On Deterrence

On Deterrence


>>It has become increasingly clear that today,
nearly 25 years since the end of the Cold War, nuclear deterrence is as important
as it was during the Cold War. What has changed is the landscape of
deterrents, which has become more complex with increased danger of nuclear
proliferation and nuclear terrorism. While deterrence is a dynamic concept it
remains the cornerstone of our national security and the security of our friends and allies. If the nuclear community is to move forward
in evolving those concepts it needs to do so from a deep appreciation of the
value of deterrence in the past. The documentary you are about to see
takes a historical look at deterrence, its significance to the present,
and its challenges in the future. Today the sustainment of the US strategic
deterrent force is a topic of idle interest and a debate is underway about
the future of US nuclear forces. Sandia has a role to play
in this national debate. We have played a fundamental part
in the nuclear deterrence and, thus, in the way that deterrence concepts evolve. The intent of this documentary film
is not to advocate any one viewpoint, but to contribute to the dialogue on
deterrence as seen through the thoughts of intellectual leaders interviewed in the film who have played key roles
in the nuclear deterrence. It is our intent that this film contribute to
the discussion of the role of US nuclear weapons in the practice of deterrence
in the 21st Century. [ Music ]>>Is deterrence timeless?>>I think it’s been around for at least
2,000 or 3,000 years of recorded history, yes.>>The first time that a human being
picked up a stick and had an advantage over a larger adversary that was a change, and
weapons developed through the course of history and finally reached a stage
with the nuclear weapon that for the first time ever
wars could not be won.>>Nuclear weapons were a gamechanger because they did involve the
total destruction of a society. It meant the entire destruction of cities and in a major attack the
entire destruction of a country.>>History is replete with examples of nations that miscalculated the potential
costs of conflict or confrontation. With nuclear weapons that
miscalculation is much harder to make.>>What nuclear weapons do
is make impossible to believe that any adversary could fight the United
States and achieve a set of political and military objectives without
incurring so much damage to itself as to make it not worthwhile as an endeavor. [ Music ]>>One of the real challenges about deterrence
is that you never really know what works, right? Because if it works there are many
possible explanations for what went right. You can only definitively
say when deterrence fails.>>Well, I think, first of all, deterrents didn’t work very well
before there were nuclear weapons. We had two World Wars.>>World War I erupted in 1914 out of intrigue,
misperception, miscalculation and a set of inflexible offensive war plans. [ Music ] The 1939 German onslaught
into Poland was savage. Their conquest of Western Europe
in 1940 was achieved in months. [ Music ] Conventional war expanded
into the Pacific theatre and on a scale unseen in the 20th Century. [ Music ] By the summer of 1945 two
World Wars had been fought, leaving upwards of 72 million
dead, Europe and Asia in ruins. The Westphalian
great power balance shattered. [ Music ] And bequeathing the world a revolution in both military capability
and the practice of deterrence. [ Music ]>>So that created a strategic pause,
I believe, in large scale warfare.>>And nuclear weapons, therefore,
modified the behaviors of big powers towards one another
as never before in history.>>States would have to confront the possibility
of being highly vulnerable to other states with long range weapons and with
terrific destructive capacities. In the future military forces are
going to be needed to deter a war, to prevent wars, rather than to fight them.>>Deterrence is the effort to dissuade
an adversary from doing something that you perceive as threatening.>>By presenting a situation in which
the costs of pursuing that course of action far outweigh any expected benefits.>>Deterrence is really a psychological affect,
it’s a psychological pressure that’s imposed by one decision making party onto
another decision making party that constrains the deterred’s set of actions.>>Part of that is trying to understand how
they think, what they’re trying to accomplish, what they hope to gain, how they hope to do
that, how they think about risk and gains.>>Now how you put that into practice,
that’s where it becomes murkier. [ Music ]>>In 1946 planning with nuclear
weapons was largely an academic exercise and nuclear deterrence remained
an unfamiliar concept. In an April 1947 report of the newly formed
Atomic Energy Commission revealed an unassembled stockpile of a mere 13 fission bombs,
that Air Force planners initially regarded as simply larger conventional weapons. But in a post-war world this
was about to change. [ Music ] The Soviet blockade of West Berlin in 1948. A war in Korea in 1950. A crisis over the Islands of
the Taiwan Straits in 1954. And a second challenge to the
integrity of West Berlin in 1961. All drove the development of a vast
US nuclear arsenal and a policy of deterrence to guide war planning. Deterrence in practice began as ad hoc
nuclear signaling exercised by Truman. It would veer perilously towards
brinksmanship during the Eisenhower years, and then the concept would evolve rapidly among
civilian nuclear strategists with principles like first strike, secure second strike,
and mutually assured destruction.>>During the Cold War the American
economists and gang theorist, Tom Shelling [Assumed Spelling],
compared two states with nuclear weapons engaged
in crises as a game of chicken. He said it’s like two teenagers going towards
each other in cars, the first one swerves, loses, the one who has more
nerve can win a crisis, even though neither side
obviously wants to crash. That game of chicken became an
analogy that people used to talk about the importance of resolve in crises.>>These are medium range. These are intermediate range. Both have nuclear strike capabilities.>>The 1962 Cuban missile crisis was the
historical moment when nuclear weapons and theories about their use
and their nonuse were at hand. Deterrents did not fail, but many
argue by only the narrowest of margins.>>Kennedy in his Monday night speech
said if so much of a single one of those weapons explodes anywhere in
the American hemisphere we will consider that as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States requiring a full
retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.>>Now nothing could be stupider than that. I don’t think Khrushchev or anyone over there
believed it, but I think maybe they thought that guy is just crazy enough he might do it.>>The threat that leaves something to
chance, you can still credibly threaten to fall off a cliff by coming up close to
it, even though you can’t credibly threaten that I’m going to voluntarily
jump over the cliff. We’ve forgotten that central lesson that
deterrence can work, but that’s really risky.>>And many people that have stressed that
they thought the biggest single affect of nuclear weapons was that
it put people in this position where they couldn’t easily be sure
absolute disaster wouldn’t happen. [ Music ]>>During the first 15 years of
the Cold War nuclear learning between the super powers was uneven at best.>>There was profound fear in
the early part of the Cold War, particularly pre-October 1962, pre-Cuba. I think the dangers were significantly
higher than they’re often played to be and I think there weren’t
well-established rules of the game between two actors who understood one another.>>I would say that the first 15 years
were a model of how not to progress.>>There was this notion that we
might be on the edge of an apocalypse. I don’t think that we military officers in that era had completely
internalized what nuclear war would be. I think we expected that there was
a good possibility we’d be at war with the Soviet Union, I certainly did.>>Prior to the Cuban missile
crisis there were really no rules about the US-Soviet nuclear relationship and it
was quite unstable as all these crises revealed.>>One of the first crises after the end
of the war was over Berlin, for example.>>The struggle for control of post-war Berlin
would provide the first context for the use of nuclear weapons to signal
resolve in a crisis. A four-power agreement to jointly
govern the city was a key part of the Potsdam Declaration in 1945. Less than three years later in 1948 with Germany
split along an ideological and economic divide and Berlin, a landlocked island 100
miles inside of the Russian sector, Stalin directly challenged the agreement
and blocked all access to the city. The US responded with what became
known as the Berlin airlift.>>In a single month Tempelhof[EB1] handled
almost 14,000 takeoffs and landings, around the clock, seven days a week. The biggest item was coal, packed in war
surplus duffle bags for power, heat and light. The eyes of the Western world
watched the airlift.>>And that is probably the first
example of the affect of nuclear weapons.>>We had nuclear weapons and Stalin didn’t
yet, and we did brandish nuclear weapons as part of our response to the Berlin blockade.>>The United States embraced an intermediate
range of actions to ratchet up the risk of escalation to war a little bit each time.>>1948 we had a nuclear monopoly at that point. We moved B29s to Britain. We reopened American airbases that
had been shut ever since 1945. And we announced that some of the bombers being
moved to Britain were, quote, nuclear capable, which apparently was a lie because they hadn’t –
these weren’t the ones that had been retrofitted to carry nuclear weapons
but it was a useful lie.>>You can see almost palpably the
presence of a degree of caution, which I think can reasonably be imputed
to the existence of nuclear weapons.>>So that you could use nuclear weapons,
you just didn’t have to fire a nuclear weapon to use it, and the sort of nuclear signaling at its first manifestation
in the 1948 Berlin crisis.>>Truman’s nuclear signaling contributed to
the termination of the Berlin crisis of 1948, but his willingness to use nuclear
threats changed after the detection of the first Soviet atomic test in August 1949, an event that ended the short-lived US
atomic monopoly and pointed to a future when both the US and the Soviets would
possess a first strike capability. Meanwhile, the early 1950s would
remain a time of US nuclear primacy and Eisenhower was keen to
