World with Nuclear Weapons is a Better World, Hyten Says

Gen. John Hyten, chief of US Strategic Command, told reporters Friday that “nuclear weapons are here and they’re going to be here for our lifetimes.” He spoke at the Military Reporters and Editors Association conference in Arlington, Va., in response to the proposed United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons. Hyten said that he can “imagine a world without nuclear weapons,” and that it was the world before 1945. “It’s a world I didn’t like,” Hyten said, because before the deployment of nuclear weapons in World War II, 60 to 80 million people were killed in that conflict, or an average of 33,000 deaths per day. “As horrible as the world is today—and it is nasty—it is not anywhere near that.” He said the difference in global warfare since 1945 is not because “we’re any better at resolving conflict,” but rather because the strategic deterrent of nuclear weapons has “prevented that major power conflict from ever going horrible.” Even if a treaty successfully banned nuclear weapons, Hyten said it would produce “a more dangerous world,” where major powers would retain their fissile material and rush to rebuild nuclear weapons in a crisis.