Links, Text in [ ] und †bersetzung von Joachim Gruber


Daniel Ellsberg on the creation of nuclear doomsday machines,
the institutional insanity that maintains them,
and a practical plan for dismantling them.

By Robert Wiblin and Keiran Harris į Published September 24th, 2018

We are on the Titanic, going at full speed on a moonless night into iceberg waters. Have we hit the iceberg yet, and made it inevitable that we will go down? We donÕt know. É. thereÕs no way to prove it. It is definitely not a waste for some of us to keep trying to explore to see if thereÕs a way out.
Daniel Ellsberg

Wir sind auf der Titanic und fahren mit Vollgas in eine mondlose Nacht ins Eisbergwasser. Haben wir den Eisberg schon gerammt und unseren Untergang besiegelt? Wir wissen es nicht. É. Es gibt keine Mšglichkeit, das zu beweisen. FŸr einige von uns ist es definitiv keine Zeitverschwendung, immer weiter nach einem Ausweg zu suchen.
Daniel Ellsberg


  • Dr. Strangelove might well be a documentary
    In Stanley KubrickÕs iconic film Dr. Strangelove, the American president is informed that the Soviet Union has created a secret deterrence system which will automatically wipe out humanity upon detection of a single nuclear explosion in Russia. With US bombs heading towards the USSR and unable to be recalled, Dr Strangelove points out that Ņthe whole point of this Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret Š why didnÕt you tell the world, eh?Ó The Soviet ambassador replies that it was to be announced at the Party Congress the following Monday: ŅThe Premier loves surprisesÓ.
    Daniel Ellsberg Š leaker of the Pentagon Papers which helped end the Vietnam War and Nixon presidency Š claims in his new book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner that Dr. Strangelove might as well be a documentary. After attending the film in Washington DC in 1964, he and a military colleague wondered how so many details of the nuclear systems they were constructing had managed to leak to the filmmakers.
  • The USSR did in fact develop a doomsday machine, Dead Hand, which probably remains active today.
    • If the system canÕt contact military leaders, it checks for signs of a nuclear strike.
    • Should its computers determine that an attack occurred, it would automatically launch all remaining Soviet weapons at targets across the northern hemisphere.
    • As in the film, the Soviet Union long kept Dead Hand completely secret, eliminating any strategic benefit, and rendering it a pointless menace to humanity.
    • You might think the United States would have a more sensible nuclear launch policy. YouÕd be wrong.
    • As Ellsberg explains based on first-hand experience as a nuclear war planner in the early stages of the Cold War, the notion that only the president is able to authorize the use of US nuclear weapons is a carefully cultivated myth.
      • The authority to launch nuclear weapons is delegated alarmingly far down the chain of command Š significantly raising the chance that a lone wolf or communication breakdown could trigger a nuclear catastrophe.
      • The whole justification for this is to defend against a Ōdecapitating attackÕ, where a first strike on Washington disables the ability of the US hierarchy to retaliate. In a moment of crisis, the Russians might view this as their best hope of survival.
      • Ostensibly, this delegation removes RussiaÕs temptation to attempt a decapitating attack Š the US can retaliate even if its leadership is destroyed. This strategy only works, though, if you tell the enemy youÕve done it.
      • Instead, since the 50s this delegation has been one of the United States most closely guarded secrets, eliminating its strategic benefit, and rendering it another pointless menace to humanity.
    • Even setting aside the above, the size of the Russian and American nuclear arsenals today makes them doomsday machines of necessity. According to Ellsberg, if these arsenals are ever launched, whether accidentally or deliberately, they would wipe out almost all human life, and all large animals.
    • Strategically, the setup is stupid.
    • Ethically, it is monstrous.
    • If the US or Russia sent its nuclear arsenal to destroy the other, would it even make sense to retaliate? Ellsberg argues that it doesnÕt matter one way or another. The nuclear winter generated by the original attack would be enough to starve to death most people in the aggressor country within a year anyway. Retaliation would just slightly speed up their demise.
    • So Š how was such a system built?
    • Why does it remain to this day?
    • And how might we shrink our nuclear arsenals to the point they donÕt risk the destruction of civilization?
  • "Dr. Seltsam" kšnnte man gut als Dokumentation bezeichnen.
    In Stanley Kubricks ikonischem Film "Dr. Seltsam oder wie ich lernte, die Bombe zu lieben" wird der amerikanische PrŠsident darŸber informiert, dass die Sowjetunion ein geheimes Abschreckungssystem geschaffen hat, das die Menschheit automatisch auslšschen wird, sobald [auch nur] eine einzelne Atomexplosion in Russland entdeckt wird. WŠhrend die US-Bomben auf die UdSSR zusteuern und nicht zurŸckgerufen werden kšnnen, weist Dr. Strangelove darauf hin, dass "der ganze Sinn dieser Doomsday-Maschine verloren geht, wenn Sie sie geheim halten - warum haben Sie's der Welt nicht erzŠhlt, hm?" Der sowjetische Botschafter antwortet, dass es auf dem Parteitag am darauffolgenden Montag bekannt gegeben werden sollte: "Der Premier liebt †berraschungen".

  • Daniel Ellsberg
    - er hat die Pentagon-Papiere an die …ffentlichkeit gebracht, die dazu beigetragen haben, den Vietnamkrieg und die PrŠsidentschaft von Nixon zu beenden - behauptet in seinem neuen Buch "Die Weltuntergangsmaschine: GestŠndnisse eines Atomkriegsplaners" [The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner], dass Dr. Strangelove ebenso gut eine Dokumentation sein kšnnte. Nachdem er 1964 den Film in Washington DC gesehen hatte [so schreibt er in diesem Buch], fragte er sich zusammen mit einem MilitŠrkollegen [Harry Rowen], wie so viele Details der atomaren Systeme, die sie bauten, es geschafft haben mšgen, zu den Filmemachern durchgesickert zu sein.
  • Die UdSSR entwickelte tatsŠchlich eine Weltuntergangsmaschine, Dead Hand, die wahrscheinlich heute noch aktiv ist.
    • Wenn das System militŠrische AnfŸhrer nicht erreichen kann, sucht es nach Anzeichen eines Atomangriffs.
    • Wenn seine Computer feststellen, dass ein Angriff stattgefunden hat, werden automatisch alle verbleibenden sowjetischen Waffen auf Ziele in der nšrdlichen HemisphŠre abgefeuert.
    • Wie in dem Film hat die Sowjetunion Dead Hand lange geheim gehalten und damit jeglichen strategischen Nutzen beseitigt und das System zu einer sinnlosen Bedrohung fŸr die Menschheit gemacht.
    • Man kšnnte meinen, die Vereinigten Staaten hŠtten eine vernŸnftigere Nuklearstartpolitik. Da liegt man falsch.
    • Wie Ellsberg aus erster Hand als Nuklearkriegsplaner darlegt, ist die Vorstellung aus der FrŸhphase des Kalten Kriegs, dass nur der PrŠsident den Einsatz von US-Atomwaffen genehmigen kann, ein sorgfŠltig kultivierter Mythos.
      • Die Autorisierung fŸr den Start von Atomwaffen wird auf alarmierende Weise die gesamte Befehlskette hinunter delegiert. Dies erhšht die Chance, dass ein EinzelgŠnger oder ein Kommunikationsausfall eine Atomkatastrophe auslšst.
      • Die ganze Rechtfertigung dafŸr ist die Verteidigung gegen einen ćenthauptenden AngriffŅ, bei dem ein erster Schlag auf Washington die Mšglichkeit der US-Hierarchie zur Vergeltung verhindert. In einer Krise kšnnten die Russen dies als ihre beste †berlebensstrategie ansehen.
      • Angeblich enthebt dieses Delegieren Russland der Versuchung, einen Enthauptungsschlag auszufŸhren - die USA kšnnen sich auch dann rŠchen, wenn ihre FŸhrung eliminiert worden ist. Diese Strategie funktioniert jedoch nur, wenn man sie dem Feind mitteilt.
      • Stattdessen war dieses Delegieren seit den 50er Jahren eines der streng gehŸteten Geheimnisse der Vereinigten Staaten, wodurch ihr strategischer Nutzen beseitigt und eine weitere sinnlose Bedrohung fŸr die Menschheit geschaffen wurde.
    • Selbst wenn man das oben ErwŠhnte mal au§er Acht lŠsst, macht die Grš§e der heutigen russischen und amerikanischen Nukleararsenale sie zu Weltuntergangsmaschinen. Laut Ellsberg wŸrden diese Arsenale, wenn sie jemals versehentlich oder absichtlich ausgelšst werden, fast das gesamte menschliche Leben und alle gro§en Tiere auslšschen.
    • Strategisch ist die ganze Sache tšricht.
    • Ethisch ist sie ungeheuerlich.
    • Wenn die USA oder Russland ihr nukleares Arsenal gestartet hŠtten, um das gegnerische zu zerstšren, wŠre es dann Ÿberhaupt noch sinnvoll, sich zu rŠchen? Ellsberg argumentiert, dass es auf die eine oder andere Weise keine Rolle spiele. Der durch den ursprŸnglichen Angriff erzeugte nukleare Winter wŸrde ohnehin ausreichen, um die meisten Menschen im Land der Angreifer umzubringen. Vergeltungsma§nahmen wŸrden ihren Untergang nur geringfŸgig beschleunigen.
    • Also - wie wurde ein solches System aufgebaut?
    • Warum bleibt es bis heute bestehen?
    • Und wie kšnnen wir unsere AtomwaffenbestŠnde so weit reduzieren, dass sie die Zerstšrung der Zivilisation nicht riskieren?

Daniel explores these questions eloquently and urgently in his book (that everyone should read), and this conversation is a gripping introduction. We cover:

Daniel untersucht diese Fragen in seinem Buch (das jeder lesen sollte) eloquent und eindringlich, und dieses GesprŠch ist eine packende EinfŸhrung. Wir berichten:

  • Why full disarmament today would be a mistake
  • What are our greatest current risks from nuclear weapons?
  • What has changed most since Daniel was working in and around the government in the 50s and 60s?
  • How well are secrets kept in the government?
  • How much deception is involved within the military?
  • The capacity of groups to commit evil
  • How Hitler was more cautious than America about nuclear weapons
  • What was the risk of the first atomic bomb test?
  • The effect of Trump on nuclear security
  • What practical changes should we make? What would Daniel do if he were elected president?
  • US unilateral steps are good for us, even if Russia doesn't imitate them
  • Do we have a reliable estimate of the magnitude of a Ōnuclear winterÕ?
  • What would be the optimal number of nuclear weapons for the US and its allies to hold?
  • What should we make of ChinaÕs nuclear stance? What are the chances of war with China?
  • Would it ever be right to respond to a nuclear first strike?
  • A single Russian submarine, let alone two or three, would have the capability to destroy our society and bring about nuclear winter
  • Should we help Russia get better attack detection methods to make them less anxious?
  • How much power do lobbyists really have?
  • Has game theory had any influence over nuclear strategy?
  • Why Gorbachev allowed RussiaÕs covert biological warfare program to continue
  • Is it easier to help solve the problem from within the government or at outside orgs?
  • What gives Daniel hope for the future?
  • warum die vollstŠndige AbrŸstung heute ein Fehler wŠre,
  • was unsere grš§ten aktuellen Nuklearwaffen-Risiken sind,
  • was hat sich am meisten verŠndert, seit Daniel in den 50er und 60er Jahren innerhalb und in RegierungsnŠhe gearbeitet hat?
  • wie gut werden Geheimnisse in der Regierung gehŸtet?
  • wie viel TŠuschung lŠuft innerhalb des MilitŠrs ab?
  • Ÿber die FŠhigkeit von Gruppen, Unheil anzurichten,
  • wie kam es, dass Hitler bei Atomwaffen vorsichtiger war als Amerika?
  • wie gro§ war das Risiko beim ersten Atombombentests?
  • die Auswirkungen von Trump auf die nukleare Sicherheit,
  • welche praktischen €nderungen sollten wir vornehmen? Was wŸrde Daniel tun, wenn er zum PrŠsidenten gewŠhlt wŸrde?
  • selbst einseitige Schritte der USA wŠren fŸr die USA gut, auch wenn Russland nicht nachzieht,
  • haben wir eine verlŠssliche SchŠtzung des Ausma§es eines ćnuklearen WintersŅ?
  • was wŠre die optimale Anzahl von Atomwaffen, die die USA und ihre VerbŸndeten halten kšnnten?
  • wie sollten wir Chinas nuklearer Haltung bewerten? wie gro§ sind die Chancen eines Krieges mit China?
  • wŠre es jemals richtig, auf einen nuklearen Erstschlag zu reagieren?
  • ein einziges russisches U-Boot, ganz zu schweigen von zwei oder drei, hŠtte die FŠhigkeit, unsere Gesellschaft zu zerstšren und einen nuklearen Winter auszulšsen,
  • sollten wir Russland helfen, bessere Methoden zum Entdecken von Angrifen zu finden, um ihnen die Angst vor uns zu nehmen?
  • wieviel Macht haben Lobbyisten wirklich?
  • hat die Spieltheorie Einfluss auf die Nuklearstrategie gehabt?
  • warum lie§ Gorbatschow die Fortsetzung des verdeckten Biowaffen-Programms zu?
  • kann man bei der Problemlšsung besser von innerhalb der Regierung oder von au§erhalb helfen?
  • Was gibt Daniel Hoffnung fŸr die Zukunft?


Get this episode by subscribing to our podcast (iTunes, Soundcloud, Sticher) on the worldÕs most pressing problems and how to solve them: type 80,000 Hours into your podcasting app. Or read the transcript below.


The 80,000 Hours podcast is produced by Keiran Harris.


Key points

Our policy has actually been the threat of an insane action, an action that essentially we now know for the last 35 years has involved killing nearly everyone on earth by the smoke from the burning cities that are planned to be hit in our war plan. And that smoke, we now know on the nuclear winter calculations, would be lofted into the stratosphere, would spread around the world globally. IÕm talking now about a war between the U.S. and Russia, where thousands of weapons would be involved. And a few hundred of those weapons on cities which are targeted would be enough to cause smoke that would reduce the sunlight reaching the earthÕs surface by about 70%, killing all the harvests worldwide and for a period as a long as a decade.


But that wouldnÕt be necessary, killing all the harvests for about a year or even less would exhaust our food supplies, which globally are about 60 days, and nearly everyone would starve to death except for a small fraction, perhaps 1% a little more or less, of humans would survive, in Australia or New Zealand, southern hemisphere is somewhat less affected, eating fish and mollusks. And that could be a sizable number of people. One percent is 70 million people, but 99% gone and virtually all the larger animals other than humans. TheyÕre not as adaptable as we are, and they canÕt move thousands of miles and wear clothes, light fires, have houses. They would go extinct altogether, as they did when an asteroid hit the earth 67 or 65 million years ago and created a very similar effect, blotting out the sunlight by the dust that was sent up.

Even the word evil seems just overwhelmed by what weÕre talking about, which is the destruction of most large life and most humans on earth, something that was simply not possible a hundred years ago É

ÉweÕre in a situation then where such a war can actually occur. It has been prepared for, more extensively probably than any other human project in history. Go back to the original Hiroshima and Nagasaki that involved a combination of the two most elaborate, highly developed, scientific applications the world had ever seen. A B-29 bomber was incredibly complex, highly advanced flying machine, and of course the atomic weapon which represented the product of years of work of the richest nation concentrating on the subject with the best scientific minds in the world working on it.

So here you had the two most highly developed scientific objects, the B-29 and the atomic bomb, connected. Well, that fission bomb is now the trigger for a thermonuclear weapon, an H bomb or a fusion weapon. É

So here we have something, then, that nothing in history É not the pyramids, not anything else, É in terms of science and GDP and everything else, this will have been enormously well-prepared for. Reflectively, rationally, scientifically, economically, and yet the result will have been the destruction of civilization altogether. É

Kernpunkte

Unsere Politik droht in der Tat mit einer Wahnsinnsaktion, einer Aktion, von der wir seit nunmehr 35 Jahren wissen, das sie fast jeden auf der Erde durch den Rauch aus den brennenden StŠdten tšten wird, die in unserem Kriegsplan getroffen werden sollen. Und dieser Rauch wŸrde, wie wir heute aus den Nuklearwinter-Berechnungen wissen, in die StratosphŠre steigen und sich Ÿber die ganze Welt verbreiten. Ich spreche jetzt von einem Krieg zwischen den USA und Russland, an dem Tausende von Waffen beteiligt wŠren. Ein paar hundert dieser Waffen, auf die geplanten stŠdtische Ziele abgeworfen, wŸrden ausreichend Rauch erzeugen, der das Sonnenlicht, das die ErdoberflŠche erreicht, um etwa 70% verringert und damit alle Ernten weltweit und fŸr einen Zeitraum von einem Jahrzehnt vernichtet.


Aber solch ein Zeitraum wŠre noch nicht einmal nštig. Eine Vernichtung der Ernten eines Jahres oder sogar weniger wŸrde unsere NahrungsvorrŠte erschšpfen, die global etwa fŸr 60 Tage ausreichen. Fast jeder wŸrde an Hnger sterben, au§er eines kleinen Bruchteils der Bevšlkerung. Vielleicht mehr oder weniger 1% der Menschen wŸrden Ÿberleben, in Australien oder Neuseeland. Die sŸdliche HemisphŠre ist etwas weniger beeintrŠchtigt. Sie wŸrden sich von Fische und Muscheln ernŠhren. Das kšnnte eine betrŠchtliche Anzahl von Menschen sein - ein Prozent sind 70 Millionen Menschen - aber 99% sind verloren und praktisch alle Lebewesen, die grš§er sind als der Mensch. Sie sind nicht so anpassungsfŠhg wie wir, kšnnen auch nicht Tausende Kilometer wandern und Kleidung tragen, Feuer machen, in HŠusern leben. Sie wŸrden allesamt aussterben, wie dmals, als ein Asteroid die Erde vor 67 oder 65 Millionen Jahren traf und eine sehr Šhnliche Wirkung hatte, nŠmlich Sonneneinstrahlung durch aufgewirbelten Staub auszulšschen.


Sogar das Wort "bšse" scheint mir einfach ŸberwŠltigt durch das, wovon wir sprechen, nŠmlich die Zerstšrung des grš§ten Teils der gro§en Lebenwesen und der Menschen. So etwas war vor hundert Jahren einfach nicht mšglich [und daher gibt es kein Wort dafŸr].

ÉWir befinden uns in einer Situation, in der ein solcher Krieg tatsŠchlich stattfinden kann. Er wurde vorbereitet, wahrscheinlich umfangreicher als jedes andere menschliche Projekt in der Geschichte. Gehen wir zurŸck zum Ursprung, Hiroshima und Nagasaki. Da hatten wir eine Kombination der beiden ausgefeiltesten, hšchstentwickelten wissenschaftlichen GerŠtschaften, die die Welt je gesehen hat. Ein B-29-Bomber war eine unglaublich komplexe, hoch entwickelte Flugmaschine. Und natŸrlich die Atombombe, das Ergebnis jahrelanger Arbeit der reichsten Nation, die sich auf das Thema mit den besten wissenschaftlichen Kšpfen der Welt konzentrierte.

Hier hatten wir also die beiden am hšchsten entwickelten wissenschaftlichen Objekte, die B-29 und die Atombombe, miteinander verbunden. Nun, diese Spaltbombe ist jetzt [nur noch] der Auslšser fŸr eine thermonukleare Waffe, eine H-Bombe oder eine Fusionswaffe [die tausdenfach zerstšrerischer ist]. É

Hier haben wir also etwas, das wie nichts in der Geschichte ist ... nicht die Pyramiden, nichts anderes ... in Bezug auf Wissenschaft und Bruttoinlandsprodukt und alles andere. Es ist enorm gut vorbereitet worden, genau Ÿberlegt, rational, wissenschaftlich, wirtschaftlich, und doch wird das Ergebnis [mšglicherweise eines Tages] die všllige Zerstšrung der Zivilisation sein. É

No president of either country has ever intended or determined or decided to wipe out life on earth. But they have all been willing to threaten it, and to prepare for it. And the threats actually do create the risk of this happening because to make them credible and effective, not effective altruism, but effective intimidation Š they prepared for it. They made it possible and feasible.

Brezhnev was sure that when Nixon signed the convention against biological warfare, that he would continue a covert program on a large scale, and so they had to have one too. Now, whatÕs the use of doing that if you donÕt use it deterrently, if you donÕt make it public? How can it be a deterrent? It canÕt, but then how could they say, ŅWeÕre assuming youÕre breaking this, so weÕre breaking it too?Ó

You couldnÕt prove that Nixon was doing it, and, amazingly enough, Nixon wasnÕt doing it, as far as we can tell. They did preserve some smallpox at CIA, and some anthrax, and this and that, but only a refrigerator-full, sort of. The Russians maintained hundreds of thousands of gallons and pounds of anthrax and botulinus and improved forms, against vaccines.

