[fa.arms-d] Arms-Discussion Digest V0 #154

C70:arms-d (08/03/82)

>From HGA@MIT-MC Tue Aug  3 03:54:02 1982

Arms-Discussion Digest                            Volume 0 : Issue 154

Today's Topics:
                        Clayton vs. Caldicott
                           ZRM and security

Date: 1 August 1982 18:16-EDT
From: Robert Elton Maas <REM at MIT-MC>
Subject: Clayton vs. Caldicott

I saw that Sci.Am. article on meltdown vs. bomb vs. bomb-on-reactor
too.  My reaction was that a single bomb on a reactor is much worse
than a single bomb elsewhere, so if you're going to try to hit
civilian targets (cities) you should certainly target all the reactors
in preference to random targets, and with 10k warheads you can assume
the 20 or so reactors will ALL surely be targeted with enough
redundancy to assume ALL will be vaporized. However in the total
damage done by allthe bombs, the additional damage due to reactors
being vaporized will be perhaps 10% (in any case some small fraction)
extra, so the chance of reactors being targeted in a nuclear war is
NOT a reason to avoid building reactors in the first place.

Of course if we had 1000 reactors, the amount of enhancement of damage
from a nuclear war (again assuming all reactors are targeted) would be
significant compared to other nuclear-war damage. Thus I would NOT
suggest building 1000 nuclear reactors until we have first solved the
problem of nuclear war. But I would think 100 reactors would be fine.


Date: 2 Aug 1982 13:13:02-PDT
From: Christopher Williams <Cory.cc-25@Berkeley>
Subject: ZRM and security

	[<ZRM at MIT-MC> Subject:  Mutant germs & Sci-Fi]
	My own prediction is that the only way that the current
	nuclear threat will be diminished will be through the
	developement of effective defense against ICBMs. This will
	relegate ICBMs to being terror weapons and therefore largely
	useless to the superpowers.

Hmm, I thought that anti-ICBM weapons were destabilizing.  Building
ABM's or killer satellites will diminish the nuclear threat to us, but
increases the threat to the Russians.  Panic and uneasiness there
would be similar to feelings here if the Russians were to build a
defense system.  In a worst case, we would increase the threat to
ourselves through a defense system.

Even if they didn't go to launch-on-slightest-hint-of-warning, there
would be a temptation to build more ICBM's to regain their kill rate,
or to build new weapons to defeat our defenses.  To quell this
temptation, we would have to very convincingly drop our current first
strike tendencies in order to show that we were being purely
defensive, and not out to defend against a retaliatory strike.  I
don't know if you implied all this in your statement, but on the
surface it seemed not.

Obviously, part of my scenario involves making the Russians believe
we've become passive and isolationist.  Seeing as how we'd never
expect it of them, I see no reason for them to believe us.  We would
then be left in a passive position with the Russians still going full
tilt in arms production.  This would probably lead to coup by more
conservative, patriotic people of power who never wanted to go along
with disarmament in the first place, and the whole thing would go down
the tubes. [hyperbole intended]

One of the main problems in arms talks always seems to be one of
verification.  Would it be possible for the Russians to reasonably
determine that we had decimated our first strike force?  If so, they
might just get over their distrust of us, in which case, a defense
system with accompanying disarmament would actually get us out of the
current race.  It's just a matter of whether we want to give up our
position of policeman, protecting the rights of friendly dictators and
democracies everywhere.

(Oh boy, are the flames going to hit the fan!)


End of Arms-D Digest