The Terrible Logic of Nukes

(Time) Charles Krauthammer - In the annals of tyranny and on the scale of capricious savagery, Saddam ranks somewhere between Caligula and Mao. There's not much percentage in counting on the rationality of such gentlemen. Imagine that Israel had not destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. What would have happened when Iraq invaded Kuwait? With a nuclear arsenal at Saddam's disposal, would the U.S. have attacked? As it was, war against a nonnuclear Iraq was authorized by the U.S. Senate by a mere five votes. Had Saddam had nukes in 1991, he would probably today be king of all Arabia. Nukes do not have to explode to be useful. Their value lies in mere possession. Possession creates an umbrella of inviolability. And there is nothing more dangerous than an inviolable aggressor. The threat of just a few nuclear weapons, delivered by missile or terrorist to, say, New York City or San Francisco, would allow an aggressor to commit whatever depredations he fancied, calculating that America would be deterred from intervening with its otherwise overwhelming conventional power.

2002-08-30 00:00:00

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