Now, thatÕs as close to insanity and evil as you can get to. As one disarmer said when he looked at the huge vat that remained for anthrax, he said, ŅIÕm looking at pure evil.Ó Well, fair, enough, it would seem so. Who continued that? It was done under Brezhnev, kept very secret, as far as we know, was not revealed, it is Strangelovian, and kept secret, not for a deterrent, continued under Gorbachev.

How could Gorbachev possibly continue this insane, evil program? He told Larry Brilliant, who had been instrumental in eliminating smallpox from the world, when Brilliant asked him É and I have a memoir by Brilliant on this. He talked to Gorbachev, and he said, ŅHow could you have done this? We were eliminating smallpox. You were providing huge amounts of smallpox here.Ó

Gorbachev got very disturbed, anxious, uneasy, anguished, and said he knew, he was most ashamed of that of anything heÕd ever been involved in. He said, ŅThe military came to me, and said, ŌIf you donÕt continue this, you cannot stay in office. We will overthrow you.'Ó And he looked at all the things he was doing, reducing nuclear weapons, Glasnost, opening up the society and all that, and rather than give all that up, he continued this insane program, which is very human, very normal.

When you look at human character, itÕs hard to be confident humans will survive. To me, itÕs crazy to be confident, I have to say. To think that itÕs highly likely we will survive nuclear weapons, climate change, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, biological warfareÉ to be confident like that is to be either totally ignorant of the nature of humanity Š which most people are Š or to be crazy.

Kein PrŠsident eines der beiden LŠnder [USA und Russland] hat je beabsichtigt, bestimmt oder beschlossen, das Leben auf der Erde auszulšschen. Aber alle waren bereit, damit zu drohen und es vorzubereiten. Und diese Drohungen schaffen das Risiko, dass dies nun auch wirklich geschieht. Denn, um sie glaubhaft und wirksam zu gestalten, bereiten sie ihn [einen Nuklearkrieg] vor [in Form ihrer HochrŸstung, die auf der gefŠhrlichen Illusion basiert, man kšnne eine Erstschlag-KapazitŠt erreichen, welche die Wirkung des Vergeltungsschlags ertrŠglich halten wird].

Breschnew war sich sicher, dass, als Nixon die Konvention gegen biologische KriegsfŸhrung unterzeichnete, er [Nixon] ein verdecktes Programm in gro§em Umfang fortsetzen wŸrde, und deshalb mussten sie [die Russen] auch eines haben. Nun, warum macht man es, wenn man es nicht zur Abschreckung einsetzt, wenn man es nicht šffentlich macht? Wie kann es eine Abschreckung sein? Das kann es eben nicht. Aber wie kšnnen sie dann sagen: "Wir gehen davon aus, dass Sie das [Abkommen] brechen, also brechen wir es auch"? Man konnte nicht beweisen, dass Nixon es tat, und erstaunlicherweise tat Nixon es auch tatsŠchlich nicht, soweit wir das beurteilen kšnnen. Sie haben an der CIA ein paar Pocken und etwas Anthrax und dies und das aufbewahrt, aber nur soviel, wie sozusagen in einen KŸhlschrank passt. Die Russen hielten Hunderttausende Gallonen und Pfund Anthrax und Botulinus und verbesserte Formen vor, gegen die Impfstoffe wirkungslos sind.

Nun, das ist so nah am Wahnsinn und am Bšsen, wie es nur geht. Wie ein AbrŸstungsexperte sagte, als er den riesigen Bottich ansah, den se da noch mit Anthrax hatten: ćIch betrachte das reine Bšse.Ņ Nun gut, so sieht es aus. Wer hat das fortgesetzt? Es wurde unter Brezhnev getan, sehr geheim gehalten, soweit bekannt, wurde nicht offenbart, es ist Strangelovian, und geheim gehalten, nicht zur Abschreckung, setzte sich unter Gorbatschow fort.

Wie konnte Gorbatschow dieses wahnsinnige, bšse Programm nur fortsetzen? Er erzŠhlte Larry Brilliant, der ma§geblich dazu beigetragen hatte, Pocken aus der Welt zu beseitigen, als Brilliant ihn fragte ... und ich habe ein Memoir von Brilliant dazu. Er sprach mit Gorbatschow und sagte: ćWie konnten Sie das nur tun? Wir haben die Pocken ausgerottet, und Sie haben da riesige Mengen Pocken vorgehalten.Ņ

Gorbatschow wurde sehr verstšrt, Šngstlich, unruhig, besorgt und sagte, er habe das gewusst, er schŠme sich dieser Sache am meisten von allen, an denen er jemals beteiligt gewesen war. Er sagte: ćDas MilitŠr kam zu mir und sagte: 'Wenn Sie dies nicht fortfŸhren, kšnnen Sie nicht im Amt bleiben. Wir werden Sie stŸrzen.'Ņ Und er schaute auf alles, was er tat, Reduzierung von Atomwaffen, Glasnost, …ffnung der Gesellschaft und alles das, und statt all dies aufzugeben, setzte er dieses verrŸckte Programm fort. Das ist eben sehr menschlich, sehr normal.

Wenn Sie sich den menschlichen Charakter anschauen, ist es schwer zuversichtlich zu sein, dass die Menschen Ÿberleben werden. Mir scheint es verrŸckt, darauf zu vertrauen, muss ich sagen. Zu denken, dass es sehr wahrscheinlich ist, dass wir Atomwaffen, Klimawandel, kŸnstliche Intelligenz, Gentechnik, biologische KriegsfŸhrung Ÿberleben werden ... da zuversichtlich zu sein, ist entweder všllig unwissend Ÿber das Wesen der Menschheit - was die meisten Menschen sind - oder verrŸckt.


So, thinking itÕs likely weÕll survive? I canÕt believe that. I think itÕs unlikely, very unlikely, but not impossible. My age and experience doesnÕt permit me to be confident that thereÕs no way out here. Because humans are adaptable, and things do change, and the changes IÕve mentioned are possible.

We are on the Titanic, going at full speed on a moonless night into iceberg waters. Have we hit the iceberg yet, and made it inevitable that we will all go down together? We donÕt know. It may turn out that, a while ago, we went past the no-return point. But we donÕt know that, thereÕs no way to prove it.

As I say in The Doomsday Machine: ŅI act as if we have a chance to find our way out of this. I donÕt know what that path is yet, but that doesnÕt tell me there is no way.Ó

So, I urge others, I encourage them.

And if they give up hope, or even devote themselves entirely to pleasure, like a life on the Titanic drinking champagne after hitting the icebergÉ I canÕt say thatÕs crazy. But I donÕt join in that.

And should someone stop trying to save the world as a whole, and instead just works to ease the suffering of other people Š I think thatÕs very reasonable, very good.

I just think that itÕs definitely not wasted for some of us to keep trying to explore and see if thereÕs a way out of the precarious situation in which humanity finds itself.

Also denken, dass wir wahrscheinlich Ÿberleben werden? Das kann ich nicht glauben. Ich denke, es ist unwahrscheinlich, sehr unwahrscheinlich. Aber nicht unmšglich. Aufgrund meines Alters und meiner Erfahrung kann ich nicht sicher sein, dass es keinen Ausweg hier gibt. Weil Menschen anpassungsfŠhig sind und sich Dinge Šndern, und die €nderungen, die ich erwŠhnt habe, sind mšglich.

Wir sind auf der Titanic und fahren mit Vollgas in einer mondlosen Nacht in EisberggewŠsser. Haben wir den Eisberg schon getroffen und es unvermeidlich gemacht, dass wir alle zusammen untergehen? Wir wissen es nicht. Es kšnnte sich herausstellen, dass wir vor einiger Zeit den No-Return-Punkt Ÿberschritten haben. Aber wir wissen das nicht, es gibt keine Mšglichkeit, das zu beweisen.

Ich sage in The Doomsday Machine: ćIch verhalte mich so, als hŠtten wir eine Chance, hier [aus diesem Problem] herauszufinden. Ich wei§ noch nicht, was dieser Weg ist, aber das sagt mir nicht, dass es keinen Weg gibt. "

Also, ich fordere andere auf, ich ermutige sie.

Und wenn sie die Hoffnung aufgeben oder sich sogar ganz dem VergnŸgen hingeben, wie ein Leben auf der Titanic, mit Champagner Trinken, nachdem der Eisberg getroffen wurde ... kann ich nicht sagen, dass das verrŸckt ist. Aber ich mache das nicht mit.

Und sollte jemand aufhšren, die Welt als Ganzes zu retten, und stattdessen einfach das Leid anderer Menschen lindern - ich denke, das ist sehr vernŸnftig, sehr gut.

Ich denke nur, dass es definitiv keine Verschwendung ist, wenn einige von uns versuchen, weiter zu erforschen und herauszufinden, ob es einen Ausweg aus der prekŠren Situation gibt, in der sich die Menschheit befindet.


Articles, books and blog posts discussed in the show

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Transcript

Robert Wiblin: Hi listeners, this is the 80,000 Hours Podcast, where each week we have an unusually in-depth conversation about the worldÕs most pressing problems and how you can use your career to solve them. IÕm Rob Wiblin, Director of Research at 80,000 Hours.

I was recently going through our podcast analytics to see where people are listening to the show. A lot of it is about what you expect Š about 45% of listeners are in the USA and thereÕs large numbers from the UK, Canada and Australia.

But I was interested to see how popular we are in Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, which make up the next three. Hallo leute, hej allihopa and hallo iedereen!

HereÕs also a shoutout to our lone listener in each of East Timor, Cuba and the Faroe Islands. I hope youÕre finding the show useful, wherever in the world you find yourself.

At the end of the episode IÕll read a short blog post we recently published about US government policy careers for people with a scientific background. Let me know whether youÕd like me to regularly read relevant articles at the end of the show by emailing podcast at 80000hours dot org. IÕm not sure where we want to go with that but I thought it was worth a try.

And if you know a community that should know about the information in this episode please share it with them. That could include subreddits, facebook groups or mailing lists.

In todayÕs episode I speak with Daniel Ellsberg, who will be known to many listeners.

Daniel studied economics at Harvard before becoming a commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

He then went to work at the RAND Corporation Š a non-profit think tank working for the US government Š concentrating on nuclear strategy and the command and control of nuclear weapons. In the early 60s he finished a PhD in economics at Harvard focused on decision-making under uncertainty and ambiguity, in which he discussed a problem now known as the Ellsberg Paradox.

From 1964 he worked at the Pentagon under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, advising on American strategy in the Vietnam War and spent two years doing researching in South Vietnam itself.

He became progressively disaffected with the war, and after failing to find a way to affect the war inside the government, in 1971 he leaked thousands of pages of analysis of the USÕ grim prospects in Vietnam to dozens of newspapers. Those documents subsequently became known as the Pentagon Papers and were an enormous scandal with a public tiring of the war.

They exposed the governmentÕs poor decision-making and widespread lying to the public, and ended up being one of the most consequential leaks in US history.

Ellsberg was charged for revealing classified information and faced life in prison. In an attempt to discredit and blackmail him government agents broke into his psychiatristÕs office in order to steal his medical records, and his phone was tapped without a warrant. Ultimately he was freed on a mistrial due to this and other criminal behaviour on the part of prosecutors.

The ability to link this criminal activity directly to Nixon, along with the evidence from the break in at the Watergate Hotel, would end the Nixon presidency soon after.

He wrote his memoirs about Vietnam Š Secrets Š in 2002 and last year published The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner which is the main topic of our discussion today.

Transition music.

Robert Wiblin: So, thanks for coming on the podcast Daniel.

Daniel Ellsberg: Thank you. Good to be here.

Robert Wiblin: So while my intro was mostly about the Pentagon papers, today I want to focus mostly on the topic of your latest book, The Doomsday Machine : The Threat of Nuclear Apocalypse and How to Prevent It, as I think that thatÕs been less covered in previous interviews that youÕve done.

First, though, what are you working on these days, and why do you think itÕs important?

Daniel Ellsberg: Well, the paperback edition of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner is coming out by Bloomsbury a year after the hardback so itÕll be coming out in early December, December 5th, this year. And so IÕm really preparing for that in part by planning to put things on the web that I thought were left out of the book that IÕd like people to know, and also involved in archiving my files all together. IÕm working with someone who is digitalizing in principle all my files, so you know for one person thatÕs very hard to do that. ItÕs sort of like shoveling the sea. But I am working on that and trying to keep up with current events and how the revelations in The Doomsday Machine apply to current events. So I continue to be hopeful to try to prevent nuclear war.

Robert Wiblin: Yeah. Has there been much interest in the book from policy makers?

Daniel Ellsberg: Yeah. Actually, the publishers have been happily surprised. 17 publishers turned down the book before Bloomsbury took it on the grounds that they couldnÕtÕ sell it for commercial reasons. They said they respected me, but this was not a subject they could sell. Actually, although the first printing was only 19 thousand, they have now sold in about six months somewhat more than 40 thousand, which unfortunately doesnÕt make it a bestseller yet. Not viral or anything. I wish it were. But itÕs respectable for a book of that nature. ItÕs É respectable was not what I was aiming at in the sense that I really would like to change discussion and climate on this. ItÕs gotten very good reviews, actually, virtually all of them. Two rather lukewarm reviews, all the others very warm. I couldnÕt ask, actually, for better reviews. IÕve been talking É doing quite a bit of speaking and interviewing in connection with it. So the book does do what one hopes, is to give you a platform for speaking about a subject thatÕs very important to me.

Robert Wiblin: Yeah. Have you heard from anyone in the military or intelligence services?

Daniel Ellsberg: No. I didnÕt expect to hear directly.

Robert Wiblin: They donÕt take your calls.

Daniel Ellsberg: IÕd love it if they were reading it. I would love nothing better to have it read. In fact, to show what I can aim at here, I have É was speaking just yesterday, it so happens, to a Marine general, I wonÕt identify who, is anxious to read it and IÕm going to send that to him today. But the thought occurred to me that heÕs in a position to send it to General Green, General Dunford is chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to General James Mattis, which is the Secretary of Defense, and to General Kelly who is the Chief of Staff, all of whom were junior officers under this very general. So if he orders them to read it-

Robert Wiblin: ItÕll have a shot.

Daniel Ellsberg: É itÕs actually conceivable. I already had some hope from the fact that Marines are in such prominent positions because Marines have had no real connection with nuclear weapons for a long time. Going way back into the early fifties, they had a ten-inch Howitzer shell, which actually they sent ten-inch HowitzerÕs into Lebanon in the landing in 1958, and there was a question whether the shells had accompanied them or not, that never resolved. But the Marines were disposed of their nuclear weapons half a century ago, and as a result I think these people, although theyÕve been to war colleges of course and have very broad responsibilities now, I suspect they are not as devoted to even the threat of nuclear weapons as the Air Force and Navy and even the Army used to be. The Army, too, has lost its nuclear weapons, like the Marines. But thatÕs encouraging to me. I think now É thereÕs never been a time when Marines were in such prominent policy positions. ItÕs sort of the fifth leg on the military. So, I think there actually is some promise there. IÕm hoping.


Robert Wiblin: So, what do you think are the few most important points in the book ["The Doomsday Machine - Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner"] that youÕd really want people to remember?


Daniel Ellsberg: Well, that our policy has actually been the threat of an insane action, an action that essentially we now know for the last 35 years has involved killing nearly everyone on earth by the smoke from the burning cities that are planned to be hit in our war plan. And that smoke, we now know on the nuclear winter calculations, would be lofted into the stratosphere, would spread around the world globally. IÕm talking now about a war between the U.S. and Russia, where thousands of weapons would be involved. And a few hundred of those weapons on cities which are targeted would be enough to cause smoke that would reduce the sunlight reaching the earthÕs surface by about 70%, killing all the harvests worldwide and for a period as a long as a decade.


But that wouldnÕt be necessary, killing all the harvests for about a year or even less would exhaust our food supplies, which globally are about 60 days, and nearly everyone would starve to death except for a small fraction, perhaps 1% a little more or less, of humans would survive, in Australia or New Zealand, southern hemisphere is somewhat less affected, eating fish and mollusks. And that could be a sizable number of people. One percent is 70 million people, but 99% gone and virtually all the larger animals other than humans. TheyÕre not as adaptable as we are, and they canÕt move thousands of miles and wear clothes, light fires, have houses. They would go extinct altogether, as they did when an asteroid hit the earth 67 or 65 million years ago and created a very similar effect, blotting out the sunlight by the dust that was sent up.


Robert Wiblin: Also, was sind Ihrer Meinung nach einige der wichtigsten Punkte im Buch ["The Doomsday Machin - Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner"], an die sich die Leute erinnern sollten?


Daniel Ellsberg: Nun, dass unsere Politik tatsŠchlich die Androhung einer Wahnsinnstat war. Wir wissen im Wesentlichen seit 35 Jahren, dass dabei fast jeder Mensch auf der Erde umkommen wŸrde. Grund dafŸr ist der Rauch aus den brennenden StŠdten getštet wŸrde, die in unserem Kriegsplan auf der Liste der Ziele stehen. Wir wissen jetzt aus den Rechnungen zum nuklearen Winter, dass dieser Rauch in die StratosphŠre geblasen wird und sich weltweit ausbreiten wird. Ich spreche jetzt von einem Krieg zwischen den USA und Russland, in dem Tausende von Waffen zum Einsatz kŠmen. Schon ein paar hundert dieser Waffen auf die ZielstŠdte wŸrden ausreichen, um Rauch zu erzeugen, der das Sonnenlicht auf der ErdoberflŠche um etwa 70% reduziert und alle Ernten weltweit und fŸr einen Zeitraum von bis zu einem Jahrzehnt vernichtet.


Aber [dieser Zeitraum] wŠre gar nicht notwendig. Wenn wir alle Ernten fŸr etwa ein Jahr oder sogar weniger vernichten wŸrden, wŸrde das unsere NahrungsmittelvorrŠte (weltweit reichen sie fŸr etwa 60 Tage) erschšpfen, und fast jeder wŸrde verhungern. Ein kleiner Bruchteil, vielleicht 1% mehr oder weniger, von Menschen wŸrde in Australien oder Neuseeland -die sŸdliche HemisphŠre ist etwas weniger betroffen- Ÿberleben, indem sie Fisch und Muscheln essen. Und das kšnnte absolut genommen eine betrŠchtliche Anzahl von Menschen sein. Ein Prozent sind 70 Millionen Menschen. Die restlichen 99% sind verschwunden und praktisch alle grš§eren Tiere au§er Menschen. Sie sind nicht so anpassungsfŠhig wie wir, kšnnen sich nicht Tausende von Kilometern bewegen und Kleidung tragen, Feuer machen, in HŠusern leben. Sie wŸrden ganz und gar aussterben, wie sie es taten, als ein Asteroid vor 67 oder 65 Millionen Jahren die Erde traf und einen sehr Šhnlichen Effekt erzeugte, indem er das Sonnenlicht durch den Staub, der nach oben geschleudert wurde, auslšschte.


So the war plans of both U.S. and Russia have contemplated as sending not just hundreds but thousands of warheads at each other and hitting hundreds of cities. And something between 100 and 200 cities hit that way, by thermonuclear weapons, would cause this nuclear winter.


The likelihood of a limited nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia is not quite zero, but itÕs very small. Any armed conflict between U.S. and Russia, which has never occurred yet, would bear a high likelihood or a real risk of erupting and escalating into use or nuclear weapons by one or the other. Once that happened, the change of keeping it limited is very low. Each would worry that the other was about to escalate.


And another major point in the book is that our planning on both sides has been aimed, delusionally for this entire period, at limiting damage to oneÕs own side by counterforce, by hitting the forces of the other side in addition to its cities and its urban industrial centers. In fact, most of the targets on both sides are of military targets, many of them near cities or in the cities actually.



Die USA und Russland haben in ihren KriegsplŠnen erwogen, nicht nur Hunderte, sondern Tausende von Sprengkšpfen gegeneinander einzusetzen und Hunderte StŠdte zu treffen. Wenn zwischen 100 und 200 StŠdte mit thermonuklearen Waffen getroffen wŸrden, wŸrde das diesen nuklearen Winter auslšsen.


Die Wahrscheinlichkeit eines begrenzten Atomkriegs zwischen den USA und Russland ist nicht gleich Null, aber er ist sehr gering. Jeder bewaffnete Konflikt zwischen den USA und Russland, etwas ganz Neues, etwas das noch nie stattgefunden hat, wŸrde mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit oder realem Risiko zu einer nuklearen Eruption und Eskalation durch den einen oder den anderen fŸhren. Sobald dies geschehen ist, ist die Chance einer Begrenzung sehr gering. Jeder wŸrde befŸrchten, dass der andere im Begriff ist, zu eskalieren.


