The Nuclear Lens

There is something that people tend to forget and that is that global strategy is still seen through the nuclear lens.  The presence of the large nuclear arsenals is the gray eminence that looms over all international diplomacy.

What that means is that the question of whether or not Iran will build a bomb is not so much important as how many warheads will land on Iran if it should be so foolish as to think it can use it.  The same, of course, is true for North Korea.  The Chinese are terrified of the possibility, not only that the Chia Pet madman running that godforsaken country might fire one and it go totally off course and hit Beijing (a real possibility) but that the radioactive fallout from the retaliation on North Korea if it should fire a bomb anywhere else would drift over China in massive and seriously unhealthy quantities that no amount of Tai Chi could fix.

The nuclear lens shows us that Russia is not a serious military threat because it has too much to lose, the same with China.  Oh, there is the game playing and the occasional bluster, but no one is going to do anything.  Nuclear weapons have changed the face of warfare, making it impossible for the large players to directly go after each other and thus leaving the combat to the small targets, the ones that can be taken out by drones.

It is a different and more interesting world than that existed in the summer of 1914 and as the last veterans of the western front are two US soldiers, and that war has passed from living memory to the sole province of the historians, it does us well to remember that.

So ignore the news and stop being afraid.

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