Military Review

Let's make nuclear weapons great again (TomDispatch, USA)

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Let's make nuclear weapons great again (TomDispatch, USA)



Donald Trump Doctrine

Perhaps you used to think that America’s nuclear arsenal, with its thousands of thermonuclear warheads, which can destroy the entire population of the Earth, can convince any adversary not to use its weapon against the USA.

You were wrong.

The Pentagon expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that American nuclear weapons are inexpediently powerful. It is old, unreliable and has such destructive potential that perhaps even President Trump would not want to use it if the enemy used smaller nuclear bombs on a hypothetical battlefield.

American military experts and weapons developers decided to start creating something more suitable for conducting military operations, so that the president would have more opportunities in case of anything. According to their plan, this will become an even more convincing deterrent for opponents. But it may turn out that such new bombs may increase the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict, which will have disastrous consequences.

The fact that Trump would have been both hands on improving the American nuclear arsenal wouldn’t surprise anyone, considering his tendency to brag about the unsurpassed military power of his country. He was delighted when, in April 2017, one of his generals ordered for the first time to drop the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in existence on Afghanistan.

According to the existing nuclear doctrine, according to the Obama administration’s plan, the United States should have resorted to nuclear weapons only “as a last resort” to protect the vital interests of the country or its allies. Then it was forbidden to use it as a political tool in order to rein in the weaker states.

However, to Trump, who has already threatened to bring down “fire and rage that the world has never seen before,” to North Korea, this approach seems too harsh. He and his advisers seem to want nuclear weapons to be used in conflicts of any degree of seriousness of great strength and swing them like a bludgeon of an apocalypse to intimidate those who disobey.

In order for the US arsenal to become more sophisticated, two kinds of changes in nuclear policy are required. Modification of the existing doctrine to eliminate restrictions on the deployment of such weapons in wartime, and permission to develop and manufacture new generations of nuclear weapons, including for tactical attacks.

All this will be spelled out in the new Review of the composition and quantity of nuclear weapons (nuclear posture review, NPR), which will be formed by the end of this year or at the beginning of the next.

Up to this point, its exact content will remain unknown, but even after that, Americans will have access to an extremely curtailed version of the document, most of which is secret. Nevertheless, some general provisions of the Survey are already clear from the statements of the president and the generals.

And one more obvious fact. The review will remove restrictions on the use of weapons of mass destruction of any kind, regardless of its level of destructiveness, which will make the planet’s most powerful nuclear arsenal even more formidable.

Change the look at nuclear weapons

Strategic leadership in the new Review is likely to have far-reaching implications. As the former director of the US National Security Council for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, John Wolfsthal said in a recent issue of Arms Control, this document will affect "the image of America, the president and the nuclear potential in the eyes of allies and opponents." More importantly, the review sets the vector for decisions that define the management, maintenance and modernization of the nuclear arsenal and influence how the Congress views and finances the nuclear forces. ”

With this in mind, consider the recommendations set out in the Obama Government Review. He appeared when the White House sought to restore America’s prestige to the world after an international condemnation of President Bush’s actions in Iraq and only six months after Barack Obama received the Nobel Prize for his intention to ban the use of nuclear weapons. Non-proliferation was a priority.

As a result, the use of nuclear weapons was limited under almost any circumstances on any field of battle that one can imagine. The main objective of the Review was to reduce the "role of US nuclear weapons in the US national security."

As noted in the document, America only once considered the possibility of using nuclear weapons against Soviet tank formations, for example, in a major European conflict. It was assumed that in such a situation the USSR would have an advantage in traditional types of weapons.

In the military-political situation of 2010, of course, little remained of those times, as well as of the Soviet Union. Washington, as noted in the Review, is now the undisputed leader in the traditional understanding of defense. "Accordingly, the United States will continue to strengthen traditional capabilities and reduce the role of nuclear weapons in deterring non-nuclear attacks."