Und ein weiterer wichtiger Punkt des Buches ist, dass unsere Planung auf beiden Seiten, wahnhaft fŸr die gesamte Zeit, darauf abzielt, den Schaden auf der eigenen Seite durch Gegenma§nahmen zu begrenzen, indem man neben den gegnerischen StŠdten und seinen stŠdtischen Industriezentren auch seine militŠrischen Einrichtungen trifft. TatsŠchlich sind die meisten Ziele auf beiden Seiten militŠrische Ziele, viele von ihnen in der NŠhe von StŠdten oder direkt in den StŠdten.


But for over half a century, the idea that that would in effect protect the attacking side from close to annihilation or certainly the destruction of its society has been delusional. The likelihood is that the society would be entirely destroyed and I come back to the point that the threat of initiating such a war has been aimed at deterring the other side from various actions, aggressive actions of various kinds, and yet it is the threat of an insane action and to call it immoral is scarcely conveyed by any word at our disposal. Immoral É that can leak from anything.


Even the word evil seems just overwhelmed by what weÕre talking about, which is the destruction of most large life and most humans on earth, something that was simply not possible a hundred years ago, or for that matter, eighty years ago. So we donÕt have concepts to deal with it, ethical, legal, practical. WeÕve been living with it and making the kinds of threats that have been used for millennia to intimidate and influence policies of other countries, but on a scale that was never before possible or contemplated.


Aber seit mehr als einem halben Jahrhundert ist die Idee ein Wahn, die Idee, dass dies den Angreifer vor der Vernichtung oder sicherlich der Zerstšrung seiner Gesellschaft schŸtzen wŸrde. Die Wahrscheinlichkeit ist gro§, dass die Gesellschaft všllig zerstšrt wŸrde. Ich komme auf den Punkt zurŸck, dass die Drohung, einen solchen Krieg zu beginnen, darauf abzielt, die andere Seite von verschiedenen Aktionen, aggressiven Aktionen verschiedener Art abzuschrecken, und doch ist es die Androhung einer Wahnsinnstat.


Es mit dem Wort unmoralisch zu belegen oder mit irgendeinem anderen uns zur VerfŸgung stehenden Wort, das wird es nie charakterisieren. Solch eine Wahnsinnstat ist ein Novum fŸr die Menschehit, und daher gibt es keinen Begriff dafŸr.


So IÕd say weÕre in a situation then where such a war can actually occur. It has been prepared for, most extensively probably than any other human project in history.


Go back to the original Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first acts É the first nuclear war. That involved a combination of the two most elaborate, highly developed, scientific applications the world had ever seen. A B-29 bomber was incredibly complex, highly advanced flying machine, and of course the atomic weapon which had dropped, the fission weapon which they dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, represented the product of years of work of the richest nation concentrating on the subject with the best scientific minds in the world working on it, or some of the best. There were a few comparable ones in Germany, but they didnÕt focus on that problem. They didnÕt think it was feasible in time.


Also wŸrde ich sagen, wir sind in einer Situation, in der ein solcher Krieg tatsŠchlich stattfinden kann. Er wurde vorbereitet, wahrscheinlich umfangreicher als jedes andere menschliche Projekt in der Geschichte.


Schauen wir zurŸck auf die ersten Taten,  auf Hiroshima und Nagasaki, ... dem ersten Atomkrieg. Dabei wurden die beiden aufwŠndigsten, hoch entwickelten wissenschaftlichen Entwicklungen, die die Welt je gesehen hatte, kombiniert. Ein B-29-Bomber war eine unglaublich komplexe, hoch entwickelte Flugmaschine, und natŸrlich war die Bomben (Kernspaltungsbomben), die auf Hiroshima und Nagasaki abgeworfen worden waren, das Ergebnis jahrelanger Arbeit der reichsten Nation. Sie konzentrierte sich auf dieses Thema mit den besten wissenschaftlichen Kšpfen der Welt oder einigen der besten. Es gab in Deutschland einige vergleichbare, aber sie haben sich nicht auf dieses Problem konzentriert. Sie hielten es nicht fŸr mšglich, dass es rechtzeitig zu verwirklichen war.


So here you had the two most highly developed scientific objects, the B-29 and the atomic bomb, connected.


Well, that fission bomb is now the trigger for a thermonuclear weapon, an H bomb or a fusion weapon. Hydrogen weapon known as an H bomb uses a Nagasaki-type fission bomb as its trigger, its detonator, its percussion cap in effect.


And the initial explosion of a weaponized kind of H bomb in 1954 had an explosive yield a thousand times that of the Nagasaki weapon. A thousand times. And that in turn was a thousand, or two thousand, or four thousand times the largest bombs of World War II, which ranged from blockbusters from 5 to 20 ton. The Nagasaki weapon had a yield of 20 000 tons of TNT equivalent. So that was 1000 times, and then the weapon in 1954, the Castle Bravo test was 15 megatons, another 1000, a factor of a 1000.

Hier hatte man also die beiden am hšchsten entwickelten wissenschaftlichen Objekte, die B-29 und die Atombombe, miteinander verbunden.


Nun, diese Kernspaltungsbombe ist jetzt der Auslšser fŸr eine thermonukleare Bombe, eine Wasserstoffbombe, auch H-Bombe genannt. Die Wasserstoffbombe verwendet eine Spaltbombe vom Typ Nagasaki als Auslšser, ZŸnder und Schlagkappe.


Und zu Anfang hatte eine waffenfŠhige H-Bombe im Jahr 1954 eine tausendmal hšhere Sprengkraft als die der Nagasaki-Bombe. Tausend Mal. Und das wiederum waren das Tausend-, Zweitausend-, Viertausendfache der grš§ten Bomben des Zweiten Weltkriegs, die Blockbuster von 5 bis 20 Tonnen. Die Nagasaki-Bombe hatte eine StŠrke von 20 000 Tonnen TNT Das war also tausend Mal, und dann die H-Bombe 1954, im Castle Bravo-Test, war 15 Megatonnen, weitere 1000 mal stŠrker, um den Faktor von 1000 stŠrker.


So here we have something, then, that nothing in history É not the pyramids, not anything else, the Great Wall of China reflected perhaps more manpower somehow over time. But in terms of science and part of the GNP and everything else, this will have been enormously well-prepared for. Reflectively, rationally, scientifically, economically, and yet the result will have been the destruction of civilization altogether.


ItÕs as if one were to hypothesize, somehow, a self-destructive impulse in civilization or in rationality or in humans. It would be very hard to disprove that. LetÕs just say you can think of other hypotheses, and one does. I have. How you get there without having intended it altogether.


No president of either country has ever intended or determined or decided to wipe out life on earth. But they have all been willing to threaten it, and to prepare for it. And the threats actually do create the risk of this happening because to make them credible and effective, not effective altruism but effective intimidation, they prepared for it. They made it possible, feasible mostly. Sometimes they make threats that are totally hollow and they canÕt carry out.

Hier haben wir also etwas wie nichts anderes in der Geschichte.... nicht die Pyramiden. Die Chinesische Mauer beschŠftigte im Laufe der Zeit vielleicht mehr ArbeitskrŠfte. Aber was die Wissenschaft und einen Teil des Bruttosozialprodukts und alles andere betrifft, so ist die Atombombe enorm gut vorbereitet worden, mit voller Absicht, rational, wissenschaftlich, wirtschaftlich. Und doch wird das Ergebnis die všllige Zerstšrung der Zivilisation sein.


Es ist, als ob man irgendwie einen selbstzerstšrerischen Impuls in der Zivilisation oder in der RationalitŠt oder im Menschen annehmen wŸrde. Es wŠre sehr schwer, solch eine Annahme zu widerlegen. Sagen wir einfach, man kann sich auch anders vorstellen, wie man dorthin gekommen ist. Das tut man auch -ich hab's getan. Es muss nicht ganz und gar in[selbstzerstšrerischer] Absicht geschehen sein.


Kein russischer oder amerikansicher PrŠsident hat jemals beabsichtigt oder bestimmt oder beschlossen, das Leben auf der Erde auszulšschen. Aber sie alle waren bereit, damit zu drohen und sich darauf vorzubereiten. Und die Drohungen bergen tatsŠchlich das Risiko, dass dies geschieht, denn um sie glaubwŸrdig und effektiv zu gestalten, haben sie sich darauf vorbereitet. Eine wirksame EinschŸchterung. Sie machten es mšglich, in den meisten FŠllen machbar. Manchmal sprechen sie auch Drohungen aus, die všllig hohl sind und die sie nicht ausfŸhren kšnnen.


A very important example of that was Khrushchev, the Soviet premiere in the late 50s, when he was threatening Britain and London and Paris with weapons that he didnÕt have. He didnÕtÕ have the intermediate range missile weapons at that time. But within a few years, he did have them. And having É since his threats didnÕt work, by the way, he decided he needed É his military decided they needed them to be more realistic, more credible, and that meant making them feasible. And of course, making them feasible opened the possibility that deliberately or not, they would be carried out by someone or other, if not the Prime Minister or Premiere or General Secretary, by someone else who had access to those weapons.


It was true on the U.S. side, this is another revelation in the book, that in order to make it impossible to paralyze our response, our retaliation, by a single weapon on Washington on our command post, a few weapons on command post, the authority to initiate or to use the weapons, the U.S. weapons, had been delegated by President Eisenhower to a number of high-level commanders who had in turn delegated it for the same reason to their lower commanders.


Ein sehr wichtiges Beispiel dafŸr war Chruschtschow, der sowjetische Premierminister in den spŠten 50er Jahren, als er Gro§britannien, London und Paris mit Waffen bedrohte, die er nicht hatte. Er hatte damals noch nicht die Mittelstreckenraketen. Aber innerhalb weniger Jahre hatte er sie. Und da seine Drohungen Ÿbrigens nicht funktionierten, entschied er, dass er diese  [Waffen] haben mŸsse .... sein MilitŠr entschied, dass sie realistischer und glaubwŸrdiger sein sollten, und das bedeutete, sie tatsŠchlich herzustellen. Und natŸrlich eršffnete ihre Existenz, dass sie absichtlich oder unabsichtlich, wenn nicht vom Premierminister oder PrŠsidenten oder GeneralsekretŠr, von jemand anderem eingesetzt wŸrden, der Zugang zu diesen Waffen hatte.


Das war so auf der US-Seite. Dies ist eine weitere Offenlegung in meinem Buch, dass die Entscheidungsgewalt Ÿber den Einsatz der US Waffen von PrŠsident Eisenhower an eine Reihe hochrangiger Kommandeure delegiert worden war. Und die haben sie wiederum aus dem gleichen Grund an ihre untergeordneten Kommandeure weitergegeben. Das alles geschah, um zu verhindern, dass unsere Vergeltung mit einer einzigen Waffe auf Washington, auf unsere Kommandozentrale ausgeschaltet wird.


time = 1:08:20

What then would I go for things that do seem to involve disproportionate danger and risk, disproportionate to any benefits to the society as a whole. And in particular to the most powerful people in society.


All right let me just start at the top of the list.


time = 1:08:20

Was wŸrde ich tun, gegen etwas, das unverhŠltnismŠ§ige Gefahren und Risiken in sich birgt, das in keinem VerhŠltnis zu den Vorteilen fŸr die Gesellschaft als Ganzes steht - was wŸrde ich den mŠchtigsten Menschen in der Gesellschaft empfehlen?


Lassen Sie mich oben auf der Liste anfangen.


time = 1:08:27

I said earlier, Launch on Warning is an absolutely unconscionable basis for our defense policies. ThereÕs no way you can make it called necessary. We should eliminate the ICBMs. And there has been actually major proposals for that by influential people in the Defense Department for many decades. They just always lose in the end. Without it ever having become a matter of public discussion until we learn later. Even I, stay very much in touch with this sort of thing, have been frequently surprised to discover how seriously such good proposals were taken some decades earlier. We learn much later, specifically the President.


time = 1:08:27

Ich sagte vorhin, der Start der Interkontinentalraketen (ICBMs) allein auf die Warnung vor einem bevorstehenden Angriff hin (Launch on Warning) ist eine absolut skrupellose Basis fŸr unsere Verteidigungspolitik. Man kann das in gar keiner Weise als notwendig bezeichnen. Wir sollten unsere ICBMs loswerden [, die so verwundbar sind, dass man sie starten muss, noch bevor man angegriffen wurde]. Und tatsŠchlich haben einflussreiche Leute im Verteidigungsministerium viele Jahrzehnte lang dies vorgeschlagen. Sie setzen sich nur am Ende nie durch, und es kam Ÿberhaupt niemals zu einer šffentlichen Diskussion darŸber. Wir haben das nur spŠter erfahren. Selbst ich, der ich mit solchen Dingen sehr in Kontakt bleibe, war immer wieder Ÿberrascht darŸber, wie ernst solche guten VorschlŠge einige Jahrzehnte zuvor genommen wurden. Wir und insbesondere der PrŠsident erfahren das erst viel spŠter.



President Barack Obama favored getting rid of the ICBMs and also a very closely related question of rejecting first use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.


PrŠsident Barack Obama sprach sich dafŸr aus, die ICBMs loszuwerden und auch eine sehr eng damit verbundene Problematik, nŠmlich den Ersteinsatz von Atomwaffen, egal unter welchen UmstŠnden.


People get this wrong so often. Let me spell this out a little bit:


First use, the phrase first use refers to any initiation nuclear weapons, including tactical weapon, short ranged, relatively low yield weapons. As in short ranged artillery or missiles in a limited war of some kind. But any kind of first use.


Die Leute bringen hier zwei Begriffe [-Erstgebrauch und Erstschlag-] durcheinander. Lassen Sie mich das ein wenig erlŠutern.


Erstgebrauch, der Ausdruck Erstgebrauch bezieht sich auf jedweden ersten Einsatz von Nuklearwaffen, einschlie§lich taktischer Waffen, Kurzstreckenwaffen und Waffen mit relativ geringer Sprengkraft, wie bei Kurzstreckenartillerie oder Raketen in einem begrenzten Krieg. Also jede Art von erstem Einsatz, Erstgebrauch.


First strike refers to initiating or launching long range strategic weapons, essentially against the homeland of our major opponent, the Russians or vice versa, before enemy or enemies warheads have arrived on our soil. It might be after they have been launched, but before theyÕve arrived. Or escalating from a limited conflict to an attack against the homeland of the other super power.


And so thereÕs two basic ways that a first strike could occur.


One is what I just said, an escalation of a limited non-nuclear or nuclear, limited nuclear war. For example a war between the U.S. and North Korea that we decided had to be escalated to an attack on China as well or against Russia, or your first strike. Having perhaps already taken first use of limited tactical weapons by the U.S. or by North Korea, but escalating that to a homeland strike against Russia or perhaps China would be a first strike.


The other way would be in anticipation of an imminent or ongoing strike by the opponent, preemptive. Getting it off as some said, striking second first. Getting our weapons off the ground before theyÕre attacked by the other side. Imminently about to be attacked.


Erstschlag bezieht sich auf ... den Abschuss strategischer Langstreckenwaffen, im Wesentlichen gegen das Heimatland unseres Hauptgegners, der Russen, ... bevor der Feind selbst oder seine Sprengkšpfe auf unserem Boden angekommen sind. Das kann nach dem Start der feindlichen Raketen, aber noch vor ihrer Ankunft in unserem Land sein. Es kann aber auch eine Eskalation eines begrenzten Konflikts hin zu einem Angriff auf das Heimatland der anderen Supermacht sein.


Und so gibt es also im Grunde zwei Mšglichkeiten, wie es zu einem Erstschlag kommen kann.


Die eine ist das, was ich gerade gesagt habe, eine Eskalation eines begrenzten nichtnuklearen oder begrenzt nuklearen Kriegs. Ein Beispiel wŠre ein Krieg zwischen den USA und Nordkorea, bei dem wir beschlossen hŠtten, ihn zu einem Angriff auf China oder Russland, also zu einem Erstschlag zu eskalieren. Vielleicht sind bereits begrenzte taktische Waffen durch die USA oder Nordkorea eingesetzt worden [Erstgebrauch], aber erst eine Eskalation zu einem Angriff auf das Heimatland der Russen oder vielleicht der Chinesen wŠre ein Erstschlag.


Die andere Mšglichkeit eines Erstschlags wŠre die Vorwegnahme eines bevorstehenden oder schon ablaufenden gegnerischen Schlages, also ein [nuklearer] PrŠventivschlag. Wie es einige formulieren: den Gegenschlag zuerst ausfŸhren. Wir bringen unsere Waffen weg vom Boden, bevor sie von der anderen Seite angegriffen werden, oder unmittelbar von einem Angriff bedroht sind.


Now when I say Launch on Warning, that refers to this latter preemption

  • where there has been some indication, either strategic, perhaps a covert agent or a set of events,
  • a limited war that we think will probably escalate.
  • Or by a warning from our radar or our electronic warning on satellites or infrared warning, that enemy warheads are on the way. Such as has happened a number of times.
  • And launching our weapons before that warning has been confirmed by actual explosions. And remember even one or two explosions might not really confirm that a larger attack was under way. It might have been a terrorist or a third party of some kind. Or a rogue, or a non authorized action.

Also wenn ich von Start allein aufgrund von FrŸhwarnung (Launch on Warning) spreche, dann bezieht sich das auf diese letztgenannte Vorwegnahme,

  • wenn es Anzeichen dafŸr gibt, entweder strategische oder vielleicht durch einen verdeckten Agenten oder eine Reihe von Ereignissen.
  • Es bezieht sich auch auf einen begrenzten Krieg, von dem wir glauben, dass er wahrscheinlich eskalieren wird, oder
  • wenn uns unser Radar warnt oder unsere Satelliten oder Infrarot-Melder [sie sehen den Feuerschweif von Raketen], dass feindliche Sprengkšpfe auf dem Weg sind. So wie es schon einige Male [fŠlschlicherweise] geschehen ist.
  • wobei unsere Waffen eingesetzt werden, noch bevor solch eine Warnung durch tatsŠchliche Explosionen bestŠtigt worden ist. Und man denke daran, dass selbst ein oder zwei Explosionen nicht wirklich bestŠtigen kšnnen, dass ein grš§erer Angriff im Gange ist. Es kšnnte ein Terrorist oder jemand drittes irgendeiner Art gewesen sein. Oder ein aggressiver EinzelgŠnger oder auch ein nicht autorisierter Akteur aus dem eigenen Land [wie im Film "Dr. Seltsam oder wie ich lernte, de Bombe zu lieben" dargestellt. Dieser Film kšnnte nach Ellsberg wegen seiner WirklichkeitsnŠhe auch Dokumentarfilm genannt werden].


So until weÕve really had a rather large number of weapons, a dozen, half a dozen, 20, hundreds, whatever, that indicate a concerted full scale attack, any launch before that is a Launch on Warning. That should never occur.


In the past it was, even until now, itÕs been imagined because itÕs a good way to sell vehicles that launching them first gives us a chance of limiting damage to ourselves. But since by launching we cannot attack their submarines. If anything we attack their submarines by anti-attack submarines that are in the water already and then go after them. ItÕs not a real Launch on Warning.

Bis man also wirklich eine ziemlich gro§e Anzahl von Waffen abbekommen hat, ein Dutzend, ein halbes Dutzend, 20, Hunderte, was auch immer, die auf einen konzertierten Gro§angriff hinweisen, ist jeder Start vorher ein Start bei Warnung (Launch on Warning). Das sollte nie passieren.


In der Vergangenheit hat man sich vorgestellt, sogar bis heute geschieht das, dass Launch on Warning ein gutes Verkaufsargument fŸr die ICBMs sei, weil das uns die Mšglichkeit eršffne, den Schaden zu begrenzen, der uns zugefŸgt wird. Aber mit dem Losschicken [der ICBMs] kšnnen wir ihre [die russischen] U-Boote nicht erreichen. Wenn Ÿberhaupt, greifen wir ihre U-Boote mit Anti-Angriffs-U-Booten an, die sich bereits im Wasser befinden und sie dann verfolgen. Dies ist kein richtiges Launch on Warning.


ItÕs our planes, which can be recalled. Or our missiles getting off a launchpad before theyÕre attacked, that is Launch on Warning. That should be eliminated. It shouldÕve been eliminated 50 years ago or more.



Launch on Warning meint unsere Flugzeuge, die man zurŸckrufen kann [wenn sich die Warnung als Fehler herausstellen sollte], oder unsere Raketen, die von ihren Startrampen abheben, bevor sie angegriffen werden. [Da man sie nicht zurŸckrufen kann,] sollte bei denen Launch on Warning abgestellt werden. Das hŠtte schon vor 50 Jahren oder mehr geschehen mŸssen.