leverage this advantage.>>He deliberately employed rhetoric,
political posturing, a sort of a brinksmanship.>>Eisenhower’s approach was
pretty absolutist, all or nothing. I mean his – he didn’t believe
in halfway measures.>>In May 1953 Eisenhower and his Secretary of
State, John Foster Dulles, initiated planning for the use of nuclear weapons to
end the stalemated war in Korea.>>They put out some diplomatic word
quietly that if the Communists didn’t come to an armistice the United States was
willing to use more severe measures. There’s been a view that the
signal never got to the other side. It was supposed to go through Naru
[Assumed Spelling], one of these signals, and there was some question about whether
he ever told the Chinese the Americans meant to do this.>>Many attribute the end of the Korean
War more to the loss of Soviet sponsorship after Stalin’s death and exhaustion on all
sides, rather than a veiled nuclear threat. As well, some contend that in the aftermath of
Hiroshima a moral opprobrium against the use of nuclear weapons, a nuclear
taboo, obviated Eisenhower’s threat.>>It imposed a restraining
affect on the Administration. It prevented a casual resort to the use of nuclear weapons is the indirect
influence of the taboo, right? That these weapons are not normal weapons, they’re not just like any other
weapon, they can’t be used casually. And I think we see that in the decision-making
leading up to the end of the war.>>Eisenhower’s nuclear threat remains
ambiguous, perhaps deliberately so. In early 1955 a new crisis with China over disputed offshore islands would again test
Eisenhower’s policy and practice of deterrence.>>Now in any combat where these things
can be used on strictly military targets and for strictly military purposes I see no
reason they shouldn’t be used just exactly as you’d use a bullet or anything else.>>Eisenhower would sort of play things
by ear, but always with the greater aim of not using these things, of bluffing
with them, threatening with them, but not, ultimately not using them.>>Eisenhower was not bluffing. That public statement was completely
consistent with internal private discussions and also completely just consistent
with national security documents.>>With respect to Ike’s willingness to use
nuclear weapons, he probably exaggerated it. In the game of deterrence a little
braggadocio helps from time to time.>>And, of course, in the 1950s
when President Eisenhower was in office he adopted the
policy of massive retaliation. We relied very heavily on nuclear weapons to
deal with this Soviet conventional threat. Massive retaliation was all about
getting more bang for the buck.>>And President Eisenhower believed that the
biggest threat to the United States was economic and so the more bang for the
buck strategy seemed rational.>>The whole idea of massive retaliation was
that any aggression anywhere runs the risk of being met by nuclear retaliation
by the United States.>>It was a doctrine, however repugnant in
some ways, that was suitable to the times.>>Basic was central deterrence, deterring
a direct attack on the American homeland by the Soviets was now underpinned
by US strategic nuclear forces. By 1953 B47 bombers could reach targets
in Russia by a system of forward bases, established during the Second World War. That same year the United States began
to deploy nuclear weapons in Europe, extending nuclear deterrents to
NATO allies after it became clear that the fledgling Alliance could not
muster the conventional forces needed to face 100 or more Soviet Divisions.>>They were outmatched at the conventional
level, and the way that the United States and NATO dealt with this problem was to rely
on nuclear weapons through various arrangements where West German pilots and planes
could use US nuclear weapons.>>The United States deployed tactical
nuclear weapons to manifest a threat that would leave something to chance. That if the Soviets invaded with 100
Divisions into Western Europe some of these tactical nuclear
weapons on the American and NATO side would go off,
even if we didn’t want them to.>>Nuclear deterrents operated and in the
end induced caution, but it also allowed and potentially in some ways
enabled a brinksmanship that also involved the serious risk of war.>>The early Cold War saw two
American Presidents grapple with how to use nuclear weapons. Truman and Eisenhower used them to bargain,
compel, deter and assure with mixed results. [ Music ]>>Today a new moon is in the sky, a 23-inch metal sphere placed
in orbit by a Russian rocket.>>An era of US nuclear primacy would
yield to a period when the Soviets began to acquire the capability to launch a
devastating first strike against the US, a condition that would test the credibility
of the US extended deterrent and lead to the establishment of rules of the game.>>If you had a capacity to destroy
the other side by attacking first and the other side got close to having
the same thing, the pressure in a crisis to go first would be terribly destabilizing.>>In this context it was
the Soviets that threatened. The Cold War had now entered
a new, more dangerous phase when Nikita Khrushchev issued the 1958
ultimatum on the status of Berlin, challenging the US extended deterrent.>>2.8 million refugees that had left
Eastern Germany for West Germany since 1945, that left a country of only 17 million
people in East Germany and it was 2.8 million of the best and brightest of the country.>>When the Berlin crisis happens everybody
wants to gear up our conventional forces so that maybe we’ve got a
conventional battle against the Soviets. The President says we’re not
doing that because that could turn into a nuclear war, you can’t control that. Eisenhower says all along, he says we’re doing
this because we do this it’s all or nothing. He used the poker analogy in the National
Security meeting, he said we’re not going to slowly escalate from the
white chips conventional forces to the blue chips nuclear weapons. If we do this we’re going all
the way, it’s all or nothing.>>Eisenhower would probably have used
nuclear weapons in defense of Western Europe. As Herman Kahn once eloquently put it,
Kennedy said that he would use nuclear weapons but he wouldn’t, whereas, Eisenhower said he
wouldn’t use nuclear weapons and he would have.>>Eisenhower believed that you had to plausibly
threaten across the nuclear threshold in order to prevent the Soviets and East Germans from presenting a conventional war
challenge to the integrity of Berlin. And for the Kennedy Administration they
were much more concerned about having to fight an actual war with the Soviet
Union and they were much less confident in their ability to deter that war.>>In Khrushchev’s view the credibility of the extended US deterrent starts
eroding with the election of Kennedy. He knows from his Intelligence that Kennedy
is much less comfortable with the notion of risking millions of US lives
over the future of Berlin. As far as Kennedy is concerned he’s
been handed a set of nuclear options that he thinks gives him a choice
of, quote, holocaust or humiliation. [ Music ]>>I think that Khrushchev at
the Vienna Summit had concluded that the new President was weak and,
therefore, he engaged in this kind of bombast.>>Khrushchev came in pushing hard,
demanding, being somewhat threatening, insisting that something had to be
done about the Berlin situation. And the President had tried to be
conciliatory to suggest, well, we should talk, we should be careful about how dangerous
this situation could be and so on.>>That led to the feeling that
Kennedy was having a loss of face, that he wasn’t being treated with respect
and credibility by the Soviet Union.>>This was part of the difficulty
of worrying about credibility was that you didn’t know what would be crucial
in affecting other people’s estimate of it.>>If you think about deterrence in general,
credible deterrence is really both a function of capability and will as
perceived by your adversary.>>The real key is whether the other side
believes that the leader has the will to use nuclear weapons in extremes.>>Deterrents depends upon the perception
that it will be used and, most importantly, not the perception of our possible foes
but on those whom we seek to protect.>>The climax of the President’s
European trip takes place in London.>>Kennedy left Vienna deeply troubled
by his meeting with Khrushchev. The Soviet Premier had effectively
threatened the young President with war if the matter of Berlin was left unresolved.>>The President wanted to be tougher on Berlin
so he escalated the Berlin military situation by sending more troops to Europe.>>He talked tough about Berlin.>>The source of world trouble
and tension is Moscow, not Berlin, and if war begins it will have
begun in Moscow and not Berlin.>>East German troops look down
on the border between red Berlin and the free city in the pre-dawn hours. To close the 66 points where
movement between the …>>For the first 48 hours it’s not a
wall, it’s barbed wire, it’s sawhorses, it’s temporary barriers, as they wait to
see how the US and the Allies will respond. And when the East Germans, the Soviets see that the US is not responding they
start building a more permanent barrier.>>The crisis was diffused
because Khrushchev built a wall, but I think there was a lingering affect
that Khrushchev was sort of dubious and he felt that Kennedy was weak.>>What made the situation dangerous in
1961 and then 1962 isn’t our capability, that was pretty clear, but it was our
adversary’s understanding that we were unwilling to use it in situations they
were willing to risk.>>This Government, as promised, has
maintained the closest surveillance of the Soviet military buildup
on the Island of Cuba. A series of offensive missile sites is now
in preparation on that imprisoned Island.>>Some argue that Khrushchev’s challenge
to extend a deterrence in Berlin spilled over into a crisis that would
test the credibility of the basic deterrent of the United States.>>There would have been no Cuban missile crisis
had Khrushchev not concluded through Berlin in 1961 that he could risk putting nuclear
weapons for the first time in history within reach of Washington, D.C. and New
York City just off the coast of Florida.>>Kennedy was humiliated in
1961 at the Vienna meeting. He was pushed around by Khrushchev,
so he had to look extra tough by the time of the Cuban missile crisis.>>But one of the things that
made Kennedy a good President, although he talked tough he was also a realist. By talking tough, but actually by being
willing to make a deal, we traded away, the United States traded away its missiles
