Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Deterrence and Nuts

Hey, on this 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, would it be out of line to wonder why non-nuclear Argentina dared to attack nuclear-armed Great Britain?

Oh, and on another subject altogether, we really plan on deterring Iran once they get nukes?

Of course, Argentinians might very well be world-class crazies compared to the sane and sober mullahs in charge of Iran.

I still remember being in a political science class that year at the University of Michigan and hearing some guy who styled himself an expert explain that Britain couldn't possibly get a 3:1 ratio--which everyone knows you need to prevail in an attack--so couldn't dislodge the Argentinians.

I explained what went into that 3:1 calculation (it isn't just comparing numbers) and assured him that if the British got their troops ashore they'd trounce the Argentinians.

Of course, I'll admit that given British weakness in carrier air power I expected the liberation of the Falklands to be a two-stage process with the conquest of West Falkland Island the first step in order to be able to base Harrier jets, helicopters, and air defense missiles ashore for the final assault on East Falkland Island and Stanley.

Although my concerns were borne out by the casualties the British fleet endured to make the assault on East Falkland under the gun of Argentinian aircraft flying from the mainland.

UPDATE: So Iran is rational enough to deter if they get nukes but is irrational enough to strike a country not involved in attacking them?

Those nuts shouldn't be allowed to run with scissors let alone have nuclear weapons.