The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


April 15, 2013

Anson Burlingame, guest columnist: Deterrence still works

JOPLIN, Mo. — Why all the fuss over North Korea? Frankly, I wonder if all the fuss is simply a distraction, overstating North Korea’s threat to America. In my view, that international situation remains very manageable.

It has been clear to Western intelligence services for many years now that the North Koreans probably have made some nuclear weapons.

Some think they now have the ballistic missile technology to explode such devices outside their national boundaries. Of course, the challenge to any intelligence service is to figure out exactly how far outside those national boundaries they might be able to strike with nuclear warheads.

Does that concern sound something like the question of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at the beginning of the 21st century? Who knows the answer with certainty today? The real question seems to me to be, “Will North Korea use such nuclear weapons if they have them and the ability to fly them to targets somewhere in the world today?” I believe the answer is no.

Why would I think that? The answer is simple. Nuclear deterrence remains the firmest possible prevention of the use of nuclear weapons by anyone, anywhere today. Use them anywhere and see what you might get back, right in your lap, so to speak.

So to me the real question before us is how strong America’s nuclear deterrence posture is. Do we have the means to strike back with overwhelming force and do we have the will to do so if deterrence fails? That turns the question around to challenge America, which is the only thing (ultimately) that prevented a nuclear exchange in previous decades.

Ultimately, America cannot control a madman or a crazy nation from using nuclear weapons. But consider this scenario: Let’s say Guam is struck by a nuclear warhead launched from North Korea. Would President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry — the core of our National Command Authority — respond in kind back to North Korea?

If there is any doubt that America will not do so, then nuclear deterrence is weakened, to the point that it might not work.

That is a far more dangerous world than when there was no doubt at all what America would do.

Anson Burlingame lives in Joplin.

Text Only
  • Our View.jpg Our View: Lone holdout

    Missouri continues to be the only state in the United States that won’t allow a prescription drug database to be established.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anson Burlingame, guest columnist: Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years

    Does anyone recall the major economic argument during the 2000 presidential campaign between George Bush and Al Gore?

    July 22, 2014

  • Our View: Vote no on Amendment 1

    Proponents of Amendment 1 — the Right to Farm Act — have not made their case. We’ve met with advocates of this amendment to the Missouri constitution and listened to their arguments, but we don’t believe they have adequately answered the central question: Who is it protecting, and from what?

    July 13, 2014

  • Your View: Amendment 5 is deception of the highest order

    Amendment 5, sponsored by Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, “relating to the right of Missouri citizens to keep and bear arms” provides that “any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

    July 21, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: No time to turn away

    With the shooting down of a commercial airliner over Ukraine and fighting that has now escalated to a ground war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, it would be easy for most U.S. citizens to throw up their hands and turn their backs.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Power to defend

    The Globe’s editorial ‘More guns not the answer’ (July 15) was saturated with classic progressive blather.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: Thanks for the generosity

    Generally, all we hear about is the bad news, and obviously, there is plenty available. Our church felt this event worthy of public knowledge.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: How to upgrade your business

    Let’s see now. When some folks wish to improve the exterior of their properties and have other taxpayers pay for the improvements, they create a community improvement district.

    July 21, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our view: Street smarts

    If your daily commute has been shortened because you no longer have to wait at 26th Street and Connecticut Avenue for a train to pass, thank your own tax dollars.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Decision fails test

    With the announcement that the State Board of Education has decided not to release individual school test results because of cyberattacks and other problems this spring, educators are scratching their heads, as are taxpayers who footed the bill.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined. Do you think those kinds of measures should be taken?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
NDN Video
Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City