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Along with that the weapons that must be launched before theyÕre attacked, our ICBMs should be eliminated. They do nothing for us other than make us look big and crazy. And thatÕs not without its effect, looking big and crazy makes the other people cautious up the point that it makes them decide they have to strike first. But it can have a beneficial effect.

time = 1:12:44

Und zusammen mit dem Abschaffen von Launch on Warning sollten auch die ICBMs abgeschafft werden, die gestartet werden mŸssen, bevor sie angegriffen werde. Sie tun nichts fŸr uns, au§er dass sie uns gro§ und verrŸckt aussehen lassen. Und das ist nicht ohne seine Wirkung. Wenn man gro§ und verrŸckt aussieht, macht das die Leute vorsichtig, bis zu dem Punkt, an dem sie entscheiden, dass sie zuerst zuschlagen mŸssen. Aber so zu erscheinen, kann natŸrlich auch eine positive Wirkung haben.


But not in a way that canÕt be achieved otherwise or that is necessary. And it is a way that involves a continuous risk of blowing up the world.


Which is shorthand for actually É Nothing we do will blow up the world, literally, or even kill all life. After all, most biomass in the Earth is microscopic and much, or most of that, will survive even a nuclear winter or nuclear war. But larger animals will all go. Except us. And weÕll mostly go. Nearly all.

Aber dies kann auch auf andere Weisen erreicht werden, auf bessere Art und Weise, die nicht ein stŠndiges Risiko in sich birgt, die Welt in die Luft zu jagen.


Dieser Ausdruck ist eine AbkŸrzung fŸr tatsŠchlich etwas anderes. Nichts, was wir tun, wird die Welt buchstŠblich in die Luft jagen oder sogar alles Leben vernichten. Schlie§lich ist die meiste Biomasse auf der Erde mikroskopisch klein und vieles, oder das meiste davon wird sogar einen nuklearen Winter oder Atomkrieg Ÿberleben. Aber grš§ere Tiere werden alle verschwinden, au§er uns, die meisten von uns werden verschwinden. Fast alle.


So that is not justifiable. So get rid of the Launch on Warning. Get rid of the weapons that are for Launch on Warning, ICBMs.


Das ist also nicht vertretbar. Also weg mit dem Launch on Warning. Weg mit den Waffen, die Launch on Warning brauchen, die ICBMs.

And now a third step I would take which is unilaterally we would improve the worldÕs security, and our own, if we did either of those things, and/or, also, divested ourselves of that large part of our submarine force which threatens their land based missiles.


If I can spend just a moment on the asymmetry here.


Und nun ein dritter Schritt, den ich tun wŸrde. Wir kšnnten einseitig die Sicherheit der Welt und unsere eigene verbessern, indem wir eines der eben genannten Dinge tun und/oder uns auch desjenigen gro§en Teils unserer U-Boot-Flotte entledigen, der ihre landgestŸtzten Raketen bedroht.


Lassen Sie mich einen Moment auf die Asymmetrie hier eingehen.

The Russians rely on their ICBMs in a way we donÕt. Because they donÕt rely on their submarines as we do. Their submarines have more of tendency to bump into each other or to fall to the bottom of the ocean. TheyÕve had a number of serious accidents. But more importantly than that, their subject to an American anti-submarine warfare which will not get all of their submarines, but which will get a number of them.


TheyÕre not willing to rely entirely on their submarines and so they do rely on their ICBMs. ItÕs hard for me to imagine theyÕre getting rid of all of their ICBMs in that circumstance. Just as itÕs hard for me to imagine North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, getting rid of all of his nuclear weapons. I donÕt expect that to happen. He depends on that for his deterrents and his survival and Russia feels they depend on having some ICBMs.


Die Russen verlassen sich auf ihre ICBMs, wie wir es nicht tun. Weil sie sich nicht so auf ihre U-Boote abstŸtzen wie wir. Ihre U-Boote neigen eher dazu, miteinander zu kollidieren oder auf den Meeresgrund zu sinken. Sie hatten eine Reihe von schweren UnfŠllen. Aber noch wichtiger ist, dass sie einer amerikanischen Anti-U-Boot-KriegsfŸhrung ausgesetzt sind, die zwar nicht alle ihre U-Boote zerstšren wird, aber doch eine Reihe von ihnen.


Sie wollen sich daher also nicht ausschlie§lich auf ihre U-Boote verlassen, und deshalb verlassen sie sich auf ihre ICBMs. Es ist schwer fŸr mich, mir vorzustellen, dass sie unter diesen UmstŠnden alle ihre ICBMs abschaffen kšnnten. Genauso wie es fŸr mich schwer ist, mir Nordkorea vorzustellen, Kim Jong-Un, der alle seine Atomwaffen abschafft. Ich erwarte nicht, dass das passiert. Er ist davon abhŠngig, er braucht sie fŸr seine Abschreckung und sein †berleben. Und so glaubt Russland, dass es von einigen [wenigen] ICBMs abhŠngig ist.


We donÕt require those ICBMs. We donÕt benefit from them in anyway, other than the one I described, which is not by the way just imaginary, conjectural. To look crazy enough to buy these useless things does make us look crazy to launch.

Wir brauchen diese ICBMs nicht. Wir profitieren von ihnen in keiner Weise, abgesehen von dem, was ich beschrieben habe, was Ÿbrigens nicht nur imaginŠr, mutma§lich ist. So verrŸckt zu erscheinen, dass wir diese nutzlosen Dinge kaufen, das lŠsst uns verrŸckt genug erscheinen, sie auch zu starten.


Robert Wiblin: To use them.


Daniel Ellsberg: And that can be a deterrent.


Robert Wiblin: Yeah.


Daniel Ellsberg: But at this I say at the risk of destruction of everything. So we should get rid of those. No first use policy on our part, even unilaterally, all the better for Russia. All of these things are even better, much better, if Russia imitates them, which is not guaranteed. But they are good for us even if they donÕt imitate them and certainly our ability to press them in various ways. And shame them. Or educate them or whatever, to get rid of their first use policy and their launch on warning, depends necessarily on our getting rid of it. Although itÕs not guaranteed by it.

Robert Wiblin: ... sie zu benutzen.


Daniel Ellsberg: Und das kann abschreckend sein.


Robert Wiblin: Ja.


Daniel Ellsberg: Aber dabei sage ich "auf die Gefahr hin, dass alles zerstšrt wird". Also sollten wir die [ICBMs] loswerden. Keine US-Politik des Ersteinsatzes von Atomwaffen. [Das kšnnten wir] sogar einseitig festlegen. All diese Dinge sind noch besser, viel besser, wenn Russland sie nachmacht, was nicht garantiert ist. Aber diese Dinge sind gut fŸr uns, auch wenn die Russen sie nicht nachmachen, und sicherlich gut fŸr unsere FŠhigkeit, sie auf verschiedene Weise [in dieser Richtung] unter Druck zu setzen und sie zu beschŠmen. Oder sie aufzuklŠren oder was auch immer, ihre [russische] nukleare Ersteinsatzrichtlinie abzuschaffen und ihre Launch on Warning Philosophie, das hŠngt notwendigerweise davon ab, dass wir das machen. Garantieren kann unsere Vorleistung solch ein russisches Vorgehen allerdings nicht..


So those would be three major things I would do. I would thus reduce the number of our warheads first by the ICBMs, but also sub launched missiles, warheads. Not to zero, however.

Das wŠren also drei wichtige Dinge, die ich tun wŸrde: Ich wŸrde die Anzahl unserer Sprengkšpfe zunŠchst durch die Au§erbetriebnahme aller Interkontinentalraketen und einer Anzahl -nicht aller- von U-Booten gestarteten Raketen reduzieren.


Robert Wiblin: Yeah. So in light of that, should we want a ban on all nuclear weapons, or should we just be looking to reduce the number?


Daniel Ellsberg: Now we get to an important issue [Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons]. 122 nations have signed now, although I forget how many, but maybe 20 more, have actually ratified a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. And to make illegal any possession of any nuclear weapons. The Pope speaking, not legally but morally, has said now, in contrast to his predecessors, that any possession of nuclear weapons is morally condemnable. Now similar to the ban idea. Unfortunately, and predictably, all of those 122 nations are nations that do no possess nuclear weapons. And they are not allied to nations that protect them with the threat of nuclear weapons. So not one member of NATO has signed such a treaty. Nor has any member of the nine nuclear weapon states. Actually one member of NATO did take part in the negotiations, only one. [crosstalk 01:24:40]


Robert Wiblin: Netherlands, is that who it was? Yeah.


Daniel Ellsberg: Yeah, the Netherlands. But they were É They took part because they were ordered to do so by their Parliament. They wouldnÕt have done it on their executive branch. But they were ordered by the executive branch to vote against it. So, I donÕt foresee that approach by itself expanding very much. In part, because like the Pope, it is legally or morally condemning the position of any nuclear weapons and most of the people in the nuclear weapons states and their allies donÕt agree with that as a moral norm or as a prudent action.


Robert Wiblin: Ja. Sollten wir also in Anbetracht dessen ein Verbot aller Atomwaffen wŸnschen, oder sollten wir nur versuchen, die Anzahl zu reduzieren?


Daniel Ellsberg: Da kommen wir zu einem wichtigen Thema [dem Vertrag Ÿber das Verbot von Atomwaffen]. 122 Nationen haben jetzt unterzeichnet. Ich habe vergessen, wie viele, aber vielleicht 20 weitere Staaten haben [diesen Vertrag zum Verbot von Atomwaffen] tatsŠchlich ratifiziert und den Besitz von Atomwaffen illegal gemacht. Der Papst -er machte seine Aussage nicht auf der legalen, sondern auf der moralischen Ebene- hat im Gegensatz zu seinen VorgŠngern gesagt, jeder Besitz von Atomwaffen sei moralisch zu verurteilen. Das Šhnelt der Idee des Verbots. Leider und vorhersagbar haben alle diese 122 Nationen keine Atomwaffen. Und sie sind nicht mit Nationen verbŸndet, die sie vor der Bedrohung durch Atomwaffen schŸtzen. Kein Mitglied der NATO hat also einen solchen Vertrag unterzeichnet. Kein Mitglied der neun Atomwaffenstaaten. TatsŠchlich hat ein Mitglied der NATO an den Verhandlungen teilgenommen, nur ein Mitglied. [†bersprechen 01:24:40]


Robert Wiblin: Die Niederlande, nicht wahr? Ja.


Daniel Ellsberg: Ja, die Niederlande. Aber sie warenÉ Sie nahmen daran teil, weil sie von ihrem Parlament dazu aufgefordert wurden. Ihre Exekutive hŠtte das nicht getan. Den niederlŠndischen UnterhŠndlern Źwurde jedoch von der Exekutive aufgetragen, dagegen zu stimmen. Meiner Voraussicht nach wird sich dieser Ansatz nicht sehr stark verbreiten, zum Teil, weil -wie im Fall des Papstes- es bedeuten wŸrde, die Aufstellung von Atomwaffen rechtlich oder moralisch zu verurteilen, und die meisten Menschen in den Atomwaffenstaaten und ihren VerbŸndeten stimmen dem nicht als moralischer Norm oder als umsichtiger Aktion zu.


Nor do I, actually at this point. Given that other countries, including opponents, have nuclear weapons. ItÕs hard for me to say É I canÕt see that is is morally condemnatory, for example, for China to have any nuclear weapons since itÕs had serious adversary relations with both the U.S. and Russia, the Soviet Union in the past.


Robert Wiblin: And India for that matter, yeah.


Daniel Ellsberg: And India. You could say likewise for India. Or that itÕs morally condemnatory to have some nuclear weapons rather than leaving a major adversary with a monopoly. ItÕs not only that most people will not agree, I will be among those who will not agree, that itÕs morally obligatory for us to unilaterally divest ourselves of all nuclear weapons while Russia retains some, leaving them with a monopoly. ItÕs not only É ItÕs not that I would expect Russia to attack with those weapons necessarily, or very quickly, but it is very plausible that it would encourage them to take aggressive actions of various kinds. Old actions, reckless actions that they wouldnÕt take otherwise, that might very well lead to conflict. And if not to immediate nuclear war by one side or the other, to a build up.

Ich stimme dem zum gegenwŠrtigen Zeitpunkt auch nicht zu in Anbetracht dessen, dass andere LŠnder, einschlie§lich ihrer Gegner, Atomwaffen besitzen. Es fŠllt mir schwer zu sagen É ich kann nicht erkennen, dass es moralisch zu verurteilen wŠre, dass beispielsweise China Ÿber Atomwaffen verfŸgt, wo es sowohl mit den USA als auch mit Russland (frŸher mit der Sowjetunion) ernsthafte gegnerische Beziehungen hatte.


Robert Wiblin: Und Indien, ja.


Daniel Ellsberg: Und Indien. Man kšnnte das auch fŸr Indien sagen. Oder dass es moralisch zu verurteilen ist, einige wenige Atomwaffen zu besitzen und einem gro§en Gegner ein Monopol zu gestatten. Es ist nicht nur so, dass die meisten Menschen dem nicht zustimmen werden. Auch ich werde zu denjenigen gehšren, die es nicht fŸr moralisch zwingend halten, uns einseitig von allen Atomwaffen trennen, wŠhrend Russland einige behŠlt und damit ein Monopol bekommt. Es ist nicht nur É Ich wŸrde nicht erwarten, dass Russland mit diesen Waffen notwendigerweise oder sehr schnell angreifen wŸrde, sondern es ist sehr plausibel, dass es sie zu aggressiven Aktionen verschiedener Art ermutigen wŸrde, zu altbekannten Aktionen, rŸcksichtslosen Aktionen, die Russland sonst nicht ergreifen wŸrde, und das kšnnte sehr wohl zu Konflikten fŸhren. Und wenn nicht zum unmittelbaren Atomkrieg, ausgelšst von der einen oder anderen Seite, so doch zu einem Aufbau [in diese Richtung].


***************

So it seems to me that whereas I do think that a world without nuclear weapons would be a very much safer place. And that is a desirable aim and should even be a practical aim, if not in our lifetime, in our childrenÕs or our grandchildrenÕs lifetime. But by the same token in the nuclear era in which we live, I would say that war, major way, should be abolished, in effect should not be an instrument of policy. Should not be tolerated or legitimated and prepared for. But that implies a considerable change in our world order, in our system of resolving conflicts.


And rather than say well in other words thatÕs like changing the gravitational constant, or some currently unthinkable thing, that should be thinkable. We should be aiming at that. And they go together. I find it hard to believe that there will be sufficient trust and verification and enforcement for countries who now rely on nuclear weapons entirely to rid themselves of them, so long as they do face a real risk of attack. Or of invasion. Or occupation.


So scheint mir also, auf der einen Seite wŠre eine Welt ohne Atomwaffen sehr viel sicherer - dies ist ein erstrebenswertes Ziel, und es sollte darŸberhinaus ein ganz praktisches Ziel sein, wenn nicht in unserem Leben, dann doch zu Lebzeiten unserer Kinder oder Enkelkinder. Aber ebenso wŸrde ich sagen, dass in der €ra der Nuklearwaffen, in der wir [nun einmal] leben, Krieg, gro§er Krieg, abgeschafft werden sollte, eigentlich kein Instrument der Politik sein sollte, nicht toleriert oder legitimiert und vorbereitet werden dŸrfte. Dies impliziert jedoch eine erhebliche €nderung unserer Weltordnung, unseres Systems der Konfliktlšsungen.


Wir sollten nicht behaupten, das sei mit anderen Worten ausgedrŸckt so unmšglich wie das €ndern der Gravitationskonstante oder wie etwas derzeit Undenkbares. Es sollte [heute schon] denkbar sein. Darauf sollten wir abzielen, das alles gehšrt zusammen. Es fŠllt mir jedoch schwer zu glauben, dass LŠnder, die sich jetzt vollstŠndig auf Atomwaffen verlassen, genŸgend [gegenseitiges] Vertrauen und ŹVerifikation und [tatsŠchliche] Umsetzung aufbringen werden, solange sie einem echten Angriffsrisiko ausgesetzt sind, oder dem Risiko einer Invasion oder einer Okkupation.


You mentioned Castro earlier. Castro is the one major leader, you know a very small island, heÕs been faced with imminent invasion by a nuclear power. Let me take that back, Saddam was faced with that of course and did experience it. So has Afghanistan by Russia. So whatÕs the difference? They did not, those countries did not have recourse to nuclear weapons themselves. But Castro had nuclear weapons on his territory. Which, by the way, did not have locks on them and which his people couldÕve taken control of. Rather than say to Khrushchev, which would certainly look rational, ŅDo not use those nuclear weapons or we will be annihilated,Ó he couldÕve said that. And he couldÕve backed it up with non-nuclear force, taking over the weapons himself, but he wouldnÕt have had to with Khrushchev. I think Khrushchev wouldÕve agreed to that, almost certainly.


Sie haben Castro schon erwŠhnt. Castro ist der gro§e AnfŸhrer auf einer sehr kleinen Insel, die unmittelbar vor der Invasion einer Atommacht stand. Lassen Sie mich das zurŸcknehmen, Saddam war natŸrlich damit konfrontiert und hat es sogar durchgemacht. So auch Afghanistan von Russland. Was ist in diesen FŠllen anders? Sie haben es nicht getan, diese LŠnder haben nicht auf Atomwaffen zurŸckgegriffen. Aber Castro hatte Atomwaffen auf seinem Territorium. Die waren Ÿbrigens nicht unter Verschluss, und Castros Leute hŠtten die VerfŸgungsgewalt darŸber an sich nehmen kšnnen. Anstatt zu Chruschtschow zu sagen, was sicherlich vernŸnftig ausgesehen hŠtte: "Benutze diese Atomwaffen nicht, sonst werden wir vernichtet", hŠtte Castro ankŸndigen kšnnen[, dass er die Kontrolle Ÿber die Nuklearwaffen Ÿbernehmen wŸrde]. Und er hŠtte die †bernahme der Nuklearwaffen mit nichtnuklearen Waffen begleiten kšnnen. Aber das war bei Chruschtschow nicht nštig. Ich glaube, Chruschtschow hŠtte dem sicherlich zugestimmt.


Robert Wiblin: Yeah, Khrushchev seems quite sane from the historical records.


Daniel Ellsberg: Yeah. Yeah. Now was it insane then for É What Khrushchev did do as the youngest leader around at that point, what he did do was say, ŅI assume youÕll use them. ThatÕs fine. And, therefore, if itÕs going to be a nuclear war, which it is, because weÕre gonna use them, you should go first.Ó And he said that under the mistaken impression that Russia had a couple of hundred ICBMs when in fact it had about 10. Some say 40. But socialists would not have prevailed. The Northern É Eurasia would have been annihilated. And actually some American cities wouldÕve gone, starting with Oahu because Khrushchev had ordered a nuclear É sub with nuclear missiles offshore Hawaii in case a war erupted.


Now to what effect É What good would it have done in the world for Hawaii to be annihilated while Russia was being annihilated? Nothing. No good. But that was his plan, secretly. He ordered that secretly. And not for deterrents. He didnÕt tell us that that would happen. He just did it. Nor did he tell us that he had nuclear warheads ashore.


Robert Wiblin: Ja, Chruschtschow scheint in den historischen Aufzeichnungen ziemlich gesund zu sein.


Daniel Ellsberg: Ja. Ja. Nun, war es wahnsinnig .... Was Chruschtschow als jŸngster FŸhrer zu diesem Zeitpunkt tat, was er tat, war zu sagen: "Ich nehme an, du wirst sie benutzen. Das ist in Ordnung. Und wenn der Krieg dann ein Nuklearkrieg wird, was passieren wird, weil wir [Nuklearwaffen] nutzen werden, solltest du damit anfangen." Und er sagte das unter dem falschen Eindruck, dass Russland ein paar hundert ICBMs habe, obwohl es tatsŠchlich etwa 10 hatte. Einige sagen 40. Aber der Sozialismus hŠtte sich nicht durchgesetzt. Der Norden ....  Eurasiens wŠre vernichtet worden. Und tatsŠchlich wŠren [auch] einige amerikanische StŠdte verlorengegangen, angefangen mit Oahu, weil Chruschtschow ein Atom-U-Boot mit Atomraketen vor Hawaii bestellt hatte, fŸr den Fall, dass ein Krieg ausbrechen wŸrde.


Nun zu welchem Effekt.... Welchen Nutzen hŠtte es der Welt gebracht, wenn Hawaii zerstšrt worden wŠre, wŠhrend Russland vernichtet wurde? Nichts. Nicht gut. Aber das war sein Plan, heimlich. Das hat er heimlich angeordnet. Und nicht zur Abschreckung. Er hat uns nicht gesagt, dass das passieren wŸrde. Er hat es einfach getan. Er hat uns auch nicht gesagt, dass er nukleare Sprengkšpfe an Land habe.


