockpile of both satellites and launchers.
I've never heard of a stockpile of GPS satellites, and they take years to build. But even assuming that there are a few at the ready, what will launch them? I'm hard-pressed to think of many orbital solid rockets, and those that do come to mind (such as Shavit) are way too harsh to launch an atomic clock, not to mention not having the payload capacity to MEO. The liquids are gentler, but are far from launch-ready and much more constrained for launch locations and orbital inclinations.
Yes, and Khrushev singlehandedly conducted a psy-op, ingraining the concept of "missile gap" into psyche of American political establishment.
At the time when ICBMs were still toy weapons, he successfully pushed NATO nations into spending enormous resources bringing up their strategic nuclear forces, while the bloc was popping T55s by thousands every week.
On a macro scale, all an every "lateral movements" were nothing but a ruse, disguising the fact that the only strategy he had was to send a patently enormous mechanised force over a wide front.
The more remarkable was, that, I think, that every military analyst pentagon had was coming to this very conclusion very easy, but none of them were ever heard in white house or by higher up generals.
Big name generals were themselves convinced that all of that itself was a ruse, and that Khrushev had a secret joker in his pocket, and that he will not resort to the most straightforward way to defeat them.
And American presidents, of course, only wanted to hear an opinion that was easier to believe in, coinciding with their own view of the world. What they believed in? They believed in a vision of a clean and fast war, where enemies are instantly vapourised at a click of a big red button.
Nukes really don't destroy that much land directly, the difference with nuclear war over regular ones is mostly just the fallout.
The people intuitively scale up Hiroshima and say it's 1,000x as strong so it destroys 1,000x the area. But, it's non linear the giant hot ball of gas quickly gains altitude. Sure, the center get's more energy but it was destroyed anyway.
Also, the atmosphere cuts radiation exponentially with distance. So, if you block 1/2 the radiation at X, then you get 1/4 at 2x and 1/8th at 3x. Thus doubling only increases the lethal radius by X rather than say 5x which is the original lethal radius. (Note it's more complex as radius also reduces the received dose directly, and radiation turns into heat etc.)
PS: You can estimate direct damage as ~10000 * ~100 square miles (most nukes are sub 1MT) ~= 1 million square miles. But, the earth has 57 million square miles of land. So ~2% of total land though much of this would be over water as many cities are coastal. So, if you could ignore fallout and each nuke was targeting something else most land would still be untouched.
Disarmament didn't work out so well for Ukraine...
If Russia decides it's time to annex the entire country, on the other hand...
North Korea have tiny, impotent toy nukes and everyone around them are very careful.
The Ukraine could have thrown 100% of their conventional forces at the invasion, if they would have had a nuclear threat getting their backs.
As it stood, they could not mobilise because that would a) have left their flanks open because their conventional forces were in such a sad shape and b) going all in with conventional forces would have been an invitation to Russia to counter and crush them - think Russian tanks in Kiev. And it could be spun as a "legal war" and be over until the rest of the world knew how to react.
If on the other hand, you at all times have a bunch of ICBMs in your back pocket, Russian blitz krieg is not in the cards.
I imagine exactly such concerns lead to the nuclear disarmament of Ukraine in the first place. After the end of the cold war, there was a frantic chase to secure nuclear warheads across the former Soviet Union. The US and Russia cooperated with this.
I am not saying it was a bad idea to relieve Ukraine of its nuclear arsenal. I am saying that a country that has them can keep a much higher profile in general.
But as for the "fall in to separatis hands" in a situation similar to this... very unlikely.
a) the central government would guard these systems more than anything
b) even if by some chance such weapons would fall into separatists hands, they would have to be very quick to launch - because the Russian allies would sweep in as fast as possible to stop them. And they would want to avoid having separatists control nuclear weapons as much as the central (Kiev) government would. Given the central government would have remaining nukes to respond with, the response would not go to Donetsk (maybe one to make a point), the response would go to Moscow.
And we are not even talking about what other European powers might do avoid a "broken arrow" situation. It's their backyard too.
What North Korea has is irrelevant. The scary part they have is capability.
Given enough resources, its the equivalent of possessing seeds with highly fertile soil, and having the agricultural know-how.
"On the night of 8 October 1973, Israeli PM Meir authorized the assembly of thirteen 20 kiloton tactical nuclear weapons for Jericho missiles at Sdot Micha Airbase and McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II aircraft at Tel Nof Airbase."
But what is the cost? We've traded frequent massive wars for an ongoing chance of complete catastrophe. What is that chance? If it's one in a million then maybe it's worth it. If it's one in a hundred per year, then we'll have purchased a few decades of peace at the cost of civilization.
Based on the various near misses over the decades, I suspect the actual probability is closer to the latter.
It does seem likely that there's no going back, but we should try really hard to make sure that the chance of catastrophe is as low as possible.