A nuclear strategy aimed solely at deterring a first strike against the United States or its allies is unlikely to require a huge stockpile of weapons. As a result, such an approach opened up opportunities for further reducing the size of the nuclear arsenal and led 2010 to sign a new treaty with Russia, which ordered a significant reduction in the number of nuclear warheads and delivery systems for both countries.

Each side had to confine itself to 1550 warheads and 700 delivery systems, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine launch ballistic missiles and heavy bombers.

However, this approach has never satisfied representatives of the defense ministry and conservative research institutes. Critics of this kind often pointed to possible changes in the Russian military doctrine that would suggest a greater likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons in a large-scale war with NATO if its position in Russia in the war began to deteriorate.

Such “strategic deterrence” - a phrase that for Russia and the West has a different meaning, can lead to the use of low-powered “tactical” nuclear weapons against enemy strongholds if Russian forces in Europe were on the verge of defeat.

To what extent this version corresponds to the Russian reality, no one really knows. Nevertheless, something similar is often associated in the West by those who believe that Obama’s nuclear strategy is hopelessly outdated and gives Moscow a reason to increase the importance of nuclear weapons in his doctrine.

Such complaints were often voiced in the “Seven Defense Priorities of the New Administration” - in the report of the Scientific Council of the US Department of Defense (December 2016), which is a Pentagon-funded advisory group that regularly reports to the Secretary of Defense. "We are still not sure that if we reduce the importance of nuclear weapons for our state, other countries will do the same."

According to the report, the Russian strategy involves the use of low-power tactical nuclear strikes to deter a NATO attack. While many Western analysts doubt the correctness of such statements, the Pentagon’s Science Council insists that the United States should develop such weapons and be ready to use them.

According to the report, Washington needs “a more flexible system of nuclear weapons, which could, if necessary, produce a fast and accurate nuclear strike on a restricted area of ​​destruction, if the existing non-nuclear and nuclear versions of weapons prove ineffective”.

Such an approach now inspires the Trump administration to new achievements in this area, which is clearly seen in some of the president’s tweets. “The United States must strengthen and expand its nuclear potential so that the whole world will again recall the volume of our weapons,” wrote Donald Trump on December 22 of 2016.

Although he didn’t write specifically (because it was a short Twitter post), his idea was to accurately reflect the views of the Scientific Council and Trump’s advisors.

Having taken the post of commander-in-chief, Trump signed a presidential memorandum in which he instructed the defense minister to review the nuclear weapons situation and make sure that “the US nuclear deterrent is modern, reliable, ready to use and can meet the challenges of the 21 century and be convincing in the eyes of the allies” .

Details of the Review, which will appear in the era of Trump, are still unknown. Nevertheless, he will undoubtedly nullify all of Obama’s achievements and will put nuclear weapons on a pedestal.

Arsenal expansion

The Trump Review will promote the creation of new nuclear weapons systems that will become the main players with an expanded set of strike options. In particular, it is believed that the administration is in favor of acquiring "low-powered tactical nuclear ammunition" and even more delivery systems, including air-launched and land-based cruise missiles. The rationale for this, of course, will be the thesis that this kind of ammunition is necessary to match the Russian achievements in this field.

According to internal sources, the development of such tactical ammunition, which could, for example, destroy a large port or military base, and not just the whole city, as it was in Hiroshima, is also being considered. As one anonymous government official in Politico said: “Having this opportunity is critically important.”

Another politician added that “in preparing the Survey, it is necessary to interview the military about what they need to deter enemies” and whether current weapons will be “useful in all scenarios that we assume”.
It should be borne in mind that during the Obama administration, plans and initial multimillion-million design work to "modernize" America’s nuclear arsenal for many decades to come were already agreed upon. From this point of view, Trump's nuclear era was already well under way at the time of his inauguration.

And, of course, the United States already has several types of nuclear weapons, including the B61 "gravitational bomb" and the W80 missile warhead, whose power can be adjusted down to several kilotons.

