United States, Eric Schlosser, Scott Sagan discussed on Talking Politics

Talking Politics
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Sometimes people would drunk messages go coupled when we look back when it now, should we what's the correct response to think about the history of the Kotal should we think about for the grace of God? It was just luck that it was much closer to catastrophe than we appreciate the time we'll should. We think that we won't always through it. Here's the way I view nuclear weapons. They keep the world safer every single year until they will eventually kill us all. And the way I view this is basically nuclear weapons have, I think, had tremendous. Deterrent effect on the great military powers of the world. Right? Don't think you can explain the so-called long pieces. John Gada says right after World War Two, where you haven't had World War three or major warfare between the traditional military great powers the world without reference to nuclear weapons. So in the aggregate sense, they keep us safe. On the other hand, I very much agree with analysts like Scott Sagan and Eric Schlosser who wrote this terrifying and great book command and control who say the right that you can't in a complex organization like an organization like the US air force, responsible for interdependent, highly complex technologies, right? And that's what nuclear weapons are you not only have the warheads. You have various launchers the bombers, the submarines, the ground base, missile systems. You have the command control communications hubs. There's so many chances for error at any one point in the whole system. And as those. Simple mistakes add up. They have non linear affects basically this is complex systems theory one a one. And so you do have the potential to blow yourself up. Schlosser points out in Damascus, Arkansas. In the nineteen eighties guy trying to do maintenance work on a minute. Man, missile drops, ratchet drops a wrench and it punctures of fuel line. All sudden you have fuel filling this missile silo rate gases, and eventually does explode in the warhead gets launched dozens of meters and it doesn't go off right. One of the message of the book is the United States came close to blowing itself up numerous times during the Cold War, and presuming that you can't get these errors out of the system. You have to presume that every single year you have a small non zero probability of something terrible happening by accident, which is why say these things will keep us safe until they, you know, have eating our babies for breakfast one day. Where do you think we on now on that balance between the view that these things exist to be used. And will you described from the sixties anyway as the Chinese view that these are just very, very effective weapons has has that shifted a toll, including in the west, maybe even in the United States, people thinking about use again, what we're having kind of a renewed version of the old debate between massive retaliation versus flexible response right now. So the new use nuclear posher view that came out in February of twenty eighteen talks about the importance of modernizing US nuclear forces, which lot of people wouldn't argue with right? You want them to be modern part because you don't want accidents malfunctions lead to catastrophe and also you need your adversary to be confident these your weapons will actually work as a deterrent. But then you also have this view that United States nuclear arsenal right now is biased toward strategic weapons in the sense, right? Strategic meaning countervalue big bombs that would be targeted at enemies population centers and would be in the megaton range, and we don't have enough. Flexible response at the lower end of the spectrum in terms of smaller weapons more along the lines of those used against Japan in World War Two. So those in the kiloton range like the b sixty one that can be put on fifteen and the f..

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