Friday, October 1, 2010

Nuclear Posture Report Review - Post #9

This post is the final post in a series that I have written about the NPR report issued by the Obama administration. I can almost hear the cheering out there and being finished with this series makes me happy too. You can download the report here. This post will deal with the "Looking Ahead: Toward a World Without Nuclear Weapons" chapter of the NPR. The last "standard disclaimer":  I am employed by Sandia National Laboratories. The views written here are not the official position of SNL and should not be viewed that way. They are my views as a private citizen.

 For the most part, this chapter reiterates much of what was written earlier in the report.  However, in the last bullet of page 47, I read "... and eventually eliminate all nuclear weapons worldwide." As I came to the end of the document, I was forced to admit that some of the short range plans outlined in the NPR were reasonable.  This long range goal is laudable but entirely unreasonable.  A world without nuclear weapons is a world in which we no longer have knowledge of how nuclear physics works.  The physics greats that proved that nuclear energy and weapons were possible (Fermi, Oppenheimer, Bohr, Szilard, Wigner, and many others) knew that this genie could NEVER be put back into the bottle.  In fact, most of them knew this shortly after fission was discovered in 1938 by Hahn and Strassman.

Thus, the Obama administration is either advocating for a new Dark Ages or Utopia.  Both of these states are unrealistic. The Dark Ages approach is suicidal for the U.S. The Utopian view is a dream that only the immature indulge with "hopes" for "change." 

As I conclude this series of posts, I want to recommend a few books that confront the issue of the existence of nuclear weapons with clarity and realistic assessments:

I don't always agree with Rhodes' conclusions about the necessity of the nuclear weapon stockpile, but he writes compelling history of this topic that will probably always be part of the lives of U.S. citizens.

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