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Readers React: If the U.S. wants peace, it must prepare for nuclear war

To the editor: I strongly disagree with Joe Cirincione’s belief that the U.S. ought not continue to modernize its formidable nuclear arsenal. (“How big a nuclear arsenal do we really need?,” Op-Ed, Oct. 21)

As the Romans knew so well, Si vis pacem, para bellum, or, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” I say this with full cognizance of the effects of nuclear war.

People without conscience rise to positions of power often. America should spend whatever it takes to maintain a modern and formidable nuclear arsenal. Anything less is irresponsible.

Arthur Vallejo, Cerritos

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To the editor: Cirincione asks rhetorically how China would react to the U.S. spending as much as a trillion dollars on new nuclear weapons. If China reacts rationally in its own self-interest, it will keep the few hundred nuclear warheads it has and let the U.S. pour this enormous sum into a totally unproductive sector of the economy.

A hundred or so deliverable nuclear weapons are sufficient to deter any large-scale attack. But the U.S. might be foolish enough to spend an untold amount of resources on weapons that can never be used, and we seem to be on that path.

Roger Bourke, Alta, Utah

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To the editor: Presumably Cirincione likes New START and other arms control treaties. It would be difficult to discern that though, since he advises President Obama to break many of the promises he made to have New START ratified.

In order to secure Senate ratification of New START, Obama certified to the Senate in writing that he would “modernize or replace the triad of strategic nuclear delivery systems,” namely a bomber, an air-launched cruise missile and a ballistic missile submarine. Cirincione advises that the president “suspend” spending on these programs or otherwise revisit that promise.

If Obama has any desire to work collaboratively with the Senate in the final two years of his term, especially in arms control matters, he would be wise to ignore Cirincione’s advice.

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Michael Stransky, Washington

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