Letter to the Guardian that got spiked:
"The atomic bomb haunts our world as much as ever" (Leader, August 6th).
Why so? If the deterrence strategy is perfect, the balance of terror
means that nuclear weapons will never be used. They will stay forever in
their silos, a symbol of the power of the states that own them, and as a
tool of international diplomacy. We may cavil about their cost, and we
may worry about and work against proliferation, but there it ends, if
deterrence is perfect.
If on the other hand there is a greater than zero chance that any nuke
will be fired in anger (or even by accident), then deterrence policy
must be terminated and the world must destroy these weapons totally,
because the consequence of a global nuclear war is unimaginably severe,
and even a single use will almost certainly escalate into total war.
If the consequence of the breakdown of a system is infinitely negative,
we may use that system if and only if the probability of its breakdown
is zero. This is the reason that we must set aside nuclear weapons, and
this is the primary realisation that we must grasp. Once we have got
this into our heads, then we can start to work realistically on the
details of how we get rid of the damned things on a global basis.
And in case you may think that accidental nuclear war is just a theoretical concept, read this link, about Sergei Petrov, who correctly diagnosed not one but two false alarms in the nuclear Command and Control system. The post mentions four similar incidents which could have led to all-out nuclear war.