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Pre-emptive nuclear strike NATO Option
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, January 22, 2008

At least it should be an option according to 5 former senior NATO generals:
The west must be ready to resort to a pre-emptive nuclear attack to try to halt the "imminent" spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, according to a radical manifesto for a new Nato by five of the west's most senior military officers and strategists.

Calling for root-and-branch reform of Nato and a new pact drawing the US, Nato and the European Union together in a "grand strategy" to tackle the challenges of an increasingly brutal world, the former armed forces chiefs from the US, Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands insist that a "first strike" nuclear option remains an "indispensable instrument" since there is "simply no realistic prospect of a nuclear-free world".
I come from the school, that when confronted with avowed enemies who will use anything to include nuclear weaponry (even if they don't yet have them) to advance their agenda, you don't take anything off the table to include the possibility of first use.

Note the word. "Possibility". I think we have to at least lead our enemies to believe that we're capable of the same level of ruthlessness as they are - after all the enemy's entire premise of attack is to strike first by whatever means available and, of course, to try to get the biggest bang for the buck.

Some would argue that NATO nukes have no real future in the war we're most likely to fight over the coming decades. They will argue it is a low intensity conflict by NGOs. I disagree citing the role of Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria as sponsors of those NGOs at some level or another. At some point, a nuclear threat against the state sponsor of an NGO attempting nuclear terrorism may be the only way to stop such an act.
Ron Asmus, head of the German Marshall Fund thinktank in Brussels and a former senior US state department official, described the manifesto as "a wake-up call". "This report means that the core of the Nato establishment is saying we're in trouble, that the west is adrift and not facing up to the challenges."

Naumann conceded that the plan's retention of the nuclear first strike option was "controversial" even among the five authors. Inge argued that "to tie our hands on first use or no first use removes a huge plank of deterrence".

Reserving the right to initiate nuclear attack was a central element of the west's cold war strategy in defeating the Soviet Union.
What they're arguing, of course, is that the preservation of that option may still will have a deterrent effect, at least in terms of the use of nuclear weapons. And while it can be argued it may not, what can be argued with certainty is that without that option, no deterrent effect is possible.

And the critics?
Critics argue that what was a productive instrument to face down a nuclear superpower is no longer appropriate.

Robert Cooper, an influential shaper of European foreign and security policy in Brussels, said he was "puzzled".

"Maybe we are going to use nuclear weapons before anyone else, but I'd be wary of saying it out loud."

Another senior EU official said Nato needed to "rethink its nuclear posture because the nuclear non-proliferation regime is under enormous pressure".
Of course much of the deterrent effect comes from "saying it out loud". The threat is the point. And frankly, I see nothing in the posture which effects nuclear non-proliferation. In fact, it makes the stakes of ignoring those treaty obligations a little higher.

There's more to the paper by the 5 generals than just the nuclear piece. They talk about the state of NATO and its future, and they're not particularly pleased with what they see.
 
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Of course much of the deterrent effect comes from "saying it out loud". The threat is the point. And frankly, I see nothing it the posture which effects nuclear non-proliferation. In fact, it makes the stakes of ignoring those treaty obligations a little higher.
Dr. Strangelove: Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you *keep* it a *secret*! Why didn’t you tell the world, EH?

Ambassador de Sadesky: It was to be announced at the Party Congress on Monday. As you know, the Premier loves surprises.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
after all the enemy’s entire premise of attack is to strike first by whatever means available and, of course, to try to get the biggest bang for the buck
Actually, the enemy claims that all of their actions second strikes. That they are justified retributions for previous actions of the USA. An actual first strike by us would provide more grist for their mill.

Even if an initial strike would permanently destroy Iran’s nuclear capability, it would further destabilize Pakistan, which actually has nukes.

Maybe, the West needs to wave a big stick around, but the soft speaking needs to focus on changing the facts in Pakistan.

 
Written By: newshutz
URL: http://
An actual first strike by us would provide more grist for their mill
Yeah, but our first strike would have the benifit of burning that mill to the ground.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the U.S. itself (I don’t know what the NATO story is and I’m too lazy to check) has never had a policy that disavowed first use of nuclear weapons. I think that Reagan, who was seriously anti-nuclear and worried many national security people because of it, made statements in the direction of disavowing first strike, but never made it policy.

Happily corrected on any of that.

