Monday, October 24, 2016

This Song is called "Americans Do Nukes Better"

best choice ever. whether to blow up megaton or not. Ynu' lost Karma! Hull that, my friend, is beautiful.. BLOW UP CITY WITH INNOCENT PEOPLE IN IT USING NUCLEAR BOMB LEVEL OUT YOUR KARMA BY GIVING WATER TO HOBOS
Oh well, I'm sure it'll be fine.
In American Civil Military Relations: The Soldier and the State in a New Era, Christopher Gibson highlights the unique structure for control of nuclear weapons in the United States. The civilian Department of Energy manages and maintains the nuclear arsenal, and the Department of Defense handles the launch process. This structure is a compromise that has roots in longstanding tension between civilian scientists and military officials.

Among American nuclear weapons policy experts, there are a some widely-accepted norms. Among these are a few central ideas:
  • The use of nuclear weapons must be a civilian-initiated decision because the Constitution gives civilian government primacy over the military
  • Expert military and civilian perspectives are paramount to WMD strategy because nuclear weapons have both martial and political implications
  • The launch process should follow a clear, standardized chain of command that must originate at the highest level of government because nuclear weapons carry far reaching implications in the international community
  • The use of nuclear weapons has staggering moral implications due to the potential for mass destruction in a short period of time and as such, WMDs should be a tool of last resort
  • Nuclear weapons have as much (or more) value as symbolic political tools as they do as actual weapons because of the international culture that has been constructed around the weapons
These ideas are not exemplified by every state in possession of nuclear weapons. Nor have they always been present here in the US. Part of the structure that ensures nukes don't go off on accident are Permissive Action Links. PALs are failsafe plans that allow for the verification that launch orders are legitimate. As terrifying as it sounds, PALs are relatively new, and not all nuclear-armed states have advanced ones.

There are also serious concerns that some nuclear-armed states are prone to put command of nuclear forces with military leaders in the field. This is particularly worrisome because (a) military leaders might be more likely to use tactical nukes when under serious pressure mid-combat and (b) though these countries are not bound by the standards of civilian control of the military, their nukes carry the same international implications as ours.

As fun as it looks, I would prefer not to...

So, the US may have some issues with our nuclear arsenal and its management. We may even be the only nation to use nukes in aggression. But we remain the global leader of responsible nuclear policies such as PAL reform and disarmament. This is due in no small part to our embrace of the values described above. These values have helped with restraint and peace so far, and even if some politicians disagree with them, they're the best ideas humans have come up with yet for the responsible stewardship of such destructive weapons.

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