If the point of having nuclear weapons is to gain international power, then it is an old way of going about getting international power. Also, a sloppy way to get power, considering that much more damage can be done online while sparing the world universal destruction. There is no utility in having nuclear weapons when there are opportunities to devastate enemies without risking the destruction of everyone.

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There is No Utility in Having Nuclear Weapons in Our Cyber Age

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Before the cyber-age, the Cold War was between the United States and the U.S.S.R.; this war was a stand-off of major superpowers because both countries had equal ability to wipe each other out at the same time. Although nuclear weaponry is the ultimate devastation that exists in war, it is unnecessary to battle other countries with a KO, when countries can battle each other without collateral damages of the physical soldier or civilian, i.e. never even have to step into the ring. Moreover, since all countries have nuclear weaponry there is a shared intelligence that really makes the weaponry useless. It’s like an old-west shoot-out, only globally. If one country pulls the trigger the fate of the trigger puller is the same as the enemy; one trigger is pulled, then all triggers are pulled and everyone dies.

Throughout the Cold War this stand-off was known as M.A.D. (mutual assured destruction). The only possible argument for the utility of having nuclear weapons is to assure the balance of M.A.D., however, now there are countries with nuclear capabilities in which the theory of M.A.D. does not apply. Countries which do not care if their destruction is assured by destroying others present a problem for the stand-off. A solution is to undermine these countries, and all enemies, digitally instead of physically; there is not one country that does not care about preserving privacy and ensuring safe transactions. Every country has a digital/informational weakness that can effectively wage war without nuclear weapons. Countries that may not care about whether they are physically destroyed do care about whether their intelligence systems are hacked and used against them.

Another interesting reason why nuclear weaponry is without utility is that the intelligence is had by nearly all countries. The only way to target enemies is to ambush intelligences that are not shared. The cyber age has grown faster than law enforcement or international intelligence agencies can keep up. The digital and informational age is like an ocean of the unknown, unlike nuclear weaponry which is nearly, for lack of a better term, cliché. Hackers will be the soldiers of the future. Troops will be deployed through cyber-space. Hackers will have to be our barriers of protection instead of front line.

Since ultimately war is about power, it is much more powerful for countries to assert their control over other countries digitally because the digital warfare can be changed and modified so much that the intelligences will never be shared equally. Cyber ambush does not have the essence of M.A.D. and therefore there is much utility to cyber warfare, and not much utility to nuclear warfare. There is little immediate collateral damage, and the ultimate devastation inflicted is more powerful than wiping out civilians with awful bombs. There is more of a concern in the American public about cyber-hacking than the fact that North Korea has the hydrogen bomb, or that India and Pakistan have hydrogen bombs.

Cyber warfare is devastating to the economy and stability of any system which is hacked. Since threatening security is also what warfare and nuclear weaponry try to accomplish, then it is obvious that in today’s cyber age, the only utility in warfare weaponry is cyber, and no longer physical in nature.