A typical delivery system will be a weapon used outside the air defense zone - a modern long-range cruise missile that can be carried by a B-2 bomber, its older brother B-52 or developed by B-21.

World ready for a nuclear winter

Publication of the new Review will undoubtedly cause controversy about whether a country with a nuclear arsenal, which is enough to destroy several Earth-sized planets, really needs new nuclear weapons, and whether this will lead to another global arms race.

In November, 2017, the Congressional Budget Office published a report showing that the cost of replacing all three branches of the American nuclear triad during 30 years would be at least 1,2 billion dollars, not counting inflation and additional costs that could increase this figure to 1,7 billion dollars and above .

The problem of the justification of all these new types of weapons and their cosmic value is extremely relevant today. One thing is certain: any decision to purchase such weapons would mean a reduction in the budget in other sectors in the long run — health care, education, infrastructure, or combating an opioid epidemic.

Yet, questions of cost and adequacy are the easiest part of a new nuclear puzzle. It is based on the very idea of ​​“applicability”. When Obama insisted that nuclear weapons could not be used on the battlefield in any way, he spoke not only about America, but about all countries. “To put an end to the Cold War mindset,” he said in Prague 2009 in April, “we will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and encourage others to do the same.”

If the Trump White House supports the doctrine that will erase the differences between nuclear and traditional weapons, turning them into equivalent tools of coercion and war, this will make escalating to complete thermonuclear destruction of the planet the most likely in the last few decades.
For example, there is no doubt that such a position prompted other countries possessing nuclear weapons, including Russia, China, India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea, to think about their use in future conflicts. It may even push countries that currently lack nuclear weapons to consider the possibility of their production.

Obama’s view of nuclear weapons was fundamentally different from those of the Cold War, when the possibility of a thermonuclear holocaust between the two superpowers of the planet was a daily reality, and millions of people went to anti-nuclear demonstrations.

When the threat of Armageddon disappeared, the fear of nuclear weapons gradually evaporated, and the protests ended. Unfortunately, the nuclear weapons themselves and the companies that created them live and live. Now that the peace period of the post-nuclear era is coming to an end, the zone, the idea of ​​using nuclear weapons, which during the Cold War were hardly admitted even in the mind, may cease to be something special.

Or, at least, it will be so, if once again the citizens of this planet do not take to the streets to protest against the future in which cities lie in smoldering ruins, and millions of people die from hunger and radiation sickness.
Author:
Originator:
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176353/tomgram:_michael_klare,_normalizing_nukes/
Photos used:
http://www.worldatlas.com
15 comments
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  1. Mavrikiy
    Mavrikiy 24 November 2017 05: 52 New
    +2
    Let's make nuclear weapons great again
    So do over-precise and over-accurate.
    And ours suits us. We do not attack, but defend. And the doctrine should be - during the NATO attack, a crushing blow to England, Switzerland, the USA and NATO (in that order)
    Our motto: "Get off the old grunt! I'll give you one, go to the bottom!" (Cain 18th)
    1. Vladimir16
      Vladimir16 24 November 2017 13: 07 New
      +1
      I agree. There must be a destructive answer.
      Nehren play point answers. The mattress and all English speakers should understand that they will be wiped off the face of the earth in case of any aggression.
      The fact that mattresses want to get nuclear weapons with the ability to use them in local conflicts suggests that they are not people. Only Satanists want to kill people. Padlocks and ghouls they are.
  2. Cat Marquis
    Cat Marquis 24 November 2017 09: 43 New
    +2
    The arms race has begun again .... We seals are also arming themselves, developing new highly effective weapons ... The photo shows the test of such weapons of the "cotonous" bomb "....
    1. Mih1974
      Mih1974 24 November 2017 13: 07 New
      +3
      laughing How many kilo cats was the bomb? laughing
      1. Cat Marquis
        Cat Marquis 24 November 2017 13: 37 New
        +1
        Quote: Mih1974
        How many kilo cats was the bomb?