in Europe for the Soviet missiles in Cuba.>>So Khrushchev was willing to sort of try
to take more chips off the poker table, say, over Berlin, to some extent over Cuba, but
ultimately he was not willing to go into war because I think Khrushchev understood very well that the US nuclear was fundamentally
was credible.>>Kennedy restored that credibility,
but not before reaching the brink of war.>>Both Khrushchev and Kennedy understood
that important mistakes had been made, glitches had shown up, things had been
done that they didn’t want to see done. The Navy was busy trying to
force Soviet subs to surface.>>But the missile crisis in
October 1962 was a terrifying event, especially if you’re the supreme decision
maker whose hand is on the button. I don’t think Kennedy slept
much during those 13 days.>>The mere fact that the
consequences of nuclear use are so horrendous is what makes leaders, and I’m choosing my words carefully
here, incredibly cautious in crises.>>Khrushchev came away from the crisis
with a guarantee of Cuban sovereignty, but his challenge of the US nuclear deterrent
was a miscalculation that almost led to war and ended his leadership of the Soviet Union. [ Music ] Kennedy discovered that establishing and maintaining a credible extended
deterrent was a highly nuanced challenge, one that remains so to this day.>>All free men, wherever they may live,
are citizens of Berlin and, therefore, as a free man I take pride in
the words, Ich bin ein Berliner. [Applause]>>After Cuba both sides are so terrified
that they do step back a bit and rules of the games start to emerge,
but even those rules of the game are not indefinitely persistent.>>The core logic of the
nuclear revolution revolves around the idea of the fear of retaliation. No sane leader would use nuclear
weapons if there’s even a possibility of an adversary using nuclear
weapons in retaliation. That applies to conditions of mutual assured
destruction, mutual assured retaliation. The question is does that
condition adhere today? When you look around the world today and you see
the variety of states that have nuclear weapons, the variety of arsenals in
terms of size and capability, this is nothing like the super power
rivalry that we witnessed in the Cold War. [ Music ]>>But the first breathtaking act of defiance
against his new regime had already been shown on television screens throughout
the rest of the world.>>The Cold War ended unexpectedly
30 years after the Cuban crisis. Those decades were a time of arms
racing, arms control and a codification of nuclear deterrence between the super powers. In 1991 many predicted that in a new world
order the role of nuclear weapons would recede, but since then some have argued that
a second nuclear age is emerging where nuclear weapons remain
a persistent reality.>>President Bush said nobody won, nobody lost
the Cold War, everybody won because this war was over without a shot being
fired, peacefully, great.>>When the Soviet Union broke up there
was a very brief period of euphoria. [ Music ]>>I think the Russians believed if they
just got all this Communist control stuff out of the way and they just removed all the
obstacles to a dynamic vibrant free enterprise, capitalistic system that it would emerge.>>The Russians understood they were in trouble, but they didn’t understand
how much trouble they were in.>>What you had basically in all of the
countries that emerged from the Soviet Union, including Russia, was they
went into economic freefall. [ Music ]>>Suddenly they were all starved. And they were disrespected, they didn’t have
any influence on the international scene.>>My daughter traveled to Russia in 1992. She and some of her high school friends
were walking on the arbot [Assumed Spelling] and one of her male friends wanted
a Russian, a Soviet Naval overcoat. And some guy fixer came up on the arbot. The guy said, wait here. In fifteen minutes he came later,
he came back with a Naval overcoat. It was still warm. He’d gone out and thumped a Soviet or a
Russian sailor and stolen his overcoat. I think it captured the degree
to which everything was for sale and how desperate things were in Russia.>>The economic and social collapse
touched every quarter of Russian society. [ Music ]>>A vast part of the military
forces were essentially inoperative, they just weren’t working.>>It was equivalent of the Great
Depression in the United States in terms of the widespread economic chaos that
was produced and the terrible damage and the terrible damage to people’s confidence.>>I was working Navy issues in the ’90s and
I was on a visit to the Russian-Pacific fleet. And I can remember talking to
a Russian captain second rank, Himblada Mostock [Assumed Spelling], in the
winter who walked 14 kilometers to and from work because he couldn’t afford to take the bus.>>I was over in Russia six or
seven times during these years and got to understand how life actually lived
for these nuclear scientists and engineers. The fare that I paid for a cab
to go from the hotel in Moscow to the airport one day was probably close
to a month’s wage for one of the scientists. There were a number of initiatives that were
focused upon securing the physicists in Russia, making sure that they had sufficient income and
were focused on more peaceful things than going to third countries and developing,
for example, nuclear weapons.>>A silo is destroyed and the
former Soviet Union moves closer to reducing its nuclear armory.>>Throughout the 1990s the Russian
Federation with American assistance, led by Senators Sam Nunn and
Richard Lugar, consolidated and secured the former Soviet stockpile. Late in the decade events unfolding in
Western Europe appeared to many Russians as an unexpected challenge
to their national security.>>We started to build a Europe whole and free. How do we do that? We expand NATO.>>When they were weak we pushed very hard,
we expanded NATO, we broke what the Soviets, what the Russians thought was a deal in terms
of moving NA TO right up next to their borders.>>The Russians have told themselves a story
and their story is we had a wink and a nod with the Americans that if we
agreed to the peaceful unification of Germany NATO wouldn’t be expanded.>>What we tried to do in the ’90s was
come up with a way to reassure Russia that as NATO expanded it would not present a
military threat, that NATO had no requirement, no plan and no intention of putting nuclear
weapons on the soil of the new allies.>>But I believe by pushing NATO up
against the borders of Russia these sorts of things gave the Russians the sense
that they had been defeated, ground down, they were worthless and we
were walking over them. that was not the intent, but I believe
that is what put in this revaunchism.>>What you see being manifested today and Putin’s attitudes are very
much shaped by that humiliation.>>And you have Vladimir Putin, who really has
as a primary goal trying to regain some measure of that super power status for Moscow
that Moscow enjoyed during the Cold War.>>And how does Putin do this? He does this with nationalism. He puts out symbols, whether it be himself
wrestling or doing manly activities, and this resonates with the Russian public. I think Russian nationalism is
the single most important driver in Russia’s nuclear weapons policy.>>The Koushwasha [Assumed
Spelling] has a large number of nuclear weapons because
it has a large arsenal. It’s the one state that can sit at the table with the United States and
have an equal negotiation.>>And I think there’s a certain amount of
stature and significance that comes from that, but I think the principal motivator
is really the ability of those weapons to provide strategic deterrents to protect them from threats they perceive,
whether valid or not.>>Nobody I know thinks NATO is going
to invade the Russian Federation, but it doesn’t matter what we think. If the Russians think they have to guard against
that then they have to guard against that.>>Many believe that Russian strategic
thinking continues to be dominated by a defensive mentality, a believe that
Russia is surrounded by adversaries. [ Music ] Today Russia retains thousands of
strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons. Its military doctrine relies on these weapons. The Russian Federation reserves the right
to utilize nuclear weapons in the event of aggression involving the
use of conventional weapons when the very existence of
the State is under threat.>>The Russians have essentially adopted the
NATO nuclear strategy of flexible response, saying that we will try to
defend with conventional forces, but if necessary we will defend our
vital interests with nuclear weapons.>>They would say they live
in a tough neighborhood, they don’t have the conventional capabilities
to deal with all of these potential threats and that they need tactical
nuclear weapons in order to deter.>>Does Russia view tactical nuclear
weapons as super artillery, if you like, or does Russia view them as tools for signaling, as a means of showing that
it’s willing to escalate?>>One of the answers is that
the Russians use these weapons as weapons of intimidation and coercion.>>While Russian tactical
weapons don’t threaten us, they look pretty strategic
if you’re living in Poland.>>The Russians ran a military exercise in
Belarus, the Zapad 2009 exercise that concluded with the use of nuclear weapons, and
I think it was very much designed to send a message to the
Baltic States and Poland. And the message they received was
there is a Russian military threat that continues towards central Europe and
that has had an impact within NATO Councils.>>An attack on one ally is an
attack on all allies and must be met with an appropriate response, that’s the heart
of the Article V guarantee of the Alliance, and so NATO needs to remain
a defensive alliance.>>I think for the newer NATO
members they don’t make a distinction between the means you would use to honor
the Article V guarantee and, therefore, they want there to be no mistake at all that the
Article V guarantee will be honored wholesale and preferably it will be honored by deterrents
that will prevent war in the first place.>>Despite the euphoria that accompanied the end
of the Cold War the promises of globalization and a Europe whole and free, Russian nationalism and its nuclear weapons persist
on the continent.>>The key variable is Ukraine. As long as Ukraine remains
a buffer between Russia and Eastern Europe the East Europeans will
not worry much about the Russian threat. I think should a war break out between
Ukraine and Russia that looks like the war between Russia and Georgia this would scare the
