Obama to reduce nuclear deterrence by a third.
A press release from the White House states the President plans to further reduce strategic weapons through a bilateral agreement with the Russian Federation but it is not a new START treaty. First off Russia and America are not the only nuclear powers on earth so is there a point where further reductions require cooperation and transparency with other nuclear powers? China has been modernizing its delivery systems while the numbers of strategic weapons China has has come into doubt.
Also I believe the size of our arsenal was to ensure that should there be a first strike the redundant warheads ENSURE retaliation. I ask you, the experts, is this doable? I'd also remind you the administration is currently reviewing its contingency plans regarding China in such a war and how and where to hit them given there massive tunnel networks.
Both sides have massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons, well in excess of what would be required to destroy the population and industry of the other - and both need to make cost savings. It's in both sides interest to reduce their nuclear arsenal. China's nuclear stockpiles are in comparison, much lower and I'm sure that the US will end up retaining enough firepower to effectively destroy either or both countries at will.
Unless there's something pretty stunning planned in these talks, this looks like a prudent measure to slim down a fairly large stockpile to mutual advantage.
I see. It appeared to me that we could face a situation to respond against cities or military targets but not both. I was also thinking of nations where the U.S. guarantee's their security and in exchange they don't develop an indigenous nuclear arsenal. Regarding China however I recently read a report (don't have link, sorry) that suggested U.S. intelligence is far off the mark in regards to the PRC's stockpiles perhaps by over a thousand warheads. With that said should further reductions be made with China, Russia, and the U.S. as it could also allay concerns on China's lack of transparency regarding it's capabilities and intentions?
For the estimate of China's nuclear arsenal to be off by 1,000+ warheads, the arsenal would need to be ~5x larger than current estimates.
At present, the US and Russian arsenals are sufficiently large to devastate vast swaths of the world population. Given progress made in both targeting, and detection, there is less of a need for massive arsenals to ensure MAD. An ICBM launch in many cases would take some where between 10 - 40 minutes before reaching the programmed target. In most cases, an ICBM counterstrike could be launched for the inbound first strike reached their targets. Add in the difficulty in destroying deployed SLBM forces before they could launch, it becomes even harder to prevent a nuclear counterstrike. And MAD is really was is required/desired.
With the tech available today 1 current ICBM is just as much bang as 100 older types, and much much more effective and accurate.
In the past years missile tech and delivery systems as well as guidance and targeting systems have become so mature and sophisticated that there would be no need anymore for a barrage of inaccurate warheads.
I am not sure but i did read somewhere that the older ICBM missiles where far from accurate hence the idea that a huge stockpile was preferred to ensure that if one missile could not hit the target then 10 would.
So the nuke capable nations could easy dismantle a portion of their stockpile (Specially the NOT updated/upgraded ones) and still retain their potential.
Personally what i believe that i would be just as worried about nations having 10k warheads as they would have only a 100.
For the plain and simple reason that the ICBM in general has become so much more powerful that in theory one could say: In the old days there where lets say 1000 nukes needed to level Russia but in todays terms only a 100 would do the same job.
So question is: Are these stockpiles actually getting smaller, or are they just trowing away the ones they did not need anyway?
So one could say that the stockpiles do get smaller but twice as potent, thus bigger.
Ask yourself the question, what is better 1000 small ones or 100 big ones who do a 100 times more damage then the previous 1000 old ones.
Or do you really believe that the US or Russia or any other nation for that matter is going to dismantle their premium missiles first? lol
And in regard of China i did see a television docu about the rumor that China would build under ground tunnels where they would (Rumor) mass produce high yield warheads and delivery systems. Obviously i do not know if this is true, but it does lead me to believe that neither the US or Russia or any other nuclear power has reported all their little eggs.
Non the less nuclear deterrent provides a mutual security to both friend and foe.
For the plain simple reason that if nation X would launch a first strike then it can be assured that they will meet the same faith as the targeted nation.
Not to mention the effect that WMD's have on the worlds political stage.
