Originally Posted by Todjaeger
Some of the information suggested above seems suspect. Per the Arms Control Association site
, China has ~240 nuclear warheads, while Russia has ~1,500 deployed and ~1,000 non-deployed strategic nuclear warheads and ~2,000 tactical nuclear warheads. Meanwhile the US ~5,000 nuclear warheads, which are a mixed of strategic and tactical, and deployed and non-deployed.
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.
Personally i believe that both US and Russia have way to much warheads anyway.
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.