East Europeans and the West Europeans very much.>>And I think that that’s what Putin is after. I think Ukraine is the big prize
there and I think he won’t rest easy until he has a pro-Russian government. I’d be amazed if some of the Ukrainians weren’t
feeling like they made a terrible mistake in giving up their nuclear weapons.>>But let me add this little
footnote of history, I was in Russia when there was a
dispute between Russia and the Ukraine in the 1990s whether they
would give up those weapons. I was there with the top military
people in Russia having a meeting when that subject was very hot
and it was on the front burner.>>The delegation received strong
hints that Ukraine might assert a claim to the strategic nuclear missiles.>>I walked away from that meeting totally
convinced that if the Ukraine did not give up their nuclear weapons we
were talking about a war. The Russians were not about to
let those weapons, 1,800 warheads and missiles, remain on Ukrainian soil. So for those Ukrainians that are looking back
and saying, my, wouldn’t it have been great, wouldn’t we have deterred
this Crimea move by Russia. I think that’s a totally false premise. [ Music ]>>To the dismay of its neighbors
Russia remains a state dependent on [ Music ] weapons as a key element
of strategic war planning. Conversely, the United States regards
nuclear weapons as weapons of last resort and as a matter of policy seeks to
reduce reliance upon them for deterrents. As a practical matter, US nuclear employment
strategy acknowledges Russia’s large nonstrategic or tactical
nuclear force and it recognizes that Russia remains the United States’
only peer in nuclear weapons capabilities. Despite America’s overwhelming
superiority in conventional arms or perhaps because of it the United States
is a contingent nuclear power.>>The United States because of
its technological sophistication and its conventional military advantages
has the luxury of being able to think of a world without nuclear weapons.>>The United States will take concrete steps
towards a world without nuclear weapons. To put an end to Cold War thinking we
will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy
and urge others to do the same. [applause]>>Now the problem that confronts the
United States is that there are other powers in the international system that do
not share the same good fortunes, which is they don’t have
technological superiority, they don’t have conventional force superiority.>>And in those circumstances it’s no surprise
that those states will rely on nuclear threats to protect themselves against
US conventional power.>>Where Russia believes,
and I think with some reason, that their conventional forces are inferior
to those of not only the United States but certainly those of NATO and that,
therefore, they need their nuclear forces to compensate for that inferiority. Today I do not see a threat from Russia,
an existential threat to the United States. Russia, indeed, has the capability to do that,
but no intent to do it and no reason to do it.>>But we still are dealing with
the old threats where we have rivals and where we have fears and
historical animosities. So it’s a tough world. I’m sure those folks over in the Pentagon who
are trying to figure out what’s going to happen in the next 10 years or 15
years, that’s a tough job.>>I was involved in the
nuclear past review in ’93-’94 in the heyday right after
the end of the Cold War. We wanted a future with Russia
where they were more democratic, we were partners than adversaries, but
we don’t know where they’re headed. And so I don’t see us sizing our force to
be significantly less than Russia’s force.>>America’s strategic nuclear
force structure is known as a Triad with land based Minuteman III
ballistic missiles in hardened silos, Trident’s D-5 ballistic missiles carried
by Ohio class submarines and two types of air delivered nuclear weapons,
deliverable by the bombers.>>Taken together as a whole, as a package, they
compensate for their individual vulnerabilities and they add to the overall strength and
credibility of the US nuclear deterrent.>>The 2010 nuclear posture review states that Russia’s nuclear force will remain a
significant factor in determining how much and how fast we are prepared
to reduce US forces. Many claim that rough parity with Russia
remains a requirement of US posture.>>If we did not have to worry about deterring
Russia then our nuclear forces could be much smaller, we could carry out extended
deterrence missions with a much smaller force. But that’s not the case today.>>Our so-called nuclear umbrella now extends
to close to 30 countries and if very many of them begin to believe that we’re not serious about our protection then naturally
they’re going to seek to have that kind of protection themselves.>>The extended deterrence is
a very complicated relationship and it’s a double-sided relationship. It involves the United States offering a
deterrent threat against a nuclear armed or a heavily conventionally armed
country which threatens our allies. [ Music ] And it also involves reassuring our
allies that we will come to their defense with all means available to us up to and
including nuclear weapons if necessary. So extended deterrence is working today, as indeed it worked during
the dark days of the Cold War.>>That was the challenge of the 1960s, trying
to find solutions that were credible in the eyes of our allies, that we would come to
their defense in a nuclear war fight even if it involved threats to the American homeland. That coupling question is still the question at
the core of our dialogue with our allies today.>>Today a number of US nuclear weapons
remain in NATO Europe where they have come to be regarded as important political symbols. The B61 gravity bombs and the willingness
of NATO nations to share the burden of their deployment underpins
NATO’s nuclear deterrent.>>For the new NATO nations they like the
idea that they joined a nuclear alliance, somehow that sounds stronger
than a nonnuclear alliance. And the symbol of that being a nuclear alliance
is that there are American weapons in Europe.>>It’s not enough to say, in my view, that
there are nuclear weapons based in the heartland of the United States that are
going to extend deterrents under any and all conceivable scenarios. There is a value of having those nuclear
weapons placed in a location close to where you want the deterrent
affect to be achieved.>>I’ve said that nuclear weapons are like the
wedding ring in a marriage, they are the symbol of commitment but they’re
not the commitment itself. There are cultures where one
does not wear a wedding ring and they’re perfectly committed
to their spouses. Some who make the argument that if
you take nuclear weapons out of NATO because they’re the symbol of
commitment it will destroy the alliance when there other alliances
that we are very committed to. South Korea and Japan, for instance,
where we don’t have that symbol and yet the commitment is very strong. [ Music ]>>The importance of US bilateral
security commitments to East Asian allies would be underscored
by an event unfolding in late 1964. The first Chinese test was initially seen as a nuclear capability enhancing
the Sino-Soviet block. Today many believe that China’s
proliferation arose as an existential deterrent and marked the beginning
of a second nuclear age. [ Music ]>>I don’t think at the time it was thought of
as a great strategic event because we were still in the posture of looking at Russia-China
or Soviet Union-China as a single opponent.>>But I think there was great surprise that
a country as primitive as China had been at the time could have accomplished what it did.>>Well, in Mao’s own words he wanted to, quote,
smash nuclear bullying, and he made the case that the United States had wielded
a big nuclear club in dealing with various skirmishes in the 1950s. Less explicit, but still a
part of the calculation was that the Soviet Union was
also a looming problem.>>Mao may have been as much concerned
about Russia even then as he was about the United States in making a
decision to acquire nuclear weapons.>>I view this as China’s declaration of
independence away from the Soviet Union. They wanted a kind of third world bomb that
would impress the peoples of the third world, and they sort of got both of those things.>>And at the time Beijing’s deterrent
policy really was an existential deterrence. You have nuclear weapons, now we have some, too.>>I define the second nuclear age as
the spread of nuclear weapons for reasons that have nothing to do with the Cold War.>>A nuclear weapon capability
in the hands of a harsh regime, one exhibiting aggressive revisionist ambitions
and whose leader expressed a willingness to use nuclear weapons even at the
cost of devastating retaliation, unsettled both Moscow and Washington.>>The Peoples Republic of China in the 1960s
was considered what today we would call a rogue state. There was great concern in the United States, but even greater concern
among Chinese neighbors.>>I think perhaps the best and most
pertinent example is Tokyo where after the test in 1964 a delegation of liberal
democratic leaders came to the Prime Minister raising the issue of
creating an independent nuclear deterrent and that directly led to discussions by
the Prime Minister with President Johnson at their Summit to reinforce
the deterrent, the umbrella, and particularly the nuclear
aspect of the umbrella.>>We managed to keep nuclear weapons out of
the hands of the Japanese through a combination of strong nonproliferation pressure, no doubt, but ultimately also supplemented
by US nuclear guarantees.>>The Chinese posture for a
long time was to have a handful, a couple dozen big lumbering nuclear weapons
and that, I would say, was a minimal deterrence and they were comfortable with that.>>They want us to believe that their nuclear
policy is organized around no first use, no extended deterrence, and what they
call a lean and effective deterrent.>>Describing the Chinese nuclear posture as
it has evolved ever since the first explosion of a Chinese nuclear weapon is very, very difficult because the Chinese
have been particularly opaque.>>Today China’s astonishing economic growth,
together with the unresolved matter of Taiwan, remain key issues for the
United States and its allies. [ Music ]>>We don’t know how China is going to evolve. At some point they most likely
will surpass the United States at being the world’s biggest
and most prosperous economy. At that point they can afford whatever
number of weapon systems they want.>>From our view they have
