View Full Version : Future of nuclear weapons

29 Feb 16,, 19:06
Looking for some insight from WAB members on a speculation, as I know there are quite a few with reasonable knowledge on the subject.

Centered around the idea of a future (lets say 50-200 years from now), and I understand making predictions that far out is very difficult, whereby the availability of nuclear weapons to a large group of nations becomes inevitable in a world divided into hundreds of nations with increasing wealth and increasing dissemination of knowledge, and advances in technology ? Or simply future nations can make the steps towards nuclear weapons much easier than 20th century world powers?

That social, economic, informational and technological developments moving forward will make containment impossible.

Ignoring the idea of constant military intervention, does this seem like an inevitable outcome on a century timescale?

Officer of Engineers
29 Feb 16,, 21:08
First off, it should be happening now but it isn't. There should be at least 100 nuclear weapons powers. There's only 2 real nuclear weapons powers (US and Russia), 3 others who can fight a real nuclear war (UK, France, China), two beginners (India and Pakistan), one suspected (Israel), and one pretender (North Korea). At the same time, one has given up her nukes (South Africa) and one has suspended her program (Iran).

That being said, off the top of my head, I can can count 30+ countries who can have a working nuke in less than 30 days and of a much more sophisticated design than anything India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, and North Korea could produce (helps when you had the shared data before signing the NPT). They don't want nukes.

That being said, I will bring up another example. The CWC and BWC. We should be having much more sophisticated weapons that is far more effective than what we've seen. Yet, we see their deployment as far weaker than conventional munitions. More people have died in Syria from the AK47 than from any chemical deployment and what was deployed did not rendered victory. Off the top of my head, I can think of 3-4 refinements that could make chems more viable. I have yet to see any such refinement in Iraqi and Syrian chemical deployments and the knowledge existed since 1917.

The point here is that, yes, they may have the knowledge to get nukes. Effective ownership and usage, however, is a completely different question.

29 Feb 16,, 22:10
Moreover, even the big dogs are downscaling.

From what I understand as a civvie, next wars will be about precision and reducing colateral.

29 Feb 16,, 23:08
Building nukes isn't the technological hurdle it once was, and I'm sure there will be nuclear proliferation in the future. At the moment however, there isn't much political advantage to doing so for most countries. Any new entries into the nuclear club will likely come at the cost of decades of sanctions and other soft power penalties.

That may not be a suitable deterrent if not the for world's current political situation. The world is in a rather unusual situation with a single superpower that can project force globally. Yet the superpower in question doesn't isn't perceived as being as threatening as historical powers due to the lack of expansionist tendencies. Even in situations when the US has invaded and conquered other countries, instead of taking the traditional route of annexing new territory, the US leaves after reaching a political goal or accommodation. This puts the US in the unusual position of being the biggest fish in the pond, but not necessarily the most threatening.

This power arrangement won't last forever as the world is currently undergoing the "rise of the rest". The US has already begun investing in BMD defenses to begin maturing them for the time when more countries decide that building nukes is a worth the cost.

29 Feb 16,, 23:09
Moreover, even the big dogs are downscaling.

From what I understand as a civvie, next wars will be about precision and reducing colateral.
I was thinking more in terms of the proliferation of nuclear weapons coinciding with religious extremism. The two together make for a new world.

If you believe the other side are heretics and paradise awaits you anyway M.A.D. may be as welcome as a suicide vest.

Officer of Engineers
29 Feb 16,, 23:53
I was thinking more in terms of the proliferation of nuclear weapons coinciding with religious extremism. The two together make for a new world.We've seen it before. China's nuke and the Rise of the Red Guards coinciding with the exporting of the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution.

China got real quiet when the Soviets said enough is enough and began preparing to nuke China.

And it's not the first time religious extremism got cowed. The Cult of Assassins vs Mongke Khan, Grandson of Genghis Khan. I'll let you figure out how well did those religious fanatics did.

01 Mar 16,, 18:02
Mongke never went near the Hashassim. Kitbuqa Noyan was leading Mongol forces in the Levant and was defeated by the Mamluks at Ain Jalut. Kitbuqa Noyan was Christian and it's said that some of the leaders of Outremer entered Damascus with him.

Officer of Engineers
01 Mar 16,, 19:37
If you read the history, this whole thing started when the Assassins decided to take out Mongke.

01 Mar 16,, 21:23
Interesting... I never knew that. Could you reference me a book or something to learn more Sir? Interesting period certainly of which my knowledge is sadly lacking. Bohemond Vl I think is said to have entered Damascus with the Mongols - the next Christian General to do so was Allenby in WW1 - but can't recall offhand. I apologise for going off subject though - get back to your nuclear weapons future discussion.

Officer of Engineers
01 Mar 16,, 22:11
Brief history