For nearly fifty years, the concept of mutual assured destruction, whether official doctrine or not, has probably prevented the use of nuclear weapons in anger. Even during very close calls, knowledge that the result of a release would mean everyone’s death kept fingers off the triggers.

Some claim the MAD doesn’t work against “rogue states” or terrorist groups. After all, if New York evaporates in a mushroom cloud caused by a smuggled nuke, against whom are you retaliating? However, since MAD is more of a political weapon, I believe it can indeed be useful against both terrorists and “rogue states”. Since the point of Asteroid is to suggest solutions, however half-baked they may be, here is how this half-baked strategy would go down:

NETWORK ANNOUNCER: We interrupt this program for a special announcement.

Cut to image of presidential seal

WHITE-HOUSE ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States..

Fade to shot of President sitting behind desk in the Oval Office. His countenance should be a subtle mix of “in control”, “forceful”, “grim” and “saddened”; however, if this speech was really made, it would probably be made by Bush, so we’d likely have to settle for his usual mix of “smirking” and “simian”

PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans…long ago, the Persian Empire spanned from India into Europe and Africa, host to one of the most advanced cultures of its time, bringing the world unmatched advances in medicine, chemistry and mathematics. Unfortunately, those times are long past and Persia has devolved into the fundamentalist theocracy of Iran, a false democracy, where opposition parties are banned from running for election.

Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced “the start of the progress of this country” not with medicine or mathematics, but by enriching uranium, the first step towards production of nuclear weapons. Iran, claims that this technology will only be used for energy production. It is possible that they are telling the truth. It is more likely that they are not.

In the past, Iranian leaders have called for the death of America and its allies. They have taken our citizens hostage and taken the sovereign territory of our embassy by force. They continue to fund terrorism. There is much Iranian leaders could have done in the past decade to rejoin the international community, but nearly every action they have taken has instead been calculated to drive them further and further from the company of rational men and women. There are no doubt many Iranian citizens who oppose this stance, but so far they seem unable or unwilling to wrest control of their freedom from those who illegitimately claim to speak for them.

Therefore, while the United States and the international community determines how best to handle Iran’s nuclear program, I am today announcing a policy change in the way our great nation will respond should the unthinkable happen and a nuclear device is discharged on our own soil or abroad.

From this day forth, should an attack with nuclear or radiological weapons, or missiles capable of delivering them, be launched from Iran against any nation, particularly the United States or its allies, the response of the United States will be to immediately and without warning launch an attack that will blanket every square meter of the nation of Iran in nuclear fire.

Furthermore, the detonation of any nuclear or radiological device, anywhere on the globe, whose source cannot be determined will be assumed without proof to be an attack by a hidden alliance of North Korea, Iran and the greater Muslim world against the economy, security and people of the United States. This will invite a nuclear counterattack by the United States in which, along with the totality of Iran, the cities of P’y?ngyang, Jerusalem, Damascus, Cairo, Riyadh, Amman, Beirut, Baghdad, Kabul and Islamabad will be incinerated with nuclear weapons.

It is possible that countries like Russia or China will respond to this policy by creating a policy of their own threatening nuclear retaliation against the United States should it be invoked. This will, if it happens, require the United States to strike against those countries in kind.

Therefore, the result should Korea, Iran and the greater Muslim world fail to control those who would use nuclear weapons will be the destruction of all life on Earth, including themselves. A loose nuclear weapon will not be a righteous weapon of holy vengeance, but a death sentence for every living thing.

There are those who suggest that Iran is just waiting out this administration to be replaced by a new Presidency more like those they dealt with in the past. Mistakes of those administrations have led many in the Middle East to believe that our great nation is toothless, and easily backs down. They’ll assume that this policy will not be carried out by my successors. Such assumptions would be a mistake. Whatever their other perceived weaknesses, no administration since the development of nuclear weapons has ever hesitated to take an aggressive stance regarding nuclear weapons. Even the most peaceful of men will fight if the stakes are high enough, and the threat of nuclear weapons in the hands of a nation who both funds terrorism and has repeatedly called for our nation’s destruction is high indeed.

Our great nation is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons in anger. We have not had to use them since, blessed with rational adversaries. Iran has not done much to show itself as rational. It is my hope that they soon will, abandoning this pursuit of a technology that, in the end, won’t help them at all. But, while I hope, our nation’s nuclear arsenal will remain ready.

God bless you. And America prevails! And God bless the United States of America.

There is a chance of this strategy backfiring and uniting more of the Islamic world against us; however, at this point I’m not sure our reputation with the rest of the world could get much worse, after six years of steady bridge-burning. What do you think? Would this strategy work?