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  • Nuclear deterrence; first or last resort?

    This has been on my mind for some time!
    Out of curiosity, from all the countries we know and/or assume to have hold of nuclear weapons of any calibre, either it be a bomb or ICBMs

    Which of these nations could you imagine, would actually use them?

    Does the threat and knowledge of a nuclear weapon add as a counter weight when lacking tactical precision guided munitions, a political tool for avoiding escalations or purely for last resort measures?

    I guess the other argument could be what type of nuclear weapons would be used in this day and age, from a cruise missile, fighter plane/bomber or a land based platform?
    Do ICBMs hold as much as a threat as a sub cruise missile anymore?

    Look forward to your ideas, thanks.
    "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
    Ernest Hemingway.

    Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?

  • #2
    The use of nuclear weapons in the cold war was always such an unthinkable act as it would herald the end of the world. Im not sure that has changed, a nuclear detonation would I suspect cause such an escalation. If Israel nuked Tehran or vice versa I think the consequences would soon get out of control.A domino effect if you will. I think there pre-emptive use is unjustified because of the enormous calateral damage it would cause. There use as a deterrent is probably still relevent though. Now a terrorist group getting one, now thats a different issue. I'm not afraid of someone having a thousand nukes but Im afraid of someone who only wants one.

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    • #3
      So it seems that if one nation was to use a nuclear device against another country, this opens the door for other countries to retaliate in a similar fashion!

      That's my curiosity, who could boldly go down that road and risk starting the domino effect... it scares the crap out of everyone, the prospect of facing such a scenario yet the proliferation of nuclear weapons continues into the developing countries now!

      So the mandate for the use of such weapons would fall into retaliatory measures maybe, that would mean has the deterence failed?
      "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
      Ernest Hemingway.

      Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?

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      • #4
        Nuclear proliferation is a pandoras box that is well and truly open. Its like any technology. For a while its cutting edge technology that only a few have then as time goes by more and more people have one till everyone in the street has got a plasma tv , I mean a nuclear weapon. I think it inevitable that more and more nations will acquire the technology. The big if is can such technology be kept on the storage locker or is it inevitable someone will get one out to have a play? If you pardon the metaphor.

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        • #5
          as for countries that would use nukes; India and/or Pakistan. That's where the real nuclear stand off is, not Iran or North Korea. Though Iran might nuke Israel for the hell of it, and NK might use nukes as the ultimate act of scorched-earth-style spite by KJI right before he bites it.

          But India and Pakistan...both sides have had victories enough to assure them that limited deployment of tactical weapons would be enough to secure any gains they made in a rapid main war situation.
          Now listening too;
          - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

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          • #6
            The idea is that if one country attacks the US or Russia or whoever that attacked country then goes all out and flattenes the entire attacking country in retaliation. It isn't practical but that's the idea. Anybody who uses a nuke can kiss their country and their ass goodbye. It's the only effective deterent because nothing is worth losing your whole country for.
            "Artillery lends dignity to what might otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederick the Great

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            • #7
              well if you think about it it's sort of like how coopenhagen said If a terrorist gets 1 nuke that'd be a problem. Because the fact is terrorists will go to majour extremes as seen by suicide bombers and of course the 9/11. so if a terroist group did get a nuclear weapon the chances are they'd send it at the thing that would cause the most chaos and my opinin on that are top three places are 1. NYC 2. Washington D.C. 3. London. These will most likely cause the most satisfaction for these people. So for these men it wouldn't really matter to them it seems if they get their country pummelled.
              God didn’t create evil. Evil is the result of when man does not have God's love in his heart.It's the cold when there is no heat.The darkness that comes when there is no light

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              • #8
                Well the MAD policy says that if that were to happen we would be required to flatten the entire Muslim world. So all a terrorists would be doing is destroying their religion. Like I said its not practical but it prevents the use of nukes from being worth it to anyone.
                "Artillery lends dignity to what might otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederick the Great

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                • #9
                  MAD policy doesnt apply there. a) because the average islamic jihadist doesnt give a toss. b) and even if a nuke did go off on western soil, a nuclear strike on the entire muslim world would not happen. .........and they know it.

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                  • #10
                    Agree w/ Copenhagen and Jay. The terrorists we're worried about will bomb their own "holy sites" without blinking. They're millenialists who just want to start a bloodbath without accomplishing any political goals. They're also the only groups that acquire nukes to use rather than defend territory - they have no territory to defend, and once a terrorist gets a n-weapon, he has to use it quickly before he gets nabbed by some Delta Force-type outfit.

