123

It is hard to explain why conventional bombing of a city is principally better, morally, than a nuclear bombing of a city. If Obama apologized for the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he should also apologize for all the other bombings of Japanese and German cities during WWII. Nuclear bombings were not prohibited by the Hague conventions. By ...


71

Regardless of the pros and cons of Trump leaving the agreement for, valid or not, issues with JCPOA, this is eroding international trust in the US's capacity to agree to something and then to stick to that agreement. i.e. governments which sign an agreement * with the US are not assured that the US will stick to its end of the bargain, thus making it less ...


70

"Only 250"? That's plenty for their purposes. Nukes are meant to be seen, not heard. Even if the US could intercept 99/100 missiles, having 250 means china can deliver a devastating enough attack that the US is encouraged to avoid the scenario at almost all costs. That's reasonable deterrence for their particular threat model, and for a fledgling ...


69

There are a few reasons I can think of why the DPRK would not want to keep their nuclear ambitions secret: Military Dictatorships are inherently unstable. Kim Jong-Un has almost as much to fear from his own family and generals as he does from anyone outside of North Korea. If he appears to be strong locally, there is much less chance for a coup. This is ...


69

According to mutually assured destruction, you lose your insurance that other countries won't nuke you A commonly cited reason is the concept of mutually assured destruction (MAD), which is similar to the prisoner's dilemma. From Wikipedia: The MAD doctrine assumes that each side has enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the other side and that either side, if ...


68

Because there's no oil in NK. And there's the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty, which would make a war with NK a (nuclear?) war with China.


67

In 1914 the defensive technology (trenches, machine guns) was more effective than the offensive (infantry charge). It lead to quagmire and stalemate. Clearly, the effective defence did not prevent war. The concern of Russia is that if there is an effective defence against a nuclear counter-strike, then the cost of launching a pre-emptive strike is much ...


65

The logic behind nuclear peace is mutually assured destruction: Anyone who uses nuclear weapons will also be destroyed by the counter-strike. As long as there are multiple nuclear powers who all have the capability to destroy each other with a nuclear second strike after one of them performed a nuclear first strike, none of them will dare. But if one actor ...


59

It is important to understand the vast geopolitical differences between the two situations of India and Pakistan developing nuclear weapons and North Korea developing nuclear weapons. India/Pakistan Nuclear Development Following Indian defeat in the Sino-Indian War, India decided that it needed some unconventional arms - nukes - to counter China's stronger ...


54

There is no particular benefit to using a nuclear weapon. We have some conventional bombs that rival a small nuke in terms of destructive power, without the lasting fallout. Using a nuke would basically be using a sledge hammer to swat a fly, leaving lasting radiation damage that affects friendlies, non-enemies, and civilians alike. Once a nuke is used ...


49

The deal was not only between the USA and Iran, as other countries and the EU were signatories: China France Germany European Union Russia United Kingdom The situation with those signatories is complicated, as neither they nor Iran have withdrawn from the treaty. Those signatories are not trading with Iran due to USA sanction regimes; the pact is formally ...


48

(This is mostly a repost of my answer to the now deleted question.) Iranian President Rouhani is a moderate (by Iranian standards) who took a risk signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the US, the EU, and others. Let's look at some background on the deal first: From the Iranian standpoint, the deal made sense because it provided ...


46

A single missile delivering a nuclear payload can wipe out a city. Needing to deliver hundreds or thousands of bombs or missiles to "simulate that" is a much more difficult proposition, in terms of delivery. I could, with fifty cases of aerosol deodorant spray and thousands of matches, replicate a flame thrower's output. That's a lot of work, effort, and ...


46

Except China nobody has currently pledged this, and even the Chinese pledge is not considered credible (by some Western experts, at least): Most states with nuclear weapons maintain policies that would permit their first use in a conflict. Pledges to only use these weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack—or a no-first-use (NFU) policy—are rare. Where ...