not scaled up terribly fast, nor are they terribly threatening
based on the actions being taken today.>>If we decide that it is inevitable that there’ll be a deep rivalry our
behavior will ensure that that comes true.>>I think as China grows in
economic capacity it will behave like all great powers in the past. And so I see a looming Sino-US competition,
not simply over C lanes of communication, but increasingly in the cyber
realm, increasingly in space, and then increasingly over the airspaces. [ Music ]>>The nuclear aspect is going to be a bedrock
that allows them to have this competition in the belief that it won’t get out of hand. That’s why they’ve now got the
gen class, so-called type 94.>>As Chinese military power becomes
more formidable, not necessarily only at the nuclear level but also
at the conventional level, it will become more problematic for the
United States to say we will come to your aid with a nuclear response if such and
such happens on the Chinese side, if the Chinese do this or that, that to you.>>The concerns that keep Japanese policymakers
up at night are not of a nuclear attack from China or an invasion of China, it’s
much lower level violence than that. It’s Chinese military encroachment on disputed
territory, such as the Senkaku Islands. And to that end I think in those lower level
situations nuclear weapons play a relatively little role.>>There’s no question conventional forces
are very central to preserving stability, but if you don’t have at least an answer
to a potential escalation by your opponent to the nuclear level you’re
going to be in a lot of trouble. So I think everything takes place
shadowed by nuclear weapons.>>The shadow of nuclear weapons in the
Asia-Pacific region was initially cast by the United States a decade
before China first tested. After the 1953 Korean Armistice the US
made nuclear guarantees to South Korea to deter an invasion by the North. Those guarantees remain part of the
geopolitical landscape to this day.>>On the Korean Peninsula today
we have a conflict that’s frozen. A political circumstance that appears
to be unacceptable to the peoples of the Korean Peninsula of both states. And the North build a very substantial
conventional force which has withered, so it is over time shifted to weapons of
mass destruction and ballistic missiles.>>And the North Korea key issue is that
if North Korea can do it anybody can do it because they were one of the most
technologically backward countries in the world.>>They firmly believed just the position
of the bombs, the threat that they’re going to make a mess someplace is
enough to keep the Americans out. So for them deterrence actually, you know,
works the other way, they’re deterring us.>>From what? Deter us from defending South Korea? No, I don’t think that’s – but I just don’t
think their nuclear aspirations are complicated. It gives them a place on the world scene. [ Music ]>>When you think about American grand strategy
we have commitments all around the world. Many of our closest allies face potential
adversaries armed with nuclear weapons. And so the possibility of the United
States fighting a conventional war against a nuclear armed adversary
is far from implausible.>>The risk of inadvertent escalation is real. The risk of unpredictable decision making by a
regime who faces regime collapse and their reach for the nuclear tool is also real.>>So that’s one of the reasons why, frankly, I
think that having our military forces out there, having those forces have nuclear capabilities
is at least a constant reminder that Kim Jong-un and those around him that there
would be a very high price to be paid in the event that they used nuclear weapons.>>The argument is sometimes made the
20th Century was the century of European and Trans-Atlantic nuclear order and the 21st
Century will be the Asian nuclear century. We can hope that the proposition
is right, that nuclear weapons over time will have a stabilizing and pacifying
influence and will be tools for deterrence and assurance and not compellence,
coercion and aggression in Asia. It’s too early to tell.>>One lesson that can be drawn from the first
nuclear age is that nations chose to proliferate for reasons having less to do with the Cold
War and more to do with national self-interest.>>The French, they understand what happens
when your country is invaded by a hostile force. It is a very visceral feeling. So for them nuclear deterrents I
think is viewed a little differently. [ Music ]>>The 1960s saw both the spread of
nuclear weapons and the establishment of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. The decades to follow would be a period
of nonproliferation and its challengers. Less than six months after the
confrontation with the Soviets over Cuba President Kennedy spoke to
the threat of nuclear proliferation.>>With nuclear weapons distributed all
through the world and the strong reluctance of any people to accept defeat I see the
possibility in the 1970s or the President of the United States having to
face a world in which 15 or 20 or 25 nations may have these weapons. I regard that as the greatest
possible danger and hazard.>>We’ve seen a number of possible
ways of nuclear proliferation, and there was clearly a wave
forming in the 1960s.>>We started out with the United
States and the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, and
then France, and then China.>>It looked like there was
going to be a general embrace of nuclear weapons in the international system. Significant actors couldn’t
afford to be left behind.>>When the French decided to opt for
their own independent nuclear deterrent that was not a decision made in Washington and it actually caused some significant
recalculation by Washington and by Moscow.>>We and the Soviets shared a common desire, the people who didn’t have
nuclear weapons now, not get them. And so work with the Soviet Union to
create the modern nonproliferation regime.>>In 1968 a milestone treaty
instituted a grand political bargain. In exchange for a commitment from the
nonnuclear weapon states to apure the bomb, the five nuclear weapon states pledged to
facilitate the peaceful use of nuclear energy by all parties to the treaty and to work
towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.>>The nuclear nonproliferation regime is
the important normative framework guiding the politics, right, of nuclear weapons today and
the fact that we have much less proliferation than we expected in the 1960s, that many
fewer states have acquired nuclear weapons than people were predicting is a
testament to the power of those norms.>>Nonproliferation survives
because some states can be protected by other states with nuclear weapons.>>Some 30-odd friends and allies of the
United States, some of whom are capable of building their own nuclear weapons,
don’t need to do so because we have done so.>>And they expect in Europe and
the Middle East and Northeast Asia that if the chips were ever really
down America is going to be there.>>When the Nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty was opened for signature it became the most widely
subscribed to arms control treaty in history. Nonetheless, several UN member states
did not sign, notably India and Pakistan.>>The world would be divided
into two categories, states that would perpetually renounce their
right to nuclear weapons and some states that would continue to maintain
nuclear weapons for some time to come. India could not bear to see itself consigned
eternally to the category of have not’s.>>When India became independent
from Great Britain in 1947 the new Indian state was actually
divided between India and a new Pakistani state that would be a home to South Asian Muslims and
it was the result of some contentious map making and political wrangling and
demographic calculation, but in the end there was a West Pakistan and
an East Pakistan, divided by about 1,000 miles.>>Millions of Hindus, Sikhs
and Muslims were displaced in the controversial partition
of India imposed by the British. Within months a war between India and Pakistan
erupted over the Kashmir, ending in stalemate. In 1965 a second Kashmir war
was fought over the region and escalated further south into the Punjab. This conflict, too, ended as a stalemate. The Indo-Pakistani War of
1971 sparked by India’s entry into the Bangladesh Liberation
War ended differently.>>Up until that point the
Pakistanis had managed to fight India to a standstill pretty much every
time that they met on the battlefield. The Bangladesh War ended in catastrophe
and the Indians devastated Pakistan.>>That war confirmed for Pakistan two things, one that it did not have the
conventional capabilities and, two, that the international community was
unlikely to come to Pakistan’s assistance.>>The global impact of the
Bangladesh War was overshadowed by the US-China Rapprochement in 1972. From new Delhi’s perspective this thaw in
relations threatened to upset the balance of power between India and
its chief rival in Asia.>>I remember meeting the nuclear physicist
in charge of India’s nuclear power program, and I got the impression that India
was interested in demonstrating that it was an advanced scientific,
cultural, technological nation, just as China had the same
demonstration 10 years earlier.>>It was an extremely big
and very clumsy device, and it could not have been
carried by an airplane, much less. The then Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira
Gandhi[EB2], authorized that experiment for reasons of domestic politics.>>I think India’s 1974 test
accelerated the Pakistani commitment to acquire nuclear weapons,
but it did not initiate it. The Pakistani decision to acquire nuclear
weapons actually is initiated very quickly after Pakistan loses the 1971 war. By 1998 the world had turned completely. The 1998 tests were tests of
actual weaponized devices.>>In May 1998 both India and Pakistan
tested a series of nuclear weapons.>>Pakistan has been obliged to
exercise the nuclear option due to weaponization of India’s nuclear program.>>They had had them before, but this gave
them greater confidence and showed the world and showed each other they actually
had a small number of nuclear weapons and they were able to explode them.>>For India nuclear weapons
are essentially political tools. They derive all the utility
essentially from nonuse.>>Nothing speaks more to
that point than the fact that the Indian National Command Authority
is, in fact, the civilian chain of command.>>In Pakistan nuclear weapons are first and foremost military instruments whose
deterrent utility derives from the possibility that they can be used effectively.>>When you look at the Pakistani release
