118

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 ...


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 ...


68

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

"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 ...


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 ...


53

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 ...


48

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European Union Russia United Kingdom The situation with those signatories is complicated, as neither they nor Iran have withdrawn from the treaty.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 ...


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 ...


45

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 ...


38

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, ...


35

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.


32

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 ...


32

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 ...


31

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 ...


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

There is really no "good" answer. The countries only have as much rights as they have the actual practical power to enforce given objective worldwide geopolitical realities. Remember that even UN resolutions don't have any practical power outside UN member states sending military forces to enforce them, or implement economic sanctions effectively. This is ...


28

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 ...


26

Not all nukes are the same. Nuclear weapons are designed for specific purposes. There are different launch systems like ships, submarines, intercontinental missiles, ground-based mobile launch systems, large bombers, small fighter-jets and even systems which can be carried by infantry. Each of these systems needs their own nukes when you want all of them to ...


26

Same reason why everyone allowed Hitler to gobble up part of Czechoslovakia back in 1938. Nobody wants to start a war with Russia over this. The West bluffed. Putin, accurately reading Obama, called their bluff. For a more expanded treatment (leading to the same conclusion but from a bit more of an expert), see Niall Ferguson's article in Wall Street ...


26

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 ...


24

It is important to understand the underlying technology and politics of nuclear weapons deals. In order to build a nuclear weapon, the most important and difficult task is acquiring enough Uranium-235 or Plutonium-239 at weapons grade purity. This means that the key to building a weapon, and consequently controlling weapons development is controlling the ...


24

Different perceptions Kim Jong-un has two audiences for his utterances. One is the international community. The other is the domestic community. The problem there is that the domestic community wants him to project strength and confidence. If he claims that the North Korean military is powerful and the match of any military in the world, it doesn't ...


24

The point of sanctions isn't necessarily, or always, "to prevent" the things the sanctions are based on. More often than not, they can serve at least three other purposes: They are a necessary step to show that you're trying to resolve the situation peacefully. This way, if a military intervention happens later, the opponents (domestic or international) ...


24

An entire international body designed for restricting trade of nuclear materials was created in response to India's first test, and the US did impose sanctions on India for their tests in the 90's. The reason India specifically hasn't been punished much is because they otherwise have a good nuclear record and claim to want stronger non-proliferation treaties....


22

The reason why some countries can have nuclear weapons is easy to find in this article: Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, where you can read very interesting topics. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to ...


22

Nuclear weapon yields are measured in kilotons. The bomb which destroyed Nagasaki was a 13 kiloton bomb. That was a rather small one. Fission bombs can have several hundred kiloton yields. Fusion bombs can go into megaton range (world record: 50 megatons). Those tons refer to the equivalent amount of TNT. To substitute a 100 kiloton nuke you would need to ...


20

Iran does have genuine reasons for developing a civilian nuclear power industry. Iran's oil production is comparable to that of Iraq or Kuwait, but Iran has a much larger population. Between declining production and increasing domestic consumption of subsidized gasoline, Iran risks becoming a petroleum importer in a few years. Nuclear power (especially ...


20

You can't rely on Stanislav Petrov Those of us who survived the cold war had it drummed into us that each side had a network of satellites watching each others' launch sites, and at the first sign of a missile heading into the air on a ballistic trajectory the other side would launch all their nuclear arsenal. After all, they can't wait for the nuke to land ...


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