44

There are several points that invalidate the comparison of South Korean situation to Israeli one. First, "ballistic missile" does not equate "nuke" - there are plenty ballistic tactical missiles with conventional payloads, and South Korea has no nuclear weapons (as far as we know). Thus, "sanctions", as you called them, were not ...


43

WMD were only part of a complex reasoning that led to the Gulf Wars. The West had no serious problems with Iraqi WMD as long as they were aimed at Iran. But then Saddam Hussein miscalculated and went after Kuwait, and suddenly Iraq was a "rogue nation." The enduring hostility from the unfinished 1991 Gulf War led to the 2003 regime change. (...


41

Russia might also be convinced that NATO lacks the political coherence and will to fight, and that going nuclear would be a "Pearl Harbor moment" which turns it into a fight-to-the-finish. Russian tourists helping a separatists movement in the near abroad are one thing, nuclear weapons are something else. The term to read about is Hybrid Warfare. ...


40

More nuclear powers mean less stability. There used to be two. Then five or possibly six. But France and the UK were closely allied with the US, so adding them to the mix didn't complicate things very much. The US and the USSR faced each other with vast intercontinental arsenals, the Brits tried to menace Moscow in case Washington got wobbly. These days, ...


36

Precedent. The world has a seventy year history of shunning the use of nuclear weapons as war fighting tools. Use of nuclear weapons by the USA or any other nation would be a huge line to cross, legitimizing their use by all other nuclear powers. This would fundamentally change the current dynamic, with unknown and possibly terrible consequences.


35

Neither. Germany surrendered at the beginning of May 1945. The Trinity test was conducted in July 1945. The US dropped Little Boy without testing its design (it was simpler and there was much less doubt about whether it'd work), but it was completed in July as well. By the time the US had nuclear weapons, Germany had surrendered, and it's considered in poor ...


34

Other than the fact that apologizing is political suicide there are a few good reasons. No country really ever apologizes for acts of war, they may be sorry for starting a war, but its very rare that anything specific is mentioned. The bombings really weren't that destructive compared to the conventional bombings carried out against Japan and Germany. The ...


33

Why don't we allow all countries to have nuclear weapons? I can see multiple reasons for that: This will increase a global production of nuclear weapons and force neighboring countries into local arms races. Countries engaged in active military conflicts might use nuclear weapons for offensive or defensive purposes. Nuclear weapons will impede any kind of ...


32

If it doesn't have any: It gets no benefit in denying it has any. If anything it could backfire in a Yes, Minister kind of way - "First rule in politics: never believe anything until it's officially denied." Nor does it get any benefit in boasting that it does - it would get caught naked should the truth ever come out. If it does have some: It gets no ...


32

There are different approaches to nuclear strategy, deterrence, and warfighting. For deterrence, you want a credibly survivable second strike capability. That is, so many and so well hidden or hardened missiles that you can inflict unacceptable damage to the enemy even after the enemy strikes you first, without warning. Estimate how many major cities would ...


31

The treaty you're thinking of is the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (also known as the NPT or NNPT). The core of this treaty for non-nuclear weapon states is Article II, which says Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear ...


30

Reasons include, but may not be limited to: Cost: A missile in a land-based silo is much less expensive than the equivalent on a submarine. In the Cold War era, this resulted in more "bang for the buck". The planned response to a first strike was to launch a counterstrike on a massive scale, while the missiles from the first strike were still airborne. The ...


28

American media is, unsurprisingly, biased with a pro-American viewpoint. Thus, we see that Trump "withdraws" from the agreement where Iran "violates" the agreement. In fact, it is more correct to say that America violated the agreement, as the word violation suggests acting in bad faith. By every account, Iran had held to the terms of the deal in good faith ...


28

Nuclear weapons are both extreme and extremely imprecise. In the case of Vietnam, while the 'nuclear triad' of technologies that most people associate with the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine of the 60s and onwards was not yet available, the foundation of MAD was laid down by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in the year before the U.S. presence in ...


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