I recently finished the Doomsday Machine by Daniel Ellsberg, which makes an extremely persuasive case against nuclear weapons (IMO). I've heard that some academics argue that nuclear weapons have been a good deterrent to great power conflict or that the US should spend billions to modernize its arsenal for command and control reasons. 

What are the strongest arguments/pieces of evidence for views like this? 

I basically think that the risk from accidental launch -> global thermonuclear war is high enough to offset a lot of great power deterrence, in expectation. 

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It seems possible, although not a sure thing that expectation("world with no nukes")(1)>expectation("world with nukes")(2). 

However the far more realistic situation is "world where some countries, eg US, get rid of nukes"(3). I think these(2,3) are very different situations. do you agree/ would you like to clarify which you are describing? 

It seems not that hard to argue the US dropping/decaying its nuclear Arsenal without other countries doing the same would be bad. 

 

Also: Nuke sequence on the forum

Unilateral disarmament by the US seems bad, but if the US and USSR eliminated all nukes, as they almost did in 1986, that seems good to me. No other countries had anywhere close the number, and we could have been much more convincing in getting other countries to follow suit. 

Will DM you some notes.