If a country hit the U.S. with a nuclear bomb, would you favor unleashing our nuclear arsenal upon them?
An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind. Someone said that. Was it Gandhi?
During the Cold War, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. had policies of mutually assured destruction. Basically, it meant if they fired on us, we would fire on them. And by the time the smoke cleared, neither of us would exist anymore. I get it… but that’s stupid. All that does is create a culture of fear on both sides. Which, I suppose, is exactly what the Cold War was for several decades.
I’m of two minds about situations like this. Thinking about when I was working as a school counselor, I hated situations where a kid would get picked on and their only course of action in response was to tell a teacher. Because that’s what the school wants the kid to do. They certainly don’t want a fight to break out. But if Kid #1 punches Kid #2, can the second kid really be expected not to hit back?
A child I worked with got in trouble for this a lot. Because he had a counselor, other kids saw him as an easy target. So if someone hit him, he would get into trouble for hitting back. Granted, the first kid got in trouble, too. But it’s not fair that the expectation is for a kid who is attacked to just sit there and take it, waiting for a teacher to come and take care of the situation.
On a global scale, things are certainly different. But the principle, I think, is similar. If our nation is attacked by a nuclear power, how can our government be expected not to respond in kind? If a nuke goes off in a populated area and millions of people are killed in the process, we can’t just shrug it off and carry on, business as usual. Because what message does that send to the rest of the world? Therefore, again, I get why our government would come up with a decisive and proportional response.
What would you do if it was your finger on the button? If it was your call to make, what call would it be? Let me know in the comments!
*The Question of the Week can be found in The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.