chain it’s vested in the Army Chief of Staff. The political authorities
really are not involved.>>The Pakistanis think of nuclear weapons
as weapons that must be planned for, whereas, the Indians in contrast are actually horrified
by this vision of the utility of nuclear weapons and continue to maintain strong civilian control because they do not really anticipate
ever having to use these weapons in anger. [ Music ]>>As a result of the fact that both states
now have nuclear weapons the relationship between India and Pakistan is becoming more
stable, but I don’t think it is yet stable.>>Some of the Pakistani military strongly feel that their nuclear weapons capability
has been a deterrent against India, and I think to some degree that’s true but it’s
also been a very, very dangerous deterrent.>>Neither side is deliberately going
to do something that threatens the other with either catastrophic defeat or very, very
serious costs, but I would stress deliberately.>>Nuclear weapons stabilize the military
balance at the level of all out nuclear war.>>Fire. [gun blasts]>>But it becomes less stable
at lower levels of violence, like the continuing confrontation over Kashmir. [ Music ] The 2001 terrorist attack upon the Indian
Parliament and the 2008 Mumbai attacks.>>The Indians now are moving towards a
capability to attack quickly if it feels that the Pakistani Government was
the cause or at least the supporter of terrorist attacks inside India.>>When you start taking very, very
quick or rapid actions the potential for miscalculation increases and
with nuclear weapons the consequences for that miscalculation then could
become severe and even extreme.>>The problem is one of
in advertent escalation, that’s where the two sides get involved
in the conventional war that escalates to the nuclear level in large part because
Pakistan is so weak at the conventional level.>>We know that the Indians were very restrained
in their reaction to the Mumbai raids. That Indian restraint will not last forever. [ Music ]>>It is terribly important for Pakistan’s
military leaders to understand the consequences of what might eventuate if they
actually used nuclear weapons.>>India and Pakistan are as yet in
an early phase of nuclear learning, much like the United States was in the 1950s. What lessons does a state like
Iran take from this experience?>>One of the things that I think we
learned during the start of the Cold War is that new nuclear weapon states
got the weapons for a reason. They believe the weapons will
not only have military utility, they will have political utility,
and in the case of a government like Iran it will be probing and testing for
where its weapons might give it broader latitude of action even that it takes now.>>They look around and the see the Pakistanis
having nuclear weapons to their east, they see the Russians having them to the
north, they see the US and others having them to the south and the west, and they basically
say we’re surrounded by nuclear powers. I think that Iran looks at how
easily the US overthrew Sadam Hussein who had no nuclear weapons, how easily
Kaddafi was taken out by a ragtag rebel army and Western air support, but how careful we
are in how we deal with the North Koreans.>>Even if security is the main
incentive, the main motivation for Tehran’s nuclear weapons
program that doesn’t mean that Tehran’s leaders should they
acquire nuclear weapons would only behave in a defensive deterrent mode.>>So you can imagine in Iran that if
it has nuclear weapons that they’re then as emboldened in a way similar to Pakistan.>>What do you do if they intensify their
transfer of weapons to Hezbollah and others and allow their nuclear force to
be used as an offensive deterrent?>>The political decision to build
Amman has not yet been made in Iran. So the first question that
should be asked in Iran, how can we deter them from making that decision?>>Military strikes might set
the program back a few years, but at the end of the day military strikes will
also unite an Iranian public which is divided over whether or not Iran should have a nuclear
weapon behind a nuclear weapons program and it will also destroy any hope
to the degree that slim hope exists that there will be political change within Iran.>>A war with Iran would have
very serious implications, but just as serious would be
Iran getting nuclear weapons. We are not going to get an absolute total
guarantee, no country would be able to do that, but we have to have a verifiable
way of knowing that we will be able to have early enough warning for the Iranians if
they are going to go forward with a weapon quest that we will be able to take action to stop it.>>We don’t know whether Iran actually perceives
a more secure future in having a nuclear weapon. We know that they perceive a
benefit in moving in that direction, but actually having one, well, we’ll find out. [ Music ]>>With the end of the Cold War came
the end of super power bipolarity. Many believe we are living in a unipolar moment,
a period of global order secured by US economic and military power, leading to an ever
receding role for nuclear weapons. But where Washington and
Moscow once dominated decisions about nuclear weapons today
nuclear decision making is spread across multiple capitols
and actors in the regions. In East Asia, in South Asia, and
perhaps in the Mideast giving rise to what some call a polynuclear world, these differing views pose a
range of possible nuclear futures.>>We look across the world and we see expansion
of nuclear arsenals worldwide really – Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan,
India and potentially a spread. We just don’t know what kind of threats
we’re going to have to respond to.>>I think that nuclear terrorism is the single
most important threat our country faces today, indeed, the world faces today.>>One nuclear weapon is an
existential threat to the United States because of the consequences it would cause. It would change the economics and
politics of our country forever, just one.>>That tiny chance that there could be a
nuclear weapon in the hands of the terrorists, that’s what keeps me up at night.>>I think we totally exaggerate what terrorists
have done or have proved capable of doing.>>We do ourselves a disservice by saying, well, if a terrorist had nuclear material
they could make a nuclear weapon, that almost encourages them to
try to get nuclear material. What we should be telling
them is actually the truth and that is it’s very difficult
to make a nuclear weapon.>>Nuclear terrorism is the ultimate
low probability, high consequence event. It’s extremely unlikely to happen. The bars against it are quite high, but if it did it becomes a
transformational event for society.>>No, short answer to the question.>>How on earth is a nuclear weapon
going to deter a terrorist threat? If the United States is attacked or if France
or the United Kingdom or any other country in the world is attacked by
a terrorist group operating out of Pakistan you’re telling
me we’re going to nuke Islamabad?>>Deterring terrorists is not a
function of our nuclear capability. Remember the nuclear weapon, the nuclear
deterrent is not an all-purpose deterrent.>>Technology will not save us from
terrorism, it can keep terrorists away from us, it can detect their activities, it
can attack them, eliminate them, but in terms of why people want to commit
these terrorist acts, that’s a human problem.>>If you have what I call a terrorist with
negative goals, a terrorist that engages in violence purely for the sake of violence,
there’s not a lot one could hold hostage, hold at risk and say, you
know, if you don’t behave in a certain way we’re going to damage it. But on the other hand if you have a terrorist
that has what I would call positive goals, again, that cares about a particular
place, a particular population, he doesn’t want those places
and populations to be hurt. And then we’re back in the old
game of deterrence and coercion.>>Nuclear terrorism is one of the hardest
problems from the perspective of deterrence because as long as the terrorist group genuinely
does not have a return address it becomes harder to deter.>>Unless you’re talking about a
nuclear arms date, which is overtly or covertly sponsored terrorists against us to
include the possibility of nuclear terrorism. Now you’re dealing with deterring a state
actor, which has territory to put at risk with a leadership which has value
structures to put at risk and you’re back into the general category of deterrence.>>They don’t keep their agreements and they
don’t operate in a way that creates confidence and goodwill in their own region, and so
I cannot predict what they’re going to do.>>There are two parts to this equation,
one is capability, the other one is intent. Well, the capability we sort of lost that
game, you know, they’re essentially there.>>Iran will either decide to
deploy a nuclear weapon or it won’t. They will make that decision. We can make that decision more difficult.>>But if they sustain the belief it’s in their
national interests then they will achieve it.>>I don’t think we can compel Iran
not to develop a nuclear weapon, save through regime change, and
I think given our lessons in Iraq and Afghanistan we are not
particularly up for regime change.>>So if we really wanted to prevent Iran
from getting nuclear weapons we ought to be working on their motivation. What makes it in their national
interests to have such weapons.>>Iranians have a heightened
sense of insecurity. They live in a dangerous part of the
world and nuclear weapons have quite a bit of nationalist salience for them. And one of the things the South Asian case
has shown us is that when states really want to develop nuclear weapons they find a
way to do it, and India and Pakistan were under tremendous pressure not to
develop nuclear weapons and they did.>>It seems to me very likely Iran
is going to acquire nuclear weapons, so we should think about
what happens if they do.>>Of course, anybody can be deterred
by definition, whether we know how to do that is a separate question.>>We thought, for example, with China, Mao’s China we can’t let them get
nuclear weapons because Mao is crazy. They did get nuclear weapons and
we have successfully deterred them.>>Maybe, maybe, just maybe the Mullahs
in Tehran would follow the same course, but they would be greatly more
reasonable than people fear.>>Notwithstanding some of the rhetoric, these are not suicidal people,
so they can be deterred.>>I would hope that we do not have to
rely on deterring Iran, whether deterrents in a pure sense would work or
