Wednesday, October 13, 2021

On the eve of destruction

Command & Control, the extraordinary book by Eric Schlosser, describing how lucky we have been regarding nukes given the incredible number of near misses we have had in the art of blowing ourselves up, resonates, in part, to the articulate Richard Rhodes piece On the Eve of Destruction discussing the ongoing insanity of an out of control tech capable of ending civilization as we know it.

And ... it's all about the money


Questions, questions in terms of why we need these weapons in the first place.

But what enemy or enemies are we defending ourselves against? Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, back in 1991 when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, famously remarked, “I’m running out of demons. I’m running out of villains. I’m down to Castro and Kim Il Sung.” What are we down to today? An Iran with only a conventional military, increasingly crippled by sanctions and unwilling to engage? North Korea now protected by an arsenal of nuclear weapons—twenty or more, including its first hydrogen bomb—and holding Japan and South Korea hostage, to be sacrificed if we were so foolish as to attack? China, which has limited its nuclear arsenal to a posture of minimum deterrence since it first acquired a nuclear capability in 1964? What in heaven’s name is a trillion dollars in defense spending for?

Good question indeed.

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