I was in a church in the U.S. South many years ago, a church that is definitely mainstream there. The preacher that evening actively advocated killing Satan worshippers. Not figuratively, but literally killing them. Nobody in the congregation disagreed. "I don't want them around. Do you?" I started thinking hard about the whole God thing after that.
Religion is a very powerful tool that I believe is exploited for control.
I'm sorry if I offended you. But I totally stand by my claim.
I'm not offended and it's rhetorically specious to claim that I was. I disagree with your characterization of religion because I think it's dangerous. If you call the adherents of Islam irrational, violent, and brainwashed that's a powerful tool that can be exploited to justify a war or two.
Most religious beliefs are a fine addition to human culture. Some are not. Wars will be stopped by increasing our understanding and acceptance of each other, not by decreasing it.
Chill, dude. I was offering a sincere apology.
"mainstream" means not some kind of apocalypse cult
Yeah, no shit. And I believe this Pentacostal church with over 7 million members worldwide would take exception to your calling them that. Talk about a specious argument.
adherents of Islam irrational, violent, and brainwashed
Give me a break. This is ridiculous.
Wars will be stopped by increasing our understanding and acceptance of each other, not by decreasing it.
I completely agree. And I think religion is too powerful a tool to sow divisions by those who wish to for whatever advantage it affords them. Your line about Islam that I snipped above, which I've never heard be used to describe Muslims in general outside of the Christian Right rhetoric, comes to mind.
Take this thread as an example. I've made a simple claim that the idea of God is a powerful tool and should be, somehow, removed as a basis of political decision-making (don't ask me how, though!). Your reaction is completely over the top, including mis-representing my arguments in what I consider a hostile and divisive manner, forcing my response on a thread I would just as soon let die.
Ironically, your reaction in defense of God is exactly what scares me about God.
I think a lot of us are learning that peoples' positions can be easily swayed. That's frightening.
Boris Yeltsin also had enough presence of mind not to launch a counter-attack to what was presumed to be a US first strike in the Norwegian Rocket Incident:
Unfortunately, there are too many close calls involving large scale nuclear conflict that are publicly known:
Who knows what the actual number is. Now throw in the ramifications of climate change like political instability, infrastructure strain, resource scarcity, and refugee migrations into the mix. Not blowing ourselves up will really be a challenge, something we as a species have to get right every single day...forever. Let's hope it's not our Great Filter.
"Rule of law" is not something I would ascribe as a high priority to the current U.S. administration.
The good ‘ol hot-hand fallacy in action. It surprises me how easily otherwise intelligent people in positions of significant power (in regards to their situation, such as an unchallenged boss at a small company all the way up to national leaders), forget that what they believed to be true yesterday could easily not be tomorrow.
Challenge your assumptions constantly.
It analyzes the Cuban missile crisis under three different models for understanding how organizations make decisions, and talks about how one might make sense of the facts in light of those models.
It's a fascinating read. The situation comes out feeling like a particularly operatic Kurosawa movie. Only the whole thing actually happened.
I read that and immediately thought "probably because their leaders were goddamn idiots," then chastised myself for being so reductionist.
Then I read the article and the answer is, literally, "because Nixon and Brezhnev were blasted on booze and pills."
It certainly is an approachable layman's novel, not an academic piece.
Definitely worth the few hours it took to read.
And this person was the leader of evil empire for 18 years!!! How lucky we are that he hasn't started the nuclear war.
No matter you're opinion of Trump, I find it extremely off putting when you are reading an article and the author feels the need to get in a jab like that, on either side of the political spectrum. I have seen that in other lectures before, and I feel it undermines the credibly of the author.
I couldn't disagree with you more, though. The comparison is precisely between major world leaders who are either insane or evil -- it wasn't clear back then, and it isn't now.
These are facts about the current administration, not "jabs" for some side or the other. We should not be ignoring reality just to be polite to "both sides".
Whether you think that is intentional or not, or to our benefit or not, is a matter of opinion.
One who pays close attention—who am I kidding, even passing attention—to Trump's entire life story shows a consistent pattern of utter selfishness and narcissism, unwillingness to take any responsibility for the consequences of his actions, and a complete willingness to sacrifice anything and cause any manner of harm in order to further his person desires.
Trying to compare Trump to other presidents isn't useful
> Its not led to nuclear war precisely because there exists a command authority and leadership depth in the US (and Russia) that has worked well enough.
So far. Not leading to the end of the world does not mean a system is good or has sufficient safety just that it hasn't failed in the time period
> Try not to confuse political rhetoric with a lack of self-awareness when judging the current President.
There is no need for pathologizing or political rhetoric
We know from Woodwards book and plenty of other sources, not from political opponents but people inside the administration exactly how crazy things are
I too have paid closer attention to the current president’s remarks, and I see so evidence of self-awareness and self-control. I see bullying pretending to be strength. I see habitual self-aggrandizing lies. I see the worst kind of bullshitter: one that believes his own bullshit.
