By Jonathan Power
June 6th 2017
It was all smiles out on the range last week when, against a deep blue sky, an American interceptor rocket took out an incoming “enemy” long-range, missile (which in a real attack would be carrying a nuclear warhead). Generals and Congressmen and women jumped for joy.
But what was there to be joyous about?
Over the decades of the Cold War the nuclear deterrent was supposed to be the instrument that kept the peace. MAD, it was called- Mutually Assured Destruction. Simply put, if you attacked me you might catch me by surprise and destroy many of my cities and military bases, but in fact you wouldn’t dare do it because beyond surprise is my “second-strike force”. Hidden away, deep underground, invulnerable to attack, I can retaliate with that.
So in real life you will not dare attack me and I won’t attack you. That is a stalemate. That is deterrence.
Forget morality, forget the chance of a rogue or accidental launch – this is what the military say kept the peace throughout the Cold War, and maybe still does as the ice cap returns, argue its supporters.
However, if there is now going to be a big jump in technology and you can intercept my second-strike with your interceptor rockets we no longer have the surety of MAD. I’m wide open and you can “get me”. You no longer fear retaliation and I will have no choice but to surrender after you have demolished some of my cities and military bases.
Fortunately, the technology is still in its early stages. Read More »