        A lot .... We are not trained in math, we can’t count ...
      2. Mavrikiy
        Mavrikiy 24 November 2017 16: 22 New
        0
        Quote: Mih1974
        laughing How many kilo cats was the bomb? laughing

        One. But a month did not go to the bank.
      3. PPD
        PPD 28 November 2017 12: 29 New
        0
        2 cats and one cat. laughing
        The cat is responsible for the accuracy of the guidance. The cats make a rustle.
  3. The comment was deleted.
  4. Kostadinov
    Kostadinov 24 November 2017 11: 48 New
    +1
    There is one big minus for our American friends. The goals for their tactical, high-angle nuclear weapons will not be enough. Infantry, artillery, tanks and boats of potential enemies are not very suitable targets for nuclear weapons. There will be a lot of them, reconnaissance of these goals will be difficult and will destroy them even more difficult.
    But for the enemies of the United States there will be such goals for tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield that you can only dream about - aircraft carriers, cruisers, strategic bombers, aerodromes and port facilities full of airplanes and ships.
    1. Cat Marquis
      Cat Marquis 24 November 2017 12: 55 New
      +1
      There is one “nuance” that concerns “everyone”, and not just “American Drui” - “the cost of possessing nuclear weapons.” The nuclear "stuffing" degrades over time, like all "electronics" and everything needs to be changed. In fact, every five years, 70% of the internals of a nuclear munition must be changed to be sure of its performance. And this is colossal money comparable to the production of weapons themselves ..
  5. thinker
    thinker 24 November 2017 14: 35 New
    0
    the cost of replacing all three branches of the American nuclear triad over 30 years will be at least $ 1,2 billion

    At 40 million a year, it will not be enough. 1,2 trillion
  6. Nikolay73
    Nikolay73 24 November 2017 15: 53 New
    0
    ... well, and who will say that we are SAWING? We gently stroke!
  7. 501Legion
    501Legion 24 November 2017 18: 14 New
    0
    Excellent article
  8. Old26
    Old26 24 November 2017 19: 10 New
    0
    To be honest - . Many letters and the thought among these letters was lost.

    The Pentagon expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that American nuclear weapons are inappropriately powerful. It is old, unreliable and has such destructive potential.

    To some extent, the Pentagon is right. Multi-megaton bombs are a thing of the past and their presence in the 60s - 70s was due to a fairly low carrier QoS. Hence the power of 10-15 megawatts. And the concepts were such that, first of all, it was necessary to turn the territory of the enemy into a lifeless desert. Yes, even modern weapons have sufficient destructive potential, but the fact that they are old and unreliable is left to the conscience of the author of this article.

    American military experts and weapons developers decided to start creating something more suitable for conducting military operations, so that the president would have more opportunities in case of anything. According to their plan, this will become an even more convincing deterrent for opponents. But it may turn out that such new bombs may increase the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons in armed conflict, which will have disastrous consequences.

    The fact that trends in the development of nuclear weapons are aimed at reducing power in order to minimize collateral damage has been talked about for a long time. A couple of years ago there was material from American scientists specializing in such studies, which clearly showed that sometimes the destruction of one and a half or two dozen critical objects can lead to a turning point in the war. But at the same time, it is absolutely not necessary to leave a scorched desert with a radius of a dozen kilometers around the targets. Instead of applying a 200-ct charge, it sometimes makes sense to apply a 2 or 5 ct charge. The target will be destroyed, but the side effect will be minimal. And in principle, the Americans have been doing this for the last 1,5-2 decades. Many charges have several power levels and their power can be regulated from, for example, 5 to 200 kt or from 0,5 to 50 kt.

    If the Trump White House supports the doctrine that will erase the differences between nuclear and traditional weapons, turning them into equivalent tools of coercion and war, this will make escalating to complete thermonuclear destruction of the planet the most likely in the last few decades.