                    Outside terrorist use, I see deterrence working for some time. As insufferable as Iran would be after getting the bomb, its leaders know that the gloves would come off if they used a nuke, and they don't have any real interest in attacking Israel, notwithstanding their nutjob rhetoric - Iran and Israel share no borders, and the saber rattling is just for home consumption.

                    India-Pakistan: I'd worry about Pakistan, not India, because India is making too much money nowadays to want to start a war. Pakistan is too, but we have to worry about how the government will transition to democratic rule.

                    Israel-Arab states: Israel hasn't used them yet and won't use them unless it's overrun - and it's too heavily defended to overrun.

                    N. Korea: It wants nukes as a guarantee that the US will never invade. Offensive use on S. Korea would probably not invite nuclear retaliation, but every MOAB in the US arsenal would fall on Pyongyang if they nuked the South or a US base there.

                    Everyone else has had nukes for a long time and has been pretty responsible. And their economies are too strong to warrant doing something irresponsible.

                    This is all for the next 5-10 years. After that, who knows.
                    "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
                    -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

                    (Avatar: Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, Republic of Texas Navy)

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                    • #11
                      "The problem is not those countries with many many nukes but will not use it for it meant mutual annihilation. The problem is with those that has only one and is not afraid to use it." I read that somewhere but for the world I can't remember where now. Good quote though.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                        The use of nuclear weapons in the cold war was always such an unthinkable act as it would herald the end of the world. Im not sure that has changed, a nuclear detonation would I suspect cause such an escalation. If Israel nuked Tehran or vice versa I think the consequences would soon get out of control.A domino effect if you will. I think there pre-emptive use is unjustified because of the enormous calateral damage it would cause. There use as a deterrent is probably still relevent though. Now a terrorist group getting one, now thats a different issue. I'm not afraid of someone having a thousand nukes but Im afraid of someone who only wants one.
                        I Co-sign with Copenhagen, it's the "one" we should be concerned with. The Terrorist Nutbar Set blows them selves up in public places using dynamite to airliners full of people, so driving a multi-megaton ton warhead into a large western urban center, disguised as an Ice Cream Truck, while selling ice cream along the way wouldn't surprise me. And unfortunately, like the Towers we won't know it until it happens.
                        Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

                        History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
                        Lazarus Long

                        Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
                        David Bowie

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jon Jordan View Post
                          Agree w/ Copenhagen and Jay. The terrorists we're worried about will bomb their own "holy sites" without blinking. They're millenialists who just want to start a bloodbath without accomplishing any political goals. They're also the only groups that acquire nukes to use rather than defend territory - they have no territory to defend, and once a terrorist gets a n-weapon, he has to use it quickly before he gets nabbed by some Delta Force-type outfit.


                          India-Pakistan: I'd worry about Pakistan, not India, because India is making too much money nowadays to want to start a war. Pakistan is too, but we have to worry about how the government will transition to democratic rule.



                          This is all for the next 5-10 years. After that, who knows.
                          At the moment the Pakistani Army is a business corporation and its generals and higher ranking officers are more interested in making money - it is not in their interests to start a fully fledged war with India. They will and have supported terrorists and insurgents, thanks to General Zia's Islamist tendancies, across the region but I doubt they would fire off a nuclear weapon, though with the nutcases around I guess you can never be sure - and there is still a very strong Islamist movement within the army. The real danger with Pakistan is when and if it breaks up, which there is a real chance of in the coming decades. Shades of 1971 as a very pessimistic option.

                          Besides they have their hands full with an ongoing civil war which is going very badly for them, now if those guys win or seize power its a whole different game.
                          Last edited by Sergio; 21 Sep 07, 12:51.
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                          G.B Shaw

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                          • #14
                            As far as nation-states go, I think the biggest chance of nuclear strategic weapons being used are between India and Pakistan and between Iran and Israel. I sincerely doubt that Israel will use weapons first (because of having its hands tied by the West) and could easily be a 'sitting duck' for Iran's lunatics if they ever successfully create a bomb.

                            The tension between India and Pakistan is no secret and could easily escalate, perhaps even up to a nuclear exchange. Given Pakistan's dangerously volatile political environment, anything is potentially possible.

                            The proliferation of weapons by Iran and North Korea could definitely mean a nation like Syria could get these weapons, with foreseeable consequences. America had better start calculating on a nuclear Middle East in the near future.

                            The more troublesome aspect is of a ICBM on U.S. soil.

                            The problem with the West is that they view their nuclear weapons as a guilty necessity that they would never use, whereas these rogue states view their weapons as important subjects of national pride and identity.
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                            • #15
                              I think the next tactical use of a nuke will be by a fanatic fundamentalist extremist.
                              This might manifest itself as a dirty bomb or the real thing.

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