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How easy is it to detonate a nuclear weapon on foreign soil? Here are five myths about missiles, threats and deterrence. It sounds as if North Korea can't be a threat if it hasn't launched a projectile across the ocean. But countries have never held their enemies to this standard. Early in the Cold War, nations tested nuclear weapons in a variety of settings, including underwater and underground. The United States and the Soviet Union also launched nuclear weapons on missiles, detonating them in the upper atmosphere or in space.

At least once, on Feb. On May 6, , the United States did the same from a submarine.

Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons - Wilson, Ward - | HPB

Since then, the only nuclear missile test involving reentry was conducted by China on Oct. No country has ever attempted to demonstrate an ICBM in this fashion. Still, no one questions whether America, Britain, China, France or Russia have working nuclear missiles. In his game plan for war with North Korea, the New York Post's Ralph Peters - a retired Army lieutenant colonel - placed the following high on his to-do list: "We'd go for the missile and nuke infrastructure," including scientists, technicians and the bombs themselves. Likewise, Time told readers in that, should Iran develop the ability to use nuclear weapons, they could "look for the Air Force's Massive Ordnance Penetrator to get the assignment to try to destroy that capability.

Ward Wilson: The Myth of Hiroshima

But that might not be so simple. Little is known in detail about the current ability of the United States to seek out and destroy mobile missiles before they launch, but it has been a notoriously tough problem in the past. During the Gulf War, the U. Capabilities have improved, but by all indications, the job remains difficult. This groundbreaking study shows why five central arguments promoting nuclear weapons are, in essence, myths. Using pragmatic arguments and an unemotional, clear-eyed insistence on the truth, he arrives at a surprising conclusion: nuclear weapons are enormously dangerous, but don't appear to be terribly useful.

In that case, he asks, why would we want to keep them? This book will be widely read and discussed by everyone who cares about war, peace, foreign policy, and security in the twenty-first century.


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Summary Add a Summary. Notices Add Notices. Quotes Add a Quote. Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jun 08, Nicholas rated it liked it. This is a very interesting and succinct essay and very clearly written. However, I don't think the author quite makes his case.


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  8. At the end he claims that the nuclear weapons do not have a special power to overawe their opponents example Japan and that they might not be decisive in war. I think his arguments are very convincing though the documentary evidence he present This is a very interesting and succinct essay and very clearly written.

    I think his arguments are very convincing though the documentary evidence he presents seems quite circumstantial. I am sure he has done his homework but I would have been more convinced had he systematically gone through all the surviving evidence about why the Japanese made the decision to surrender. However, I am not sure Wilson's conclusion is entirely correct. Although I think Wilson is correct to say that anyone drawing the conclusion that nuclear weapons can be a game changer from the specific instance of Japan is mistaken, I am not so sure he is right to suggest that this one example proves his general point.

    Remarks on Ward Wilson’s “Five myths about nuclear weapons”

    As for the decisive in war argument, I am not convinced. Until the relatively recent advent of precision guided munitions, nuclear weapons clearly did give holders a military advantage, as they guarantee destruction of the military target without any need for precision. In that sense they clearly do have some potential to be decisive in war, particularly for a state without precision guided weapons, and assuming they have sufficient numbers.

    I agree very much with his historical examples that nuclear weapons don't deter risky behaviour and his argument about Kennedy I think is correct. Equally I agree with his view that one shouldn't conclude nuclear weapons kept the peace in the Cold War, just because there was no nuclear war. Occasionally the book discusses historical events without using archival evidence which I think weakens the case. But surely documents must exist that would allow us to make an informed judgement?

    Lastly, one annoying error - the Soviet Union was not dissolved in page 92 - it was Feb 15, Peter Mcloughlin rated it really liked it Shelves: nukes-and-the-end-the-world , politics , to , , bad-things , coldwar. This is a very short book about myths of nuclear weapons. The author contends 1. Nuclear weapons weren't the cause of Japans surrender but more likely Russia's declaration of war against Japan in the summer of Nuclear deterence is reliable in a crisis, The author argues that in the Cuban Missile Crisis, The Yom Kippur War, and The Gulf war in luck was more important than any deterrent of nukes.

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    Nukes brought about the long peace from to the present, The author argues that ot This is a very short book about myths of nuclear weapons. Nukes brought about the long peace from to the present, The author argues that other factors have kept the major powers from going to war against each other for the past 68 years. He also reminds us that the Victorians had their own "long Peace after the Napoleonic wars but it ended in the disaster of World War I and its sequeal.

    I sm not convinced by his arguments but it is nice to get a different perspective on this issue.

    Are Nuclear Weapons Useful?

    Jul 08, Randal Schmidt rated it it was amazing. Highly recommend! Excellent, concise, compelling arguments for a serious reevaluation of our thinking towards nuclear issues. These 5 myths are held as truth by the vast majority of the general public and, unfortunately, by our policy makers; they deserve questioning. While I don't agree with every one of Wilson's conclusions his arguments and evidence regarding myth 5 "There is no alternative" are the weakest of the book , he does a great job presenting the case for the lay reader.

    I will be us Highly recommend! I will be using this book in a high school class that I teach because it is such an accessible text. I was hoping for more technical detail and persuasive factual arguments but I found it mostly based on the authors general opinions.

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    Aug 02, Jacob rated it really liked it. This book is a quick read, but it especially changed my perspective on how to think of the American bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki near the end of WWII. Jan 14, Nicolette rated it liked it. I dived into this expecting to rate it higher, and for some reason I feel guilty for not being able to do so.

    Perhaps it is because I felt myself arguing fiercely, internally, with not only his extrapolations, but many of the precepts he based them on as well. Before I elaborate, note that I have a specific and perhaps different background regarding the subject of Japan, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and nuclear weaponry.