The Great American Eulogy: the hidden defect in the U.S. nuclear strategy that could spell its doom

M.A.D – U.S. public fallout shelters are dilapidated. Most are in ruins – if they even still exist at all. Russia is not the one living in fear of the threat of a nuclear strike – U.S. citizens are. America may have won the Cold War but did it also lose its mind in the process by not offering protection for its own citizens?
October 2016WASHINGTONRussia currently has over a thousand nuclear warheads aimed at America. Just one of those warheads could kill more Americans than died in the Vietnam War. A dozen could collapse the nation’s power grid and other vital networks. So any kind of nuclear exchange, even a “small” one, would be a catastrophe without precedent in American history. Unfortunately, the strategy that Washington has fashioned to avert such a catastrophe is so focused on preventing a cold, calculated act of aggression that it largely ignores other ways nuclear war could unfold — and maximizes losses the nation would suffer no matter what form the conflict took.
This is the hidden danger in our current strategic posture that policymakers seldom talk about in public, and some may not even grasp. You see, the perverse logic of nuclear deterrence that Washington crafted during the Cold War makes any effort to actually defend America “destabilizing” — a bad thing — and thus favors being defenseless. So aside from a very minimal collection of radars and interceptors on the West Coast designed to deal with North Korea, America has no strategic defenses.


What it has is offenses — about 1,500 nuclear warheads distributed in hardened silos, stealthy submarines and long-range bombers. These forces are known as the nuclear “triad;” along with flying command centers, secure communications satellites and aerial-refueling tankers, the triad is designed to make any act of nuclear aggression potentially suicidal for the perpetrator. The plan is to respond proportionately to any level of nuclear aggression, and make that plan abundantly clear to any nation that might contemplate an attack.

(1951) Yes, believe or not, the U.S. government’s Civil Defense policy was actually based on such nonsense
The assumption is that no sane leader would deliberately launch an attack knowing the retribution that would follow. That seems logical enough, but think about the other ways a nuclear exchange might occur. What if we find ourselves facing an irrational adversary with nuclear weapons? What if the other side is rational, but suffers a mechanical failure in its command system? What if it misreads U.S. intentions in a crisis such as war in Eastern Europe? What if parts of its nuclear arsenal are seized by elements intent on fomenting war?
These are not just science-fiction scenarios. The Russian early-warning network of satellites and ground-based radars is so fragile that it could easily fail, or result in mis-interpretation of threat data. If Moscow seriously thought it was under attack, it would be strongly incentivized to launch quickly before its weapons were destroyed on the ground. That might well signal the end of American civilization, because like I said — Washington has decided as a matter of policy to render itself defenseless to a sizable nuclear attack.
How did we get into this situation? Strategic theorists began espousing the cause of offensively-based deterrence early in the postwar period, arguing it simply wasn’t feasible to defend against large-scale nuclear attacks. Even if defenses were 90% effective, the handful of warheads that might get through would kill tens of millions. So the only solution within our grasp was to dissuade potential aggressors by threatening unacceptable consequences. Over time, this thinking evolved into a belief that being defended could actually make war more likely, because if Russia (or China, or whomever) thought many of its warheads might be intercepted, then it would buy more and more weapons to assure it could retaliate after an attack. So the only way to avoid a dangerous arms race, it was said, was to forego building real defenses. This arrangement came to be known as a “mutual-hostage relationship,” and its logic was enshrined in arms control agreements between Moscow and Washington during the 1970s.  –National Interest

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7 Responses to The Great American Eulogy: the hidden defect in the U.S. nuclear strategy that could spell its doom

  1. James says:

    This article is fundmentally flawed in it’s theory. MAD, or mutally assured destruction was the basis for being undefended. But, since the invention of anti-missile shields MAD has been off set. This changed the conversation from MAD, to a first strike policey that most nuclear countries now embrace. Not having some sort of nuclear defensive abilities now is just insane, or just a total lack of compassion for your own nation’s citizens..

  2. Joseph Sonny Skies says:

    Has anyone heard or read any reports that the USA has sent many B-1; B-2 bombers to Diego Garcia in the Indian ocean? I heard a report that there are so many planes there now, they are parking them on the road and flight activity is very high. Any confirmation on this?

  3. Dennis E. says:

    In this day and time, I would not share a public shelter with not many of The U.S. Population.
    I would take my chances.
    Remember Katrina, remember The Louisiana Super Dome reports: The same place where The Saints play.
    Furthermore. For an under ground bunker you will need food for a thousand years to include all types of personal sanitation needs. Once the sanitation breaks down then come disease. Suppose somebody dies in the shelter? How do you dispose of the body,(bodies)?

    Think about the amount of radiation. This is not a Hurricane. Radiation in some cases has a 1/2 life of 500 years or more. It hangs around. Affects, grass, trees, dirt, door knobs and all sorts of other stuff.
    Some places would have less, but the wind carries. But perhaps disburses as it travels, like smoke.
    Yes, you can buy a suit, yes you can buy a mask, but can you get a replacement suit, can you get replacement gas mask filters? . Think you can live your life all dressed up and no where really to go?
    In the movie, the day after, I think that would be rather accurate.

    Regardless what The Russians say they moved 40 million people to shelters. Love to see that support/resource system they have in place.

    • Utopia: the Collapse says:

      I don’t think anyone is thinking about of any of those things you mentioned concerning the host of health problems that would arise from living with numerous people in a contained environment. Sanitation and health being paramount. More Russia soldiers were sidelined from combat in Afghanistan (during the Russian invasion) from dysentery than from combat. I think that speaks volumes.

      As a matter of face, Grau, Lester W.; Jorgensen, William A.wrote a piece on it called “Beaten by the Bugs: The Soviet-Afghan War Experience”

      I always go back to what John F. Kennedy said, “The worst thing about nuclear war is surviving it.”

      • Dennis E. says:

        No they are not. Part of The MAD concept? The government knows it could not/cannot provide services to the population after such an event. Although during The Reagan years, The U.S. Postal Service did say the mail would continue to be delivered.

        Society would fall into decay as we’ve seen in the movie “Mad Max” and its followup movies on the aftermath of a Nuclear War.
        So, I believe that again, Nuclear Weapons will be used on a conflict but I question the number.
        Some have claimed we used depleted uranium in our anti-tank rounds and from aircraft in the Middle East during both conflicts with Iraq which has caused injuries, illnesses similar to the fallout form a nuclear war.

        Alvin, I am deeply thankful for your platform on this site and the other to express our thoughts, beliefs,share information that you provide.

        You are involved in a great work and many people read the posts and do not post themselves but are much smarter, informed because of it.

        I like the fact that there is no degrading/dissing of another persons comment in a disrespectful manner. it is ok to disagree, there is decent/mature way to do it.

      • Utopia: the Collapse says:

        Thank you

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