    Whether we like it or not, the differences are erased. Non-nuclear weapons may become increasingly powerful, and nuclear weapons may become less powerful. However, escalation to complete extermination is unlikely to become more likely. The arsenal in any case will consist of weapons of various capacities. And any of the parties to the conflict is well aware that the use of mini-nuclear ammunition in any case will lead to escalation. especially if it concerns such players in this field as Russia and the USA.
    Of course, in conflicts such as North Korea - the USA, the use of accurate and low-power nuclear charges is more advantageous than with a capacity of hundreds of kilotons, but such conflicts are unlikely to lead to a global catastrophe. And here is Russia-USA - here the whole planet will have to put out the light
    1. demiurg
      demiurg 26 November 2017 04: 51 New
      +1
      Quote: Old26

      To some extent, the Pentagon is right. Multi-megaton bombs are a thing of the past and their presence in the 60s - 70s was due to a fairly low carrier QoS. Hence the power of 10-15 megawatts. And the concepts were such that, first of all, it was necessary to turn the territory of the enemy into a lifeless desert. Yes, even modern weapons have sufficient destructive potential, but the fact that they are old and unreliable is left to the conscience of the author of this article.


      The fact that trends in the development of nuclear weapons are aimed at reducing power in order to minimize collateral damage has been talked about for a long time. A couple of years ago there was material from American scientists specializing in such studies, which clearly showed that sometimes the destruction of one and a half or two dozen critical objects can lead to a turning point in the war. But at the same time, it is absolutely not necessary to leave a scorched desert with a radius of a dozen kilometers around the targets. Instead of applying a 200-ct charge, it sometimes makes sense to apply a 2 or 5 ct charge. The target will be destroyed, but the side effect will be minimal. And in principle, the Americans have been doing this for the last 1,5-2 decades. Many charges have several power levels and their power can be regulated from, for example, 5 to 200 kt or from 0,5 to 50 kt.


      Whether we like it or not, the differences are erased. Non-nuclear weapons may become increasingly powerful, and nuclear weapons may become less powerful. However, escalation to complete extermination is unlikely to become more likely. The arsenal in any case will consist of weapons of various capacities. And any of the parties to the conflict is well aware that the use of mini-nuclear ammunition in any case will lead to escalation. especially if it concerns such players in this field as Russia and the USA.
      Of course, in conflicts such as North Korea - the USA, the use of accurate and low-power nuclear charges is more advantageous than with a capacity of hundreds of kilotons, but such conflicts are unlikely to lead to a global catastrophe. And here is Russia-USA - here the whole planet will have to put out the light


      Minimizing collateral damage is the direct route to a global meat grinder. Nobel inventing dynamite also thought that the wars would end, an optimist. First, with low-power nuclear charges for point targets, and then with healthy enthusiasm, megaton ones already get to where.
      And to the issue of explosion power. Even if brisant substances of comparable power are invented, a near-surface nuclear explosion with contamination of the territory not only destroys something, but makes the place unsuitable for work and exploitation for years. Almost any city is not only a population. These are still factories and transport hubs.
      This is of course my cuddly opinion, but it is the presence of 500kt / 1mt warheads that keeps all nuclear club members from using nuclear weapons. Reduced power is in demand in shells for Tulip / Mste, in all other cases it makes no sense to reduce the charge.
      And actually it does not matter who and how many kilotons will be applied first. Next they will want to try everyone else. And then in response to something like 9/11 already with all the dope.
  9. Old26
    Old26 26 November 2017 13: 10 New
    0
    Quote: demiurg
    Minimizing collateral damage is the direct route to a global meat grinder. Nobel inventing dynamite also thought that the wars would end, an optimist. First, with low-power nuclear charges for point targets, and then with healthy enthusiasm, megaton ones already get to where ..