My contention about this vis a vis the war on terror is that Bush had to have made it backchannel clear very early after 9/11 to all of the active and potential state sponsors of terrorism that any sort of WMD attack on the U.S. would come back to somebody real fast, with nothing off the table. So a whole bunch of somebodies better get moving on bringing terror networks they had even the flimsiest connection with to heel.

That’s just my gut feeling about Bush and about how it has gone since 9/11.

As for NATO, for that to be coming out now, suggests some fear that Europe will be the focus of large-scale terror attacks going forward, which seems logical to me, from the point of view of the terrorists, because they’ve found the U.S., once roused, quite unlike its former reputation as a pushover.

 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Critics argue that what was a productive instrument to face down a nuclear superpower is no longer appropriate.
In light of facts and all I’m not so sure that’s remotely true.
It also showed that two unnamed nuclear power stations were the original targets of the September 11 plot, known to its perpetrators as the Holy Tuesday Operation, but al-Qaida feared that such an attack "might get out of hand".
http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,1284,788431,00.html
 
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
It turns out that I had this bookmarked:
We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today’s adversaries. Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction—weapons that can be easily concealed, delivered covertly, and used without warning.

The targets of these attacks are our military forces and our civilian population, in direct violation of one of the principal norms of the law of warfare. As was demonstrated by the losses on September 11, 2001, mass civilian casualties is the specific objective of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction.

The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction— and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.
An utterly rational formulation (I think that I hear Stephen Hadley’s voice in there, just a guess), if you want to go read that whole section.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Wretchard at The Belmont Club has a good post on this, including this "update" paragraph at the end:
Here’s a link to the actual report, in PDF format. It’s entitled "Towards a Grand Strategy in an Uncertain World". Some of the subheadings are suggestive: ’Decline of Sovereignty’, ’Loss of the Rational’, ’Scale and Complexity’. The chapter on the ’Loss of the Rational’ for example, describes how with the breakdown of community, there are no more reference points to provide perspective, simply cults and fads; no basis upon which to evaluate things according to their ratio. "Taken together, these symptoms enhance the political frivolity of large parts of the developed world’s populations, leaving people intellectually, culturally and politically vulnerable." The choice of the word "frivolity" is inspired, as no better term can describe the obsession with the relatively petty — the fate of whales, Kyoto, speech codes, etc — while simultaneously ignoring very serious threats threats. It’s a topsy-turvey world and the "loss of rationality" signifies the abolition of proportion, such as afflicts the madman who keeps looking for his bus ticket while his house is burning. But the presence of this kind of philosophical digression in what is ostensibly a strategy paper is disturbing, akin to having to pinch ourselves to ensure we are awake, so strange is the situation we find ourselves in.
I don’t think that I would write it the same way again, but I did have my own prescient moment, in the context of missile defense and terrorism, in July 2001, two months before 9/11. Note the way I spell bin Laden’s name. I left that there as an artifact of a cloudier time about who and what he was.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I come from the school, that when confronted with avowed enemies who will use anything to include nuclear weaponry (even if they don’t yet have them) to advance their agenda, you don’t take anything off the table to include the possibility of first use
You know, I’d normally type "YOU WARMONGER" and then go into a Joe-esque post about Halliburton, the Joos and Pres Bush, but the fact is that too many of the "loyal opposition" are suddenly touchy-feely about announcing that you’ll bring the hardcore nasty- possibly the hardestcore nasty in history- if necessary. I don’t know if it’s election year pandering or a paradign shift in their views, but the idea that we’d go soft is very troubling
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I want to thank you all for your advice.

I just bought a boatload of stock in the company that makes adult diapers.
 
Written By: The Other Steve
URL: http://
T.O. Steve writes:
I just bought a boatload of stock in the company that makes adult diapers.
It’s smart investing to go with a product that works for you. You know what you’re getting into. Good luck with it.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
"Actually, the enemy claims that all of their actions second strikes. That they are justified retributions for previous actions of the USA. An actual first strike by us would provide more grist for their mill."

Here’s an idea. Say there’s a tsunami in the Indian Ocean. We go in and clean things up and save a bazillion muslim lives. Then we play all casual, "Just glad to help, folks."

Then everyone in the world will just love the US. We’ll show that grist what’s what.
 
Written By: Cincinnatus
URL: http://

 
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