Keep in mind that the US did enjoy a significant bonus and sway on the worlds political stage due those ICBM's.
Some could say if you do not have a nuke then you are not playing on the same level as the "big" boys. And as history shows thanks to those nukes the US and Russia as well as China and other nuclear powers did enjoy some serious benefits, as if those nukes would not be present then those events would have gone seriously wrong or at least did not have such positive outcome for the host nations.
Because lets be honest here, having nukes is one very solid foundation to base your world politics upon.
During the Second world war the US where the first to successfully develop a few and they where the first to use them. Now reason or no reason fact is that the enormous power and shock did make friend and foe realize that unless the US where to stop producing/researching them there was no other alternative then to acquire them as a deterrent against the US. As non of the involved parties did realize that it might be better to put a stop to this on a global level.
So one could say that the US started the arms race...based upon the fear of the so called red danger from the former USSR.
My point is today everyone is trying to reduce stocks and avoid non WMD states to acquire them, but if the world leaders would have been a bit smarter then they would have put a stop to this 50 years ago.
As today a world without nukes is virtually impossible, and stopping other nations from getting them is also virtually impossible.
And even if this is possible then there will be always a few nations who can dig a few "forgotten" ones up out of the old bunkers, and use them if there is a need for it.
US will not be without a nuclear umbrella, and neither will Russia, China, France, UK, Israel, Pakistan, India, North Korea and eventually other nations will acquire them as well or at least develop the tech to be able to produce them at any given time.
Reason? The whole power balance and the way international politics is being done is formed and build around the idea that nukes are a invisible diplomat. You can life with them and you certainly cannot live without them.
The thread title is badly phrased. Reducing nuclear weapons by a third =/ reducing nuclear deterrence by a third. It might reduce it more, or (more likely) reduce it by a lot less, or even nothing at all.
The level of deterrence can not be measured by counting warheads. It's a lot more complicated than that.
Obama's decision to cut our strategic nuclear forces by a third is a mistake.Russia is developing new icbms and we're doing nothing shows what kind of fools that are in DC.
Given that US the strategic nuclear arsenal is sufficient to destroy vast population centres several times over, just how large do you feel is required for a MAD deterrence?
The arsenal that both sides worked up to during the cold war was massively overspecified to actually work for ultimate deterrence. What the US arsenal was designed around was nuclear war fighting - and in the way that all spending is allocated whoever gets more missiles or warheads, gets more money.
The USAF in particular, via SAC, were loaded to not only take out every soviet facility, they invariably had multiple weapons allocated per target. As one observer commented, it was no longer enough to turn the target into gravel, it was now deemed to be necessary to "bounce the gravel".
I'm pretty sure the UK deterrent force could destroy the USSR or China if the warheads were distributed more widely. The US has another couple of thousand warheads on tap.
What I'm trying to say is that there is scope for some solid cuts and yet still leave a solid deterrent force...
If our goal is to avoid increasing tensions with China and the Russia, then surely gestures of good faith like this are more productive than any number of nuclear deterrents? The Cold War is over. The US reduces its nuclear stockpile, China does the same, isn't that a win-win? You would prefer us to use the Cold War model and enforce global peace at a knife point rather than on a basis of mutual trust?
It's in nobody's interest to actually use these weapons and their maintenance is costing money. Money that can be used in other areas of military spending such as the F35 or any other number of military development projects that seem to fall short of expectations (Crusader, etc.)
While both the PRC and Russia are still potential adversaries, it is quite short-sighted to view them as the inevitable enemy. One may end up forgetting that other enemies exist. It may even end up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, resulting in a conflict no one actually wanted. World War One, anybody? Though, I admit, they did really want to have a war in 1914.
Polarizing nations into factions results in deadlock and mistrust. As you refer to the "fools in DC," I would have thought that the current state of politics in Washington DC would have been an excellent example why one cannot drive two factions into their corners. Instead, you seem to be condemning the model on a domestic level yet proposing it on a national level.
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