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MAY 11, 2012 5:57PM

Nuclear Lessons From Ike: Massive Retaliation

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I taught political science and international relations for a minute.

Massive retaliation is the strategy most associated with Eisenhower, if the intellectual classes didn't like it too much.

Ike's theory was that he didn't want to bankrupt the country spending money on every single threat that could arise from a guerilla/terrorist through a small conventional war like Panama, to a bigger one like Iraq, a decent sized war with Iran, an even bigger one with North Korea, and the Mother of all Conventional Wars, one with China and Russia at the same time.

That last war scenario's a bear, get it?, and so Ike's theory was that if we spent money all over the place, we'd go bankrupt, which is what Ivan and the Lees would want, and so, the right thing was to just build a lot of nukes and say, "Maybe we'll just kill all of you, and let God sort it out."

Now, the problem with that of course is that every time someone gets on a plane with explosive underwear, you can't just really nuke the parties involved in that, although you can send a message back, like one could argue was part of the real point of Iraq: "Anyone can topple the Taliban, if good luck governing the place, but mushing Saddam, that's a test of warfare in Central Europe or in Korea where we don't care too much about breaking the China, get it?"

So, in a time of declining budgets for the Pentagon, Ike's budgetary ideas are likely to have a place larger than lately, if that's a little concerning too, since his idea was to trade nukes for money in terms of conventional forces.

Then again, we have a lot of interests around the world, and if Ivan and the Lees and others want to mess around with that on just their version of "asymmetric threats," then they shouldn't be too surprised that we play around with that too, even as everyone really kind of likes the Rodney King theory, "People, why can't we all just get along," if like Socrates said in the Crito as to a version of "turn the other cheek," we don't live that way, which leads to a last point which is good news.

Back in the day, some mainly academic strategists worried the nuclear deterrence wasn't stable, because to take everyone with you is such an incredbile threat, or is it.

It's all in the Crito, as to how we don't turn the other cheek, which makes Massive Retaliation credible indeed.



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Well, with nukes one wants to be reasonable, but if we shrink the defense budget and don't get out of some committments that aren't acutally so easy to do, then massive retaliation as a strategy comes back in, if it has risks too.
Only about 6 weeks to go until Bibi pulls the trigger on the Revolutionary Guards of Iran and we're living in a whole New World....wink
Could be AC/Jejune.