not I don’t think anyone knows.>>Deterrence has worked ever
since we’ve seen it in 1945 and if Iran gets nuclear weapons
Iran can be deterred by other states that possess nuclear weapons, the most
important of which is the United States.>>I’m dubious about that proposition, first
of all, because I think other countries in the region if Iran gets nuclear
weapons will insist on their own.>>Our friends in the region will say, well, you
told us Iran would not develop nuclear weapons, you failed so we can’t rely on you again.>>What will Turkey do or Saudi Arabia or Egypt? The conventional thinking is they will
race to get a bomb, but maybe not. Maybe there is a deterrent or a containment
regime that you can put in place around Iran that makes Iran pay a price for that,
that no other country wants to pay.>>What would we say to partners
in the Middle East? It’s a very different region than our
traditional alliances, our NATO alliance, where we do have an extended
nuclear deterrents commitment. Northeast Asia.>>So we go to Qatar or Kuwait or
Saudi Arabia and say not to worry, you’re living under our umbrella, then the
Saudi Government might well say, well, yes, but your umbrella comes from a long
ways away and these guys are right here.>>Extended deterrents would adapt, it wouldn’t
be the same as we’ve known it historically, it wouldn’t be the same as
it is in other regions.>>How do you manifest that deterrent? We clearly would never put aircraft
with nuclear weapons on the ground.>>The most recent nuclear past review
talked about how we can deploy bombers that are nuclear capable or dual capable
aircraft to places around the world if we needed to, be that in Asia or elsewhere.>>We have to tailor nuclear
means to this new setting. Will it require a set of robust plans to
demonstrate our capability in that region? will it require a new set of
bilateral talks with all of the allies in that region to assure them of our promise? Yes.>>We’re maintaining weapons which are much
larger, that have much higher nuclear yields than we need in an age of
precision weapon delivery.>>Guidance technology and surveillance
technology and sensor technology and networked command and
control have allowed planners to contemplate nuclear counterforce strikes
that don’t produce millions of casualties.>>You can say it in one sentence, it makes
a damage limiting first strike feasible. The synergies of these new
technologies are extraordinarily powerful for upsetting the military balance in
ways that may not be politically directed.>>I think in many respects the weaponry is
stuck in the Cold War and we need to think about what kind of deterrence is
more appropriate for today’s needs. I’d rather rely on more of strategic targeted,
very capable precision weapons that can take out military targets more suitable to today’s
capabilities, as well as potentially usages.>>I do not think based on
the life extension program and the stockpile stewardship
program there’s any compelling need for new different types and
so forth of nuclear weapons.>>I think the military capabilities are
perfectly adequate to deal with today’s threats. You know, I don’t see – you know,
let me put the question back at you, what military capabilities do you want
that are not present in today’s arsenal?>>I don’t know the answer to
these questions, number one. Number two, nobody knows the
answer to these questions. You have nine nuclear countries
in the world today, eight have modernized their
nuclear forces for the 21st Century. There’s only one, the United States,
which says we don’t want to do that because it will send a
signal to the rest of the world that these weapons might have some value.>>You know, I don’t think the US should build
any nuclear warhead, it doesn’t need just to build a new nuclear warhead because other
states might be building new nuclear warheads. I mean, you know, that’s not a strategic way
of approaching the problem of deterrence. I mean that’s just copycatting.>>But we’re talking here about designing a
force which is not going to be used in anything like current circumstances and so we can’t
take the presentism of the current debate and simply apply it to these
extreme circumstances.>>We tend to talk about deterrents as though
nuclear deterrents encompass all deterrents. And it doesn’t, it’s one hugely
consequential and important part.>>Deterrence depends on so many
things more than nuclear weapons. Conventional capabilities,
missile defense capabilities.>>Command and control capabilities,
our surveillance capabilities, our satellites, our eyes in the sky.>>If you will, a diversification
of the deterrence toolkit to deal with the emerging regional deterrence
challenges of the 21st Century.>>Nuclear is an obsolete form of deterrence. The only reason you have nuclear weapons is
because other countries have nuclear weapons. If they did not you have many, many
means of deterring them from attack.>>The focus nowadays is on developing
very, very capable conventional forces.>>We can enhance deterrence by the introduction of these nonnuclear strike means
and ballistic missile defense.>>However, we are in a situation today where
there are a number of potential adversaries in various regions of the world who will look
at a nuclear weapon as a warfighting tool. How will they be deterred from
crossing a nuclear threshold? A regional crisis is likely
to start small at a slow boil. It might start in the cyber sphere,
it might start in the space sphere, it might start in a cross-border
conventional conflict.>>And if the United States finds itself
in those conflicts the adversary is going to face a tremendous incentive to use
nuclear weapons to escalate as a means of bringing the war to a
close before it’s too late.>>Our conventional means may not be suitable
to deter the employment of a nuclear weapon by one of these regional adversaries.>>In those circumstances one of the options
that any US leader would face is to take out the adversary’s nuclear force. And the question is do we have the kinds
of capabilities that would allow us to do that in a way that doesn’t
produce millions of casualties?>>We have conventional capabilities that
can take care of any imaginable contingency, including the obscure ones that people dream up.>>So we want a conflict to remain
conventional, but on the other hand if for whatever reason we were forced to use
nuclear weapons we’d want to limit the damage. Our objectives can be met with
a weapon of 10 kilotons or less.>>And as you look at how capabilities of our potential adversaries have
evolved you certainly would like to have in small numbers more adaptive
capabilities to be able to ensure that we aren’t either self-deterred
or our deterrent becomes incredible in the eyes of a potential adversary.>>The ability to have a
responsive option for the President that is survivable is very, very important.>>What mission requires nuclear weapons? How credible, how viable is this idea that
somehow the use of nuclear weapons is essential to our deterrent capabilities,
to our security commitments? I think it’s, frankly, fallacious.>>So today I state clearly and with conviction
America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. [applause]>>President Obama in advancing the
Prague initiative really took a very realistic attitude. He said this is something that will not
happen in my lifetime, it’s a goal of policy that you put out there and it drives you
in the direction of lower and lower numbers of nuclear weapons available in the
hands of countries around the world.>>Is global zero achievable? I don’t see how in a future I can
foresee, certainly not in my lifetime, and as the President said probably not in
his lifetime, but I can’t foresee it even in the lifetimes of my children
that we will be able to eliminate nuclear weapons around the world.>>International politics is now
a nasty and brutish business. States live in a system that is sometimes quite
dangerous, so if you want to move to a world where there are no nuclear weapons what you have to do is fundamentally alter the
nature of international politics.>>Now that’s a huge geopolitical
engineering exercise. You wouldn’t just need good enforcement and
you wouldn’t just need good verification, you would also need a security architecture
that enabled today’s states with nuclear weapons to protect their vital interests without them.>>There’s only one problem with that, I haven’t
heard one other leader of a nuclear power in the world echo that sentiment, not even our
closest allies, the British and the French, and I certainly haven’t heard it
out of the Russians, the Chinese, the Pakistanis, the Indians, anybody else.>>But even if you could address a lot of
these security concerns you’d always then have to worry about the cheating problem. I mean how do you know that an adversary
isn’t hiding the capability to recreate?>>You will have a group of nations
who are latent nuclear powers and those nations will invariably have plans, military plans to reconstitute their
nuclear capabilities in a crisis, to have plans to potentially preempt their
adversaries from acquiring nuclear capabilities. It would be a very, very, very nervous world.>>A world without nuclear weapons is tailormade
for major conventional war and all the carnage that the international system
saw in the 20th Century. Are we willing to trade off the risks that
are associated with a well-managed system of nuclear deterrents for the
risks that essentially come from the open-ended threats of
large scale conventional war?>>I believe we should work in good faith
towards eventual elimination of nuclear weapons, even though I know that that would be
very difficult and may not be achievable. Because even if it is not achieved
we will be in a much better world with smaller nuclear arsenals and
a more recessed form of deterrence.>>Now the things we do to get to that very
low level in and of themselves can help lead to a better geopolitical
world, but we’re not there yet.>>In the first place we’re not going to get to
that point, you can’t uninvent these weapons. And, secondly, for the United States to believe
that we can encourage other nations to forego that weapon if we simply
cut back on ours is folly.>>To me, you have to ask what’s naive,
a world without nuclear weapons or moving in that direction step by step as an ultimate
goal, giving people hope, giving them vision, giving people a chance to work together
toward that long range goal, what’s naive? Is that naive or believing we can
basically stay mounted on this nuclear tiger with nine other countries joining
us and avoid absolute catastrophe? History will tell us. [ Music ]