    I would agree with this your thesis, but it applies exclusively to such a player in the geopolitical field as Russia. When, in response to a mini-charge, kiloton warheads sprinkle on the enemy’s head. But in the world not only we and the USA. The interests of America itself can extend as far as desired, and sometimes it is the use of mini-charges against any of the countries that can solve the issue in their favor with a minimum of casualties and destruction. But the very concept of switching to mini-charges in order to win the conflict with minimal damage to the other side has a place to be and has its supporters

    Quote: demiurg
    And to the issue of explosion power. Even if brisant substances of comparable power are invented, a near-surface nuclear explosion with contamination of the territory not only destroys something, but makes the place unsuitable for work and exploitation for years. Almost any city is not only a population. These are still factories and transport hubs.

    All this is already "invented before us." In the early 80s, the so-called. neutron ammunition. These were ammunition in which some of the PFNW were significantly reduced due to an increase in other damaging factors. In particular, the radioactive contamination of the area and the shock wave were minimized in favor of an increase in penetrating radiation. Then they joked (black humor) asking the question what is the difference between an ensign and a neutron bomb. And the answer was this. Where warrant officers appear, people remain and material values ​​disappear, and where a neutron bomb is used, vice versa. People disappear and material values ​​remain. It is this phrase that reflects the essence of these ammunition. The ammunition itself was primarily intended to stop the tank columns of the Soviet Union without causing more damage to the environment and not make it unsuitable for life for years. :

    The power of these ammunition was within 1-2 kt for shells and up to 25 kt for ammunition. Modern ammunition is already somewhat different. At one time, the US Congress banned the development of ammunition of ultra-low power. This ban was in force from 1994 to 2004. And ultra-low power is less than 1kt. In his first term, Obama also banned the development of ammunition such as "mini-newkeys." This ban is in effect now - I don’t know, but most likely in the light of the statements of the modern US leadership - it is unlikely. And what is ammunition like "mini-newk" and the like.
    Their next gradation
    <br>• Mini New. Otherwise, they are called ammunition of ultra-low power - less than 1 kt. To be more precise, the power of ammunition ranges from 100 tons to 1 kt.
    <br>• Micro-new. Ammunition with a capacity of up to 10 to 100 tons. Designed to destroy bunkers and runways of aerodromes
    <br>• Taininyuki. Ammunition capacity from 100 kg to 10 tons. The lower limit has so far been calculated only theoretically, and the upper limit is most likely some work on them.

    So, what am I doing. What you write may be relevant at the present time, but in the near future it will not be relevant. You can imagine that a blow is being struck at a power plant that feeds a large defense plant located in the city. Applied by some kind of ammunition, like mini-news power, for example in 800 tons of TNTE. The destruction of the power plant will be enough to stop it. Infection of the terrain with such a charge power will be minimal. But the city and the factory, located from the station (for example, state district power station) at a distance of 5-6 km - nothing will happen to them. This concept is now being developed by the Americans. Reduce collateral losses, but take the country out of the war (out of order). Of course, this will not work with Russia, but with others - no problem.
    As for conventional ammunition, then you are not quite right. Power in 10 tons achieved a few decades ago. Russian "dad of all bombs" has a TNT equivalent in 44 tonnes, which is already comparable in power with micronews.

    Quote: demiurg
    This is of course my cuddly opinion, but it is the presence of 500kt / 1mt warheads that keeps all nuclear club members from using nuclear weapons.

    These capacities remained of course, but the main thing here is not only in unit power, but also in the number of charges that can be delivered to the enemy’s territory. Agree that if, for example, in one volley, the DPRK can launch 6-10 missiles across the territory of the United States, then even the presence of nuclear weapons (although they are not of very high power) will not protect it from a US nuclear strike. Even if these missiles have 5 MT warheads, the result will be the same. But if necessary, the same United States can use low-power ammunition in order not to turn the enemy country into a scorched desert.
    It restrains not only and not so much the power of ammunition as its quantity. In India and Pakistan, the ammunition is by no means a megaton class, but when there are hundreds and a half of them on each side, you will involuntarily think about it. Apply them against a neighbor or not. And when the aggressor country has 2–3 warheads and the victim country has the same number, inevitably there may appear a desire to solve problems in a cardinal way