"History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind." ~ Edward Gibbon
Nuclear Warheads as Hostages
Column by Paul Bonneau.
Exclusive to STR
In earlier times, victors in a war would take the sons of the vanquished rulers back home, to raise them as their own. This provided incentive for the rulers of the now-vassal states not to raise Hell any more (after all, it is the rulers, not the people, who start wars). I wonder if a modification of this hostage concept could not be applied to nuclear warheads, as a way to similarly reduce incentives for strife?
Imagine that the American and Russian governments wanted a substantial reduction in the number of nuclear warheads, in order to reduce the possibility the whole planet could be wrecked. The problem is always, whether the other side can be trusted.
Why not create a Russian storage base outside of, say, Reno, Nevada, and an American storage base outside of, say, Volgograd, Russia? These bases would act as extensions of their respective embassies and would thus be actual Russian soil in America, and American soil in Russia, and would be staffed by the most trusted personnel from the respective countries. Now, the Russians would start removing the warheads from their missiles and shipping them to the Reno base, while the Americans would remove an equal number of warheads from their missiles and ship them to the Volgograd base. The transfer process would be monitored by both sides through the entire trip to ensure no faked warheads were shipped. Any time the Americans wanted to inspect the Russian warheads they could do so, and vice versa, but the warheads would never leave the possession of the nation that created them.
Why bother with this?
The Russian missiles that the warheads were taken from remain in Russia. There is no way to sneakily get the warheads back on them. In fact to be extra sure, the missiles might be taken out of their silos and submarines and stored in a Russian base adjacent to the American storage base in Volgograd, also available for inspection. Likewise for the other side.
Of course this does not address the creation of new weapons systems at all, which would need to be handled some other way. But it could bring a substantial drawdown of the massive existing systems with confidence on both sides that there is no cheating.
Once sorted out, the concept could be repeated for other pairs of nations, like America plus China.