Now this is to me inexplicable rationally. I canÕt imagine what that was except as a simple bureaucratic trend in Russia to keep secrets. Even when you would be safer if you exposed that secret. The secret being that he had nuclear warheads in Cuba.


When I look at that warhead, I believe, and IÕve never seen anyone else say this or raise it, and I didnÕt get into it in my book for space reasons, the what if or the, you know, the hypotheticals that mightÕve occurred. I wanted to but my son said, ŅDad, this is not a book about Cuba. You donÕt have space for this.Ó


But I wouldÕve liked to say Khrushchev couldÕve won that crisis at any point up until Saturday, October 27th, when he gave in by simply revealing he had nuclear weapons there, which he did.

Also das ist fŸr mich nicht rational zu erklŠren. Ich kann mir nicht vorstellen, warum das so war, au§er als ein einfacher bŸrokratischer Trend in Russland, Geheimnisse zu bewahren, selbst wenn man sicherer wŠre, wenn man dieses Geheimnis offenbarte. Das Geheimnis war, dass er in Kuba nukleare Sprengkšpfe hatte.


Wenn ich mir diesen Sprengkopf ansehe, glaube ich, dass Chruschtschow diese Krise jederzeit bis Samstag, den 27. Oktober, hŠtte gewinnen kšnnen, indem er einfach nachgab und enthŸllte, dass er dort Atomwaffen hatte, was ja der Wirklichkeit entsprach.


Ich habe noch niemanden erlebt, der zur Sprache gebracht hŠtte, was dann geschehen wŠre, oder der Hypothesen ausgesprochen hŠtte darŸber, was hŠtte geschehen kšnnen.


In meinem Buch bin ich aus PlatzgrŸnden nicht darauf eingegangen. Ich wollte es, aber mein Sohn sagte: "Dad, das ist kein Buch Ÿber Kuba. Du hast keinen Platz dafŸr."



In fact, if he didnÕt he still couldÕve said he did. But he did have them. And he couldÕve shown them to our surveillance, not all of them, just one or two. Opened them up for inspection, send your U2 over, send a low level over, take a real good photograph. Send a ground observer over, let him look at this thing. See. We have nuclear weapons ashore, which was true. Which would mean to Kennedy an invasion was out of the question

Und wenn Chrustschow keine Nuklearwaffen auf Kuba gehabt hŠtte, hŠtte er immer noch behaupten kšnnen, dass er sie dort hŠtte. Aber er hatte sie dort,  und er hŠtte sie unserer †berwachung zeigen kšnnen, nicht alle, nur ein oder zwei, hŠtte sie zur Inspektion offenlegen kšnnen und sagen: "Schicken Sie Ihr U2[-Spionageflugzeug] rŸber und machen Sie ein wirklich gutes Foto.  Oder schicken Sie Beobachter am Boden rŸber und lassen Sie ihn sich das Ding ansehen. Da sehen Sie mal, wir haben Atomwaffen an Land." Und das stimmte ja auch. Und das hŠtte fŸr Kennedy bedeutet, dass eine Invasion nicht in Frage kam.



Now, when the Joint Chiefs contemplated the possibility that there were nuclear weapons ashore right at the end, their proposal was letÕs put nuclear weapons with our troops. That was refused. That was insane. 


What the hell were nuclear weapons on their troops gonna do if our invasion fleet was about to be destroyed by their nuclear weapons? You know. Having them even on the ship wasnÕt going to do anything for you. The ship was going to be vaporized if they had them. 


It does make the Joint Chiefs look insane and in important ways they were, but as I say, in a way that is institutionally endorsed. Normal insanity. Organizational insanity. I donÕt have even that, as I say for Khrushchev except that they just were generally very secretive and didnÕt notice that this was an occasion they should not be secretive.


To Castro, for him to say given that weÕre about to be occupied, better that we all be annihilated and theyÕd go down with us. See. And that capitalism go down. Now heÕs the only one really tested like that. Where he had an opportunity not to see nuclear war occur or to let it occur. And he let it occur rather than be occupied. 


Well that could be seen as saying well being occupied, letÕs say by the NaziÕs, or in this case by the Americans, we donÕt wanna be occupied.


Als die Generalstabschefs am Ende die Mšglichkeit in Betracht zogen, dass  Atomwaffen an Land waren, war ihr Vorschlag, dass wir unsere Truppen mit Atomwaffen ausstatten sollten. Das wurde abgelehnt. Das war verrŸckt. 


Was zum Teufel sollten Atomwaffen gegen ihre Truppen ausrichten, wenn unsere Invasionsflotte im nŠchsten Moment durch ihre Atomwaffen vernichtet wird? Du wei§t schon. Sogar sie auf dem Schiff zu haben, wŸrde nichts fŸr einen erreichen. Das Schiff wŸrde im nŠchsten Moment verdampft werden, wenn sie Nuklearwaffen hŠtten. 


Es lŠsst die Generalstabschefs wahnsinnig erscheinen, und in wichtiger Hinsicht waren sie es auch, aber wie gesagt, auf eine Weise, die von unseren Institutionen getragen wird. Normaler Wahnsinn. Organisatorischer Wahnsinn. Ich kann das nicht Ÿber Chruschtschow sagen, au§er, dass die Russen einfach im Allgemeinen gro§e GeheimniskrŠmer waren und nicht bemerkt haben, dass dies eine Gelegenheit war, bei der sie es nicht sein sollten.


Was Castro anbelangt, so hat er gesagt, "Angesichts der Tatsache, dass wir bald besetzt sein werden, ist es besser, wir [Kubaner] werden alle vernichtet und sie [die Amerikaner] gehen mit uns unter, nicht wahr, und dass der Kapitalismus untergeht". Da ist er der Einzige, der wirklich in solch einer Angelegenheit getestet wurde. Und lieber lie§ es den Atomkrieg ausbrechen, als besetzt zu werden. 


Nun, das kšnnte man so verstehen, als wŸrde man sagen, wir haben die Wahl  zwischen besetzt zu werden, sagen wir von den Nazis, oder in diesem Fall von den Amerikanern, oder nicht besetzt zu werden.


Something very odd that IÕve never seen commented on was his armed forces were entirely organized for guerrilla warfare. They had some to power by guerrilla warfare only a few years earlier. They were now enormously greater than that. They had militia, they had the whole country organized. Much more than Vietnam did for example, for guerrilla warfare. So why was being annihilated preferable to- 



Robert Wiblin: Being occupied probably temporarily.

Etwas sehr MerkwŸrdiges, das ich nie kommentiert gesehen habe, war, dass seine StreitkrŠfte vollstŠndig fŸr die Guerilla-KriegsfŸhrung organisiert waren. Sie waren erst wenige Jahre zuvor durch Guerillakriege an die Macht gekommen. Sie waren jetzt enorm viel grš§er als damals. Sie hatten Milizen, sie hatten das ganze Land organisiert. Viel mehr als die Vietnamesen zum Beispiel fŸr die GuerillakriegsfŸhrung. Also, warum war vernichtet zu werden, besser als--


Robert Wiblin: Wahrscheinlich vorŸbergehend besetzt zu sein.


Daniel Ellsberg: É guerrilla warfare? You know? They werenÕt quite as well situated for it as Vietnam in a number of ways. They were an island, they could be surrounded. But on the other hand they had a 600 mile mountain chain, the Sierra Maestra. We wouldÕve had a hell of a time occupying Cuba as would have been recognized a few years later, after Vietnam. But this was Õ62. So it wasnÕt as clear to us what a threat guerrilla warfare was to us. But Castro shouldÕve known that. ThatÕs how he won.


time = 1:25:53

And amazingly enough, rather than be occupied, he made the choice that they should use the nuclear weapons at the cost of their annihilation. 


Well, this is I think you canÕt single him out as a single psychotic leader. I think that was a test of what humans in power do, how crazy they can be when it comes to questions of war and peace. And life and death. 


You know thereÕs no way to make real sense out of almost any of the decision making that led to World War I. You could give their reasons, they had reasons in every case, each country, for actions that led to the destruction of their empire. But they werenÕt good reasons. It was terrible.


And what I reveal in the Pentagon Papers was not just poor decision making, it was crazy decision making. But it was normal for humans. 


I forget how we got off this entirely, but É

Daniel Ellsberg: .... Guerillakampf? Man wei§ doch ... Sie waren dafŸr in vielerlei Hinsicht nicht ganz so gut aufgestellt wie Vietnam. Sie waren eine Insel, sie hŠtten umzingelt werden kšnnen. Aber auf der anderen Seite hatten sie eine 600 Meilen lange Bergkette, die Sierra Maestra. Es wŠre uns dabei verdammt schlecht gegangen, Kuba zu besetzen, so wie wir es einige Jahre spŠter, nach Vietnam, erkannt haben. Aber das war 1962. Es war uns nicht so klar, was fŸr eine Bedrohung Guerillakrieg fŸr uns war. Aber Castro sollte das  gewusst haben. Deshalb hat er ja auch [schon frŸher] gesiegt.


Zeit = 1:25:53

Und erstaunlicherweise entschied er sich fŸr die Verwendung der Atomwaffen um den Preis der Vernichtung [Kubas], um der Besetzung zu entgehen. 


Nun, ich denke, man kann ihn nicht als einen Einzelfall eines psychotischen FŸhrers ausmachen. Ich denke, das war ein Test dafŸr, was Menschen in Machtposition tun, wie verrŸckt sie sein kšnnen, wenn es um Fragen von Krieg und Frieden geht. Und Leben und Tod. 


Wissen Sie, fast keine der Entscheidungsfindungen, die zum Ersten Weltkrieg fŸhrten, leuchteten in irgendeiner Weise ein. Man kšnnte ihre GrŸnde nennen, sie hatten in jedem Fall, in jedem Land GrŸnde fŸr Handlungen, die zur Zerstšrung ihres Reiches fŸhrten. Aber das waren keine triftigen GrŸnde. Es war schrecklich[, idiotisch].


Und was ich in den Pentagon-Papieren offenbare, war nicht nur schlechte Entscheidungsfindung, es war verrŸckte Entscheidungsfindung. Aber es war normal fŸr den Menschen. 


Jetzt habe ich vergessen, wie wir auf dieses Thema gekommen sind, aber....


time = 01:34:18

Robert Wiblin: Well I was just thinking about, yeah, what is the most practical and useful thing that the U.S. could do to make the world safer? And [crosstalk] ...


Daniel Ellsberg: Yeah, to make it safer. So I have a number of things. Move against, there should be no armed conflict between the U.S. and Russia. That should be inconceivable now as it is not. WeÕre preparing for it. WeÕre deploying for it. WeÕre getting ready. ItÕs preparing to blow up the world in the sense in which IÕve described it for annihilating most large animals on the Earth. And that is scarcely necessary. It would be hard to imagine is was necessary even if you were confronting Hitler. That is reckless and ruthless. Not only ruthless, but recklessly expansionist. And we havenÕt seen that. We havenÕt seen a Hitler in great power, including atop the U.S. 


I think the reason there has not been a war in the 70 years since 1945, a result which was in fact hard to imagine for people in 1945, was that the phenomenon that was a reality then. Hitler, not with nuclear weapons, but up until that point might have nuclear weapons, but in Õ45 the expansionism of Hitler was easy to project onto the Russians, or the Russians on to us.


They expected a first strike. Actually, no president was Hitler and no leader of Russia was Hitler. Not in terms of ruthlessness, but in terms of wild gambling expansionism. We havenÕt seen that. If we had, we would not be here. In other words, if what people reasonably worried about in 1945 had occurred, had letÕs say an Idi Amin or what should we say? Saddam I think was very aggressive. But had he been on top of the U.S. or Russia, we wouldnÕt be here. The world wouldÕve blown up.

Zeit = 01:34:18

Robert Wiblin: Nun, ich habe gerade darŸber nachgedacht, ja, was ist die praktischste und nŸtzlichste Sache, die die USA tun kšnnten, um die Welt sicherer zu machen? Und ...


Daniel Ellsberg: Ja richtig: sie sicherer zu machen. Ich habe da eine Reihe von Dingen. Ein Vorgehen gegen ..., es sollte keinen bewaffneten Konflikt zwischen den USA und Russland geben. Das sollte jetzt unvorstellbar sein, und es ist das nicht. Wir bereiten uns darauf vor. Wir stationieren dafŸr. Wir machen uns bereit. Das ist ein Sich-Vorbereiten darauf, die Welt in dem Sinne in die Luft zu jagen, wie ich es beschrieben habe, die meisten gro§en Tiere auf der Erde zu vernichten. Und das ist kaum notwendig. Es wŠre schwer vorstellbar, dass so etwas notwendig war, selbst als man sich mit Hitler konfrontiert sah. Das ist fahrlŠssig und skrupellos. Nicht nur skrupellos, sondern auch fahrlŠssig expansionistisch. Und das haben wir nicht, wir haben keinen Hitler in gro§er MachtfŸlle, auch nicht an der Spitze der USA. 


In den 70 Jahren seit 1945 hat es keinen Krieg [zwischen Russland und den USA] gegeben. Das war fŸr die Menschen 1945 schwer vorstellbar. Ich denke, der Grund dafŸr ist das PhŠnomen, das damals RealitŠt war: Hitler, nicht mit Atomwaffen, aber bis zu diesem Zeitpunkt hŠtte er Atomwaffen haben kšnnen. 1945 konnten wir den Expansionismus von Hitler leicht auf die Russen projizieren oder die Russen auf uns.


Sie erwarteten einen Erstschlag. Eigentlich war kein PrŠsident ein Hitler und kein FŸhrer Russlands ein Hitler. Nicht in Bezug auf die RŸcksichtslosigkeit, sondern in Bezug auf den Expansionismus, des wilden GlŸcksspiels. So etwas haben wir noch nicht wieder gesehen, und wenn doch, wŠren wir nicht hier. Mit anderen Worten, wenn das, worŸber die Menschen, die sich 1945 vernŸnftigerweise Sorgen machten, eingetreten wŠre, wenn wir einen Idi Amin gehabt hŠtten oder -- sagen wir - Saddam. Ich denke, er war sehr aggressiv. Aber wenn er an der Spitze der USA oder Russlands gewesen wŠre, wŠren wir nicht hier. Die Welt wŠre explodiert.


time = 1:27:52

So itÕs important that that not occur, and that there be other ways of confronting reckless leaders somehow, other than threatening to blow the world up. For example, we should not be reproducing the Cold War, which we are at this point, where you donÕt negotiate with Russia. 


When Trump speaks of negotiating with Russia some support that, his followers, and many do not, and the Democrats É The latter are in my opinion not just wrong but crazy in this traditional widespread craziness. To say that we should not be collaborating with Russia, not cooperating because of Crimea letÕs say. And to analogize Crimea to HitlerÕs invasion of Poland, thatÕs a totally mistaken, misleading analogy for a lot of reasons. And a very dangerous one.


And IÕm saying the idea that that shows that we can no more negotiate and cooperate with Putin than we could with Hitler in 1939, could not be more dangerous. So in the short run I would want to change that. 


time = 1:28:52

HereÕs an amazing irony. If you look at Trump Š Donald TrumpÕs policy views Š I would regard them as not just mistaken but as despicable in nearly every instance except one, which is that he wants to cooperate with Russia and not get into war with Russia. Not over Syria, or Ukraine, or anywhere else. 


In my opinion whatever his motives Š and I doubt that theyÕre very creditable, I think they probably have to do with being under subject to blackmail by Putin Š they make him reasonable on this point. (time = 1:29:52)

time = 1:27:52

Deshalb ist es wichtig, dass das nicht passiert und dass es andere Mšglichkeiten gibt, rŸcksichtslosen FŸhrern irgendwie anders zu begegnen als mit der Drohung, die Welt in die Luft zu jagen. Zum Beispiel sollten wir den Kalten Krieg, den wir jetzt haben, nicht reproduzieren, wo man nicht mit Russland verhandelt. 


Wenn Trump von Verhandlungen mit Russland spricht, unterstŸtzen das einige, seine AnhŠnger, und viele tun das nicht, und die Demokraten.... die Letzteren liegen meiner Meinung nach nicht nur falsch, sondern sind verrŸckt in dieser traditionellen weit verbreiteten VerrŸcktheit. Zu sagen, dass wir nicht mit Russland zusammenarbeiten sollten, wegen der Krim, sagen wir mal. Und die Krim mit Hitlers Invasion in Polen zu vergleichen, ist aus vielen GrŸnden eine všllig falsche, irrefŸhrende Analogie. Und eine sehr gefŠhrliche.


Und ich meine, die Idee, auf die dies hindeutet, dass wir mit Putin nicht mehr verhandeln und zusammenarbeiten kšnnen als mit Hitler 1939, die kšnnte nicht gefŠhrlicher sein. Als NŠchstes wŸrde ich dies daher Šndern wollen. 


time = 1:28:52

Hier ist eine erstaunliche Ironie. Wenn man sich Trump ansieht - die politischen Ansichten von Donald Trump -, wŸrde ich sie fŸr nicht nur falsch, sondern in fast allen FŠllen als verabscheuungswŸrdig halten, mit Ausnahme von einem, nŠmlich dass er mit Russland zusammenarbeiten und nicht in einen Krieg mit Russland geraten will. Nicht Ÿber Syrien, die Ukraine oder sonst wo. 


Was immer seine [Trumps] Motive sein mšgen - und ich bezweifle, dass sie sehr anerkennenswert sind, ich denke, sie haben wahrscheinlich etwas damit zu tun, unter dem Eindruck der Erpressbarkeit durch Putin zu sein -, seine Motive lassen ihn in dieser Hinsicht vernŸnftig erscheinen. (time = 1:29:52)


Whatever his motives, heÕs right on that point. That is the point I think that most motivates the opposition to him from the Democrats. What they regard as his most vulnerable point, is the one point I would say where his policy is right and realistic. And that is his not preparing for war with Russia. Because youÕre preparing for a world omnicide basically when you do that, and not moving in a different direction. 


So why in the world are they attacking him on that point? Well partly because they think heÕs politically vulnerable, and the Democrats can get back in power that way, and they might be right about that.


But by pressing that point they are making omnicide more likely. And why by the way are they going for the Cold War, that happened before Trump. That was under-


Robert Wiblin: both Bush and Obama.


time = 1:31:10

Daniel Ellsberg: Obama, and was definitely backed by Hillary in terms of the arms buildup. Why? Because only Russia provides a target system that can rationalize advanced weapons to get through their defenses. We need a long range standoff weapons, so our planes can get through an air defense system which only one country in the world has, like Russia. Others have similar weapons but not in the same network. Our planes have problems getting into only one country in the world, Russia. So for that we need a long range standoff weapons for Boeing and Lockheed or whoever makes them. You canÕt rationalize new Trident submarines against ISIS, or against Assad, you just canÕt. Only Russia allows that incentive.

Was auch immer seine Motive sind, er hat Recht in diesem Punkt. Das ist der Punkt, auf den sich nach meiner EinschŠtzung die Opposition von Seiten der Demokraten am meisten stŸtzt. Was sie als seinen verwundbarsten Punkt betrachten, ist der einzige Punkt, von dem ich sagen wŸrde, dass seine Politik richtig und realistisch ist. Und das ist seine mangelnde Vorbereitung auf den Krieg mit Russland. Weil man sich auf einen weltweiten Omnizid vorbereitet, wenn man das tut, und sich nicht in eine andere Richtung bewegt. 


Warum in aller Welt greifen sie ihn in diesem Punkt an? Na ja, teils, weil sie denken, dass er politisch verwundbar ist, und sie, die Demokraten, so wieder an die Macht kommen kšnnen. Sie kšnnten da Recht haben.


Aber wenn sie auf diesen Punkt drŠngen, machen sie einen Omnizid wahrscheinlicher. Und warum gehen sie Ÿbrigens in Richtung Kalter Krieg, der vor Trump stattfand. Das war unter-


Robert Wiblin: sowohl unter Bush als auch unter Obama.


time = 1:31:10

Daniel Ellsberg: Obama, und er wurde definitiv von Hillary in Bezug auf die AufrŸstung unterstŸtzt. Warum? Weil nur Russland ein Zielsystem bietet, das fortschrittliche Waffen rechtfertigen kann auf der Basis, dass nur diese seine Verteidigung durchbrechen kšnnen. Wir brauchen Langreichweiten-Kampfwaffen, damit unsere Flugzeuge ein Luftverteidigungssystem durchdringen kšnnen, das nur ein Land der Welt hat, nŠmlich Russland. Andere haben Šhnliche Waffen, aber nicht im selben Netzwerk. Unsere Flugzeuge haben Probleme beim Eindringen in nur ein Land der Welt, Russland. Dazu brauchen wir Langreichweiten-Kampfwaffen von Boeing und Lockheed oder wer auch immer sie herstellt. Man kann vernŸnftigerweise neue Trident U-Boote nicht gegen ISIS oder gegen Assad rechtfertigen. Nur Russland bietet solch einen Anreiz.