19 thoughts on “On Deterrence

  1. This is a thoroughly interesting and comprehensive exploration of deterrence.  Sandia  have endeavoured to interview some of the brightest minds.  However when "weapons makers," make a documentary about nuclear bombs and their role in "deterrence," well you're going to have all sorts of questions and wonder just how biased it's going to be.   McDonalds wants you to think positively about hamburgers so it only makes sense that Sandia (who are in the weapons industry) would probably want you to think positively about nuclear bombs.  I'll let you decide the moral dilemma for yourself.  Saying that, I found the film thoroughly balanced and genuine with a tremendous amount of research put into unravelling the history.  I've never seen anything quiet like this.  It's not glossed over and explores the horrors of war and even of nuclear weapons themselves.   Be warned there are some shocking graphic scenes of war which I found disturbing!  One important historical fact they forgot to include was that it was Albert Einstein's letter to President Roosevelt regarding the possibility that Germany may build the first bomb that ultimately led to it's development.  Germany had the most brilliant scientists in the world and would have succeeded in building them.   Can you imagine if Einstein's letter got lost in the post?  😉

  2. Very good wide-ranging documentary about nuclear posture through the decades, especially the present situations. Multiple interviews cut together; long, but not a minute wasted. Schools should use it.

  3. Note for anyone who wants to adjust the captions, the ambiguous word at c. 5:10 is "Westphalian", referring to the Treaty of Westphalia, an European peace treaty in 1648 that laid out principles of stave sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs that significantly influenced diplomatic thinking into the 20th century.

  4. Looking at the credits, I saw that it was mastered in 4K, yet I can't find where to find a BluRay or 4K-BluRay disc for purchase.  Was this ever produced for sale or distribution? Some of the restoration of nuclear weapons test was phenomenal!

  5. There's one major problem with nuclear deterrence. We won't have direct evidence of its potential to fail and destroy civilization until it's too late. So we need to be asking now: How long do we think it can work, and is that long enough. My answers, based on my research: We can expect it to work for another 50-200 years … unless we change in fundamental ways. And we had better change since a 100 year "nuclear time horizon" would give a child born today worse than even odds of living out his or her natural life. Martin Hellman, Stanford University

  6. Outstanding conversation and discussion regarding nuclear weapons today. I used to fall into the nuke em till they glow then shoot em in the dark category-politely described in the video as a Truman/Eisenhower/Pakistani military tool primarily. However, as JFK described to the UN, I now believe in the nuclear sword of Damocles that hangs over us all-ready to be cut by accident, miscalculation, or madness. I also believe that the idea of deterrence is based-as stated in the video-on will. The US Army War College talks about war as a political means to a political end where the formula of capability+will=power of resistance or offense. While all American wars have been strongly opposed until fought, in the post-Vietnam era opposition to war by the American people has always led to cessation of conflicts through less than decisive victory/success. Even Desert Storm had to be ended asap lest the world and the American people lose will to fight longer. Iraq and Afghanistan are prime examples of the US govt can wage war, but only to a limited degree because of the lack of American will. The idea of winning a war in Afghanistan with 30,000, or 10,000 troops is pathetic in comparison to the US will demonstrated in previous wars. The American military cannot be defeated by enemies, but it is controlled by a govt that derives its power from the consent or will of the people who have no will for war. Without will, there is no deterrence, and one need look no further than Iran's unabated pursuit of nuclear weapons or North Korea's development of nukes, or Russia's invasions of Georgia, Crimea, and Ukraine. The US nuclear arsenal doesn't deter anyone anymore because no other country believes that the American people have the will to use nukes other than in direct response to an attack on NYC, DC, LA, Phoenix, etc. Put another way, voters in Youngstown, Ohio are no longer easily convinced that getting nuked by Russia is worth threatening Russia over Sevastapol, and the Russians know it so they're not deterred. People in a trailer park outside Yuma, AZ are not going to cheer if Pyongyang is nuked after they fire some artillery at a ship in the Sea of Japan. The video shows a fantastic shot of Eisenhower's inuguration where nuclear missiles are paraded in front of him on parade, and the crowd cheered. Today, if giant Minuteman III missile were dragged down a parade in front of President Obama or Trump or Hillary Clinton or whoever….

    …the crowd would fall silent. The age of the US successfully deterring others with nukes or even with conventional military action, are ending. The American people are too tired of war to support a war. They'd rather just declared it as "ended" and leave it to inertia

  7. bunch of silly idiots, who created north korea? answer: the same assholes who say they are a problem, cia and zombie like people who look to these idiots to run the show.

  8. Not so sure about the description of the Tumbler shot at 1:17:00. The explosion shows rope tricks which come from the vaporization of the guy wires holding a shot tower straight. The drop on that date 5/1/52 was a airdrop though.

  9. There must be something in Russian water that makes them such idiots.. Who in their right state of mind would want to invade or attack Russia? For what? The backward 3rd world country, a gas station that's trying to present itself as a functioning state. If we wanted the oil there are much easier ways of getting it. We could invade S Arabia, Iraq, Venezuela, Iran, UAE, Kuwait, etc.. After all USA is currently THE largest oil producer in the world, we don't need oil so much anymore, we're kind of advancing the world (like we always do), towards new technologies and energy consumption. Chill out Russia, Putin is feeding you this BS about the West just waiting to invade you so you don't bother yourselves with economy, croonie capitalism, Putin's 100 000$ watches and tens of billions of $ on bank accounts. He's trying to have you forget about the fact that he kills journalists and opposition leaders that don't agree with him..Wake the f.. up…

  10. Thankfully we have started a couple of years ago a 1 trillion$ nuclear weapons overhaul. That doesn't mean new nuclear warheads (are these experts dumb?). It means new, more capable delivery systems. Systems that will guarantee that we'll keep a viable deterrence. If we stick to our 1970s Minuteman ICBMs, 1980s Ohio class submarines and 1990s B-2 stealth bombers we won't have a credible deterrence in 2030 given the advance in anti ballistic missile technology. So we'll keep the same warheads, and significantly improve our delivery systems, command and control and even reinstate some weapons that were removed from our inventory in 1991 like nuclear tipped cruise missiles, Tomahawk for now and future Tomahawk replacement in late 2020s..

  11. 2:00 in and Schelling appears!!! AWESOME!

    Hope they show clips from Brodie! Thank you so much for the upload! Cannot wait to watch this!!!

  12. Unfortunately, you could never “get rid of (nukes).” There are just too many cheaters, liars and (yes) con men in the world. That is just a sad, immovable fact.

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