Americans don’t like nuclear weapons. We know human beings are fallible. We know even the smallest mistake could lead to unimaginable devastation. But experts tell us that nuclear weapons are necessary. They will always be with us.
So we live suspended in a twilight world—trapped between danger and necessity.
It turns out, though, that our policies are based on assumptions. More than seventy years ago experts and government officials made assumptions. They didn’t have a lot of facts to go on—the weapons had only been used twice—so they assumed. They assumed nuclear weapons would win any war. They assumed deterrence would always work. And they assumed that because they were so powerful, nuclear weapons would always exist. Those assumptions, born in the Cold War, still guide U.S. policy.
But . . .
What if those assumptions are wrong?
The Cold War was a time of enormous anxiety and fear. No one does their best thinking when they’re afraid. What if they got it wrong?
What if it were possible to imagine a radical new solution to nuclear weapons? Not the tired arguments repeated for decades. Something genuinely new. Something pragmatic, realistic? What if there’s a solution, but it comes from outside the box?
What if, more than seventy years ago, the experts got it wrong?