And likewise ICBMs, and so forth. So in other words to keep these assembly lines going, and to keep rotten Connecticut working on attack submarines for example, you have to have somebody with submarines to attack, and thatÕs Russian. So in order for these you might say military Keynesian motives and for profit motives basically we are reproducing the Doomsday Machine. And encouraging the same kinds of factions in Russia to reproduce their Dooms Day machine. And this is a human tendency of people in power, to maintain their power, and their wealth and everything else, which I donÕt know how to change. I have to hope, and I do hope that we find a way to do it, but I donÕt yet know what that is.

Und ebenso ICBMs [Interkontinentalraketen], und so weiter. Mit anderen Worten, um diese Flie§bŠnder am Laufen zu halten und ein verkommenes Connecticut beim Bau von z.B. Angriffs-U-Booten beschŠftigt zu halten, muss man jemanden mit U-Booten im Visier haben, und das sind die Russen. Aus diesen -man kšnnte sagen- militŠrisch keynesianischen Motiven und aus ProfitgrŸnden reproduzieren wir also im Grunde genommen die Weltuntergangsmaschine [wieder und wieder]. Und wir ermutigen die gleichen Arten von Fraktionen in Russland, ihre Doomsday Maschine zu reproduzieren. Und das ist eine menschliche Tendenz von Leuten in Macht, ihre Macht und ihren Reichtum und alles andere zu erhalten. Ich wei§ nicht, wie man das Šndern soll. Ich muss hoffen, und ich hoffe, dass wir einen Weg finden, es zu tun, aber ich wei§ noch nicht, was solch ein Weg sein kšnnte.

time = 1:32:48

Robert Wiblin: Yeah, so your preferred policy is that we get rid of land based ICBMs completely ...


Daniel Ellsberg: ... and most of our Sea Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs).

Robert Wiblin: Yeah, okay so we go down to what?

Daniel Ellsberg: Bombers are little less dangerous because they can be recalled.

Robert Wiblin: Yeah okay, so weÕd end up with what, a hundred? Something like what the UK has?


time = 1:33:07

Daniel Ellsberg: IÕll get to that right away.

The reason I want to get rid of the SLBMs which nobody else talks about is: I prefer the Russians not think that their ICBMs are in danger of being destroyed entirely, which our SLBMs can do. And weÕve just put on super-fuzes on our SLBMs to make them capable of destroying hardened ICBMs. And that does nothing for us at all, except that it does give the Russians an incentive to interpret alarms from their radar of the kind that occurred in 1983, they got a false warning from their satellite system: Their ICBMs were in danger. Was that possible? Yes, we had enough weapons to do that. We should make it clear that we do not threaten to launch a warning, and we do not threaten counterforce against Russia, because itÕs hopeless, itÕs infeasible. (1:33:54)


It is as infeasible as a highly effective anti-ballistic missile system. Now that, the scientists are all lined up on saying thatÕs impossible, itÕs infeasible. 


The truth is that our counterforce efforts against Russian [forces] are just as unfeasible. They have too many and they have submarines, and you canÕt get them. Unlike the ABM which may be fooled by decoys, and maybe not hit any warheads, the Anti-Ballistic Missile, our ICBMs can find and destroy their ICBMs. Not all of them probably, but a lot of them, and not the mobile ones altogether. But they really can hit it. They could make by the way hundreds of decoys over there, that was discussed in connection with our MX system. 


We could build lots of holes and they wouldnÕt know which hole itÕs in, but itÕs expensive and we didnÕt do that, and they havenÕt done it either.


time = 1:32:48

Robert Wiblin: Ja, also favorisieren Sie eine Politik der vollstŠndigen Abschaffung der  landgestŸtzten ICBMs ...


Daniel Ellsberg: ... and der meisten unserer auf Unterseebooten stationierten ballistischen Raketen (Sea Launched Ballistic Missiles, SLBMs).


Robert Wiblin: Ja, okay, also reduzieren wir wieweit?


Daniel Ellsberg: Bomber sind etwas weniger gefŠhrlich, weil sie zurŸckgerufen werden kšnnen.


Robert Wiblin: Ja, okay, also wŸrden wir am Ende wieviel haben? Hundert? So etwas wie das, was Gro§britannien hat?


time = 1:33:07

Daniel Ellsberg: Ich komme gleich darauf zurŸck.

Der Grund, warum ich die SLBMs loswerden will, von denen niemand sonst spricht, ist folgender: Ich mšchte nicht, dass die Russen um alle ihre ICBMs fŸrchten mŸssen. Unsere SLBMs kšnnen die nŠmlich alle treffen. Und wir haben gerade Super-Fuzes auf unseren SLBMs angebracht. Die versetzen sie in die Lage, gehŠrtete ICBMs zu zerstšren. Und das nŸtzt uns Ÿberhaupt nichts, au§er dass es die Russen dazu bringt, Alarmsignale von ihrem Radar auszuwerten, Signale, wie sie 1983 aufgetreten sind, eine falsche Warnung von ihrem Satellitensystem, Und das tut uns Ÿberhaupt nichts, au§er dass es den Russen einen Anreiz gibt, Alarme von ihrem Radar zu interpretieren, wie sie 1983 aufgetreten sind. Sie haben eine falsche Warnung von ihrem Satellitensystem erhalten:  ihre ICBMs in Gefahr sind. Waren die in Gefahr, war das mšglich? Ja, wir hatten genug Waffen, um das zu tun. Wir sollten klarstellen, dass wir weder mit Launch on Warning drohten, noch damit, die russischen Vergeltungswaffen auszuschalten, denn das ist hoffnungslos. Das ist kein gangbarer Weg.


Es ist ebenso undurchfŸhrbar wie ein hochwirksames Raketenabwehrsystem [ABM-System]. Jetzt treten alle Wissenschaftler an und sagen, dass so etwas [ein hochwirksames ABM-System] unmšglich sei, dass es nicht machbar sei. 


Die Wahrheit ist, dass unsere Anstrengungen gegen die russischen Vergeltungswaffen ebenso vergeblich sind. Sie [die Russen] haben zu viele [davon], und sie haben U-Boote, und die kann man nicht erreichen. Im Gegensatz zu den ABMs [Anti-Ballistischen Raketen], die von TŠuschkšrpern in die Irre gefŸhrt werden kšnnen und dann vielleicht Ÿberhaupt keine Gefechtskšpfe treffen, kšnnen unsere ICBMs ihre ICBMs finden und zerstšren. Nicht alle von ihnen wahrscheinlich, aber viele von ihnen, und Ÿberhaupt nicht die mobilen. Aber sie kšnnen es wirklich schaffen. Sie [die Russen] kšnnten Ÿbrigens Hunderte von TŠuschkšrpern dort drŸben machen [und ihre ICBMs damit ausrŸsten], was im Zusammenhang mit unserem MX-System diskutiert wurde. 


Wir kšnnten viele [Raketen-Stationierungs-]Lšcher bauen, und sie wŸrden nicht wissen, in welchem Loch die Rakete ist, aber es ist teuer und wir haben das nicht getan, und sie haben es auch nicht getan.



So you say, ŅOkay, we really can destroy the ICBMs. IsnÕt that worth doing?Ó And the answer "no" is not being made by any politicians, because what does it pay them to do that? No one gives them a campaign contribution for saying that Boeing is just wasting money. No, no, you donÕt say that about Boeing, because Boeing would then come back and say "your bridge to nowhere is not needed", or "your infrastructure project here is not needed". So Congressmen donÕt oppose each otherÕs district profits. (1:35:20)

Sie sagen also: "Okay, wir kšnnen eigentlich die [unsrigen] ICBMs zerstšren. Ist es das nicht wert?" Und die Antwort "Nein" wird von keinem Politiker gegeben, denn wie sollte es sich denn fŸr sie auszahlen, das zu tun? Niemand gibt ihnen einen Kampagnenbeitrag, wenn sie sagen, dass Boeing nur Geld verschwendet. Nein, das sagt man nicht Ÿber Boeing, denn Boeing wŸrde dann zurŸckschlagen und sagen, dass deine BrŸcke da und dahin nicht gebraucht wird, oder dein Infrastrukturprojekt hier nicht gebraucht wird. So widersetzen sich die Kongressabgeordneten nicht den Bezirksgewinnen der anderen [Kongressabgeordneten]. (1:35:20)


time = 1:35:20

Robert Wiblin: So what do you think of ChinaÕs current stance? It sounds like youÕd like us to get close to where China is?

Daniel Ellsberg: [crosstalk] No, IÕm saying I think China has a pursued a relatively sane even totally sane nuclear policy all along. 

At first we thought they only built a dozen or so ICBMs because they couldnÕt afford more, that was plausible. But only for the first 10 years or so after Õ64. 

Since the last 30 to 40 years itÕs obvious they could build many more, they could have as many as we do but they donÕt, they donÕt feel a need for parity which they donÕt have, which they donÕt need, correctly. 

Their policy has been no first use, and open explicit encouragement of a ban. ItÕs now questioned for reasons I donÕt know entirely. Well I could see our Anti Ballistic Missiles might have some effect in reducing damage from a first strike against the small Chinese force, not against Russia, but against the Chinese.

time = 1:36:20

So they have reason to think we might not be as deterred as we used to be against China. We seem to be preparing for a war against China. So they are now considering although so far havenÕt adopted launch on warning for the first time, that will make the whole world less safe if they do that, and I hope they donÕt. But theyÕre also considering building more survivable weapons, it means more weapons, more submarine weapons, more survival, more mobile weapons. With some bases that we donÕt look as deferrable as we should, because weÕre still threatening and weÕre still preparing. So unfortunately they are building up. I presume thatÕs reason they did not sign on to the ban. Otherwise, I donÕt why they wouldnÕt, itÕs totally compatible with their policy.


Their policy É ItÕs not compatible, I take it back a little. They have a minimum deterrent, so itÕs not compatible with a full ban, immediate ban.

Robert Wiblin: I think theyÕve said that in principle they would like a world without nuclear weapons.

Daniel Ellsberg: In principle they want a world without nuclear weapon. Well É

Robert Wiblin: In principle, I guess, so would we. ItÕs just more of a fantasy.



time = 1:35:20

Robert Wiblin: Was halten Sie von Chinas gegenwŠrtiger Position? Es hšrt sich an, als ob Sie mšchten, dass wir nahe an die chinesische Position kommen?


Daniel Ellsberg: (gleichzeitiges Sprechen] Nein, ich sage, ich denke, China hat die ganze Zeit eine relativ vernŸnftige, ja sogar všllig vernŸnftige Atompolitik verfolgt. 


Zuerst dachten wir, dass sie nur etwa ein Dutzend ICBMs bauen wŸrden, weil sie sich nicht mehr leisten kšnnten. Das war plausibel. Aber nur fŸr die etwa 10 Jahre nach 1964. 


Seit den letzten 30 bis 40 Jahren ist es offensichtlich, dass sie viel mehr bauen kšnnten, sie kšnnten ebenso viele haben wie wir, aber sie machen das nicht, sie empfinden kein BedŸrfnis nach ParitŠt. Sie haben sie nicht und sie brauchen sie richtigerweise auch nicht. 


Ihre Politik war "kein Ersteinsatz von Nuklearwaffen" und eine offene und ausdrŸckliche UnterstŸtzung fŸr ein Verbot [von Nuklearwaffen]. Das wird jetzt aus GrŸnden in Frage gestellt, die ich nicht ganz kenne. Nun, ich kšnnte erkennen, dass unsere Anti-Ballistischen Raketen den Schaden in den USA in gewisser Weise verringern kšnnten, den die kleine chinesische Streitmacht nach einem Erstschlag [der USA] ausrichten kann. Das gilt nicht im Fall von Russland, aber es gilt im Fall der Chinesen.


time = 1:36:20

Sie haben also Grund zur Annahme, dass wir vielleicht nicht mehr in dem Ma§e [vor einem Krieg gegen China] abgeschreckt sind, wie wir es frŸher waren. [FŸr sie] sieht es so aus, als wŸrden wir uns auf einen Krieg gegen China vorbereiten. So denken sie jetzt zum ersten Mal Ÿber Launch on Warning nach, haben es bisher nicht beschlossen. Es wird die ganze Welt weniger sicher machen, wenn sie das tun, aber ich hoffe, sie machen es nicht. Aber sie Ÿberlegen auch, mehr Waffen zu bauen, die einem Angriff widerstehen kšnnen. Das bedeutet mehr Waffen, mehr U-Boot-Waffen, mehr ŸberlebensfŠhige Waffen, mehr mobile Waffen, zusammen mit einigen Basen, die wir nicht fŸr so abschreckend halten, wie wir sollten, weil wir immer noch drohen und noch immer [Krieg] vorbereiten. Leider rŸsten sie sich also auf. Ich nehme an, dass dies der Grund dafŸr ist, dass sie das Verbot [INF?, Verbot von Launch on Warning?] nicht unterzeichnet haben. Andernfalls wei§ ich nicht, warum sie es nicht tun wollten, es ist všllig kompatibel mit ihrer Politik.


Ihre Politik.... Es ist nicht kompatibel, ich nehme es ein wenig zurŸck. Sie haben ein minimales Abschreckungspotential, so dass es nicht mit einem vollstŠndigen Verbot, dem sofortigen Verbot, vereinbar ist.


Robert Wiblin: Ich glaube, sie haben gesagt, dass sie sich im Prinzip eine Welt ohne Atomwaffen wŸnschten.


Daniel Ellsberg: Im Prinzip wollen sie eine Welt ohne Atomwaffen. Nun....


Robert Wiblin: Ich schŠtze, im Prinzip wollten wir das auch. Es ist mehr eine Art Phantasievorstellung.



time = 1:37:26

Daniel Ellsberg: Well okay. Now of course a number of our presidents have said that. Obama got a Nobel Prize for it. Trump doesnÕt say it but Reagan said it and Carter said it, but they each had a huge military buildup, so they said it. 

Now China has said it and has not had a huge military buildup. So theyÕre a lot more plausible that. No first use we favor elimination and a minimum deterrent. No pretense of damage limiting counterforce first strike capability. They do not pretend to believe in that or to be trying to get it unlike the US and Russia. 

So what I would like to see is China to press as a world leader on this. And IÕve asked whether that seems possible or not, unfortunately China experts tell me that China has such a strong tradition in the last century of saying we donÕt intervene in another country, we donÕt tell them what to do, we donÕt intervene, non-intervention, sovereignty.

That it is against their whole-

Robert Wiblin: Philosophy.

Daniel Ellsberg: É inclination and vision to be telling other countries do as we do. I wish they did actually on that point, and I donÕt know enough to say itÕs impossible. But people who do know China more say thatÕs extremely unlikely.

Robert Wiblin: TheyÕre probably right with that.

time = 1:37:26

Daniel Ellsberg: Nun gut. Das haben natŸrlich einige unserer PrŠsidenten gesagt. Obama erhielt dafŸr einen Nobelpreis. Trump sagt es nicht, aber Reagan sagte es und Carter sagte es, aber sie bauten alle einen riesigen militŠrischen Apparat auf, also sagten sie es [nur]. 


Jetzt hat China es gesagt und unternimmt keinen riesigen militŠrischen Aufbau. Sie sind also viel glaubwŸrdiger als das [die USA]. "Kein Ersteinsatz von Kernwaffen, wir befŸrworten deren Eliminierung und ein Minimum an Abschreckung. Wir tun nicht so, als ob wir durch einen Erstschlag auf die gegnerischen Vergeltungswaffen den Schaden auf unserem Territorium zu begrenzen versuchten." Sie geben nicht vor, daran zu glauben oder das zu versuchen, im Gegensatz zu den USA und Russland. 


Was ich mir also wŸnschte, ist, dass China als weltweit fŸhrendes Land darauf drŠngt. Und ich habe gefragt, ob das mšglich erscheint. Leider sagen mir China-Experten, dass China eine so starke Tradition hat, im letzten Jahrhundert, zu sagen, "wir greifen nicht in ein anderes Land ein, wir sagen ihnen nicht, was sie tun sollen, wir greifen nicht ein, wir achten die SouverŠnitŠt". 


Das ist gegen ihre ... Es lŠuft ihrer ganzen Neigung und Vision zuwider, anderen LŠndern zu sagen, was sie tun sollen. Ich wŸnschte, sie wŸrden es in diesem Punkt tatsŠchlich tun, und ich wei§ nicht genug, um zu sagen, dass das ausgeschlossen ist. Aber Leute, die China mehr kennen, sagen, dass das extrem unwahrscheinlich ist.


Robert Wiblin: Da haben die wahrscheinlich recht.


time = 1:38:42

Daniel Ellsberg: Unfortunately, but I donÕt hesitate to say as an American we should look at China, and we should pursue a policy like ChinaÕs. And that means endorse and even negotiate toward elimination of nuclear weapons in the longer run, verification policy [more] than everything else. But in the meantime while other countries have nuclear weapons, we should maintain a small capability to respond. A survivable capability to respond in a limited way, which is not by the way to say we should necessarily use that capability. In fact, I can only think of one circumstance I wonÕt go into, itÕs just too complicated, where it might make sense to launch a nuclear weapon or more.


time = 1:38:42

Daniel Ellsberg: Leider, aber ich zšgere nicht zu sagen, dass wir als Amerikaner nach China schauen sollten, und wir sollten eine Politik wie die Chinas verfolgen. Und das bedeutet, die Abschaffung von Atomwaffen auf lŠngere Sicht zu unterstŸtzen - und sogar zu verhandeln - und eine Verifikationspolitik [mehr] als alles andere. Aber in der Zwischenzeit, wŠhrend andere LŠnder Ÿber Atomwaffen verfŸgen, sollten wir eine geringe ReaktionsfŠhigkeit beibehalten. Eine ŸberlebensfŠhige FŠhigkeit, in begrenzter Weise zu reagieren, was im †brigen nicht bedeutet, dass wir diese FŠhigkeit auch unbedingt nutzen sollten. TatsŠchlich kann ich nur an einen Umstand denken, auf den ich nicht eingehen werde, es ist einfach zu kompliziert, wo es Sinn machen kšnnte, eine Atomwaffe oder mehr zu starten.1:38:58


**********************************

But in general except for a very small possibility, thereÕs almost no circumstance in which it would make sense for in my terms to respond to a nuclear attack with a nuclear weapon by the US. Any circumstance in which it would be necessary, desirable, optimal, anything but second use is as crazy as first use for the US.

Robert Wiblin: Is that because of course it canÕt protect you because the missiles are already coming, and I guess two me it just makes us off because you just get a worse nuclear winter.

Daniel Ellsberg: [crosstalk 01:47:20] what good is it gonna be of? If you send them over there what targets could be hit that would be of any benefit? Whereas if you send them in targets near cities, or in the cities youÕre just adding to the smoke. In the end the result will be the same a year later. But it will come a little faster, mass starvation will come a little faster if we burn cities in addition to our cities that are being burnt. But nevertheless a capability to do that should be taken very seriously by any adversary, because the likelihood that we will use that capability in revenge even if it doesnÕt do any good for us is very high, because weÕre human.

Robert Wiblin: Yeah, itÕs interesting. Okay so thatÕs your kind of medium or moderate disarmament policy.

Daniel Ellsberg: [crosstalk 01:48:06] how many weapons as they get down to, I would say by the way a handful of propositions here in my opinion these are normative statements. No country has the justification or good reason to have a doomsday machine first of all, which Russia and the US do, and the other countries are on the verge of it. All the countries except North Korea could cause starvation up to a third of the earthÕs population, thatÕs eight countries can do that, none of them should have that capability. What is that capability? Well itÕs something between 100 and 200 weapons, and eight of the countriesÉ LetÕs put this way, seven of the countries have at least 100. Israel probably has more, but is only estimated to have 80 or something, I think it probably has more than that because of the no news revelations many years ago.

North Korea doesnÕt at this point. So it follows from that, no nuclear weapons state is justified in having as many weapons as it now has, not one of them can justify. India canÕt justify having 100 nuclear weapons, no. To what effect. Or now we have Israel with itÕs 80 and so forth. You canÕt justify more than 100, letÕs say. That isnÕt to say you can justify a hundred, but you canÕt justify more than that right? Fourth, no country can justify having as many weapons as the smallest nuclear state other than North Korea. And you canÕt have as many weapons as Israel, certainly not as many as Pakistan or India or England or France or in that zone, as a first step toward ultimate elimination. But also toward a relatively stable situation.