The president can’t “spin a globe” and order a strike and it be legally a valid order; there is a lot more to it than that.
The second link explicitly says:
"""The president holds the constitutional position of commander in chief and is obligated to protect the United States from foreign threats. The Constitution does grant to Congress the power to declare war, but it is unclear whether a law that significantly constrained the president’s nuclear command authority — particularly when the United States or it allies are under attack or in imminent danger of attack — would be constitutional. """
Instead, I'll point you to this:
In this case, if the President spins the globe and orders a strike and his Cabinet members tell him "uh, no," then the law doesn't matter. The strike does not happen.
This problem is normally averted by displaying leadership and earning loyalty so that your subordinates will obey you when the time comes. Failing that, you can fire people until you get to someone who will obey (e.g. the Saturday Night Massacre), but of course that only works if there is such a person to be had.
Not really. Even the President cannot issue unlawful orders; if they do, they should not be followed. If someone follows an unlawful order, they are still guilty of the crime, they cannot use the defense “just following orders”. That was the Nazi defense, and it did not stand at Nurenberg.
Back to the US military, here’s the oath taken by those who serve
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice “
The sec of defense has to confirm the presidents identity but not the wisdom of the order
Radiolab did a story on this and a former secretary of state confirmed it
The principle for the army to not obey unlawful orders is the only legal way to stop a president from launching nukes. And that is very much a grey area (as to what is an unlawful order).
Nixon's aides made sure he wouldn't launch nukes when he was unstable but did so in an illegal manner
1: How much conflict has been spawned due to the UN Partition plan which created Israel? I haven't dug deep into the factors that led to this decision (I'm sure the aftermath of the Holocaust was understandably huge) but the idea that a new sovereign nation would be created catering to individuals who don't currently live in the land which consists of that new nations borders just seems absurd to me.
2: Maybe this is ageist on my part but after watching hours of Senate committee hearings this year (Zuckerburgs testimony and the Kavanaugh hearings) I would not be against a mandatory mental health check up for our highest officials which includes some sort of mechanism to remove them from office if they are determined mentally unfit to serve. I can't imagine the pressure that government officials deal with everyday but I don't think its safe to assume that the levels of bureaucracy are enough to contain an individual who is mentally unfit from making rash decisions that can affect the nation.
Why would you brame a UN agreement from 20 years earlier instead of blaming the countries which violated the peace treaties they signed only 8 years earlier?
Think about how much more awareness there is now in terms of mental illness, anxiety, stress, mental degradation, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, dementia.
Every country in the world should have these sorts of checks and balances. It isn't a matter of ageism either, it is a matter of sane policy and checks & balances.
Historically those precede a propaganda depersoning campaign, followed by genocide. See gays, trans, right wing, etc. There's just too much bad history.
Be careful what you wish for...
Okay, so why not do some reading on it before deciding its absurd? Tens of thousands of Jews were displaced during and after WWII and no country would take most of them, period. Go back, get educated, and then post the less "absurd" alternative.
>2: Maybe this is ageist on my part but after watching hours of Senate committee hearings this year (Zuckerburgs testimony and the Kavanaugh hearings) I would not be against a mandatory mental health check up for our highest officials which includes some sort of mechanism to remove them from office if they are determined mentally unfit to serve.
The 25th Amendment and Congressional Impeachment power provide such mechanisms for removal. As for diagnosis, and similar to your prior comment, you really need to understand how politics works before you propose candidates submit to psychological evaluation prior to assuming elected office. In other words... who then is going to evaluate the (unelected) evaluators?
And it's not that they chose Palestine as a destination, nobody of the allied forces had a plan to offer asylum to the ~6mi jewish population in Europe and they didn't want to stay in Europe. UN forced his hand on making the immigration official (which was til that moment mostly illegal because it was surpassing quotas established by Britain/Palestine government). Imagine today if the ~1mi Syrians in Germany went to UN and ask for part of Germany territory just because they cannot mix nicely with the local population and the UN agreed, how fucked up it would be.
It's like stealing your neighbor money and donating to a good cause, is it wrong: yes, but are you going to make the world a little bit better: also yes. It also puts your neighbor in a very bad position, if he let it goes he loses his money, if he fight for it he's the guy who doesn't share his money for good causes.
A new state carved from the old Anglo-Saxon homelands in present day Germany.
(You have arabs and jews, two semitic peoples, once closely related but in recent times highly antagonistic. In a similar way you'd have the English, largely a germanic people, but with a strong hailing from the same Germanic ur-tribes.)
Before you dial that snark knob up much higher, consider that WWII was not the starting point of what would eventually become the U. N. Partition. Soooo, about that "get educated" part of your post...
1. Force European states to guarantee their Jewish citizen's right to return.
2. Force Germany to cede territory towards the creation of a Jewish state as reparations for the Holocaust.
3. Literally any plan that doesn't involve shipping European Jews out to West Asia.