DOWNGRADING "THE UNTHINKABLE" TO "THINKABLE"John Robb
at Global Guerillas
had a post up entitled " The Lost Generation of Warfare
" in which he remarks on the stance of the 4GW Theory school toward nuclear warfare:"The Lost GenerationAs per the framework, states that used the most recent form of warfare could reliably defeat those states that still clung to the previous generation. This continued to hold true until the final thrust at the end of WW2 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki proved that nuclear warfare was the new salient generation. Lind and his cohorts ignore this generation of warfare, since with its advent the generational advancement of inter-state warfare breaks down. The technologies of this "lost" generation of warfare quickly progressed to MIRVed (multiple independent re-entry vehicles) ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) that could mobilize for global war in minutes, maneuver to enemy rear areas in fractions of an hour, and unleash firepower that could destroy the entire urban infrastructure of a state. At that point, the trends of interstate warfare reached their logical conclusion in their negation. The well founded fear of this form of warfare made hot war between the great powers unthinkable. "
As I remarked in John's comment section, Martin van Creveld
discussed nuclear war in several of his books but Robb is probably right that so important a subject merits it's own generation in the 4GW taxonomy. The amount of nuclear war planning and gaming by the militaries of " the nuclear club" states, to say nothing of the fiscal expenditures and infrastructure, would be strong evidence.
Moreover, the large body of nuclear deterrence theory literature created by theorists, planners, officials and foreign policy experts like Wohlstetter, Kahn, Kissinger, Brodie and so on ought to be reviewed, particularly for their more outlier speculations. As we move into an era of proliferation, "micro-atomic" and specialized nuclear arms, "uncertain" proliferators (do thay have it? Will it work ? To what extent) and non-state actors, the old calculus of massive nuclear arsenals held by two superpowers upon which deterrence is based comes undone.
The unthinkable edges ever closer to thinkable.