I would say for the US and Russia to come down to the level of the other nuclear states, something between 80 and 120. Not striving for superiority which is meaningless except in conveying craziness, which has a diplomatic benefit under some circumstances, but one that comes at too high a cost, too a high a risk. So it means coming down to 100. Now what should they be? They should not be vulnerable weapons if possible. I am very unhappy that the Russians depend on ICBMs to the extent that they do, but at least if they could get down to 100 warheads, they would not be pretending to a disarming capability. They would not be encouraging the other to go, us to go launch on warning. Likewise, if we got down to 100 sub-launched weapons, and really how large?

Actually we canÕt really justify having thermonuclear weapons, hundred kiloton weapons. The Trident 2, has two capabilities for a warhead. One is 475 kilotons. You donÕt have a reason for that or a need for that under any circumstances including deterrence. What IÕm saying is to deter a country rational enough to be deterred at all, does not require an ability to annihilate them or to destroy the world. But if you were to say, a capability of hitting 10 to 20 of their cities thatÕs very deterrent, and to not have that in the face of their capability, does not make the world safer necessarily. It might but I wouldnÕt rely on and I wouldnÕt try to convince people that it was the case.

In other words to be a little bit more technical about it, weÕre talking about having very low yield sub-launched weapons because Russia has some. Actually you can burn cities with the fission weapons that Truman had in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They cause fire storms. ThatÕs [the Hiroshima and Nagasaki type bomb] the trigger of our weapons, so you could disarm all of the thermonuclear, the secondaries, what are called secondaries that [use] lithium deuteride, H-bomb, fusion fuel and so forth.

Disarm it, take it out or make it incapable. You donÕt need boosted weapons, you donÕt need 50 kilotons weapons which they all go for. That involves injections of tritium into the core. Do without that.


As Herbert York put it, what does it take É who was the first director of Livermore Laboratory, and then director of Research and Engineering (and then) in the Defense Department, and then a major arms control negotiator. He asked at Livermore the question, how many weapons does it take to deter an enemy that is capable of being deterred from a nuclear attack? And he said 1 or 10, or if you really stretch, a hundred. He got to that by saying 100 weapons give you the capability of one individual to destroy as many people as died in World War II, 60 million, in a day or two. It shouldnÕt have more than that.

So he said the number you need for this purpose then is between 1 to 10 to 100, and closer to 1 than 100. That gets you down by the way to the area of North Korea pretty much. Now, North Korea does not have adequate deterrence right now unfortunately, theyÕre facing a lot of threats, but thatÕs because theyÕre going for a bigger capability. They would be pretty safe I think if they gave up their ICBM and H-bomb tests right now. The threat against Korea and Japan, which does not require that, should be enough to keep even Trump É Even, you know Trump É TrumpÕs excuse for hitting them anyway is that theyÕre trying to get a capability against the US.

Let me make one point here, historic point that has been made to my knowledge only by Noam Chomsky in the past. And he bases it on McGeorge BundyÕs comment in his book about nuclear war as follows. Bundy said, having addressed this question in 1952 when the first [H-bomb] test was approaching, said itÕs notable in reflection that there was no discussion of avoiding H-bombs altogether on the grounds that they would make ICBMs feasible. Now it was the H-bomb that did make the ICBM look feasible to us immediately. And the reason for that was that it was known that the early ICBMs would have a very large error probably, very inaccurate. Half of them would not land within perhaps 7 to 10 miles of a city, which means even an A-bomb would not have much effect, even on a city landing 7 or 10 miles away, but an H-bomb would. And so a small H-bomb you could put on a missile could destroy a city at least even if the missile was very inaccurate, which they knew the early missiles would be.

As soon as they developed a feasible H-bomb warhead, the TellerŠUlam device in early Õ51, 1951. A guy at RAND actually É what his name ... Bruno Augenstein ... immediately said this makes an ICBM effective. Now why should that have been avoided, because only ICBMs threatened American society? When I was born in 1931 and until much later no American city was susceptible of being destroyed by an enemy.

Robert Wiblin: Ever.

Daniel Ellsberg: It hadnÕt happened since 1812 when the British invaded from Canada and burned the White House. In the Civil War we burnt Atlanta and so forth but that was our own people at short range on the ground. American cities É I lived in Detroit the arsenal of democracy, we had air raid drills but they were just for show, like duck and cover in the Õ50s, there was no danger of Detroit being destroyed. With long range bombers you could destroy a city with an A-bomb, but not more than a couple. We could have air defenses. You could keep A-bombs from getting through to us in large numbers, ICBMs you couldnÕt. So ICBM would make American society É in large numbers ... would make an American society vulnerable to destruction, as it has been ever since the mid Õ60s which is when there was, the Russians had a lot of ICBMs.

The answer seems to have been that we were worried about all our bombers getting through their defenses, and so we wanted an ICBM that would get through their defenses. We already had thousands of planes that would get through but weÕd lose a lot of them, so what? What possible purpose could it serve to have several thousand warheads there instead of a handful, or a couple dozen if weÕre talking about deterrence? But our plans were based on getting through their defenses.

Fermi, Enrico Fermi that I was discussing earlier and Isidor Rabi said in 1949 we should not be the first to test this stuff, and we should try to achieve a test ban. But no, we wanted it even at the cost of their [the Russians] getting it, and that meant we wanted an improved capability to destroy them when we already had 10 times over the capability to destroy them at the cost of our moving from being invulnerable to being vulnerable, and that was the choice that was made. And it was just a lot better for Boeing and Lockheed and Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics to go that way than not to have them. Then they wouldnÕt be selling the weapons.

And, by the way, what IÕve learned just recently by books like É A guy named [Frank] Kofsky wrote a book called "Harry Truman And The War Scare of 1948". [It] reveals that at the end of the war, Ford and GM who had made most of our bombers went back to making cars very profitably. But Boeing and Lockheed didnÕt make products for the commercial market, only for commercial air except there wasnÕt a big enough market to keep them from bankruptcy. They had suddenly lost their vast orders for military planes in mid 1945. The only way they could avoid bankruptcy was to sell a lot of planes to the government, military planes. But against who? Not Germany. We were occupying Germany. Not Japan, we were occupying Japan. Who was our enemy that you needed a lot of planes against. Well Russia had been our ally during the war, but Russia had enough targets to justify. So they had to be an enemy and they had to be the enemy, and we went off from there.

I would say that having read that book and a few others I could say, I now see since my book was written nine months ago, that the Cold War was a marketing campaign for selling war planes to the government and to our allies. It was a marketing campaign for annual subsidies to the aerospace industry, and the electronics industry. And also the basis for a protection racket for Europe, that kept us as a major European power. Strictly speaking weÕre not a European power. But we are in effect because we provide their protection against Russia, the super enemy with nuclear weapons, and for that purpose itÕs better for the Russians to have ICBM, and missiles, and H-bombs, as an enemy we can prepare against. ItÕs the preparations that are profitable. All wars have been very profitable for the arms manufacturers, nuclear war will not be, but preparation for it is very profitable, and therefore we have to be prepared.

Robert Wiblin: IÕm curious to know what other policies might help other than disarmament. So one suggestion that IÕve had is that we should help the Russians get better detection equipment, so they can detect attacks earlier.

Daniel Ellsberg: ThatÕs a terrible, a really terrible idea.

Robert Wiblin: Oh okay.

Daniel Ellsberg: ItÕs true that the world is less safe than it used to be because Russian air warning has gone down, theyÕve lost the satellites, their equipment is eroded and so forth, theyÕre more prone to false alarm than they used to be. So are we less safe now than we were before? Yes in that sense. And we would be more safe if we improved their system. WeÕd be back up to where we were before which nearly blew the world up in 1983 and 1995 and others. They should not have a launch on warning system, nor should we. We probably canÕt get them to give up their ICBMs, but we can give up the threat to their ICBMs. Our SLBMs, our submarine launched missiles are not under threat.

China by the way doesnÕt threaten the counter force of either Russia or the US. Do they have adequate deterrence? Yes. Would they have better deterrence if they had a thousand warheads instead of 300? No. There is such a thing as having too many warheads which we do and the Russians do [crosstalk 02:01:36] the Chinese do not. They canÕt really justify 300 either by the way, thatÕs more than they can really justify. Probably most of those are tactical weapons against Russia. But what will that do for them? A tactical war against Russia will preserve Beijing? No, I donÕt think so, or in a war with India for that matter. So they have more than they need or should have too, but a lot less than in our case. So China has been wiser on this point and is worth imitating right now.

Robert Wiblin: So Russia has dead hand, this literal doomsday machine where if it detects a nuclear explosion in Russia, or at least if it did during the cold war, it would send out rockets that would launch all Soviet nuclear weapons at various targets across the Northern Hemisphere.

Daniel Ellsberg: Yeah, thatÕs crazy for them.

Robert Wiblin: Why is that crazy?

Daniel Ellsberg: Except in this respect. I donÕt criticize their assuring that decapitation is easy or possible even. Decapitation will not protect us even against Kim Jong Un, but not against Russia. Of course they will have arranged for their weapons to reply, but that doesnÕt mean we donÕt plan for it. We plan for it. ItÕs crazy. It has always seemed É I go back to when I was working on the war plans in Õ61, that was over half a century ago. It seemed to me crazy to leave the Russians which what we then believe were large numbers of ICBMs which came to be true a few years later, it wasnÕt true then. To leave them decentralized without a Moscow to tell them to stop, or surrender, or end the war, just let them fire away. That looked to me crazy, but itÕs what we planned. It was something you could do, it might work. Yeah I canÕt prove it wouldnÕt work. ThereÕs what is it? One chance in a million that it might and so forth.

And weÕve known that they had arrangements to launch anyway, so whatÕs the one in a million?

Robert Wiblin: Well the funny thing is that, it seems like RussiaÕs Dead Hand system if we were more rational could make things more-

Daniel Ellsberg: We have it, we have it.

Robert Wiblin: Oh we have a same [crosstalk 02:03:30].

Daniel Ellsberg: Well itÕs effectively the same. [crosstalk 02:03:30].

Robert Wiblin: So if RussiaÕs like literal doomsday machine seems like it would make the world more safe if we were more rational, because it would mean that we would never have any reason to attack them, because it would be absolutely guaranteed that..

Daniel Ellsberg: Well we donÕt. But we can pretend we do. We can pretend we do and that is not without benefit. I have to keep saying it sells weapons, but there is another benefit. By pretending that we believe we might decapitate them, we make ourselves look crazy enough to launch a war if they provoke us. It also makes us crazy enough to launch a war when we donÕt provoke us by a false warning, but we live with that.

Robert Wiblin: IÕm curious to know, why is it that Russia kept Dead Hand secret? ItÕs like a paradox, that you create this machine you want everyone to know about, but you never tell them.

Daniel Ellsberg: The same as us. Our delegation of authority was one of our closest-held secrets, and effectively held secrets for decades, and to a large extent to this day. I put it out in my book, and people are startled by it, but, actually it was in SchlosserÕs book, and there have been quite a few revelations in the national security archive, going back to the 1990s. So, thatÕs 20 years ago, so itÕs been available to some extent. Why was it ever secret? The whole point of delegation is to prevent your being paralyzed by a decapitating attack-[crosstalk 02:17:23]

But, to not be paralyzed, to respond to the attack by attacking, only hastens nuclear winter. It doesnÕt do anything for you. The only advantage to delegation is to deter decapitating attack, but you can only do that if you assure the Russians that we have delegated. On the other hand, if we keep that a huge secret and deny it all the time, and keep saying only the President can control this, the Russians unfortunately could conclude, maybe theyÕre telling the truth. Maybe only the President can do it, and thus be led to a decapitating attack. So, it was exactly the same in Russia as here. ItÕs crazy for Khrushchev to keep that a secret, and it was crazy in exactly the same way for us to keep it a secret.

Why, in either case? Because what is being kept secret looks dangerous. Now, granted, if you want a deterrent effect, you pretty much have to delegate. But that does raise the question, is this the best way we should be assuring our safety altogether, as opposed to cooperation, coordination, collective security, what Gorbachev was calling for, when he was in power? Collective security, letÕs donÕt increase our own security by reducing their security. The new way of thinking that Gorbachev, which is still called for É that he proposed, was, ŅWeÕre in this together, and you donÕt increase your security by, in the traditional time-honored way, of decreasing their security, in a nuclear age.Ó

Increase our security together, by, for example, making nuclear winter impossible, which could be done, without eliminating nuclear weapons. You could still have deterrence, but if no country had more than, letÕs say, 10 or 20 weapons, like North Korea, you couldnÕt get nuclear winter. That would be good.

Now, if they were all vulnerable weapons, by encouraging preemption, encouraging, that could make the world even less safe than it is now. But if you had submarine-based weapons, for each nuclear weapons state, letÕs say, a small number, with no pretense of targeting or disarming your opponent, weÕll need the capability to retaliate in kind, well, if you retained that, you would have eliminated nuclear winter and probably nuclear war. There would be no advantage to it. And then we couldnÕt pretend to be protecting Europe. And they would be more on their own, economically.

Robert Wiblin: So are the other any other policies that you think would be good other than disarmament?

Daniel Ellsberg: Oh yeah and no IÕm saying is not just as disarmament, much more important than that is to make very clear we do not threaten an armed conflict with Russians, there shouldnÕt be any prospect of that. We should protect our allies by means other certainly than nuclear, initiating nuclear war. We should protect allies by means other than threatening to blow up a most life on earth. And the danger of a non-nuclear conflict between US and Russia, is such that letÕs say they did invade a Baltic country, which is not impossible. First do we need a nuclear weapon against that? Even in military terms no. Our air power against their reinforcements in the Baltics. But we canÕt match them probably man for man in Latvia or somewhere, but in terms of ability to cut off their forces by air power, we have a very great ability do that.

But second, in terms of their relations to the rest of the world, theyÕre not Albania or North Korea. Well North Korea is not at all cut off letÕs say from China. But theyÕre not autonomous, and the effects the political effects of that should be enough to dissuade them from doing that. If they did do it, they should face economic other military É What they would get is an enormous arms buildup for good or bad, I would say bad, but thatÕs what they would get if they did that. We should be aiming at what Trump talks about. For his bad reasons I assume are causing him to differ with the insanity of the cold warriors in the Democratic Party and the Republican Party both, theyÕre for preparedness. A great profit on both parties, even Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren and as far as I know Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez donÕt think at all about lowering the arms race they havenÕt talked about it, because thatÕs like gratuitously going against the tobacco industry or Exxon on climate. Why stack the odds against you that way in our society.

Well, the idea of showing the dangers of a Cold War, and assess the urgency of collaboration on climate. Right now we have a collaboration on pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. Putin wants to use his Arctic oil reserves thatÕs why he liked Tillerson who was trying to make a huge deal for Exxon in burning oil and condemning us all to a climate holocaust, and that should change, there should be collaboration against climate change. Again China by the way has mixed, obviously a mixed policy of this. On the one hand they are leading the world I believe in renewable energy, and on the other hand theyÕre leading the world in coal fired plants.


time = 2:03:06

Yes there are ways like your improving their air defense system. The world would be safer if we gave them several of our Trident submarines, but that isnÕt going to happen. And you know that theyÕre more dependable-

Robert Wiblin: I donÕt think I trust [crosstalk 02:07:23].

Daniel Ellsberg: É and they could É If we could give them Trident submarines and they would get rid of their ICBMs, the world would be a lot safer. But that A, isnÕt going to happen for a lot of reasons. And B, there are better things to do than that.

Robert Wiblin: You talk mostly about the risk of war with Russia. I would think that in the 21st century thereÕs kind of a greater risk of war with China over Taiwan or some other thing. Do you have a view on that?

Daniel Ellsberg: By the way why should we get into a war with China over Taiwan? Taiwan has the capability to mount perfectly good non-nuclear defense against China, I would think they did, why not?

TheyÕre richer than China on the whole, are they not, man for man? And there should not be a prospect of war with China. And look, how impossible is this? Look at the European Union. Most of the countries in that were at war with each other, not just once, but twice, in the last century. And now?

Robert Wiblin: ItÕs unthinkable.

Daniel Ellsberg: Pretty low. But, you say unthinkable? Well, I think thatÕs a little fast to say, but-

Robert Wiblin: Probably not France and Britain.

Daniel Ellsberg: Montenegro.

Robert Wiblin: Yeah.

Daniel Ellsberg: Turkey and Greece for example. Is that unthinkable?

Robert Wiblin: Western Europe at least.

Daniel Ellsberg: Yeah. So, we did manage to get beyond that, and without having even as much world government as they should have, as we see from the Greek case, and from the European currency case. They should have more of a federal government than they do, and the European Parliament should have greater powers than it does. But even so, they have enough to make that very unlikely, since 1991. There has been no reason that Russia should not be in that same relation with the reciprocal policy. I would say it was extremely unwise on the part of the GHW Bush, Clinton, George W Bush, to move instead toward neglecting Europe, Russia, humiliating it and not allowing it into things.

Secretary Defense William Perry, deputy under Carter, Secretary of Defense under Clinton, was strongly in favor of an alliance relation with Russia. Partners for Peace program, it was called. Strongly against the expansion of NATO, which, by the way, I think the best, first approximation reason for that expansion was selling arms to East Europe, to, quote, Ņbring them up to NATO standards,Ó at great profit to our arms-makers.

Why is Europe right now being É and this is not his finest hour now, weÕre outside the realm of TrumpÕs sanity É is calling on them to increase their NATO expenditure to 3% or even 4% of their GNP. Why? Without doing that, they are, without the US, four times the budget of Russia already. Why should they increase that? For one reason. He just gave it last week, ŅWe have very good arms for sale by ÉÓ And he named the firms. Boeing, Lockheed and Raytheon, or Northrop Grumman, I think he said.

And what could be more blatant than that? They should buy our arms, for our balance of payments, and our jobs, and our profits. ThatÕs why they should expand. They have no other reason. Germany isnÕt going to do it, as far as we know. ThereÕs no reason in the world for them to do it. HeÕs calling on them, absolutely idiotic proposal, simply for our national benefit, profit.

Robert Wiblin: It sounds like a lot of your model of this is based around this idea that thereÕs corporate lobbying in favor of these policies, to make money. How confident are you that that is the explanation? Because I imagine that some listeners might be skeptical-

Daniel Ellsberg: No, itÕs relatively new for me, frankly.

Robert Wiblin: Okay, yeah.

Daniel Ellsberg: And thereÕs been not nearly as much research on that as there should have been. I would like to know more about it. I just sent to Amazon for a book, itÕs on the way, called Buying for Armageddon, that IÕve been told is good on this subject. I mentioned the one by [Kovski 02:11:24]. There is a very good article, Playboy.com, by a guy named, I think [Conroy 02:11:29], but the title is memorable, Lockheed Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. And itÕs a play on the British action movie, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, but itÕs an extremely detailed, well-researched article on the role of Lockheed in putting its own officers into the government to promote these sales.

By the way, the current Deputy, John Bolton, as of the last month, is a former Boeing vice-president for strategic systems. So the ICBMs are said to be in no great danger of reduction by Defense One, an online defense journal that I see.

Robert Wiblin: If you spoke to the Generals, they would not say that theyÕre doing it to-

Daniel Ellsberg:No, no, and they go out to highly-paid jobs in defense industry, and to be commentators on MSNBC and Fox and others, when they go out. ItÕs a very deeply ingrained situation, our military industrial complex. So I would say a major need is for investigation of the influence of lobbies on this arms race, as on climate, which weÕre beginning to learn, about Exxon and the climate problem. And there hasnÕt been nearly as much research.

Granted, they are as secretive, if not more so, than the Defense Department, without the benefit of an Espionage Act, or an Official Secrets Act. They canÕt threaten prosecution for revealing their company secrets. They can only threaten a civil suit for violation of non-disclosure agreements. But that is more than enough to keep their secrets very, very well. And so we donÕt know nearly as much about the inner decision-making by any of the firms IÕve mentioned, or DuPont, or the other arms manufacturers, as we do about the Pentagon, and we donÕt know nearly enough about that. So, the field for investigation of that by journalists and academics is very important.

Also, in theory, and to some extent in practice, if you go to work for [Kleinboroughs 02:13:34], you can work against the effects of these lobbyists, rather than base your job on conforming to them. There has been effective legislative reform of tobacco by investigations by various people, and by whistleblowers, by the way, from inside the industry. Merrell Williams and Jeffrey Wigand, I mentioned earlier, did just what I did, brought thousands of pages out for the help of Congress. And that has reduced the deaths from secondhand smoke in this country. It hasnÕt reduced their profits generally, because theyÕve increased their profits selling to Third-World people, and to the rest of the world. So I think their profits, if anything, are up, which is despicable.

Robert Wiblin: I think actually the number of cigarettes sold is at an all-time high.

