Tensions flared when the State Supreme Court first ruled in February that unless poorer districts begin receiving more money by the end of June, the state’s public schools could be shut down. Mr. Brownback signed a bill in April intending to fix the education funding formula. But the court on Friday said the measure had not solved the problem and reiterated the deadline.
What happens next is not clear. Schools in Kansas are generally finished for this academic year and Wednesday was set to be the Legislature’s last day, though it could return for a special session. Conservative lawmakers have denounced activist judges and Mr. Brownback has accused the court of “political brinksmanship.” But the governor had hinted that he might cut funding to Medicaid and higher education if the Supreme Court ordered the state to allocate more money for schools.
The U.S. and Russia currently have about 7,000 nukes each, largely for historical reasons. That’s over 13 times as many as held by the other seven nuclear powers combined. When the Soviet Union was perceived to be a threat to Europe with its numerically superior conventional forces, the U.S. stood ready to use nuclear weapons in response. We were prepared not only to deter the use of nuclear weapons by others, but also possibly to initiate nuclear warfare, and to use nuclear weapons in battle.
Now the tables have turned and NATO is the dominant nonnuclear force in Europe. But other arguments for maintaining the ability to initiate nuclear war remain, positing the utility of “compellance” (also known as “nuclear blackmail”) or using the threat of nuclear attack to extract concessions. This strategy has been used on several occasions. For example, when President Eisenhower threatened the use of nuclear weapons to compel negotiations ending the Korean War.
In today’s world, with nuclear technology more widely accessible, compellance is no longer straightforward. If a nonnuclear nation feels it is subject to nuclear bullying, it can counter by developing its own nuclear deterrent, or enlisting nuclear allies. For example, U.S. nuclear threats inspired North Korea to mount its own nuclear program, which is, to say the least, not the result we were hoping for.
No politician is going to have a thoughtful answer...