In the article the author postulates the question – is nuclear deterrence dead?
The simple premise is – is the power projected by the major powers ‘a sword that cannot be wielded’, a veritable stormbringer, a power with consequences that are so drastic they hurt more than the benefit they yield.
I’d say they are. I can safely say that any of the current nuclear powers will lose or suffer an order of magnitude more than any theoretical gain of using a nuke. The only country I think would be psychopathic enough to actually use a nuclear weapon is Israel, but I hasten to add that the the Jewish people (if they exist as a distinctive genetic lineage, which I doubt) have been a millennial long experiment in eugenics aiming to increase intelligence, and they ended up with an epidemic of asperger-sufferers.
If the US, Russia or China would use a nuclear weapon against any enemy, real or imaginary, their economy world be damaged far worse than the ‘utility’ of crushing their foes. In fact the use of a nuke anywhere would send at this stage the world’s economy in a tailspin. If Russia would nuke a rogue USSR province for whatever loony-tunes reason, the US and China and the EU would probably hold Russia accountable for a long time.
But there is a far more sinister consideration. Let’s be realistic here – many people have hidden nukes in each others cities. You can’t kid me. There are already terrorist suitcases nukes ready to go off in major US cities. They do not go off, and they are a new stage in the Mutually Fucked cycle of deterrence, but the fact I can think of them means they must be there. I live in a politically sensitive city – there’s probably several close to where I live.
If the US starts the ponderous avalanche of jingle and dangle of spurs that will certainly lead to some, say, Persian, city getting incinerated – the same day Washington DC will acquire a very robust suntan and parking will become a great deal cheaper there. The nuclear forensic evidence will have been obfuscated by fissile additives, and we will be up in arms whodunit. The Persians will be in denial and claim – it was the Chinese! The Chinese will claim it was Al Qaida. Al Qaida will claim it was Israel. Lets hope someone then nukes Fox before we have to listen to the insane rants of the pundits there – “It was in fact the Swiss!”
So what’ll be next?
I’ll tell ya. They know it and very soon one of the superpowers (and certainly not the US, for a range of reasons) will make its move. Tzarina nuclear deterrence is dead, say hello to the new Empress – orbital bombardment.
Imagine this – an industry that has the potential to produce more energy than all the oil we ever drilled, many times over. An industry that is absolutely inaccessible, expect by the old boys network of developed nations. An industry that places an exponentially expanding industrial infrastructure in the cislunar system, within a day from earth surface. An industry that is absolutely green. An industry that says a big ‘fuck you’ to all Arab and Oil
An industry that allows the first power that has a stable, sustainable and moderately independent presence there to project force with no chance of retaliation.
That’s right. If China has the above, China can dictate terms to the rest of the world.
Why? The answer is kinetic bombardment.
Nothing on the Earth surface can dictate terms to even a very modest a near-lunar industrial center. A lunar or Lagrange colony can create kinetic impactors in orbit that project force to Earths surface far more deadly, far more precise and ‘far more politically sterile’ than the current nuclear stalemate. The more you threaten from orbit, the more you take orbital force seriously.
Right now, if the US even pipsqeaks they might use nuke their dollar will probably tank.
Case closed for surface based nuclear force projection. It’s swinging a really big morning star at mice in a crystal chandelier store, drunk, naked, with a blindfold. With babies all over the floor.