Daniel Ellsberg: And, by the way, that was true before the Cold War ended, by the socialist countries of Communist China and Russia. I think ChinaÕs had a monopoly of cigarette sales. I donÕt know where they are now.

Robert Wiblin: ItÕs a government monopoly still.

Daniel Ellsberg: Maybe you happen to know, but I donÕt. What has happened to cigarette consumption in this country?

Robert Wiblin: It has gone down, in the US.

Daniel Ellsberg: Now, I understand itÕs particularly gone down for young people.

Robert Wiblin: Yeah, IÕm not sure. We could look that up.

Daniel Ellsberg: IÕd like to know that, and what has happened to profits for sales in this country. But I can believe theyÕve gone down, but they haveÉ increased abroad, which is despicable. As Lindsey Graham put it, the lives are over there. Selling cancer to people in the rest of the world is more acceptable than É once we learned that itÕs over here. So, opposing lobbies, investigating them, revealing, being a whistleblower, going É making the secrecy system less sacred and legitimate and impenetrable, having a public interest defense for whistleblowers, I would É IÕll bet there could be legislative action that would restrict the effect of non-disclosure agreements, when itÕs a question of criminal behavior or concealing results. That, of course, we find something new on that almost every day, something comes up, from asbestos to the airbags. Well, every week, thereÕs some new relation-

Robert Wiblin: Yes, some misconduct.

Daniel Ellsberg: É to people who have been behaving criminally. Oh, yeah, Purdue Pharmaceutical. An article in Time last week pointing out that a deal was made, where the Purdue funds É over who knew, admitted that they knew they were selling to non-prescription people. They know they were enormously contributing to the opioid epidemic, which is now the killer of young people. They knew that, and not one criminal prosecution. And now there are several civil suits against people, but thatÕs not enough to É These civil suits are just cost to business. There should be criminal prosecutions for this mass murder they are complicit in.

Robert Wiblin: In terms of what listeners can do concretely with their career, to try to make a difference here-

Daniel Ellsberg: Well, I donÕt have much of an answer there, except to say they can do otherwise, and often better, outside the government, the executive branch.

20, 30 years ago I would have said that to know what the situation is by what might be done by it, one almost had to be on the inside however problematic that is, and to have clearance and to have access to it. I can now say thatÕs definitely not the only way to do it. I would say on the whole not the best. The chance of being compromised or co-opted in oneÕs intellectual attitudes and values on the inside is very great. ItÕs not that people canÕt see and even recommend what would be very bitter policies from the inside, but the chance of having those implemented is negligible.

ItÕll simply be overridden by the interests that go in the other direction. ThatÕs been the experience. Now you can almost say the same from the outside because that hasnÕt been very effective either. But there are some effects that would not have been achieved from the inside. The Test Ban Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which we still havenÕt ratified, would never have been signed or come about without enormous pressure by scientists and others. By whole international movement in that case. Many, many people, millions, many millions on the outside.

Likewise we would have wasted perhaps a trillion dollars on ballistic missile defense without tremendous outside pressure, a lot of scientific É The whole field of ecology has grown up in the last few decades and led to several conferences on the violations on humanitarian law that would come about through any nuclear war. And more specifically not just on law, but on human survival. That has come almost entirely from the outside.

Here we have one peer reviewed article coming out from Los Alamos recently on nuclear winter, questioning it, fine, but they could do this study with their left hand any time. They couldÕve done it any month, any time this year. This is the first one weÕve ever seen. And certainly not gonna be the last. So I mean the study on the subject. So it just doesnÕt get done from the inside.

Now itÕs true you do learn a lot on the inside that youÕre not gonna get otherwise. IÕve asked myself whether it could make sense for someone to go in to the cleared area, to the community, get a clearance, do this stuff in order to learn and leak. And itÕs hard to say that that would be wrong, but itÕs a kind of deliberate spying in effect which I would find uncomfortable, even when I rationally look at it and say, ŅWell this is for the good of humanity.Ó But it does involve lying from the very beginning as to what your intentions are. And I donÕt É canÕt advise someone to do that. I canÕt say that I wouldÕve ever been willing to do that, even though many lives wouldÕve been at stake.

On the other hand, I do É I would encourage anybody who goes in to the get the clearance to, in their mind, when theyÕve signed nondisclosure agreements, which is what the security so-called oath is, it doesnÕt involve an oath in nearly any case. So help me God I swear that I will not reveal and so forth, itÕs a nondisclosure agreement as in corporations or unions. I understand that I can be fired and even prosecuted for revealing this information. Now I signed that many times, without being aware that no one ever had been prosecuted, before me. I was the first. So in a way it was true. I couldÕve been prosecuted, I was prosecuted. But I was the first.

And the reason for that was that our First Amendment had always been understood to preclude a British type Official Secrets Act, which would criminalize any revelation of classified information, whatever the circumstances. We still donÕt have an Official Secrets Act for that reason. Although itÕs often been proposed in Congress or by the Executive, but Congress has never passed it because of our First Amendment which Britain doesnÕt have. But they have been using the Espionage Act as if it were an Official Secrets Act. And it was intended against spying, that is working for a foreign government, in particular an enemy during wartime to give them information that is properly protected from them. And that was used often before me for against spies. I was the first to be tried under that for a non-espionage action for informing the American public.

And itÕs written in a way that does not take into account your possible good motives or patriotic motives or any kind of motives, for giving this information to the public. After all, if youÕre giving it to a foreign government, especially in terms of warfare, itÕs hard to cut in the ice with a jury by telling them what your motives were, itÕs hard to make that look acceptable, unpatriotic. Now if youÕre giving it to the American public, you should be able to argue why you think you needed to have it and what the effects were and whether there was any harm or that there was any benefit. But currently, you canÕt do that.

So something that should change is for Congress to pass what has been proposed, a Public Interest Defense, which would allow you to argue your motives before a jury. But that doesnÕt exist now. So one would have to say now to make these revelations, whatever you thought was in the public interest would be a jeopardy of being convicted under the Espionage Act, should you ever do that? And I would say, yes, there are circumstances under which I think I was right to do it and others have been right to do it. Snowden I believe was right to do it. Chelsea Manning was right to do it. And even though conviction was certain for them.

And, under the existing law, with what intention should someone ever take that agreement not to reveal secrets? And I would say it should be with the private understanding of what should be explicit so long as keeping the secret does not unjustly condemn others to death. Or does not conceal criminality or unconstitutional behavior. In other words, secrecy should not protect unconstitutional or criminal behavior, enormously reckless, dangerous behavior. But it does. All the time. Now thatÕs the reality of it. But I think a person should be well aware that they should not feel bound by that. That an agreement to keep secrets should apply absolutely only under the circumstances when that does not involve protection of criminal behavior. Watergate for example.

But this applies all the time. I mean things like that are going on all time. Should the people in the tobacco industry have felt bound by their disclosure agreements? Well they were open to suit when they did violate and tell the public that, Congress, that in fact contrary to the sworn statements of the tobacco executives in Congress, those executives new that their product was carcinogenic and addictive and they were selling it to minors. But one person, two people I think have actually, one named Merrell Williams and the other Jeffery Wigand, did in fact violate their non-disclosure agreements and reveal this fact. And may have saved just countless lives as a result.

So itÕs not on the government thatÕs involved here. Same thing, thereÕs the tobacco, same thing applies right now to climate. Clear now that Exxon has been lying for decades about what they knew as to the effects of the carbon dioxide they were releasing. And what have we been saying in this whole talk is that the effects on human survival have been knowable, whether they investigate them or not, for decades now, been deliberately kept from investigation by the government, and É ItÕs so funny what weÕre discussing just today, even a study which purports to contradict the dangers here is based on classified data that canÕt be examined by other scientists, including the scientists theyÕre criticizing, who as Alan Roebuck said to me today, ŅThatÕs not science. ThatÕs not what we call the scientific method.Ó

So in other words, it is possible for people to save countless lives and preserve our Constitution, or help to preserve it, attempt to preserve it. Avoid wars. They have more power to that than most of them ever imagined if theyÕre willing to risk their careers and even their freedom and theyÕre associations and their way of life, by telling the truth. That the power of truth telling is very great. And not only by putting out the information, but by serving as an example to others that this is a patriotic and worthwhile, admirable even, thing to do at whatever risk. Not likely though, because the risk is great, personal risk. And thereÕs also the risk that you will be wrong, that will you have actually endangered people by doing this, yes, thatÕs a reality. But people who are in this position with this information generally are in as good a position to judge that reality as anyone else. Not always. And they could be wrong. And I couldÕve been wrong.

But itÕs very hard to find an example where people took that risk to their personal lives and had the effect of actually worsening dangers. In fact, no example comes to my mind right away and instead of this right away. That isnÕt to say it couldnÕt happen. But despite charges that Ed Snowden or Chelsea Manning had blood on their hands by their revelations, the government in years and years now of opportunity, has not given a single instance in which an individual was harmed by what they did, physically harmed. Having claimed É Whereas of course the secret keeping has resulted in wars that have killed hundreds of thousands of people. So that experience should be kept in mind.

Robert Wiblin: I know that many listeners are interested in pursuing careers in Congress or in the military or the intelligence services, so what would you say to them about your skepticism?

Daniel Ellsberg: What I said there was, if Congress could get back, and you could help it get back the powers it had as co-equal branch of government, which it has given up to a large extent, that would be for the good. The founders had it right, I think, and weÕve pretty much rejected that. But that model is there, that was their way of thinking, they was new in the world, and it was a good idea. We get back to a role for Congress, to an investigative role, which theyÕve largely given up, to work for Congress in that respect, very good.

If you go in the executive branch, to be prepared to give it up, if called for, to be prepared to sacrifice yourself as a civilian, as people routinely do in the military services. That would be a change for the better, and to spread that word, to improve the chances for whistleblowing.


time = 2:23:47

Inform yourself as to what the history of those institutions is, what the traditions of them really are. When Winston Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, was saying that something he proposed was against the traditions of the service, he said, ŅHa. Traditions of the Navy É rum, sodomy and the lash.Ó Yes, quite true, and empire.

So, I would say, spending a career as an anti-imperialist is better spent than working for the empire. But if you do go work for the empire, discover what the history is and become aware of what youÕre involved in, that should not be happening. And then consider telling the truth about it, even at the cost of your own freedom, and your life, in the pursuit of saving many lives and preserving our Constitution.

We havenÕt even talked about movements here, but thatÕs another huge subject. IÕve spent the last 40 years of my life trying to build a movement against nuclear weaponsÕ use. Use, and you risk É like the one against the Vietnam War, and with some success in the 80s, but not since. So, all that can be done. I continue to participate in civil disobedience there, to keep the idea alive, for when again it might be powerful.

Robert Wiblin: Are there any individuals or projects or organizations outside of government, working on nuclear safety, that youÕre particularly enthusiastic about?

Daniel Ellsberg: Well, on safety, I imagine there are, but IÕm not sure what to identify. On the dangers of nuclear weapons, very much so. Peace Action, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Peace Action used to be SANE, nuclear freeze campaign, which still exists. The Natural Resources Defense Foundation used to be very good on this, but theyÕve moved away from it. Most people have given up nuclear research. I give a whole list in the end of my book, youÕd have to look at it. I tried to remember. ItÕs 11 or 12 organizations that are on this.

There is a fairly big movement for this ban movement, the ICAN, that is very good for a lot of people in the world. I donÕt see that becoming powerful in the nuclear weapons states. It hasnÕt shown it, and in part because the idea of a ban is not even normatively compelling against maintaining some survivable minimal deterrent in those countries. But thatÕs not what any of the nuclear states actually have.

So, without saying that itÕs illegal for them to have any nuclear weapons right now, itÕs much easier, I would say, to make a compelling case that they should not have the number and types that they do have right now, and that that should change, even unilaterally, as soon as possible. And thatÕll be hard to achieve, but I think less impossible than convincing people that we should unilaterally disarm ourselves of all nuclear weapons and leave Russia with the monopoly.

Robert Wiblin: Yeah, I agree with that. How important is game theory? How important historically was game theory?

Daniel Ellsberg: Very simply, not at all. IÕm not aware of its having had any influence on anything. If weÕre talking about classical game theory, stemming out of von Neumann and Morgenstern and the work after that, including very intelligent, very brilliant work by a lot of other, mainly mathematicians, which as far as I know, has not had any effect on any defense capability, and never did have. The people I worked with that ran in the economics department, social sciences, even engineering, had no background in game theory of any kind.

I was the only one, in effect, and I was a critic of game theory, in my earlier publications. My honors thesis, actually, I wrote perhaps, as far as I know, the first critical account of zero-sum two-person game theory, so I was mainly a critic, but I knew the literature. And I was very influenced by Tom SchellingÕs kind of work, which was not in that tradition at all. It was bargaining theory, very ingenious, very innovative, he got a Nobel Prize in the end. I wouldnÕt say that his theorizing had any effect. He himself was a consultant and had some influence on É I could say a number of individuals, my boss, John McNaughton, and a few others, Henry Kissinger, even. But, as a personal É It wasnÕt his theorizing that had the effect.

The idea that game theory had an influence is a mistake, on the whole, or that it should have had, I would say. It wasnÕt suited for it. Tom SchellingÕs kind of theorizing was relevant to what you could call two-person or n-person non-zero sum games, that notion. His theories of bargaining and threats were relevant, and in some cases could potentially have been very good on arms control, for example. But there they werenÕt applied. Where they were applied, to some extent, was not very favorable. And, for example, in his later years, at the time he got the Nobel Prize, he was very optimistic about low risks of nuclear war. I think he was mistaken in that.

Robert Wiblin: I guess one last question is, it can be easy, I think, to be a bit demoralized, because this problem doesnÕt seem easy to solve. The institutions that create this risk are somewhat resistant to reform. Look, what is it that gives you hope that itÕs worth working on, I guess? What can help motivate people to-[crosstalk 02:28:42]

Daniel Ellsberg: A friend of mine said just the other day, ŅHope is not a feeling, itÕs a way of acting.Ó

Robert Wiblin: Yeah.

Daniel Ellsberg: I know that what looks impossible is something that should never be confident of, because good things that looked impossible, like the ending of the Berlin Wall, or the ending of the first Cold War, looked impossible, not just unlikely, in that period of time. And they did happen, thanks to Gorbachev and anti-nuclear movements, various things. And the idea that Mandela would come to power in north Africa without a violent revolution didnÕt look unlikely, it looked impossible. And it did happen.

So, to say that we canÕt get out of this, there is no good basis for that. We donÕt know the future that well. I can say, as in those cases, I canÕt see the way in which it will happen, but thatÕs what anyone would have said about the downing of the Berlin Wall. How was that going to come about? ItÕs not going to come about. But it did.

And, so to say that the stakes are very high for continuing to try to explore and to try to challenge the obstacles that we can see in the way of that happening, like the role of É and this is new for me, the role not just of the Air Force, but of the corporations and the budget process. How do you affect that? I donÕt know, but I wouldnÕt say it was impossible. It was done, as you say, in the case of the tobacco companies, domestically, and everything is at stake.

So, weÕre talking now about properly-called existential crises now, and dangers that simply did not exist before. You could say, by the way, IÕm just É Off the top of my head, a kind of epidemic that would destroy, was probably possible in some sense, but bringing it about, the genetic engineering that weÕre working on right now, that was not possible then.

Robert Wiblin: Should we have been equally concerned about bioweapons during the cold war, as we were about nuclear weapons? Is there a good chance they could have also led to human extinction? And worried are you today about bioweapons compared to nuclear weapons?

Daniel Ellsberg: We now know, only recently, big book on this by Milton Leitenberg and others, on the Soviet biological warfare program and chemical warfare program. Brezhnev was sure that when Nixon signed the convention against biological warfare, that he would continue a covert program on a large scale, and so they had to have one too. Now, whatÕs the use of doing that if you donÕt use it deterrently, if you donÕt make it public? How can it be a deterrent? It canÕt, but then how could they say, ŅWeÕre assuming youÕre breaking this, so weÕre breaking it too?Ó

You couldnÕt prove that Nixon was doing it, and, amazingly enough, Nixon wasnÕt doing it, as far as we can tell. They did preserve some smallpox at CIA, and some anthrax, and this and that, but only a refrigerator-full, sort of. The Russians maintained that. Are you aware, of hundreds of thousands of gallons and pounds of anthrax and botulinus and improved forms, against vaccines.

Robert Wiblin: I didnÕt know that.

Daniel Ellsberg: Now, thatÕs as close to insanity and evil as you can get to. As one disarmer said when he looked at the huge vat that remained for anthrax, he said, ŅIÕm looking at pure evil.Ó Well, fair, enough, it would seem so. Who continued that? It was done under Brezhnev, kept very secret, as far as we know, was not revealed, it is strangelovian, and kept secret, not for a deterrent, continued under Gorbachev.

How could Gorbachev possibly continue this insane, evil program? He told Larry Brilliant, who had been instrumental in eliminating smallpox from the world, when Brilliant asked him É and I have a memoir by Brilliant on this. He talked to Gorbachev, and he said, ŅHow could you have done this? We were eliminating smallpox. You were providing huge amounts of smallpox here.Ó

Gorbachev got very disturbed, anxious, uneasy, anguished, and said he knew, he was most ashamed of that of anything heÕd ever been involved in. He said, ŅThe military came to me, and said, ŌIf you donÕt continue this, you cannot stay in office. We will overthrow you.'Ó And he looked at all the things he was doing, reducing nuclear weapons, Glasnost, opening up the society and all that, and rather than give all that up, he continued this insane program, which is very human, very normal.

ThatÕs not to excuse him. It was horrible, it was culpable, and yet, that was the choice he made, like Castro and the others. ItÕs what most Americans would have done, and kept it secret, okay? So, when you look at that kind of behavior by Gorbachev, I think the person most influential for good that I can think of, in the last century, my hero, so far. But nobodyÕs perfect, and not just imperfect, this was horribly imperfect, okay? But in a very natural way for humans to do in power.

When you look at that human characteristic, itÕs hard to be confident humans will survive. To me, itÕs crazy to be confident, I have to say. To think that itÕs highly likely we will survive nuclear weapons, a climate change, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, biological warfare, to be confident like that is to be either totally ignorant, which is true of most people in that respect, to be unaware and ignorant. To be ignorant of the nature of humanity, which most people are, or to be crazy.

Or to be hired by É to be corrupt, and hired by people who make this stuff, and so decide. ItÕs like working for a tobacco company. Probably a lot of them manage to believe that itÕs not carcinogenic. ItÕs hard to believe, isnÕt it? But itÕs not hard for me to believe that there are tobacco executives who think this is all a witch-hunt. TheyÕve convinced themselves. You can believe anything that your job depends on.


time = 2:35:31

But, how about thinking itÕs likely weÕll survive? I canÕt believe that. I think itÕs unlikely, very unlikely, but not impossible, and I donÕt believe itÕs impossible. I donÕt have confidence, impossible. I donÕt think that my age and experience doesnÕt permit me to be confident, that thereÕs no way out here. Because humans are adaptable, and things do change, and the ones I mentioned are possible. We are on the Titanic, going at full speed on a moonless night into iceberg waters. Have we hit the iceberg yet, and made it inevitable that this will go down? We donÕt know. It may turn out that, a while ago, we went past the no-return point. But we donÕt know that, thereÕs no way to prove it.

As I say in the book, ŅI propose, I do act as if we had a chance to find our way out of this. And I donÕt know what it is yet, but that doesnÕt tell me there is no way.Ó So, I urge others, I encourage them. And if they give up, or devote themselves entirely to pleasure, letÕs say, and a life like being on the Titanic and drinking the champagne, after theyÕve hit the iceberg, I canÕt say thatÕs crazy, or even culpable, but I donÕt join that. And, if they stop trying to save the world and just try to ease the pain of some other people, or help people in some way, I think thatÕs very reasonable, very good, and I just think that it is definitely not wasted, for some of us to keep trying to explore to see if thereÕs a way out of this.

Robert Wiblin: My guest today has been Daniel Ellsberg. Thanks for coming on the podcast, Daniel.

Daniel Ellsberg: Thank you for the opportunity.


time = 2:37:08

Rob Wiblin: I hope you enjoyed that episode! If you know a community that could benefit from finding out about this episode, please share it with them. That could include subreddits, facebook groups or email lists.

As I said at the top of the show IÕll now read a blog post we released recently, which seems relevant to nuclear security careers, for at least some listeners. If it doesnÕt sound relevant to you feel, donÕt feel any need to listen.

IÕm undecided whether this should be a regular feature of the program, or how much we should make audio versions of articles on the 80,000 Hours website in general. If youÕd like to share your thoughts on this, email us at podcast at 80000hours dot org.

The 80,000 Hours Podcast is produced by Keiran Harris. Thanks for joining, talk to you in a week or two




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