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No Thanks

Nuclear weapons have served the world well. Without them, the great powers and their allies and satraps might have gone to battle many times. With them, we were delivered from bloodshed even during tremendously laden confrontations. Like the Berlin blockade and the Cuban missile crisis. One can argue that atomic capabilities are what have kept the peace. Where there are no such arms war is what it always was: a constant intrusion on civil life.

These ruminations are occasioned President Obama's appeal for universal nuclear disarmament. I am not really against it. How can one be? But it appears odd to me that this should suddenly become a matter of high policy when far more urgent nuclear threats are right here staring us in the face. The perils posed by Pakistan, Iran and North Korea are not exactly alike. Yet in one way they seem to be: we do not appear to be motivated to curb their appetites, and it's because we are afraid or we haven't the slightest idea how. If you can't bake chocolate cookies go make a souffle.

Deterrence still seems to me a wise option in treating with powerful and responsible states. Still, giving up deterrence among these states will guarantee nothing among rogue states and now Muslim millennial movements.

Peter Scoblic tells us that he sleeps more soundly now that the president has launched his nuclear initiative. I'm not sure whether Peter will or should be an index of anything. Maybe he drinks too much coffee or coke during the day.

I certainly don't have anything definitive to say about the nuclear question.

But the brilliant historian and political thinker Anne Applebaum does. In Tuesday's Slate, she has published a provocative article on why the very effort at abandoning nuclear weapons is more dangerous than the great powers having them. She calls it, "No Nukes? No Thanks."