Saturday, March 27, 2010

Strategic Survivability


(fm the BC thread "A Whole New World")

Habu,
Morton Kaplan always thought the worst of Kissinger. I have found Kissinger's books to be worthwhile and thought that his conduct at the end of the Vietnam War was due to his belief that the American people had chosen defeat. Given the conduct of the Congress, who betrayed our Vietnamese ally while the battle was still in doubt with less justification than their predecessors had in cutting off the Nationalist Chinese 25 years earlier, that position on his part was understandable.

Eggplant,
My chief concerns with your well laid out position on moving to fewer but more reliable nuclear weapons are,

1. Congress has killed efforts to create a mix of high thermal/low radiation yield bunker busters or Counter Value weapons and low thermal/high radiation yield (neutron bomb) Counter Force or tactical weapons so the credibility of a move to technical improvement is questionable under the current regime,

2. fewer weapons are inherently destabilizing because they simplify the targeting problem for an enemy contemplating a decapitating first strike such that if you are going to have nuclear weapons you are far better off with five thousand of them than five hundred,

3. I do not understand your desire to abandon MIRV systems that complicate the enemy's ABM problem as there is no reason to believe that all parties, including China, would verifiably abandon this technology in which we hold an advantage,

4. the multi-megaton city killers of 40 years ago were retired with the Titan launch vehicle and I believe that all US current strategic weapons scale up to the 200 kt range.

RWE,
(for points re. the CRA, Bush & Citicorp, and Congress & nukes)
Well said.

-------
Habu,
(who recounted his experience regarding the fall of Saigon)

35 years less 4 weeks ago the NVA drove down Highway 1 with their tanks headlights on. A handful of passes by B-52s would have done to them what we did to Saddam's army on the road between Kuwait and Basrah. One of the terrible things is that those old OSS hands whose word was a bond were largely Democrats, the last gasp of the patriotic liberals and the self consciously Best and the Brightest who had come from the Ivy League like their counterparts from Oxbridge that had gone into the SIS, and they were betrayed by their own children.

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